Friday, January 15, 2010

The Drums and Surfer Blood at Bowery Ballroom

On Wednesday night The Drums and Surfer Blood, two of the most hyped emerging bands of 2010, played a sold out show at the Bowery Ballroom. When I arrived at 9:45, Surfer Blood was on the stage and already a couple of songs into their set. After I found a spot near the left front center of the stage and settled in with my Sierra Nevada I began to check out the band. Among my first initial impressions was how young the band was…especially the guitar player I was standing in front of…but after a few moments I started listening to the guitar driven songs (most of which are from their upcoming January 19th debut Astrocoast) and I liked what I heard. Critics have been comparing their sound to 90’s bands such as Pavement, Weezer, and the Pixies and I’m not going to argue with that. Highlights of the set included Harmonix which was dedicated to the late Jay Reatard, a new song for the blogs of tomorrow, and the set closing anthemic Swim which all the kids were already singing along to. In the end I enjoyed what I heard…but as a live band I’d leave them in the cellar for a while…allow them to get a couple of tours under their belt…and then we will see if they can live up to the hype and become the new decade’s answer to the great guitar bands of the 90’s.

On the other hand, I don’t get The Drums. I don’t know if I’m getting to fucking old or what. Sure they had a lot of energy…and if that is your thing you should check them out. You should also check them out if you’re into wild enthusiastic tambourine bashing…preening front men…general theatrics…and lots of retuning. I can definitely see how they are getting nominated as “the next big thing”…its just that it all seems a bit contrived and the actual music in a live setting fell flat. Often my favorite parts on many of their songs were played by backing tracks rather than the band themselves. Obviously a bit of a disappointment for me.

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