WRITTEN BY: ALLISON SALMON
PHOTOS BY: ERIN BLEWETT
The vibe was electric at the Union Transfer Tuesday night despite the cold and rain. It was obvious that the gloomy weather wasn’t holding fans back from attending the double headliner as the venue filled up to almost full capacity. I squeezed my way to the front so I could catch opening act, Culture Abuse, do their thing. The group immediately started jamming when they hit the stage, not holding back whatsoever. Culture Abuse is the real deal, from the carefree stage presence to the hardcore music, the band brings some serious nostalgia to the peak of the punk rock era. However, Culture Abuse prefers to not be categorized into one genre – the group just wants to make killer music and have fun while doing it, which was clear through their performance. The four piece band from California undoubtedly brought the energy the crowd was looking for to kick off the night. Check out Culture Abuse’s latest single “Up & Down” which coincidently is a collab with the next performing act of the night, Wavves.
Fans rejoiced as L.A. based band Wavves made their return onto a Philly stage for the third time in the past three years. Last spring Wavves hit the Foundry touring their latest album You’re Welcome released in May, and the year before that I was able to catch them at the Electric Factory alongside Best Coast and Cherry Glazerr touring their album V. It’s safe to say that the surf/pop punk group evolved since I last saw them. From the expressive lyrics to the confident stage presence, Wavves had fans wrapped around their finger throughout their entire set.
There’s something about lead singer, Nathan Williams, that is quite enthralling. The vocalist is able to stay cool and collected throughout their somewhat hardcore setlists, and his voice might sound even better live than recorded. Stephen Pope on bass brought the same energy that I remember so clearly from their show back in February 2016, headbanging his long curly hair while simultaneously rifling his guitar. The crowd was full of energy – mosh pits, crowd surfing, and non stop headbanging, Wavves certainly gave the people what they wanted. The band kicked off their performance with hit song “Way Too Much” off their album V released in 2015, and glided right into arguably their most popular song “King of the Beach” off their album King of the Beach released back in 2010.
Wavves has been doing their thing for awhile now, 2008 to be exact, and the group is showing no signs of stopping. In fact, these guys are in the peak of their career. The group went on to play some of their newer songs off of You’re Welcome and wrapped up their set with all of my favorites – everything from “Nine is God” to “Green Eyes.” Check out one of Wavves latest singles “The Lung” available on Apple Music and Spotify now!
It wasn’t easy to tell if more fans were there for Wavves or Joyce Manor, which is the way a double headliner should go. The venue stayed jam packed as Californian band Joyce Manor made their way to the stage as “December, 1963” by The Four Seasons played (I know…I was confused too), and the out of place song slowly faded into the hardcore music that the crowd was dying to hear. Joyce Manor brings a tad more emo and a lot less pop punk sounds to the table in comparison to Wavves.
The group formed in 2008 with lead singer and guitarist Barry Johnson, guitarist Chase Knobbe, bassist Mike Ebert, and Jeff Enzor on drums. After ripping a couple songs and driving fans to madness, Johnson raved about how much he adored Philly. I have to admit, I was mostly at the show for Wavves, but Joyce Manor proved to me why I should’ve been there for them just as much. The group brought the electricity to the Transfer for a straight hour or so, rarely taking breaks between each short but sweet song. Fans were flat out losing their minds. Lyrics were perfectly recited, there were at least three people crowd surfing during each song despite the determined security guards forcing them down, and the whole crowd was playfully pushing each other around and jumping uncontrollably.
My friend Sean Gnitzcavich who I attended the concert with jumped off the balcony on the lower deck and crowd surfed all the way to the front. The energy was entirely contagious. There were only two moments when the crowd lost their liveliness – when Johnson asked if he could play a new song and if he could play a slow song. My favorite performances of the night were “Heart Tattoo” and of course the beautiful “Constant Headache” (which I’ve admittedly have had on repeat all week). Joyce Manor’s performance was somehow graceful and elegant, while hardcore and rambunctious. I went in skeptical and came out a huge fan. Check out Joyce Manor’s latest album Cody released last October available on Apple Music and Spotify now!
Culture Abuse, Wavves, and Joyce Manor put on a hell of a show, and I suggest all you music fans catch them in concert as they venture through North America.
Check out my twitter @AllisonSalmon_ for some videos of my favorite performances from Wavves and Joyce Manor!