Waved Out was hot. Real hot. Kicking off at 3:30pm with temperatures in the 80′s, The Echo and Echoplex welcomed their patrons to a dark, duplex den of music and a scorching parking lot of free offerings, including ice cream from yours truly and Hit & Run shirts that were a choose-your-own-adventure.
With a selection of six or so designs, attendees were encouraged to pick up to three to put onto their shirt. Options included intricate tribal/middle eastern art; a tapestry style emblem; writing utensils; the festival title with the participating bands, amongst others that were crafted right before your eyes then ready to wear. Seeing the varietal selections and design layering requests was one of the most interesting perks of the festival besides the fresh music.
The event clocked in with over 1,000 attendees, making it the largest Aquarium Drunkard event ever hosted. Thankfully we had a ton of ice cream to sling. When we weren’t being jocked by Tape Deck Mountain or the people from the LA Times, CraSH was hitting up the likes of LA-based Superhumanoids, Gamble House, and Dirt Dress, along with SF-based Moon Duo. In an drastic juxtaposition, Active Child offered what Pitchfork eloquently calls “falsetto-singing spacey synthpop” while Best Coast brought a lo-fi, fuzz guitar paired with the distant female vocals of Bethany Consentino; perfectly constructing a regional so-Cal appeal and effortlessly achieving the sound that Stephen Merritt reaches for on the album Distortion.
But as Rachel and I laid in wait for more ice cream takers, we found that Turbo Fruits generated buzz throughout the festival. People with taste for bombastic surf rock that hints at pop-centric hooks, found their performance most raw and satisfying. While Pizza! made us hungry for more of their goods and The Sandwitches offered a savory and stolid addition to the lineup, The Coathangers provided a raucous, irreverent take on an all-girl act. So much indie, so little time.
As Surfer Blood took the stage, these Floridians looked more confident and cool than the excitable kids I had seen just months prior with Japandroids. A larger stage, psychadelic lights, and a more bombastic sound were clear indicators of their headliner heights. As their debit album Astrocoast was perfectly showcased, hitting the spot with “Twin Peaks” for me, the Waved Out crowd clamored for more with each song’s ending.
The evening cooled and the crowd dissipated, leaving remnants of bands, groupies, and gurus loitering in the final moments of a musical day well spent. For those of you in Los Angeles that want to be in-the-know of the best-of-the-best you need to follow Aquarium Drunkard.