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Review: Surfer Blood keep riding waves of buzz at Crowbar in Ybor City

22

September

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Surfer Blood’s set last year at the State Theatre felt brisk, brief and business-like. Wednesday’s show at Ybor City’s Crowbar was another matter entirely.

The finale was less a climax than an implosion, with Tom Fekete handing off his guitar to a crowd surfer and singer JP Pitts bashing the drums with no pretense of ability.

In other words, way more fun.

It takes confidence to play it loose, and West Palm Beach’s Surfer Blood has earned the right through relentless touring. Its year-and-a-half old debut album, Astro Coast, is attracting attention well beyond the indie rock ghetto. In fact, the band is moving on up to the majors, having recently signed with Warner Bros.

The band roared through selections from Astro Coast with a freshness that belied the number of times they must have been played live. Numbers from Surfer Blood’s upcoming EP, Tarot Classics, were interspersed as well, showing further refinements in the band’s trademark fuzz 'n’ jangle.

The audience was bouncing frenetically by mid-set, with crowd surfers making the over-head rounds by Take It Easy.

Swim got an extended mid-section when Pitts broke a guitar string and left the stage to borrow a Fender from openers Guy Harvey. Pitts eventually joined the crowd surfers before closing number Anchorage.

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Naples’ Fake Problems preceded Surfer Blood. The first portion of the band’s set was a near-perfect combination of energy, wit and melody, before winding into moodier territory toward the end. If the pacing seemed odd, the quartet still was impressive throughout.

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Lake Worth’s Guy Harvey showed promise but never seemed to achieve lift-off, due in part to its vocals being buried in the mix.

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Tampa’s Sleepy Vikings, now a quintet with the departure of guitarist Nicole Schleif, opened with a brief set. Starting with a remake of Danzig’s Mother, eerier than its author ever imagined, the band played tough, taut versions of songs from its debut album, They Will Find You Here, as well as an untitled new song featuring some lyrical lap steel lines from Sandra Covin.

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— Curtis Ross, tbt*. Photos by Andrew Carlton, tbt*

[Last modified: Thursday, September 22, 2011 12:53pm]

    

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