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Nathan Williams’s beer-soaked non-performance at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound Festival was more of a mess than Psychedelic Horseshit’s anti-Wavves rant, if you can believe it. Pitchfork recounts the final minutes of the crappy late night set and directionless, off-key musicianship:

Finally, fed up with Nathan’s petulant behavior, Ryan ran out from behind his drumkit and poured a full cup of beer over Nathan’s head. The act would be met with their most enthusiastic applause of the evening.

At 3:00 a.m. sharp, having dodged their share of bottles and even a shoe (neither Nathan nor Ryan was hit, although Nathan likely made impact with some unlucky attendee upon forcefully returning the latter object back to the crowd), the show mercifully came to a screeching halt: Ryan ran offstage, throwing his drumsticks at Nathan. Infuriated, Nathan screamed into the mic, “Come back here, motherfucker, we’re not done yet!” Immediately, stage crew appeared, breaking down Ryan’s kit. “Fuck!” Nathan shouted, “Stop doing that!” They didn’t, so Nathan decided the show must go on. Helplessly, he strummed his guitar again, clearly intent on playing another song. But as he stepped back to the mic, he realized it had been cut. As the crowd booed, the house lights came up, and a defeated Nathan Williams threw his hands up and left, along with the few remaining attendees.

It was the band’s second date on a European tour.

UPDATE: Nathan explains his behavior on the band’s blog:

I think in the back of my head I knew I wasn’t exactly mentally healthy enough to continue to tour the way I have been since February. Honest truth is this has all happened so fast and I feel like the weight of it has been building for months now with what seems like a never ending touring and press schedule which includes absolutely zero time to myself. I’m sorry to everyone who has put effort into this and to everyone who supported me. Mixing ecstasy valium and xanax before having to play in front of thousands of people was one of the more poor decisions I’ve made(duh) and I realize my drinking has been a problem now for a good period of time. Nothing else I can do but apologize to everyone that has been affected by my poor decision making. I made a mistake. Not the first mistake I’ve made and it for sure wont be the last. I’m human. Don’t know why I chose the biggest platform I could imagine to lose my shit, but that’s life. You live and you learn.

[Photo of Wavves @ SXSW by Linda Flores.]

UPDATE: Video…

UPDATE 2: According to Wavves’ MySpace, the European tour is now canceled. Dates at NYC’s Bowery Ballroom (7/15) and P4K Fest (7/18) are still on.

Comments (173)
  1. I saw them in Olympia a couple months ago. Worst fucking show I have ever been to. I just about asked for my money back, but I didn’t want to waste anymore time listening to a guy half as talented as anyone I ever hung out with in high school who smoked weed, played shitty guitar and thought they were funny. I can’t hate them wore. Fuuck Wavves.

  2. dru  |   Posted on May 29th, 2009 0

    maybe that dude Nathan will die of a drug overdose. that would be sweet.

  3. jake  |   Posted on May 29th, 2009 0

    I love how they note their “mammoth” tour coming up. I suppose it’s fair to say we can Wavves goodbye to these kids and the horrible slop they call music……Yeah, i did it.

  4. Horrible. This guy barely knows 10 chords and somehow managed to headline one of the biggest festivals in Europe not even a year after he released his first album (on cassette, how cool) just because Pitchfork hyped him. This is proof that anybody can make it if pitchfork gives them best new music tag.

  5. Aaron  |   Posted on May 29th, 2009 0

    Amateur band melts down..couldn’t happen to a more deserving group of “musicians”

  6. It’s scary how hype can make a big deal out of a band too soon. I mean, i can’t really fault Pitchfork for recommending something they like. That’s what they do. No harm there. Once they do, however, what happens next is completely out of their hands. And then we have bands that probably could have used some more humility having meltdowns on stage. FWIW, I thought the album was pretty good, but this is just a really odd side effect of having a lot of infleunce as a publication.

    • I respectfully disagree. I don’t think this is just a direct result of too much press too soon. I feel that gives this behavior too much credit.

      From everything I have gleamed from the band’s live history, this is a pattern of entitled behavior that seems inherent in Nathan’s character. Look at the P4K Daytripping video. That alone set off alarms in my head, and this just confirms it.

      Of course fame (well… loosely put) fucks with people, but more often than not, it exaggerates preexisting attitude issues.

      I don’t mean to (weed) demonize the kid, but he needs to get over himself fast.

      • I thought Wavves Daytripping was HILARIOUS. Didn’t you? What should have set alarms ringing, imho, was the corporate monster that is SXSW, not a stoner kid’s bemused reaction to the clusterfuck.

