18 Dye/Devon Williams/Waves
December 29, 2008 at Chop Suey
By Tyson Lynn
Weekday shows are tough. For the audience, who often end up working cocktail napkin math (the remainder of the show subtracted from the amount of sleep necessary to perform basic human functions, divided by the enthusiasm for the remaining acts); for the venue, gambling they’ll bring in just enough money from the bar to cover electricity and liability; and for the artists, who want to play to as many people as possible (who are thinking about leaving, or never came out at all) for enough money to get to the next gig (from a venue that’s barely covering costs).
So, it was no surprise, I suppose, a capitulated air was circulating Chop Suey as Waves took the stage. A duo, they were barely outnumbered by the audience, but their sound didn’t waver: epic undulations of clanging guitar and rolling drums, sometimes diverging but mostly crashing again and again against the shore of the next set.
Skinny, animated, moving with the effortless rubber of a former class clown, Williams is an entertaining presence onstage, which would be faint praise if the music couldn’t sustain his weight. Satisfyingly, his compositions are burly and well-constructed, resisting all capsize attempts as Williams juked from stageside to side. The songs, pulling mostly from his recent Carefree release, were bouncy with a little bit of rock to ballast them.
Where Waves brought scale, Devon Williams brought songs. The audience brought stools. Members of 18th Dye may have occupied three of them. I don’t know. As Williams was finishing up (both he and Waves played short sets), I was doing the math. The remainder wasn’t me.