Surfer Blood @ Barfly, London 10/12/2010

January 9, 2011 by  


Photo: Josefine Stangberg

After a spree of shows supporting Interpol throughout Europe and the UK, and as part of TimeOut Live’s Sessions, Surfer Blood were set to say farewell to London on the Barfly’s intimate stage before heading back to sunny West Palm Beach, Florida.

It might have been the fact that it was one of the coldest winters in London for a century that made people too lazy to get out from wherever they were that night. As a result, the girls from Dance Magic Dance endured the hard task to DJ to an almost empty room while most attendees were stuck at home, still getting there or merrily drinking at the bar downstairs. Luckily, the room would eventually be packed by the time Surfer Blood hit the stage.

The momentum built around the young band during 2010 and their previous visits to the UK had clearly warmed up the crowd, who were eager to dance when the first riffs of energetic “Fast Jabroni” kicked off the show. It soon became apparent, though, that there was a tired temper to the band, probably as a result of the toil of relentless touring and conquering of the media throughout the year.

But this first reaction would be but a misjudgement, because it was in this calm, non-histrionic routine, that the songs were able to shine. JP’s rather robotic and camp dancing managed to draw smiles and the static pose of Kevin at the bass was counter acted by every note he played. Not to say there was no dynamic action on stage, as Marcos gave his best playing keyboards and percussion, drumming with his maracas and dancing to every beat of it, which is hardly difficult with their songs.

The finest of Astro Coast was played and the band surprised the crowd with a few additions. Two songs were presented, both of which seemed to be somehow influenced by the recent touring with Interpol. “I’m Not Ready”, comes from the repertoire of JP’s old band, Television Club, and has more of a Beach Boys influence. After greeting their sound engineer for his birthday, a yet to be named song was played, and its more orderly chorus-verse-chorus, post-punk approach, put it closer to Interpol at their best, rather than their previous tropicalized, reverb rich and upbeat Weezer influenced tracks. By the time the performance peaked, JP busted into the crowd, showing us a new side to his stage persona and a preview of the band’s developing stage antics amidst their rising confidence. A cover of “Box Elder”, from their often mentioned influence Pavement, would mark the pseudo end of the show.

The expected encore, starting with “Neighbour Riffs”, and followed by a cover of Nickelodeon’s surreal show The Adventures of Pete & Pete opening theme “Hey Sandy” by Polaris, converged towards absolute frenzy at “Anchorage”’s outro when the band revealed itself.

By the end of it all the crowd was beginning to cope with the idea of a quickly maturing band that has been honing their talent and skills during the past months. With a new album coming on a major label we cannot wait to hear more of them.


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