        And isn’t this meltdown so cartoonishly terrible, that really, it’s just awesome? I only like a few of Nathan’s tunes, but I haven’t had my interest held like this since Vivian Girls.

        • clint  |   Posted on May 31st, 2009 0

          how is sxsw a corporate disaster? full of a bands trying to throw themselves into the corporate machine perhaps.

  7. exactly  |   Posted on May 29th, 2009 0

    ^^^^

    yes, exactly. just because pitchfork says it’s great doesn’t mean all the booking agents and labels who sign bands based on these BEST NEW MUSIC reviews have to believe all the hype themselves but rather have a quality control themselves or an ounce of their own taste to determine if it is actually good or not. instead we get everyone hyping it up even more until the second album hits and everyone hates them, it’s like Jay-Z, a blessing and a curse.

  8. VVawes Fan  |   Posted on May 29th, 2009 0

    Sorry to hear it. I think they’ve have an intense year and need a break.

  9. Overhyped, true. Pitchforked and hung out to dry on a huge European tour, true. But hearing that a band you were never quite fond of loses it in the second-most laid-back country in the world: PRICELESS. Psychedelic Horseshit blow, but that was the greatest (and apparently now truest) interview ever.

  10. …yeah and now pitchfork will help destroy the credibility they created by posting this ‘news’ article. I have no doubt that Nathaniel was being a douche on stage but pitchfork so obviously sided against him tonally in this article…and those pics, he looks like he’s crying even though he probably isn’t. It’s as if pitchfork wants to test their powers of destruction to see if they match their powers of fabrication. Whatever results, that kid has gotta feel sea sick right about now

    • Okay, not to be the Pitchfork apologist, but I think P4k is really not that megalomaniacal. That’s really silly. Sure they kind of broke down Black Kids, but I think they were just being honest about their lapse in taste then rather than “testing their powers of destruction.” Plus, if they didn’t report the Wavves meltdown, don’t you think it would be even more conspicuous? If the article carried a noticeable tone of disappointment (I think the word “tragically” was used), it was probably because they were understandably disappointed, like many people were.

  11. hahaha  |   Posted on May 29th, 2009 0

    Hahaha Pitchfork is PISSED. Just read that article and think about Jim DeRogatis’s comments about Pitchfork’s conflict of interest as they branch out to curating festivals, etc. (http://blogs.suntimes.com/derogatis/2008/03/pitchfork_founder_and_indieroc_1.html). There’s no way their next album gets anything more than two sad dogs and a :/.

  12. all i can say is lets blame it on pitchfork. nathan is just one kid who was not built to headline big festivals, hell is music isn’t barely strong enough to headline the echo and pitchfork knew that.

  13. i feel really bad for wavves. both nathan and ryan. touring does not suit nathan at all. anyone who has seen them live knows that. whatever, i still think he makes really catchy and awesome music. noone ever calls out the the million other indie cool garage-lo-fi-noisy bands for making simple music.

    • who cares  |   Posted on May 29th, 2009 0

      I don’t know about that. If you watched the pitchfork video from a few weeks back where wavves walked around at a festival getting free clothes, food and beer, all while grunting at pretty girls and being a douche to interviewers, touring seems to suit him just fine. It’s the performing (and talent) where he comes up short.

  14. navydocks  |   Posted on May 29th, 2009 0

    I’d call my self a wavves fan, but I think this is hilarious. Shit happens– and tons of groups exist that put out a great album but fail live, and fail at being a ‘band’

    and wtf, we gotta move beyond the p4k shitslam. We all realize it’s limits and recognize that aesthetic sensibility, even if alt, will be centralized in some way or another. AKA necessarily evil. chill the fuxxs out ppl

  15. AJ Thunderfuck  |   Posted on May 29th, 2009 0

    Looks like Nathan is causing wavves. Lolololololol!!!

  16. kevin  |   Posted on May 29th, 2009 0

    mo’ money, mo’ problems

  17. Ha ha, look who posted the story…Mr. Ryan Schreiber. Does he usually take the time to post news stories? Looks like the lightening bolt came from Zeus himself on this one.

    • Ryan Schreiber is the William Randolph Hearst of indie rock.

    • NLP  |   Posted on Jun 1st, 2009 0

      Abominable live band. Completely unremarkable on record. Viscerally annoying in their contrived appearance and overall aesthetic.

      I’m happy to see Schreiber taking a bit of responsibility for this one.

      This guy can expect growing numbers of hecklers, particularly if he shows up to stuff like p4k.

