Live: Surfer Blood, Carnivores at Propaganda, January 31

Surfer Blood
With Carnivores, Young Circles, Guy Harvey, Band in Heaven, and the Dewars
Propaganda, Lake Worth
Monday, January 31, 2011

View a slideshow from the concert here.

Better than: Finding a really smelly $20 bill.

Even if some of the night's performers were more awake than others, Propaganda's jam-packed Monday lineup proved to be a worthwhile draw on an evening for the bravest members of the working class -- and just another night for Surfer Blood's devoted local fans.

Sliding this "secret" show from last Thursday to Monday gave more time for word to travel. More important, Atlanta's Carnivores could squeeze in one more gig in the area. The quartet swapped vocals between the front line of keyboardist Caitlin Lang and polo-clad cohorts Nathaniel Higgins on guitar and Phillip Forbes on bass. Over the course of their spazzy performance, these musical animals struck curious poses and jostled the crowd with a spray of beach-in-the-garage anthems like "Summer Shades" from last year's If I'm Ancient. At times, the vintage organ came through like a Walkmen jam played double time, and "Tremble" shook the stage with exuberance.
Earlier in evening, Young Circles' stage setup created an immediate visual break from the local outfit's past incarnations. With furry mallets cutting through the smoky air and thudding into the floor toms spread across the stage, the guys created sheets of dense, psychedelic noise with selections from the buzzy Bones EP. "Sharp Teeth" was a runaway highlight with its chant-style coda. Singer Jordy Asher's spirited energy continued throughout the evening -- even as he became a spectator for the rest of the night's acts. We're hoping for plenty more from the Young Circles, who are planning some dates in the Northeast later this year.  

The evening's headliners, West Palm Beach's giddy rock confectioners Surfer Blood, showed that this break from touring is treating the band well. Whether the performance turns out to be the final live offering in the area before March's Bruise Cruise Pre-Party at Grand Central or not, J.P. Pitts and his workhorse backing crew made sure to leave a generous impression. Playing the new songs debuted recently at Respectable Street (and another fresh creation) brings out a renewed intensity in staples like "Take It Easy," which added a wealth of solo flourishes at the end. The cover of Pavement's "Box Elder" also figured into the polished set that undoubtedly made for some slow-moving Tuesday mornings across the county.

Critic's Notebook

The crowd: Loosened up by $1 gin and tonics, apparently.

Pleasant surprise: Zachary Dewar opted for a Yamaha keyboard instead of an electric guitar for a handful of stripped-down performances by the Dewars between the other bands' sets.

Random detail: Band in Heaven's tambourine player, Ryan Burk, has written a short story based upon the song "Suicide Pact." The group's keyboardist, Lauren Dwyer, assured me that he received high marks.

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Reed Fischer
Contact: Reed Fischer