Published Mar 08, 2010Blog buzz is great and all, but these days, if young a band hopes to make it, they're gonna have to hit the road and hit it hard. So is the plight of one of the Internet's latest sensations, West Palm Beach, FL's Surfer Blood. The young quintet have turned quite a few heads with their recently released debut, Astro Coast, and have embarked on an ambitious tour with Nashville, TN rockers Turbo Fruits to prove their mettle to a sold-out Saturday night crowd in Toronto.
Though the bar was packed by the time Turbo Fruits hit the stage, many still lingered in the back, more attracted to the cheap drinks than the sight of three smelly-looking dudes with half formed moustaches. But the group's Mudhoney-raping CCR sound won over the crowd and had many bobbing up and down for the entirety of the trio's all too short set.
They focused on tracks from last year's Echo Kid, dropping "Mamma's Mad Cause I Fried My Brain" and "Naked With You" to an ever-growing crowd. And despite the break-neck style of their music on record, the band, which includes former Be Your Own Pet members Jonas Stein and John Eartherly, kept things laid-back, asking (and receiving) for a drink to solve "cotton mouth" and begging for (and not receiving) some weed. They settled into a nice groove and capped off their set with Johnny Kid and the Pirates' "Shakin' All Over," a perfect warm-up for the night's headliners.
As Surfer Blood set up their gear, the phrase on the lips of everyone in attendance was "these guys are young." The quintet (a moustachioed multi-instrumentalist with wild, curly locks who plays like Animal from the Muppets joined the band on stage) looks like that res band that live across the quad. No hipster "over it" bullshit here. But any doubt that the band could deliver the goods were obliterated as they launched into "Floating Vibes."
Often young bands in the spotlight feel the need to blast through their songs, eliminating the nuance that made the tracks so great in the first place. But Surfer Blood remained calm and let each of their indie power pop meets Laurel Canyon tunes build to fantastic heights, as they knocked off the tracks from their debut in the order they appear on the record, saving monstrous lead single, "Swim" til the end.
Lead singer J.P. Pitts could be described as the weak link of Surfer Blood's live show; stripped of the reverb-heavy mics, his voice sounded somewhat plain and innocuous, a fact not helped by his off-key singing. But it was a minor quibble in an otherwise fantastic set played by a group of guys still in shock from their own success.