Indie-rock Latino boy band, Inner Wave, grew up in Inglewood. They’ve been with Mija Mgmt’s growing roster of Latinx talent like Cuco, August Eve, and Jasper Bones while growing their large teenage fan base. The band cordially invited all of their fans to their homecoming-themed show at The Fonda and encouraged attendees to dress in formal attire. A decent amount of people didn’t get the memo, but still, fans were dressed in their Sunday finest. The crowd was diverse, but of course, the majority were young, beautiful Latinx folk.
Upon walking into the packed venue, I noticed the tall Greek columns that served as a backdrop for the stage. The floor was already sticky and the air was hot. Filipino artist, Eyedress, had just started the opening set. His sound was warm and wavy. Eyedress ended his performance with a song from his side project; a stark contrast from the mellower sound that he had been playing. The crowd bounced with the unexpected trap banger that made everyone wonder, “Is this the same artist?” Then, UGLYPRIMO deejayed in-between sets. He hyped up the crowd by yelling, “Who here is Latino?” The crowd erupted as he played classic Latino hits. Next up was Jean Dawson, a hip-hop artist with an alternative edge, and his guitarist. He donned a shiny, studded mask that shimmered as he moved. “I didn’t go to prom,” he says as he introduces himself, “This is my prom.” Dawson sang in both English and Spanish and bared a very emotional, vulnerable side of him with the piercing guitar sounds and an echoey voice.
Finally, the main attraction arrived; the men of Inner Wave walked on stage with their crisp red suits and white rose boutonnieres. The suspense was built with an atmospheric sound when suddenly, they jumped into a song from their new EP, wya, that had only been released two weeks prior. The crowd hollered and cheered like mad as soon as the very first note of the song was played. The crowd already knew the lyrics to the new release; they had been studying hard. One of these tracks was “Mushroom” during which fans emotionally screamed along to the relatable outro: “I’m not that mad, babe/I’m just a little upset.” Then, the band played the “old ones” for the “OGs.” “American Spirits” has always been my favorite Inner Wave song and apparently everyone else’s as well. The crowd went berserk at the surf rock-tinged hits.
Pablo Sotelo, the lead singer, had a smooth voice with a slight groan. It paired perfectly with the gritty synth leads, booming drums, and his deft fingers scaling up and down the guitar. The band’s synchronization was on point. They hit jabs in the songs with perfect timing and rhythm. The satisfaction was second to none. These jabs were heightened by the special string quartet that joined them for this Homecoming show. The string arrangements also made for beautiful transitions and echoey instrumental breaks between songs.
I stood in the pit with my jumpsuit and heels on. I can always successfully slither my way to the front due to my small, short stature. My biggest mistake, however, was wearing heels to the show and getting stuck in the tight pit. It was extremely hot and sweaty as I was bumping into dripping wet people in their nice dress shirts and gowns. Girls were trying to sneak Polaroid shots during mellow moments, but for the most part, there was non-stop bouncing. The floor of The Fonda was rumbling. I spent every second trying to stay upright while the crowd swayed and fell over each other. Nevertheless, my adrenaline was peaked. I was headbanging and shouting at the top of my lungs. With what little space I had, I tried to move and dance. Inner Wave’s masterful musicianship combined with the awesome light show on the stage and the energy of the fans made the concert one that you truly shouldn’t have missed. By the end of the night, I broke my dangly heart-shaped earrings and filled my stomach with a $5 dirty dog. My ears were ringing, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
— Natalie Lee, Staff