Our friend Dave Tobias has been pretty active in the live concert scene out west of late, here is his latest review.
Surfer Blood played a sold out show Monday night at Brick and Mortar, a part of a short West Coast tour designed to road test their new material and band. Since releasing their catchy debut Astro Coast back in 2010, the world of Surfer Blood has changed dramatically. They’ve swapped band members in and out, with enigmatic front man John Paul Pitts being the mainstay—the creative, driving force behind the band. They’ve signed to Warner Brothers for their sophomore album, Pythons, due out later this year, and are touring with new labelmates Foals in support of that record (with a date in Cincinnati at Bogart’s). And, as was obvious on Monday night, they’ve grown into a significantly more polished live act than they used to be.
They dangerously opened with two new songs, which usually signals the death bell for any live act. But the wired, albeit intimate crowd of 250 eager listeners didn’t seem to mind. The new material existed in the same realm as Astro Coast, except for one clear departure— a moderately successful ballad played about halfway through the set. Highlights were the best material from their debut— “Swim”, “Floating Vibes”, and “Twin Peaks”— as well as their show opener which you can view below.
The night made me eager to hear the new record, if only for the fact that with solid production and a little inspiration, Surfer Blood could easily morph into a modern-day Weezer. Their songs are made for spaces larger than they played on this night, but were bouncy and fun all the same. They played with a great amount of energy, seemed genuinely excited to be on the road sharing their new material, and worked really hard in their brief set to seize each moment. If the time spent in the studio has done anything for this band, it’s made them a more confident, tighter band poised for bigger things.