Nathan isn’t really prepared as we approach him during the sound check. “You want to do this now?”, he asks unbelievingly after we explained our offstage sessions concept. We have written e-mails weeks before his show in Vienna but the San Diego based Wavves mastermind is not the man for long-term planning. Spontaneously, however, he is up for almost anything, including video shoots in the snow, drinking games and excessive parties which end in strange places. Nathan Williams and his drummer Ryan Ulsh spread something like a nihilistic drive that is contagious for everyone around. The Wavves show in Vienna is conditioned by severe technical problems and interrupted by long breaks. Nathan just takes it as it is, starts into his say-it-all, truly youthful anthem “So Bored” a second time and suddenly the previously rather reserved crowd turns into a mad moshpit, with people giving themselves up in the face of the raw, simple and at times noisy charm of Nathan’s songs. So, don’t believe him when he says: “These songs all sound like shit.”
Arena is a cultural center and music venue in the industrialized district of Erdberg. Its beginnings hark back to 1976, when some thousand demonstrators gathered around the former St. Marx Auslandsschlachthof to save it from demolition and subsequent commercial use. While they were not able to save the huge building complex, the vast social movement did succeed in reaching the foundation of an autonomous cultural center on the smaller area of the former slaughterhouses, which represents today’s Arena. Presently Arena has integrated a wide musical spectrum to its programme for various crowds and commercial use. Yet Arena’s dictum “Love Music, Hate Fascism!” is more than a relict of old days as it is still the venue with the most punk concerts in town.