Twin Peaks. Photo courtesy of The Eagle
Everyone who is anyone in surf goth was at the 9:30 Club on Wednesday night. The counter-trendy line of young fans noticed as Twin Peaks bassist Jack Dolan slipped past them, sporting his Addison Russell Cubs jersey, a sort of relic of the Chicago DIY scene that raised him.
Even though the mid-week show was headlined by GW’s favorite lo-fi surf rockers, Wavves, Twin Peaks were worthy of the praise they received that night, very well making it a co-headlined gig. When Wavves frontman Nathan Williams and the band finally stepped out on stage, the crowd seemed to grow older, 25-year-old superfans drunkenly pushing their way to the front to have a prime vantage point with crowd surfing access.
A couple hours before, an underrated, bass-heavy band Steep Leans left everyone confirming their name (string beans?) after a dark, dreamy set. Soon, Twin Peaks came out to tune their instruments. The guys seemed to be straight out of The Sandlot. They worked with their gear while ska tracks played into the crowd. Guitarist Cadien Lake James took off his bucket hat and the lifelong friends began jamming, as if playing in a basement for all their closest friends.
Twin Peaks’ joy-ridden, grimy, repetitive rhythms had the audience bobbing their heads to drummer Connor Brodner’s beat. “Good to be back in D.C.,” Cadien said.
They gave an raw but energetic performance, choppy in parts with a grungy quality that worked with the upbeat melodies. Cadien told everyone to pray for the Cubs. The band smirked to the crowd and played the night’s favorite “Telephone,” as groups of teenagers flung their hair and swayed. A sole man in a Hawaiian shirt who danced in front row to every single song, upped his jumping. Cadien burped into the mic and the crowd laughed. “Wow, so much love peace out dude,” guitarist Clay Frankel said.
The band pulled out a new one, Cadien’s deep, raspy vocals mixing with jazz and heavy drums. Twin Peaks achieved a powerful balance of instrumentation on “Flavor” and pure rock and roll, the type that comes only with three or more guitars, ran free. The guys followed it up with “Strawberry Smoothie,” keyboardist Colin Croom, on guitar this time, jumping up on the amps and strumming. The guys wrapped it up with Colin playing his keyboard over his head, the previously innocent, air-drumming crowd growing hysteric and starting to mosh.
Wavves fans continued this mosh pit without stopping once in the entire set, complete with repeat crowd surfers and the yelling of lyrics at their top of lungs. 9:30 Club security pulled arms and legs out of the crowd, even hydrating audience members with water poured from bottles of water.
True, Wavves fans are crazy. But, the band itself does not rock lightly either. The set, though becoming a steady stream of similar song structure, lent itself to a fast-paced, productive run-through of their happily melodic and distorted discography. Drummer Brian Hill did not stop his quick pace on the sparkly pink drum kit, a white tiger sculpture watching carefully next to his snare. Bassist Stephen Pope’s wet-with-sweat curls flew every way covering Dolly Parton’s face on his thrifted shirt. Alex Gates strummed his fast, poppy and harmonious riffs and Nathan’s deadpan, high-pitched teen boy vocals excited the audience with every lyric.
The set list was a nice assembly of songs from the much-anticipated “V” album and old classics like “Afraid of Heights” and “Green Eyes.” Though they released the album just a few days before the show, the Wavves fans still knew all of the words, creating the chorus. The new introspective and dark fuzz melodies mixed with the band’s dynamism on stage and bouncy, catchy lyrics left the crowd with warm hearts. That, and the feeling that maybe D.C. has a little surf goth within its city limits.