LIVE! Review: Twin Wave (w/ special guests Ula Ruth & Surf Rock Is Dead)(Baby's 4/15/2016)

5/09/2016 tunes4loons 0 Comments

We are so late with this post, it is basically akin to if the Groundhog didn't show his face until May 9th. Like, Spring is here Phil, no one gives a fuck about your opinion on the longevity of winter. But hopefully people still care about what we have to say about the Baby's All Right line-up on April 15th, because it was v complimentary. Well, almost all of it... Thanks to the Wild Honey Pie for having us out! Notes below.

***ULA RUTH***

Before the band took the stage, I literally thought "Ula Ruth" was a pop act. Like some 21-year-old girl dressed in neoprene and singing songs about Instagram. Needless to say I was super relieved when these guys took the stage. With their thumping drums and laid-back demeanor, Ula Ruth started off the night perfectly. Although the crowd was not overwhelming in number, it definitely possessed the spirit of a perky cheerleading squad. Of note was the Hawaiian-shirt-wearing mo' fo' in the front who was vibing so hard that at one point his glasses literally were catapulted from his head. Let's just say, he possessed more enthusiasm than a drunk grandmother has for the Hava Nagila at a bar mitzvah. Apparently he calls himself "the roadie," I call him "the hipster Ace Ventura."

Lead singer Nic James sounded kind of like Rob Thomas meets Rooney, with a little bit of All-American Rejects thrown in there. It's the type of vocals that would sound amaaaazing on a country song—his voice managed to sound honeyed yet gritty all at the same time. Too bad there's no country scene to be found in BK, but James' voice fronts throwback-surf-rock-indie tunes rul well too. Equaling as compelling as the vocals were the lyrics—so raw and emotional that my only thought was "woOoah, what girl shattered this guys heart into a million, trillion pieces?" I mean, whatever, joke's on her cause he's getting some good material from their breakup. He's like the Adele of Williamsburg. Whereas all she probably got from their split was an addiction to Ben & Jerry's and some cellulite.

Highlights of the set included "Young and Restless," a cover of "With Or Without You," and "Love," which ended with the chillest guitar solo I've ever witnessed. Although aurally it was an explosion of electricity and intensity, the dude playing it looked so calm, cool, and collected that he either has a lot talented or a lot of valium backstage. Either way, I'll have what he's having.

The most baffling part of the performance was the band's final number. While during the intro I thought they were about to break into a cover of "Bootylicious," Balderston thought we were about to be serenaded with a surf-rock version of "Edge of Seventeen"... It ended up being neither. Why people invite us to review their shows we still don't really know.


Having seen Surf Rock is Dead at a scarcely-populated Mercury Lounge show a couple months back, I was pleasantly surprised at how successful the band was at commanding a larger audience. The styling and attitude of the members was so relaxed and sunshine-casual that it made me feel completely at ease as soon as they took the stage (and considering I am constantly living in an anxiety-ridden state of monachopsis, it's hard to make me feel relaxed without the influence of a glass—ok, fine, a bottle—of wine).

While the harmonies were, as the kids say, #onfleek, the best moments came when the band stepped back from their mics to simply jam out and dance around. Their love of their own music was so infectious that it made me want to grab my guitar and git on up there. Too bad I've only been playing for a month and a half so the only thing I would have been able to contribute musically was a really janky version of Coldplay's "The Scientist."

With all the shimmery electric guitar and quintessential surf-rock vibes happen here, I couldn't help but think this was Seth Cohen's dream gig. The high-point of the set was definitely "Anymore," the low-point was definitely... the crowd. While most of the audience chose to flirt with their significant others instead of shutting DA FUQ up and listening to the music, the addictive sound oozing from the stage still completely captivated those people sensible enough to resist their throbbing libidos.

Lastly I just need to stress how incredibly talented these boys were. The drummer and the guitarist absolutely slayed every track, performing with the gusto and energy of a sugar-laced seven-year-old. And the lead singer managed to belt his heart out all while keeping up a thumping, consistent bass-line. I know that sounds like it would be easy, but it's not. It's basically the equivalent of trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time.


By the time Twin Wave took the stage, Baby's was fucking bumping. People were jumping around with the enthusiasm of a drunk frat bro who hears the opening notes of "Ants Marching" at a DMB concert. I hadn't seen the place this full since I saw The Knocks back in January. They definitely continued the surf-rock theme happening throughout the night but their sound had a little more pep. Like the music to an 80's pump-up montage mixed with surfer vibes. They kind of sounded like Walk the Moon meets Anna Sun, but less PG, a little more edgy. Their latest single, "Matador" was the highlight of the set with its jittery drumbeat and "The Police"-styled, funky guitar.

The crowd was teeming with Brooklynites of all kinds. From flannels to pedophilic glasses to child-molester mustaches, all the notable hipster types were accounted for. Not to mention there were at least 3 people there who looked ready to attend a Gatsby mansion party: Roaring twenties to-the-chin-bob with a pop of red lipstick. I didn't know women dressed like that unless they were an action movie villain's hot accomplice, but I guess they do. There was also a man in a "Make Donald Drumph Again" cap popping balloons. I couldn't decide if I wanted to drunkenly scold him for his juvenile actions or compliment him on his A+ head-wear.

Also, side note: Gr8 move on Wild Honey Pie's part to fill the crowd with balloons. Besides the aforementioned asshole, they only added to the magical Baby's ambience. By the middle of Twin Wave's set, the crowd was playfully batting them around as if they were beach balls. It really made me feel like I was at a music festival, and who doesn't wanna be mentally transported to Cochella, amiright??

The whole set just felt super organic on Twin Wave's part—an enjoyable cacophony of blended & ambient, yet somewhat distorted, sound. Everything seemed super effortless from the swoon-worthy vocals to rushing, riveting bass. They're clearly just some guys who love making music and have actually garnered a following.