CONCERT RECAP: Surfer Blood @ The Independent, San Francisco, CA 10/22/13

I was confused – very confused. Who was this dude with the 12-string guitar and headset mike? Why were none of the lights on? What was all this electronic crap he was messing with? How did he make his vocals sound like a boy’s choir recorded on a cylinder phonograph? Where was the listed opener, Team Spirit? Was I at the right show?

This was my mindset when walking into The Independent on the night of October 22nd. Some of these questions were answered… some weren’t. It was Andy Boay, and none of the lights were on because his projection show is a big part of his production. Team Spirit was up next. And yes, in fact, I was at the right show. I still do not know how or why his vocals sounded like little tykes from Prohibition times, but I do know it was awesome.

I had never seen nor heard Team Spirit before, and shame on me. I nothing short of loved their set (except for lead singer Ayad Al Adhamy’s anti-Gravity rant… Gravity is a great film, although Sandra Bullock didn’t quite turn in the Tom-Hanks-in-Castaway-worthy performance some claim she did – but I digress). Per the band’s Facebook page:

Bursting with soulpower, Team Spirit’s music is a cocktail of Motown basslines, Thin Lizzy-esque duelling guitars, 90’s sing-along hooks, Glam beats and Chuck Berry feet.

Nail on the head. Who knows a band better than themselves, am I right? Go listen to Team Spirit now… go ahead, I’ll wait.

I saw Surfer Blood’s set at Outside Lands back in August. When I learned of the upcoming show at The Independent, I decided in short order that I had to see this one as well. Seeing a band you love with 20,000 of your best friends is great, but seeing a band you love with 500 of your best friends is better. At first it seemed as if the band might have had a hangover from their festival experience. While my previous statement holds true from a fan’s perspective, most musicians I know would never choose to play in front of 500 as opposed to 20,000 people. After a few songs, though, it was apparent that the boys in Surfer Blood had taken their ibuprofen, drunk their coffee and moved on to Bloody Marys and Mimosas.

Straight outta Palm Beach, Surfer Blood’s heavy hitting, often shredding surf rock resonates from coast to coast. For me, the highlights of the set were the tracks from 2010’s Astro Coast. The gritty-smooth two-man guitar riffs in “Floating Vibes” were executed to perfection, and the show was capped off by a three-song encore featuring “Swim” – even with a thinning Tuesday night crowd. The crowning achievement of the evening, though, had to be “Take It Easy,” which featured front man John Paul Pitts (LOVE this name) having himself an excursion into the audience. Check out the full slideshow below.