  18. too much too soon. this kid is young. has very little live experience under his belt then bullets to indie fame over some bedroom goof-off tapes. i actually like the records and when i saw them a while back in san diego…i was totally surprised that the show kinda ruled. everything sounded great. maybe it was the hometown crowd, although i’m pretty sure that most of the kids there were there to scoff at the new indie darling. anyway. whatever, he does seem like a spoiled brat and he certainly needed more time to mature/learn how to play live before headlining a fucking festival.

  19. wow. has p4k ever had to run this kind of damage control before? and the fact that so many posts saying this band is “overhyped”, go right to the source- pitchfork is overhyped.

  20. That Nathan guy is was outperformed by his drummer during their live shows. But in general the music is just plain annoying.

  21. glazzy  |   Posted on May 29th, 2009 0

    I think this is the end of Wavves… too much too soon.

  22. Paul Ramon  |   Posted on May 29th, 2009 0

    This is fucking hilARious. Haha. What a piece of shit “band” and you all went nuts out of fear of being caught not liking something you thought you should. What a pile of crap. Adios, goodbye!

  23. Kevin  |   Posted on May 29th, 2009 0

    I still think Wavves rocks.

  24. After I saw the Pitchfork Daytripping video of Wavves, I noticed there was something up with Nathan. He was definitely off-putting. This just proves that his personality really isn’t great. I think this happened because of 1. the ridiculous amount of hype the young man has suddenly received and 2. his attitude towards the “fame”. His attitude is the worst part though. Money doesn’t all of a sudden make you a jackass, that’s your fault. The way he acted was immature. He needs to grow up before even thinking of touring again.
    PS I enjoyed the Wavves album. It was fun, but that’s pretty much it. It is entertaining and nice addition to my summer playlist but I would not say they are a great, or even a good, band. They’re decent. That’s just my take on their music, nothing to do with his actions really.
    http://bonafidewithheadphones.blogspot.com/

    • jumpoverit  |   Posted on May 30th, 2009 0

      yeah i sort of liked the lp, but i was really turned off by the daytripping vid on pitchfork. they seemed dumb and uninteresting. not at all like guys i would want to hang out with. turns out that translates to the stage.

      • I would totally want to hang w/ this bro. In the day tripping vid, he’s just always going round, drinkin lots of brew, gettin free shit. Then at Primavera, he is just drinkin all the brews and takin all the good pills…definitely want to hang with this bro, but i wouldn’t want to him perform that fucked up…obviously

    • nsamson  |   Posted on May 31st, 2009 0

      be serious. is your (and others’) insightful criticism that he doesnt have a nice personality. do you think this was bound to happen because hes a jerk or something? right, because everybody knows that all great musicians are just sunshine and charm. you wouldnt want to hang out with him? thank you so much for enlightening us with your illustrative assesment of his character, how else could we accurately judge a band without a proper assessment of how likeable they seem to be. get over it (everyone), the kid cracked, its an entertaining news story, not an opportunity to exhibit your infinite indie music wisdom. As for pitchfork (in general) its regrettable how much they serve as a shepherd for the ignorant poser sheep with which our society seems increasingly infested, but they have done more for this genre of music that anything else on the planet, and that is commendable regardless of what anyone has to say about their hype or trendiness.

  25. Mf McNutt  |   Posted on May 30th, 2009 0

    Wavves was hyped long before Pitchfork. I’m waiting for his bathtub interview before I judge.

    • Truthiness  |   Posted on May 30th, 2009 0

      I totally agree with you, Mr. McNutt. Wavves were hyped like crazy all over this blog and all the others months before P4K gave them “best new music” status. They were just adding to it. Anyone who’s blaming them for fame being thrust upon Wavves too soon should see the whole forest, rather than just the one tree. Not that P4K doesn’t suck, though. The way they ran and posted that super embarassing summary of the show was really fucking lame and has effectively turned hype into schadenfreude.

  26. Matt  |   Posted on May 30th, 2009 0

    Seriously, every 22 year old I know has that exact same personality.
    You nerds suck.

  27. lilili  |   Posted on May 30th, 2009 0

    lol at this.

    Wavves = fail.

    I can’t even get into this fellow’s music, I heard about what inspired his music (YES, THANK YOU PITCHFORK FOR YOUR POSITIVE REVIEW OF CRAP MUSIC), so I thought I gave him a whirl, and it was just too noisey and distorted to get into. I only heard “So Bored” and some other and it was brutal, Nathan’s voice isn’t even that great. But then again, his music wasn’t intended to be made for my liking.

