Live: The Surfaris and Jacuzzi Boys at Longboards' Grand Opening, July 2

Longboards Grand Opening
With the Surfaris and Jacuzzi Boys
500 Block of Clematis Street, West Palm Beach
Saturday, July 2, 2011

Check out the 55-photo slide show here.

Better than: Getting sand kicked in your face.

Longboards owner Rodney Mayo caught a wave and is yet again sitting on top of the South Florida nightlife world. Even a cloudburst didn't keep away the throngs from packing the street and the new surf-themed seafood restaurant next to two of Mayo's many ventures, the Lounge and Respectable Street. The evening's two main musical acts played up what Mayo has had going for decades now: longevity and youthful vitality.

Just as the sky was growing dark, attention began to shift away from the free drinks inside the overflowing Longboards -- redeemable with jagged pieces of colored glass -- to the stage set up in the street. "We got 20 glass rocks, so we get 20 drinks!" Jacuzzi Boys frontman Gabriel Alcala called out proudly to the well-lubricated crowd. He, bassist Danny Gonzalez, and drummer Diego Monasterios swiftly transitioned through a set that has come to lean significantly on material from their upcoming Glazin' album, due in August.

Although the Miami garage punk trio has added a glistening, new-wave layer of production to its sound on record recently, the blistering live delivery of staples like "Coral Girls" and new jams like "Zeppelin" and "Automatic Jail" varied little. Judging by the number of pleased audience members riding on each others' shoulders, chin-stroking profundity is generally put below overall party vibe for the Boys. Still, with a roundly NSFW picture of two women engaging in some sort of dirty business on Monasterios' drum head, each song was played tight, and the transitions were swift -- only a couple of interruptions for Alcala to proclaim "This one's about birthday cake" or whatever.

A few jams brought out more of a drunken mosh response than others, but with an outdoor area that exceeds the confines of the guys' Little Haiti mainstay, Churchill's, by quite a bit, most attendees could escape with only one or two elbow smashes to the small of the back.

The most violent reaction during the Surfaris' headlining set came from the heavens above. Just as the family foursome -- original member Bob Berryhill; his wife, Gene; and sons Deven and Joel -- took the stage in matching Hawaiian shirts and cargo pants, the skies let loose like a 50-foot wave. Many ducked for cover, but from the robust opening strains of the Chantays' "Pipeline," it was established that anyone who stuck around would be rewarded with a full night of traditional surf music.

Many of the evening's songs were popularized by other artists -- "Apache" (The Shadows), "Summertime Blues" (Eddie Cochran), "Misirlou" (Dick Dale), "Sleep Walk" (Santo & Johnny), and so on -- but each fit together seamlessly. Throughout, Bob shared lead guitar duties with son Deven, and the two hit every fierce tremolo riff with showmanship and graceful synchronized footwork.  

As for drummer Joel Berryhill, he relished opportunities to step out from behind the kit and become a manic frontman. The crowd ignored their increasingly clinging-wet clothing and danced spiritedly along to "Louie Louie" and "Surfin' Bird," as he clowned all over the stage. Calls for "Wipeout" came more and more frequently throughout the set, but it wasn't until the band tried a throwaway version of the James Bond theme that it really seemed time to wrap it up.

Soon enough, the sound guy cued up the high-pitched laughter synonymous with the Surfaris' signature track, and the final barrage ensued. Even if the white-haired Bob Berryhill was originally just the band's rhythm guitarist back in the day, he's developed the swagger and a twinkle in his eye to make leading this band look easy. As his family swayed through the final notes of "Wipeout" for what must be well into the thousands of performances, they looked equipped to do it for a thousand more.

Critic's Notebook

Random detail: Members of vicious Miami all-girl punk group Snakehole seated themselves at stage left for most of the Surfaris' set.

The crowd: Hepcats, punks, weirdos, and a great number of sun-kissed folks who just came out for some drinks and never left. And these guys:

Overheard: While the Surfaris played the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird": "These guys fucking rock."

By the way: According to Berryhill, "The Beach Boys didn't surf! We surf."

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Reed Fischer
Contact: Reed Fischer