Nada Surf @ The Scala, London 15/10/12

October 21, 2012 by  

It’s been said time and time again how underrated Nada Surf are. A career of fifteen years and six albums have followed and they are still sadly only remembered to a generation for their one hit wonder ‘Popular’. In 2012 they are a very different animal from their sub-Weezer 90’s past. They have their own dynamic sound of tight harmonies over fuzzy guitars and plenty of Beatlesque hooks. And now as a live band they have grown from a three piece to a four piece to resemble the layers of guitars on the recent album The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy.

The Scala is a venue with a proud history, as front man Matthew Caws eagerly told us about Iggy pop and Lou Reed’s past.  Maybe this has spurred on the East Coast boys to perform such a hi-octane show, but for the first time in a long time they were definitely out to “rock”! Concentrating on their latest album and the classic ‘Let Go’.

Nada Surf played a set that was aiming to please. It included ‘Hi-Speed Soul’, ‘Way You Wear Your Head’ and’ Always Love’ – they even played a fan request for ‘Blizzard of 77’, which I have never witnessed a band do before in my life. In between songs, Caws was his usual engaging self, full of dreadful puns and constantly being grateful that his band can still play to so many people outside of their own country.

Sadly the bookish audience couldn’t take some of the energy beaming from the stage, and actually react more than just handclaps and gentle swaying. Nada Surf need a younger audience that will dance to their music. So far in London I have yet to break into a sweat down the front of any of their gigs. If I even jump a few inches I felt unease from my co-giggers. Even the band tried their hardest by inventing dance moves for ‘Inside of Love’ and encouraging us to shout ‘Fuck it ‘ along to ‘Blankest Year’, but, bar one or two more intoxicated members, the audience preferred to stand on their feet.

The new album is perfect for the live arena and Ira Elliot’s drumming becomes more loose and exciting by the gig. If only they could find a decent London crowd.


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