Material: There’s a respectable crowd gathered at Trip, a much-loved venue with a neighborhood-bar vibe in Santa Monica, by the time L.A. post-punkers Ward get settled into their set. That’s good, because there’s an anthemic, almost arena-friendly element to these songs that could fall flat in an empty room. Rather, the enthusiastic bar crowd manages to generate a bit of a buzz during these psychedelic rock tunes that also have a ‘90s Brit indie twist (perhaps thanks to Welsh drummer Edwards). While the music is dark, even slightly Gothic in an Echo & the Bunnymen sort of way, the songs have just the right amount of pop in there to make them anything but depressing. It’s moody and emotional, but a lot of fun too.
Musicianship: While the three musicians are individually excellent, the fact that the band only formed in September is also evident. At points during the set, it is apparent that they are still getting used to each other. It’s nothing that a bunch of rehearsals and gigs won’t fix, but that “unit” element is vital.
Performance: Christopher Ward is a charismatic vocalist in the classic “frontman” sense, but there’s not a lot of performance in terms of moving around the stage or between-song chatter. Still, there’s an air to the man that owns the stage, and that comes naturally. The performer in the band is Elghobashi, who moves enough for all three of them.
Summary: There’s plenty of potential here. The band has a sackful of quality, memorable new-wave songs that are certainly commercially viable in the current musical climate. Ward is a brand new group, but give them a little time to gel and they could easily be a genuine force. All of the elements are in place––they just need to merge.