Surfer Blood is one of those bands that I'm usually wary of, and for good reason. If the music publications are trying to out-superlative each other to praise something, I'm always standing at the ready with my snarky anti-hype backlash. In this case, I've been pleased to keep my venom holstered, because these guys are good. Their debut, Astro Coast, is not without its flaws, chief of which is loose songwriting. Many songs go on too long or not long enough, or have musical interludes that don't go anywhere. But the catchiness of the melodies, and especially the guitar work make up for a lot of sins. This is a band whose heart is in the 90's, which seems appropriate since most of the members were born just before that decade; the stuff that I came of age with must seem like classic rock to them.
When they took the stage, their age really hit me. Or maybe it was mine. As I watched them I kept flashing back to my friends' bands from high school, and I felt very old. But Surfer Blood has a dorky charm that's hard to deny. Lead singer John Paul Pitts didn't bother to speak to the crowd much, other than to tell us we were great, but he played confidently and with an unselfconscious sense of groove that I really respected. Yeah, he may have looked goofy when he got into it, but he clearly didn't care. Percussionist/keyboardist Marcos Marchesani kept reaching up from the tambourine and cowbell he was hitting in an attempt to push his glasses back up his nose or move his considerable hair out of his face, but he didn't miss a beat.