    What surprises me though is that Wavves was intended to be a BEDROOM PROJECT, his music wasn’t totally meant to be played live, he obviously knows how to put out a record, and I mean, if Pitchfork really really really likes him, then that’s your trouble right there. And thanks to Pitchfork for hyping him up it’s like “shit, these people WILL like me, now I gotta put on a show.” And here it is… BIG FAIL!!! Other than that, Nathan’s behaviour was quite douchey, seems to be quite an asshole if you ask me.

  28. I like how his own drummer, and presumably, friend, dumped a cup of beer on his head. amazing. some people work so hard to get even a hint of the success he’s received and he can’t even keep it together while on a WORLDWIDE tour! bullshit!

  29. I would love to see a video of this.

  30. john  |   Posted on May 30th, 2009 0

    no kidding, WHERE ARE THE VIDEOS OF THIS!????

  31. Is it just me or does this whole thing seem fake? It seems like this kid is just trying to pretend he’s some Axl Rose figure, rather than actually being one. For one, I’m pretty sure most people with drug problems, especially people in the public eye, don’t go out and broadcast the exact combination of drugs they did before they performed, unless they want to be known for those problems. Drug problems seem to be things bands push under the rug until long after the band has split up. And the on stage fighting seems to be too choreographed to be real, again, as if they were trying to fake some big Axl-Slash riffs in the band. To me this whole thing just seems like young, over-privileged kids pretending their big, self-destructive rock stars, instead of actually being ones.

  32. Straight from the WAVVES mouth (and since deleted):

    “I think in the back of my head I knew I wasn’t exactly mentally healthy enough to continue to tour the way I have been since February. Honest truth is this has all happened so fast…”

    http://thetapeisnotsticky.com/2009/05/wavves-apologizes/

  33. Well, too bad for him.

    I think the way this post has shifted to discussing the hype phenomenon is interesting. There are bands that honestly deserve it, talented musicians signed to small labels need all the exposure they can get. Some deserve it, other don’t.

    That said, in this case what’s interesting to me is that Pitchfork’s editor, same guy who posted the report, went on ABC News back in January and talked about the “albums you should look forward to”, where he highlighted, amongst others, Wavves. So when the album came they gave it a merely good score, 8.0 I think, but were forced to give it a BNM label. Why? Hmmm, the editor went on TV and said it was good before it came out. At that point they couldn’t afford anything else.

    Most of these new bands need room to grow and develop. When people are overpraising they can get blind-sided and fail to see they can be better.

    This hype thing is nothing but a double bladed knife.

    • JB  |   Posted on May 30th, 2009 0

      when the editor of pitchfork went on abc to talk about “albums to look forward to” he wasn’t just arbitrarily guessing about which albums would be good. Pitchfork gets copies of those albums weeks before they come out. In fact, anyone who downloads leaks would have heard Wavvves weeks before it was released. So he had already listened to the album when he hyped it. Pitchfork didn’t feel forced to tag Wavvves with BNM, it was planned well in advance.

      • MF McNutt  |   Posted on May 31st, 2009 0

        Try months… Numerous Wavves tracks were floating around the internet since last August.

      • I know publications get early copies of albums for reviews. My point being that Pitchfork seems to have lowered the bar for a BNM label.

        I just looked it up, they gave it an 8.1. To me that’s “merely good”, not worth highlighting that much.

  34. Aaron  |   Posted on May 30th, 2009 0

    Okay, Wavves so the reason you couldn’t play a coherent gig is because you mixed drugs and booze and it wasn’t due to your complete lack of musicianship? Gonna have to call bullshit on that one.

  35. Rob S.  |   Posted on May 30th, 2009 0

    This doesn’t sound as epic as the usual Brian Jonestown Massacre fist fight, but then not everyone can be as fucking crazy as Anton Newcombe. More indie bands should study his meltdowns. They make a lot of these bands less boring.

  36. Shaun  |   Posted on May 30th, 2009 0

    Thank god someone is fucking up in rock music these days. I’m tired of all this safe, cute, and respectful shit. Give me a goddamn mess of a person again. It was more interesting.

  37. bored.  |   Posted on May 30th, 2009 0

    I’m so

  38. Mack  |   Posted on May 30th, 2009 0

    For some reason, the explanation/apology has been taken off his blog. Weird, man…

  39. lu  |   Posted on May 31st, 2009 0

    this is so sad
    leave the kid alone
    he fucked up major im sure he knows
    enough.

  40. Oh fuck, bro. Mixing all these prescription pills are like..oh man..they’re so like whoa, you know?

  41. Why is it wrong of him to apologize and explain his actions? I respect the fact that he knows he fucked up big time, but I disrespect all of the fuckers acting like they know what it’s like to tour with a band and think they know Nathan personally enough to call bullshit on his “mental health”. Fuck all of you arrogant music connoisseurs. I agree that he doesn’t deserve the press that he’s receiving compared to the many other talented acts out there, but he’s a young kid figuring out his shit and trying to make a living off his songs which REALLY aren’t half bad. Give him a break.

