Surfer Blood extends summertime at Bowery BallroomPosted on October 7, 2013 | by Hannah Park
The current weather in Manhattan may mark the end of the summer season and its accompanying mentality, but sunny beach vibes filled the Bowery Ballroom on the evening of Oct. 6. Surfer Blood, natives of West Palm Beach, Fla., are no strangers to constant sunshine and helped the crowd escape the gloomy October night with a lively set of surf rock tunes.
Opening the show, mustachioed one-man wonder Andy Boay performed psychedelic beat boxing. He fused his sound with electric guitar riffs and screeching vocal sound effects. Rainbow lights illuminated the stage as he stood in darkness.It was a gorgeous sight to behold, and, following the enigmatic first act, Team Spirit maintained a level of intrigue. The garage punk rockers took over the stage with their seemingly neverending cacophony of songs, challenging the evening’s summery atmosphere with their cheeky single, “Fuck The Beach.”
With only a modest audience present for the opening bands, the anticipation and heat within the venue increased as the main act’s scheduled performance drew closer. At 11 p.m., an unexpected character sporting gray ZZ Top-esque facial hair appeared on stage, claiming to be Surfer Blood’s “wealthy but disappointed uncle.” He introduced the band as any supportive uncle would, forewarning the audience of a disappointing set.
After this sarcastic interlude, Surfer Blood emerged on stage and promptly jumped into the show with the instrumental piece “Neighbor Riffs.” The audience remained still — aside from the occasional head nods and hip sways — until lead vocalist and guitarist JP Pitts left the stage to join the crowd in the next number, “Fast Jabroni.” He embraced the intimacy and sang directly into the faces of enthusiastic audience members.
The band’s set included songs from their two albums “Astro Coast” and “Pythons,” as well as their EP, “Tarot Classics.” The audience favored the band’s earlier, more organic tracks from “Astro Coast,” as the synchronized drum and guitar rhythm of “Floating Vibes” drew the night’s loudest cheering and applause.
Surfer Blood’s humble stage presence could be mistakenly perceived as a lack of skill with live performances. However, having toured extensively in the past few years, they are simply letting their music speak for itself without a need for excessive showmanship. Their upbeat hooks and contagious melodies are executed effortlessly, resulting in an engaging display of true musicianship.
Because of the band’s unique sound, the audience was reminded that the sentiment of a cherished season could transcend through their music. Surfer Blood left the show, and, in their wake, an audience dreaming of an endless summer.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Oct. 8 print edition. Hannah Park is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.