It’s not like guys taking advantage of slovenly drunk or stoned women at shows is some new atrocity. When the crowd is thick, your nether, upper, and middle regions are in open season: I am confident my crotch has been held (inadvertent or not) by more strangers than actual sexual partners. But! This all comes with the territory, a foreseeable and nearly expected trade-off in those smoky, scratchy little dens frequented by indie bands – those music clubs offer loud, deafening tunes, cheap, questionable booze, a contact high (or more fun things if you like pill-shaped fun!), and recreational molestation. College packed in an hour.
But it shouldn’t have happened at Wavves. For the uninformed, Wavves is a surf-rock, weed and shitty TV watchin’ endorsing group probably better known for frontman Nathan Williams’ indie-adorable relationship with Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, lover of cats and songs about being lovesick, the Taylor Swift of people who pretend not to like Taylor Swift. They make tuneful, catchy pop ditties perfect for the beach (or your photo slideshow of your trip to the beach).
Anyway, the two kicked off a small tour together early this year, and I eagerly attended one of their shows. Best Coast was headlining and their set was to close out the night. When Wavves took the stage, a cursory survey of the crowd, packed nearly wall-to-wall, yielded unexpected results: that’s the guy from my advertising class last semester I really like. (Did I mention that I’m a youth?) Yes, my love interest, let’s call him Dan, of which we shared a displeasure of the course we were taking, an appreciation of Shows You Should Watch, and using sarcasm as a Swiss Army Knife (a not advisable usage), was everything I was looking for and not ugly.
Thwack. With the first crack of Williams’ guitar, shit got real: everyone in the scrum started convulsing, their bodies moving in wild gesticulations in response to the music, pushing, shoving, jumping, screaming, punching, kicking, sprawling all over the place – they were moshing. To Wavves. I expected some minor excitement, they do after all use big, loud guitars, but the whiplash was a surprise and wholly unnecessary part of the evening that threatened to leave me with a concussion from the elbows bludgeoning me (I’m short). It got so out of hand for this obedient, suburb-reared child that most of Wavves’ set I spent focusing on not falling. Falling down seemed a fatal mistake. I was certain.
Dan came to my rescue. Like a prince! Suddenly, I find myself wrapped around by his arms, pushing aside enemy elbows and keeping me upright. Normally this would be too forward a gesture, but I thought I was going to die, ya’ll, so Dan could have been halfway up my shirt if it meant surviving the set. Between songs, he pulled me closer and asked me if I was all right. Right as the next song was starting – here come the crashing guitars and the fight for my life – he said, at least I think he said, over the noise, “I’m gonna keep you between me and that girl.” Girl? What girl? Fuck. This drunk-ass girl in front of me. Fuck.
And so, slowly and surreptitiously, as the song played along and my head rattled between Dan’s arm span, I was able to focus my vision long enough to see his hands, from behind me, grab the drunk girl’s breasts like it was a self-examination; her disgusted look directed back to me. Unable to break his lock, we travelled with the crowd, from girl to girl, my pleas for the madness to end for naught over the din of the rock. When I finally did find myself free from Boobs 2011, I tried to warn the girl closest to his grasp, who shared: “WHAT?! Ohmigod, thanks. Yeah, I’m here all the time and at least it’s not this sick fuck who pulls out his dick in the middle of the crowd. I saw him. He’s here.” LOVE IT.
Defeated, when Best Coast took the stage for their blessedly calmer set, I couldn’t enjoy it for a second, too worried about what poor girl was being fondled by Dan. But not even halfway through the set, Dan was noticeably different: his eyes squinted and his hands rising like a tribal sky dance for more tits, whatever he took finally kicked in, and my former prince was just a druggie creep. By the end of the show, his friends (or my fellow accomplices?) were walking him out, clearly his state of mind beyond this world.
I walked passed him on campus the other day and I unleashed my greatest sneer, the one reserved for family gatherings, mortal enemies, and Valero clerks who refuse my 100 dollar bill, to which he offered no response, visual or audible. And then, thwack, a rush of realization, like the face Kyra Sedgwick makes when she eats a Ho-Ho on The Closer, of a highly indicative statement made by Dan during class: “I learn more about advertising from Mad Men than I do here.” You mean, like this? Fuck you, Don Draper.