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Inner Wave Numerology

Written by on March 6, 2022

Inner Wave @ The Glass House [2/25/2022]

Tonight was a night of calculations. Of cost-benefit analyses. But it’s fitting, right? There’s something faintly mathematical about Inner Wave’s aesthetic, isn’t there? The futuristic beats of their music warp and oscillate like groovy sin waves. Some songs sound like what I imagine getting caught in computer matrices would sound like– all black and glittering greens and neon purples. So long as the evening was all on theme, so long as I’ve got my angle.

I developed this brilliant angle, in fact, before even reaching the concert, while sitting in the backseat of a Toyota Mirai, and getting intimately acquainted with the hydrogen fueling station in Sherman Oaks. It had been all numbers, all evening.

    Your pick-up window is 6:35 p.m. – 6:55 p.m.

    With Wait & Save you’ve saved $2 off your ride.

We had to get from Westwood to the Valley, from the Valley to Pomona. All of these names, they sound so floral and whimsical, it’s as if we’re on some fairytale quest! So why is there so much math involved?

    The 573 or the 761?

    H70 or H70M?

ETA: 9:40 p.m.

I had been resisting listening to Inner Wave all week. I wanted to save it, to savor it. I wanted the next time I listened to Apoptosis, their new album, to be at their live show, standing in the middle of the crowd at the Glass House. But, if waiting for the bus has taught me anything, it’s best to keep one’s expectations reasonable. Sitting in stand-still traffic before exit 28 on I-210 E, with the concert already twenty minutes underway, we decided to play some songs off of their older albums, III and Sun Transmission. We would get to hear the new stuff at the show, after all… It’s a small comfort that, when asked in an interview with Complex Magazine about how LA influenced their sound, the reply was that they make “driving music.”

And I did get to hear their new music, eventually, so I shouldn’t be so grumpy. We finally arrived at the Glass House, and the sexy, lush synths fused with Pablo Sotelo’s grainy vocals echoed from within the venue, spilling out onto the sidewalk and mingling in the cool night air with the security guard’s coo that the guest list was full. There we were, noses (ears?) pressed up against the glass… don’t go throwing stones in glass houses…all the old clichés apply.

While negotiating our entry with security, I caught snippets of “Memory (Trees),” the reverberations of its spacey pleadings 

    I hope one day we’ll meet again

    I hope you won’t forget my name

saying everything I wanted to say

to the bouncer.

We finally made it inside. Wild applause! Rose petals! Fireworks! As if they were in on the whole big joke, the band began to play “Mushroom” as we found our way through the crowd. The song’s refrain was a little too on the nose at that moment: “I’m not mad, babe, I’m just a little upset.” And at that point I was only a little upset– the sunny guitar riffs on “Mushroom” are infectiously bright (ironic for a song that revels in the fungal dark). 

We found a spot on the far-left wing of the floor, which provided a perfect vantage point from which to observe the crowd. The show had been sold out– in Pomona of all places– and the floor was packed with undulating bodies, hands thrown in the air like the complacently batting antennae of insects. 

Los Angeles natives, Inner Wave had drawn a massively supportive crowd for this “hometown” stop on their tour. Each pronouncement from Sotelo was met with roars of encouragement from the crowd. Anytime he neared the edge of the stage, the audience at the barricade would quiver and tremble, like an amoeba undergoing apoptosis (haha). When he announced that they would play some old songs, like “Diamond Eyes,” the woman next to me bayed into the air like a wolf in heat. The energy of the crowd felt a bit mismatched with the band’s mellow sound. Before launching into the encore, Sotelo sincerely thanked the fans, saying “I’ve said this forty times tonight but, honestly, thank you.” 

And what did they play? Of course, it was numbers again… “This song’s called 1…” Sotelo began, teasing the crowd, “…4…” the hall vibrated with the hum of recognition, “…2.” The room exploded with cheers as the band launched into their most popular song, with its signature harpsichord-ish tones. They closed out their show with the 2014 song that started it all, their hometown fans singing along, off-key and off-kilter. 

My voice joined the others, in a plaintive plea.

    Please come back, Innerwave

    (just not to Pomona).


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