    • Ryan Crowe  |   Posted on Jun 1st, 2009 0

      Oh God, lol at ‘Ganondorf’ calling this dumb bitch ‘Nathan’ like he knows him.

      pitchfork = payola

      Wavves go back to san diego or wherever the fuck

  42. Meh.

    I still loved the album.

  43. pitchfork did hype him, but barely as much as a lot of other (less well known) sites–those things filter to pitchfork, and then they listen, and blah blah blah best new music. and it is good, fun, catchy garage pop.

    stereogum should do a special on Wolf Eyes and see how people react. I’m guessing at least 300 comments on how it “isn’t music WTF cmon imean where are the proper scale progressions?????”

  44. Adam  |   Posted on May 31st, 2009 0

    I find it wierd that people assume that Pitchfork is somehow responsible for anything Wavves does. They just reviewed his album, end of story.

  45. i sincerely dont get the hate for this kid. is it just refracted pitchfork loathing (which, by the way, is just as off base, considering they do a great job of getting a lot of great bands legs under them)? i mean, its some like 22 year old kid who made a fun, goofy lo-fi record that people are enjoying on some level? why on earth would that get people so upset? im not sure i understand it completely.

    i mean, i dont love the record- but c’mon, it is fun. if you ever sat in your room goofing off with your guitar and getting stoned- its just a fun record to listen to. why does it have to be life and death?

    • and the reason is...  |   Posted on Jun 1st, 2009 0

      It’s because people don’t expect the slack stoner with silly recordings to get a record deal and headline huge European festivals. It’s sort of insulting to hardworking, talented musicians.

      • People like what they like, as far as music is concerned. I’m sure there are tons of hardworking musicians out there, but just because they work hard at it doesn’t mean anyone’s going to, or necessarily should, enjoy or even care about what they’re doing. Hardworking musicians can, and often do, produce some downright terrible music, and stoned slackers sometimes make some awesome music.

      • It will be interesting to see how Wavves are received at P4k this year….

    • C.D. Arrr  |   Posted on Jun 10th, 2009 0

      Because an album full of shitty music made by some stoned amateur isn’t worth paying the $15 asking price. Thank jeebus for rapidshare, it saves us from potentially terrible purchases.

  46. cody  |   Posted on May 31st, 2009 0

    Listen dumbshits, this dude is trying to live his dream and is acctualy doing something about, while most of you (myself included) are probably younger than 18, you just read internet blogs and shit talk the only pure thing in the world anymore, music.

    • saddiq  |   Posted on May 31st, 2009 0

      the music may be pure, but the hatred on this board is using wavves as an example of the hype machine generated by pitchfork and mindlessly followed by other publications. pitchfork promotes something to appear trendy and informed, other critics will do anything to avoid seeming uncool and further the hype, and so stupid, forgettable, unoriginal music is deemed ‘cutting edge’ before people realize how shitty it is. it’s almost the same with matt drudge and the mainstream news media.

    • Coj  |   Posted on Jun 2nd, 2009 0

      I resent that; I’m 21.

  47. This is totally absurd. How can you have a meltdown on stage like that? You’re being paid to tour Europe and play music. Nowhere in there is there a mention of work. I guess those guys can’t wait to get back to flipping burgers and barely being able to make ends meet like many people out there. Some people really need to get some fucking perspective and stop being immature unappreciative douche bags.

    • More like they’re touring to pay back their label for distribution. And that ain’t happening now. Goodbye, rights to your own music; hello, record company GREAT SUCCESS! Man, indie music rocks.

    • what does this have to do with work ethic and being unappreciative? seems to me that the guy simply caved under the pressure of getting thrown into a festival-headlining slot roughly six months after barely having an audience. plus he was on a bunch of drugs, which i’m sure didn’t help. i probably would’ve fucked it up just the same.

      in your defense, his attitude comes off as a little shitty. but i’m sure he’s not the only musician out there with a shitty attitude.

    • TD  |   Posted on May 31st, 2009 0

      Thanks!
      Seems the biggest problem was Nathan’s mouthing off. The way he swings from side to side like a little kid makes the whacked-out-on-drugs excuse seem pretty feasible.

  48. bob  |   Posted on May 31st, 2009 0

    ANY PUBLICITY IS GOOD PUBLICITY.

  49. bootyfish  |   Posted on May 31st, 2009 0

    BORRING

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