Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Live review: Surfer Blood

Posted By on Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Surfer Blood w/ Turbo Fruits, Bo White

Snug Harbor

Feb. 22, 2010

Surfer Blood3

The Deal: Ahead of the buzz, Surfer Blood plays to packed Snug Harbor, brings along Nashville's Turbo Fruits and Charlotte's Bo White.

Bo White

The Good: The show got started with a quick set by White. He performed solo on electric guitar with a backing track and some lyric sheets. While I didn't expect much, White strolled through roughly eight songs in quick fashion. His guitar work was rough-around-the-edges and his vocal style was more spoken word than singing, but the eager crowd quickly warmed up to him. He also won them over with hints of humor — the song "Bad Acid Date" with its shouts of "What the fuck was that?!?" always got a laugh.

Turbo Fruits

Turbo Fruits were up next and the trio did their best to keep the anticipation building. The group's energetic rock teetered between indie and something a little more '50s style. The band's 11 songs were a perfect fit for the venue. Two covers in their set were Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising" and Johnny Kidd and the Pirates' "Shakin' All Over" closed the night. They won over the crowd in quick fashion and earned a number of new fans, especially after really letting go toward the end of "Shakin'."


I wasn't expecting a huge crowd, but a recent feature in Spin magazine had to have helped pack the small Plaza Midwood venue. The band hit the stage and immediately tore into the lead track, "Floating Vibes," from its debut album, Astro Coast. Its brand of indie rock may sound a bit like Silversun Pickups, a bit of English rock, some 60s rock style, Dinosaur Jr., The Whigs... it's a total mashup and it sounds freakin' fantastic. One of the most immediate things I noticed was that they sounded as tight as a vise. The five touring band members — John Paul Pitts (vocals/guitar), Thomas Fekete (guitar), Brian Black (bass), Tyler Schwarz (drums) and Marcos Marchesani (percussion) — were spot on all night and relentless in their precision. The vocals were more raw than you'd hear on the album, but while the music was pretty much right along with the album, it had a lot more power and emotion in it. Some singers may look like Vampire Weekend leftovers, but the music doesn't have to try nearly as hard as those critical darlings.


Marchesani isn't on the album, but added plenty of depth with his keys, cowbells and floor tom. The set was short and sweet, leaving the audience craving more. The band played just about everything from the CD along with one new song. No encore to be had, however, as Fekete told the crowd, "That's all the songs we know."

The Bad: Someone knocked out half the lights halfway through Surfer Blood's set... made it difficult to take photos, but didn't affect the music one bit.

Surfer Blood1

The Verdict: Keep your eyes on these guys... Much like the Crash Kings show at The Milestone last month, this is going to be one of those bands that hits it big and you'll say, "I remember when they played Snug Harbor for about 150 people." People are taking notice and they'd be a perfect fit for the Visulite if they don't blow up even bigger before then. They sold 100 advance tix this time around, so be sure and get your tickets early the next time they're in town.

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