Saturday, October 16, 2010

Show review: Surfer Blood, the Drums at Lincoln Hall, 10/14

Posted by Andrew

Surfer Blood
A couple days ago, we ran a preview for Thursday night's Surfer Blood and the Drums double feature at Lincoln Hall. I am here to attest from the other side that they did not disappoint.

History didn’t fail to repeat as I found myself, just as at Pitchfork this summer, in line for a beer when Surfer Blood took the stage. The lights dimmed, the theme to "Jurassic Park" triumphantly rang out, and right off the bat we were hit with "Fast Jabroni." Unlike at Pitchfork, however (or their Daytrotter session), the band didn’t decelerate their songs’ tempos. Either because it wasn’t 100 degrees out, or the fact that they only played for around half an hour last night, the faster-paced songs allowed singer/guitarist John Paul Pitts to exert an intense energy. The range of this guy never fails to impress, the vocal chords working overtime to hit as high of a decibel level as possible. The anthemic “I’m too young to be defeated” of "Twin Peaks" is a forceful maxim, given an extra boost of reality thanks to Pitts’ passion and honesty. The band played new track "I’m Not Ready" and another yet-unnamed new one transitioned into from the outro of "Harmonix." The only real shame of the show was how abruptly their set ended. But for a band playing their second show within a couple hours, everything was air tight from every bass line to every added cowbell. Recent signees to Warner Bros, it sounds like they're on track to avoid the sophomore slump with their transition to the majors.

If you’re looking for a hook to hang your coat, ask the Drums because they’ve got plenty of ‘em Sorry, that was awful, but I couldn’t resist. I had only heard their album a couple of times before I saw them, but so many tracks were instantly recognizable. Despite a general sound and similar tempo to each song, they all sound really, well, just damn good. Sure, it’s very reminiscent of the Cure, the Smiths and the like, with frontman Jonathan Pierce’s channeling of Morrissey swagger via Jack McBrayer look evoking the adage "dance like no one’s watching." It’s easy to write the sound off as nostalgic, but there’s a reason they craft the sound they do. To listen to the music itself, one would get the impression these guys are happy as the clams found on the beaches they must be relaxing all day on. But lyrically, much of it deals with love lost, growing up and the pressures of life. Set closer "Down by the Water" particularly proves how they can uniquely combine honesty, interpretive dance and fun all in the confines of a three-minute pop song. Play these guys at your next party and get people movin’ their feet.

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