For the last month, FIGFest 2018 has brought nothing but great music, fabulous drinks, and beautiful atmosphere to FIGat7th every Friday night. After a suitably beachy and dreamy opening featuring Poolside and Mallrat back on June 1st, FIGFest shocked everyone with a hardcore night of tongue-in-cheek rock ‘n’ roll and unabashed punk for the closing performance.
LA-based nerd kings Thumpasaurus brought the audience to life with youthful, funky tunes before SoCal punk legends Wavves took the stage for a raucous performance. Thumpasaurus, who really are giving away a lot of their schtick with that name, are six dudes who describe themselves as “extraterrestrial horses currently stabled in Los Angeles.” They all took the stage dressed head-to-toe in white, but not in the way you think. Instead of all wearing matching suits or even jeans and t-shirts, they looked as if someone shot out a quick text the night before saying, “Yo, everyone wear white tomorrow – no matter what.” While several members rose to the occasion with white painter’s jumpsuits, others resorted to old karate uniforms minus the belt. Somehow, it set the mood perfectly.
With a strangely unique sound that crossed into both funk and electronica, and punky pop rock, Thumpasaurus were quick to make an impression on the audience. Not even one song in and the girl next to me remarked with sincerity, “Oh, they have a saxophonist. You know this will be good.” It was only after one particular two-minute-long jam that exclusively featured the lyrics, “When you’re in high school, yeah yeah,” it was clear the girl next to me was right: we were in for a good evening. By the time they played their hit “Space Barn,” the crowd was unruly.
Thumpasauraus took the stage with probably a dozen fans across the whole pavilion at FIGFest, but walked off having completely won over everyone with their charm. If the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles existed in the universe in which we live, they’d rock out to Thumpasaurus every day while eating their pizza, and that’s definitely a compliment.
For anyone expecting the crowd to settle down after such a fun opening band, their dreams were quickly quashed by Wavves. Based in San Diego and representing that pocket of pop punk that doesn’t give a damn about what you think, Wavves took the stage with power and grace. They quickly tore through big hits “Way Too Much” and “King of the Beach” before the third floor of the Figat7th plaza began to literally shake.
Teens began crowdsurfing and carrying each other back and forth to the stage, simultaneously celebrating the beauty of school being out for summer and the elation of free punk music. Each of them were awakened by Wavves’ ability to craft songs with raw rhythms, relatable lyrics, and surprising melodies reminiscent of Green Day’s Dookie. Phones were lost, a set of Honda keys were found on stage, and half a dozen shoes ended up away from their owners, but the crowd would not relent. Singer and guitarist Nathan Williams encouraged the stage-diving and modest moshing, only politely asking that no one hit his microphone stand again because it might knock out the tooth that had already been chipped several times over. So much punk.
Before taking the time to dedicate an “alien song” to Tom Delonge of Blink 182 and Angels & Airwaves fame, Wavves were quick to let everyone know they would meet up with anyone at the food court later for Hot Dog On A Stick. When Nathan introduced one of the band’s final songs “Nine Is God” as the one he “wrote for Grand Theft Auto 5,” it was probably the only time I ever questioned a singer, thinking, “Does he mean the band contributed a song to the GTA5 soundtrack, or did he literally write an ode to the video game?” And the fact that both options felt plausible reveals so much about Wavves.
A beautiful summer night in Downtown LA underneath strands of twinkle lights and towering skyscrapers paired with unabashed funk and punk wasn’t just a great way to close out FIGFest 2018, it was unforgettable.