Three Pittsburgh bands and an ear-pounding trio from New Zealand filled Lawrenceville’s bare-bones warehouse space The Shop with delicious noise Friday, and the crowd in attendance even stole a few choice listens to songs from the next, much-anticipated record by local heroes The Gotobeds.
Yes, yes, yes, the duo Late. performed its brand of synth-rock admirably, with lots of texture and flair. And the solid rhythm section of Rave Ami, despite increasingly awkward on-stage patter and pauses, gave its guitarist a lot of free license to noodle and explore spacey textures. (Honey!) But the evening didn’t really kick into gear until around 10 p.m., when Wax Chattels took the stage.
A three-piece from Auckland, Wax Chattels sits at the imagined/imaginary intersection of Battles, Trans Am and Adult., a kind of throttling, guitar-less electro-punk that relies heavily on tribal rock energy and the precision of math-rock. In fine form, especially, were bassist Amanda Cheng and, man oh man oh man, drummer Tom Leggett, who sounded like he was slashing at his kit with lit firecrackers in his hands. You know, you expect a song like “In My Mouth” — a single if ever there was one off the group’s self-titled LP, out now – to be bombastic and laced with venom, but you don’t expect it to be THAT good and razor-precise live.
The members behind The Gotobeds, closing the roughly four-hour show, were their rambunctious and free-form-loving selves, with Gavin Jensen ending the set strumming his bass as it hanged from a rafter. The group, especially guitarist/singer Eli Kasan, sounded looser and a little more chaotic or unhinged live than it does on vinyl – this was my first time seeing them in form human, believe it or not – and their ruckus clearly left an impression on the hungry, PBR-fueled crowd. Fan favorites “Why’d You?” (off Blood/Sugar/Secs/Traffic) and “New York’s Alright” (off Poor People Are Revolting) were played with real fire and abandon, and new tracks “Debt Begins At 30” and “Slang Words” definitely sounded like worthy additions to the Sub Pop band’s canon. The 26-second song “Rock Writers Are Pretentious Assholes” is worth mentioning, as I am a pretentious asshole – and am goddamned proud of it! So was “Brotherfucker.” Hail Caesar!
If you haven’t caught Wax Chattels during their tenure in the States, I highly recommend you do. And The Gotobeds? Well, they never disappoint. – Justin Vellucci, Punksburgh, July 15, 2018