Who: Surfer Blood
Where: Broad Street Stage
My most anticipated show of the festival did not disappoint me -- through the rain and the cold, Surfer Blood killed it on the Broad Street Stage this evening. Surfer Blood is a youthful fivepiece -- bass, drums, guitar, keys (the keyboardist also played a tom and cowbell; later in the set no less than three of his drumsticks splintered off against the cowbell), and vocals. Lead singer JP Pitts has a voice fit just right for rock and roll -- it's round and sounds about 10 years older than he actually is; it's got a seriousness to it that's reminiscent of Ian Curtis and a richness like Morrissey's. He's also a born performer, with a ultra-confident strut on stage and the impressive guitar chops to match the attitude.
The band played a couple of new songs but mostly stuck to tracks from their excellent debut album, Astro Coast, including the David Lynch-loving "Twin Peaks," the woozy "Harmonix," "Anchorage," an ode to the farthest possible U.S. location from their home state of Florida, and "Swim," probably the most majestic song on college radio these days. The standouts were the clacking "Take It Easy" (Pitts said the song was about his stomach and the food he eats on tour) and most of all, the stately "Floating Vibes." That song, Astro Coast's opener, is intricately multi-layered with shaking maracas, warm, reverbing guitars, a couple of beautiful guitar solos, and one of my favorite typically mysterious Surfer Blood lyrics -- "When you wake up in the morning/ And you hear that awful applause/ Put it in your fucking napkin/ And watch it dissolve." A seriously brilliant new talent.