Live Review: Menomena at The Crepe Place
It would have to be a pretty big deal to get me to drive from Walnut Creek to Santa Cruz and back, and it was: Menomena has put out two great records, and WAVVES is one of the most hyped bands on the blogsphere right now. The Crepe Place is building solid momentum as a hot spot for bands coming to the bay, as the UC campus provides a good audience for bands working outside of the mainstream. The venue is small and feels very old in a good way. There is no stage, and the guys from each of the bands were walking around chatting it up. It made for some good energy.
Vampire Hands from Minnesota opened the set with some hazy rock. The lead singer had his back to the audience and danced around for most of the set. He sent a thank you to the other bands: “especially WAVVES. These are two of the best people I’ve ever met.” You could feel the excitement for WAVVES in the air. They busted into their set with a cool, detached, ferociousness. If the Beach Boys had a punk rock baby that loved distortion and reverb, that’s what WAVVES sounds like. It’s dreamy in an abrasive way. The place was rocking, and the standouts were “Beach Demon,” and the anthem “I’m so Bored.”
Menomena made for a strange contrast. While WAVVES feels free and spontaneous, these Portland guys are exacting in their music, and play with utmost precision. Once they broke into “The Pelican” from their awesome LP Friend or Foe (2007), the swirling guitars and harmonies forced those that came just to see WAVVES to pay attention. Vocalist Justin Harris commented on the lack of space from the audience, saying to the guy standing right in front of him, “I’ve never been this close to another man’s face and yelled, besides my dad.” Their set went over well, and “Rotten Hell” evoked a sing along.
- Review submitted by Jeff Bracco.