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SHOW REVIEW: Cheatahs + Wavves + Fidlar at The Magic Stick 4/4

Thursday night at the Magic Stick was like the coming out party for Spring 2013. The weather finally lightened up a bit bringing t-shirt weather and a warm, moist night of angsty throwback rock and roll.
Headliners, and current surf-grunge zeitgeist Wavves had the show sold out shortly after the doors opened at 7pm. The young 18+ crowd filed upstairs to the stick in a sea of flannel, skinny jeans and Hawaiian shirts. 
As the big room filled, UK-based Cheatahs kicked off the night with a solid set of heavy, shoegazey rock. Building a buzz for their upcoming EP Extended Plays, the foursome is coming off a successful run at SXSW and have been getting serious ink from the likes of Pitchfork and other indie heavyweights. Cheatahs is the brainchild of frontman Nathan Hewitt, an American by way of London. He explained the bands m/o as being dedicated to loud guitars and writing good, heavy rock music reminiscent of the UK's Creation record label bands of the 80s and 90s. And the band fits this bill perfectly in the mold of ex-Creation outfits like Teenage Fanclub and My Bloody Valentine mixed with early 90s SubPoppers like Seaweed.
It's fitting that Cheatahs were recently signed to Wichita recordings, a direct descendant of the now-defunct Creation label. The crowd responded well to the material and the set was highlighted by recent single, "Fall" which showcases Hewitt's vocals and the bands melodic charm amongst a swirling/churning riffs. After a set change/smoke break on the alley deck, Wichita labelmates Fidlar took the stage. With more of a westcoast punk/hardcore sound reminiscent of the Bronx, Fidlar had the crowd worked into a lather, fogging up the windows and setting the stage for the headliner. As well as both Cheatahs and Fidlar played, the crowd was clearly there to see Wavves, as evidenced by the loud applause at just the mention of the name.
While not the most polished of dynamic band in the land, Wavves has that mix of catchy hooks and heavy riffs that gets in your head and makes you move. A grungy surf hybrid, Wavves has the feel of early Nirvana with a distinctly west coast beach flavor. It wasn't long before the crowd was thrashing around and crowd surfing to the classic King of the Beach stuff and latest tunes off Afraid of Heights. 

In short, the bands were bashing it out, the kids were throwing themselves around. Heavy punk rock is alive and well in Detroit and all is right with the world.