Nada Surf / Sea Wolf @ the Bottletree 10/24

So i had the pleasure of seeing Nada Surf and Sea Wolf last night and it was quite an eventful evening. I'll start with the venue. The Bottletree has recently emerged here in Birmingham as the place for quality but not huge bands to go. Perfect place for Nada Surf. There is a projection screen covering the stage at first but when the band is ready to go they flip the screen up and BAM! let the show begin. Its great because you never really feel that sense of urgency when you are just starring at an empty stage and you get pumped every time a tech comes on stage to prep. On to the shows.

Sea Wolf had a lot going against them. Its the opening band syndrome and it occurs at nearly every show. It must be hard and i feel sorry for bands for this too. I mean 7 times out of 10 you usually haven't heard of the band so that hurts. Then you have the fact that the people cant wait to hear those famous "this is our last one" so after every song you're just another song closer to seeing the band you came for and people just want you off the stage. I don't know if this is just me or if this happens to a lot of people but there is usually something that pisses me off during the opening act be it a drunken fool talking too loud or a funny looking band member or its the person who is pissed off at me because I'm so tall and i am blocking their view because i don't belong there or something.

Sea Wolf - Black Dirt.mp3

All that being said Sea Wolf was able to overcome the odds and put on a great show. They started out a little slow but song 3 got me. I am going to show my ignorance by saying that even though this blog recommend you check out Sea Wolf i did not do so besides a single that i got at my record store. Please forgive me for not knowing the song titles. Anyone that does know about them knows that they write very genuine songs with lyrics that may not grab you at first but come across sincere and heartfelt. OK so the opening band syndrome did strike in the form of a band member that distract me from my enjoyment. It was their cello player, she played great, there was nothing wrong with that but she apparently had a hard time looking at the crowd. It wasn't that she just looked at her instrument and was concentrating on her playing she was intentionally not looking at the crowd. I know, i know i am being WAY to picky here but toward the end of the show it was really bothering me. That was until they played their "last song" (cue crowd cheer) 'Black Dirt'. WOW What a tremendous song. They packed this song full of intensity and a couple of different building sections that made me want to hear them play another set. If you go just to see Nada Surf you won't be disappointed if you see these guys. Good job Sea Wolf to overcome the odds.

Now onto Nada Surf. I've seen them half a dozen times and after the last time i thought they couldn't get any better but man was i wrong. They really brought it tonight. I don't know if its because they have played these songs so many times that they sound better together as a band or if they have re-tooled a couple of things to make certain songs different but this was the best i have seen them play. Starting off with 'Happy Kid' was a perfect way to begin things. Their energy really shined through right from the start. At the last show the bassist Daniel did a lot of the talking but at this show lead singer Matthew was engaging the crowd and introing all the songs with inspiration driven tales about how they came to be. Before 'Fruit Flies' he told us about how just recently he had to rid his house of fruit flies and how he hoped the flies didn't hold grudges. 'Killian's Red' which is one of my favorites was delivered with a harrowing bass line that really set the tone of this song. A couple of new tracks were debuted as well 'Whose Authority' and 'I like what you say' . 'I like what you say' was my favorite of the two but each of them got me real exited for the new album which will be coming out in Feb. '08. As many times as I have seen them I had never heard the song 'Popular' which I thought up until now was a song that they had blacklisted and I was never going to hear it. Some would say it wouldn't be their choice pick if they got a request but a fan had brought a guitar for the band to sign and he had asked them if they would play it. They not only played it they tore it down. He was singing the verses like a madman and by this point in the show sweat was pouring down his face as they launched into the chorus. It made it worth waiting this long to see it. They ended their regular set with "Imaginary Friends", 'Paper Boats' and the best version of 'Hyperspace' I've ever heard. It was almost as if they just didn't want to leave the stage they just kept rocking the end. They came back out and cooled everyone off with a touching 'Blonde on Blonde' which we needed after the way the ended the first set. ' Do it Again' really got the crowd going mainly due to a large contingent of people near me that had wanted to hear that one the whole time and they went crazy. ' Blankest Year' is and was the perfect closer for this and any subsequent shows that they have. Having the whole crowd shouting FUCK IT! is always a recipe for success.
After the show we met up with Matthew and got him to sign our set lists, how we got them is a story I'd rather not tell at this time but anyway, and we were about to leave when we say the bassist Daniel outside the van. When we asked for his autograph he invited us back in to have some drinks with him. How can you say no to that! We ended up buying each other a couple rounds talking about everything from the new album to kids needing to learn foreign languages. It was great it wasn't until the bartender said " If you're not leaving with the band you gotta leave here" that I realized that we had been talking for an hour and a half, just Daniel and two of my friends. It was an all around incredible night. Go see Nada Surf if they are anywhere near you and I'm sure you will have a good time.

Nada Surf - Killian's Red.mp3


evilhomer said...

Great setlist. "Secret" has continued to grow on me, and "80 windows" is in my top 5 Nada Surf songs, along with "Killians" and "Hyperspace."

Can't wait for next week.

Anonymous said...

I just saw nada surf live in boston. They didn't play popular. They must know that half the people there went just to hear that one song. I can't believe they refuse to play the song that MADE them. No one would have ever heard of them, nor would they have been able to go on to make any more albums if it weren't for that song.