The Wave Pictures [Live Review]


As seems to be the trend in most small venue gigs these days, when the Wave Pictures took the stage no great cheer arose from the crowd, no screaming girls, no grand entrance. Instead the assembled gathering, which had strangely dwindled after the high energy and crowded set from Threatmantics, elected to unhurriedly conclude their conversations whilst the band were on stage. Unperturbed, The Wave Pictures launched into opening song ‘Seagulls’. It wasn’t until they’d made it to the far side of the first chorus that people seemed to catch on to the fact that the headline act of the night had begun. Never had the line ‘You’ve got a lot of nerve’ been so apt.

They’re an unassuming threesome. If you met them at a party you’d probably take a guess that they worked at the local Staples. David Tattersall (vocals and guitar) even made a joke during the set that The Threatmantics had been a lot more overwhelming live than on record, whereas they themselves on the other hand were “equally underwhelming on both”.

However, it’s in this self-deprecating and realist image that The Wave Pictures intrinsic charm lies. If you were to catch them as a casual listener then you’d probably label them as an oddity, and not remember them in a month’s time. This is lyrically led country rock n roll straight out of Leicestershire, but dig a little deeper, unwrap the meaning and you’ll discover the wit and humour encased inside, and with hooks as big as Richard Bacon’s ego you’ll be singing about marmalade sculptures for months to come.

The highlight of the night came courtesy of the band’s drummer Jonny Helm, and it wasn’t just his animal-channeling drum solo during ‘I Love You Like A Madman’. Back in 2010 the Wave pictures released an EP of three stripped back tracks written and performed by Helm, and tonight they were performed supported by only David’s guitar and a can of beer. There’s no better word for the audience during the 4 and a half minutes that made up ‘Now You Are Pregnant’ than enraptured. Looking around, every wistful face, matched in intensity only by David’s proud grin, all cracked to knowing laughter at the sound of ‘I don’t need therapy / because I have cigarettes’.

Whilst the night may have started under-whelmingly for some, by the time set closer ‘Spaghetti’ came to an end there were calls for an encore before they’d even left the stage. And in repayment we were treated to another solo outing from Jonny in the form of ‘The Rev Gary Davis’ and an Afro-pop melody that got us dancing to West African guitar like only white hipsters know how. With another tour likely in the coming months (thanks to a new album release on October 21st) The Wave Pictures are probably one of music’s best kept secrets, albeit a secret that you’ll want shout at everyone you ever meet.

By Mikey Rush