Posted on Sep 09 2008 02:09 AM
In a nutshell, Sunday night was friggin' awesome...
A bunch of us met up at Danny's place before taking off in the fan van. It was a fun crowd and a fun ride (thanks Paul!). We stopped at a taqueria before hitting the Blank Club. Yum.
We arrived early on in Beachkrieg's set. I'll admit I didn't like them that much. The melodies were pretty fun and occasionally strong enough I guess, but pretty mediocre for the most part and by no means well-played enough to redeem themselves. Maybe the plunkiness was supposed to be part of the appeal, as was the whole Bismark shtick, but I guess neither really appealed to me. They had their moments, but overall were pretty disappointing, personally.
Not that that really mattered, because the rest of the night was out of control good. Pollo took the middle slot, and absolutely amazed me. Their set was phenomenal, and they knocked it out of the park with every single song, no exceptions. I've seen PDM many times now, probably more than any other band, and this was without doubt the best I've heard them live. They were so on top of every song. Ferenc was getting huge full tones out of his guitar and Jeremy's drumming was more thundering than ever, and that's really saying something. I was getting chills during Anabelle Lee and Jonny Foo, but really everything was a winner. Theirs was a set to rival that of the Surf Coasters--really, that good. Afterwards a few of us were commenting to each other about how the guys kicked an exceptional amount of ass. I really hope that with Jono back they can keep it up like this.
And then of course the Surf Coasters followed to headline the night. I've been a huge fan of theirs pretty much since I first discovered surf music, and I think Intruder is the first surf song I actually knew by name. I've waited a long time to see these guys--I knowingly missed them their first two visits to the States and agonized through every day of it and kicked myself through the years afterwards, so finally getting to see them live was a very big deal for me. Dammit, they were amazing! Everything I had hoped for.
What everyone has already said is entirely true--they're just an incredible show. Every single one of the guys is in the running for "best surf __-player" on their respective instruments, yet somehow nobody steals the show, and they work together seamlessly without anyone sounding overbearing. How did these guys find each other? How do they do it? The musicianship was almost entirely unrivaled. Naotaka's drumming is pummeling and so perfectly hardcore surf. He's one of my favorite surf dummers and seeing him live only made me appreciate his playing more. Kuri continuously amazes with playing complex, but perfectly fluid lines on his low-slung bass, all while jumping and dancing around. He doesn't even pay attention to his instrument and still plays it flawlessly. As an extra note, Kuri also gives the impression of being the single nicest guy alive while he plays. He's just got this fun and exuberant presence that really adds to their live show. And of course, Shigeo's guitar skills are completely mind-blowing. I've never seen fingers move like that, and there were times during the performance, notably Sharkman and Bumblebee, where I was stunned to the point of being immobilized. His capacity for guitar heroism isn't remotely approached in this genre, yet respectably he saves it for particular moments and instead focuses on Surf Coasters songs, not self indulgent Shigeo Naka showoff sessions.
And of course the songs. These guys are undeniably phenomenal musicians, but it's of course their melodies that win me over the most. They play the best mix of epically ballsy and greatly fun songs, and now a new addition of more complex and serious material. The songs from their new album are not surfy at all--not at all the Surf Coasters we are so familiar with. I guess it qualifies more as something like "power rock," and though I'll admit I would have preferred a surfier approach, I didn't dislike it. I'm still not sure if it's because the songs themselves are worth the listen, or simply because I already love the band and forgive their transgressions. Either way, "Outside Break" is the final and somewhat out of place chapter in the Surf Coasters's discography, but it's by no means a reason to have second thoughts about seeing these guys. The songs are exciting and equally impressive to behold live. Either way, their setlist was still predominated by earlier and later classics--classics both for the band and the surf genre as a whole. Really just some of the best surf songs to be put out there into the world. To finally hear songs like Tsunami Struck, Dreams, and Intruder played the right way by the right guys was a wonderful experience. Intruder has been my favorite song since pretty much day one, and finally hearing the Surf Coasters play it live was a reaffirming moment. It killed. I loved it. There was also the great stage antics of Beach Monster, the wizardry of Man from MI5 and Thunderbirds are Go, and that crazy hand-flipping-the-fretboard nonsense of Misirlou--a song done so often by so many bands, yet these guys make it entirely their own. It might have been the most overpowering song of the night to my ear. Truly epic. Let's Go Trippin' was a huge blast, and I was really glad they played it just because it was so much fun.
Damn, I'm having trouble remembering what other songs they played. Seeing these guys was really an overwhelming experience. Something I finally got to check off of my "do before you die" list. Anyone with the opportunity to see them in the coming days... do so. You won't be able to forgive yourself if you don't.
Last edited: Sep 09, 2008 17:38:18