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Wavves and Joyce Manor Concert: My head hurts (in a good way)

Liliana Kendall

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California-based rock groups Wavves and Joyce Manor performed at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall Friday with opener Culture Abuse, also hailing from the West Coast. Doors opened at 7 p.m. with excited teens, college kids, and a handful of middle-aged fathers flooding in.

Culture Abuse opened the show with a setlist of songs from their acclaimed 2016 album Peach, including “Turn Off” and “Chinatown.” They also played music from Spray Paint The Dog and THE DAY DREAMS OF NOTHING. Compared to Wavves and Joyce Manor, Culture Abuse’s sound is heavier. Vocalist David Kelling’s angry, guttural voice carries over heavily-reverbed guitars similar in Wavves’ Nathan Williams’ whiny delivery over no-fi instrumentals and Joyce Manor’s Barry Johnson’s monotone, yet angsty vocals.

The Ponte Vedra Concert Hall sign lit up. Photo by Liliana Kendall.

The venue itself looks like a high school theater stage with its industrial carpet and heavy red curtains, and the crowd filled barely half of the room. I found this quite odd considering the popularity of the headliners. Wavves and Joyce Manor are successful, lasting bands in the punk genre. However, I think the fact that they played in Ponte Vedra rather than Jacksonville could be a reason for the smaller turnout. Had they played in a more Jacksonville-oriented venue like Mavericks, a larger crowd may have showed up. The floor was open, so fans gathered in huddles to the front of the stage and I noticed a suspicious empty circle in the middle.

The Wavves shirt I bought at the merch table. Photo by Liliana Kendall.

 When Wavves opened their set with “King of the Beach”, I suddenly understood the reason for the gap in the crowd. Some girls, but mostly boys twice my size, started moshing, throwing each other around and screaming lyrics at each other. I was dancing and headbanging pretty hard myself so I thought I was safe from the pit. My ears ringing, I taste blood in my mouth after a wayward fist flails in my direction as my lungs pound beneath my ribcage, sore from a mosher backing into me. I recover in time to sing along to my favorite Wavves song, “Post Acid.” Wavves played songs from not just their newest album, You’re Welcome, but also classics from older albums, such as “Demon to Lean On” from Afraid of Heights and “Nine is God” from the Grand Theft Auto V soundtrack.

Joyce Manor engaged the crowd in discussion about golf and the crowd’s favorite golfers.

“Tiger Woods f***ed my mom!” one concertgoer yelled.

Joyce Manor’s Barry Johnson ruffles his hair while talking to the crowd about golf and Duval County. Photo by Liliana Kendall.

Then, the group opened with “Heart Tattoo”. Playing nearly all of their hit songs, which clock in at around a comfortable time frame of 1-2 minutes long, the group brought to the show a strong repertoire. Closing the show with “Constant Headache,” the crowd screamed the chorus as moshers danced around in a circle, arm-in-arm, like the Whos in Whoville. Fans yelling for another song, the band came back out, thanked everyone for coming, and played “5 Beer Plan” for their encore performance.

Altogether, I enjoyed this show a lot and had the best time, even if I almost died in the mosh pit.These acts deserved a larger crowd, as they put on a show wild and incredible enough to fill an entire venue like the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall or Mavericks. Is it even a punk show if you don’t have a bloodied mouth at the end and manage to leave unscathed?

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Wavves and Joyce Manor Concert: My head hurts (in a good way)