Surfer Blood Play Feel Good Show of the Year
If the abundance of ‘one hit wonders’ that have made their way onto radiowaves and mp3 playlists anywhere have taught us anything, it is that one great song can catapult a band into superstardom as quickly as they disappear into the massive black hole in Whogivesashit land. But instead of music videos and radios being the main medium of today’s music, we have the Internet, which filters through good and bad music at a monumental rate, leaving us with huge heaps of both to filter through even more. So when Surfer Blood‘s track “Swim” showed up on indie publications around the blogosphere, a little bit of hype started to build up until their recent release of their debut full-length Astro Coast. Luckily for the band, the LP was met with even greater reviews than the single, leading to their fairly large tour that made its way into Toronto this past Saturday night. Accompanied by already established indie acts Turbo Fruits and Ten Kens, the crowd was a mix of hipster love for the former, and hometown support for the latter, creating a vibe that was so happy go lucky it was almost sickening – if it weren’t so damn happy.
Ten Kens started the show off. As the heaviest band of the three, their take on noisy indie rock impressed everyone, leading to an odd mix of dancy head bopping and moshing. The quartet – made up of Dan Workman, Brett Paulin, John Sullivan and Ryan Roantree – each showed their respective chops throughout their surprisingly long opening set (not that I am complaining, it is just not very often that I see opening bands playing a solid set), experimenting with noise and interesting rhythms throughout. As the band I knew least about going in, I was caught off guard by their unique, heavy indie rock.
As soon as the heaviness of Ten Kens left, superhappyfuntime began with Turbo Fruits. The trio – which began as a Be Your Own Pet side project – played with enough energy for all three bands, rarely going through a surfed out garage rock track without a ripping guitar solo or catchy “ooh ah” for the crowd to marvel at. People danced, people cheered, people drank – perfect for the band and the mood of the crowd for headliners Surfer Blood.
As big as the reception was for both openers, it was evident that people came for Surfer Blood – everyone seemed to know all of their songs, and often sang along (impressive considering their album only recently came out and it is their only one). Although not as energetic as their predecessors, the quintet (normally a quartet, but accompanies with touring percussionist/keyboardist Marcos Marchesani, whose hair/moustache combo is worth the price of admission on its own) played through a large portion of Astro Coast with style, opening with “Floating Vibes” and closing with the previously mentioned “Swim” to mass applause. The set was topped up with an encore of a fantastic brand new track, leaving the crowd on a (you guessed it) happy note.
There is something to be said for feel good indie music. All it takes is a room full of dancing, drinking dudes and dudettes to prove it. And judging from the good-sized crowd, Surfer Blood seem to be much more than a one hit wonder. Sometimes the Internet does a good job of finding some fantastic music. Weird, huh?