It’s one thing for a band to have bad luck. It’s another thing for a band to be dropped from their (major) label, hit the sophomore slump, and learn one of their members has an aggressive form of cancer. It’s quite the combination, more than enough to convince a band to throw in the towel. Or, in Surfer Blood’s case, to return to the studio, release your third album, start a fundraising campaign for guitarist Thomas Fekete’s medical bills and book tours that span the United States and Europe.
Not that you’d suspect any of this watching their set Tuesday night in Denver. The band brought lighthearted charm to a full house at Lost Lake Lounge, filling the small room with their trademark sunshine fuzz. The audience needed no encouragement – Surfer Blood hadn’t played Denver since 2013 – but frontman John Paul Pitts set about charming the crowd with his affable manner the moment he took the stage.
Comprised of Tumblr cool kids, PBR-clutching Mac DeMarco lookalikes, members of local bands and twenty-something dudes in Allen Ginsberg glasses, the crowd cheered and danced along to the killer riffs of “Floating Waves” and “Say Yes To Me”. A mini mosh pit broke out during a rollicking rendition of “Miranda”, which Pitts referred to as “one of the fast songs.” He then ditched his guitar to stroll among the audience during the spectacular “Take It Easy” only to stop halfway through the song to catch his breath and make a self-deprecating joke about the altitude.
The audience-band love was mutual and deserved. Surfer Blood played with zeal from start to finish and returned to deafening cheers for a two-song encore. Pitts thanked the crowd several times, kept the obligatory legal weed joke short, and filled the gaps with an easygoing humor that made the night almost too likable.
Woes aside, Surfer Blood have mastered the easygoing charm of surf rock, mixed it with slacker rock and fuzz, and figured out how to sell the whole package in a compulsively enjoyable performance. This band doesn’t want your pity. This band wants to play a great show. And when they do, they make the best case for their own resilience out of anyone.
Take It Easy
Point Of No Return
Say Yes To Me
I Can’t Explain