This Surfer Blood article was written by Daniel Cooke, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Rachael Smith
Surfer Blood are most frequently recognised for their debut single ‘Swim’ that featured in Pitchfork’s ‘Top 100 Tracks Of 2009’, scoring a respectable No.37. The band was widely regarded as the breakthrough act of that year, which was further enforced by the release of their debut LP, ‘Astro Coast’, in 2010. Fast forward six years and the Floridian quartet are still demonstrating why they were held in such high esteem. Over the years, Surfer Blood have not lost their knack for creating a catchy hook and a playful chorus and so whilst the hype around the band may have diminished, the songs continue to shine.
Upon entering The Joiners, the first thought that struck me was of the abundance of space that hadn’t been filled. The overall capacity of the venue is around 250 people and, following a brief interchange with the bar staff, I discovered that for tonight’s gig The Joiners was barely at half capacity. Regardless of the fairly disappointing turn out, the show was incredible and the 100 or so in attendance appeared to really enjoy the band’s performance.
The main support of the night was provided by Eternal Summers. The band breezed through a gorgeous set, propelled by the dark and brooding basslines of Jonathan Woods. These tones brilliantly complimented the dream pop, guitar-fretting that filled the empty space, caused by the lack of punters, and thus created an eerie but beautiful effect. Although the band formed in 2009, they are still a group to look out for, especially based on tonight’s performance.
Next up were Surfer Blood. The last time I attended one of their shows was back in 2010, shortly after the release of ‘Astro Coast’, when they supported Interpol at the Birmingham Academy. On that occasion, they were fantastic and tonight they performed just as well as I had remembered.
Their set began with the track ‘Floating Vibes’, a dreamy, indie anthem, accentuated by striking riffs and warming, vocal harmonies. That isn’t to say that this track set the precedent for the rest of their performance however, as in contrast many of the following songs consisted of a more powerful guitar and vocal display.
Tracks such as ‘Miranda’ showcased the band’s flexibility and illustrated an edgier, punk-tinged side to their song writing – a stark contrast to their earlier works. Strangely, one of the highlights of the set was provided by a middle-aged Polish man rushing on stage halfway through the jammed interval to ‘Take It Easy’ and playing the drums. Later, he was invited back on stage to sing along with the band.
Surfer Blood took all of this in their stride and continued with their set, which in itself revealed much about the band. They have a sense of humour which filters down through their music and they adopt a laid-back, carefree air during their sets. The only criticism I can give of their performance is that a number of the tracks began to sound very similar in composition and theme at intervals throughout the set. I would simply put this down to poor set listing however and not allow it to take away from an otherwise particularly strong performance.
This was an enjoyable gig which was just as bizarre and surprising as it was fun and cheerful. If given the opportunity, I would highly recommend going to see either of these bands and you never know, maybe an over enthusiastic fan will jump on stage and have you in hysterics too.