Material: Minneapolis-based indie rock band Wavy Maze are something akin to Arctic Monkeys or The Black Keys, but with similarities subtle enough to keep the four-piece from sounding too derivative. Driven by funky bass lines and psychedelic guitar riffs, their original material is not exactly catchy, but plays well live. Simple lyrics are effectively balanced with the intricacy of the band’s musicianship, particularly on their heavier rock songs. With a little fine-tuning, the laidback tempo of a song like “Losing My Cool” can diversify the band’s sonic character.
Musicianship: In addition to McIntyre’s strong vocals and frontman charisma, each song rides on the standout presence of his bass. Behind the drumkit, Parks is cool, calculated and dynamically on point. Zueli is a great guitar player when in focus, adding punches of serious rock & roll riffs while Winkels keeps the rhythmic pulse in check. There were a few minor chord and pitch slip-ups, but nothing a little practice and dedication couldn’t tune up.
Performance: In the back alley of a barbershop, on a tiny outdoor stage, during the tail end of a Bearded Lady Street Festival, Wavy Maze put on an impressive show. Even amidst a backyard party vibe, they held the stage like professionals who knew how to have a good time. The small set-up managed to produce a solid sound, and the band’s energy was on point from beginning to end as they sailed through a set of original material and ended with a cover of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.” By the end of the night, what started off with a few stragglers in the audience, turned into a shoulder-to-shoulder dance party.
Summary: Wavy Maze have room to grow as both individual musicians and a unit, but they are definitely headed in the right direction. It’s obvious each member is musically inclined; they just need to hone their strengths and weed out their weaknesses to stand out and shine. Adding more live performance experience and practice, practice, practice will prove extremely beneficial for them.
The Players: Ian McIntyre, bass, vocals; Ryan Zueli, guitar, vocals; Grant Winkels, guitar, vocals; Brock Parks, drums.
– Allegra Azzopardi