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Courtesy Melissa Gibbons
Nada Surf headlined a show this past Saturday at large downtown venue 4th & B
as part of a tour promoting their just-released seventh album The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy
(Barsuk Records.) The show featured three strong San Diego openers: Republic of Letters, Cuckoo Chaos, and The Soft Pack
(although technically they are now an LA band.)
Cuckoo Chaos sounded great while playing their brand of surf-pop, and they have a lot of subtle additives in their songs that keep them from sounding one-dimensional. You’ll be hearing this band name a lot in 2012 if they keep putting on live shows like this.
The crowd seemed just as excited to see The Soft Pack
as Nada Surf when they took the stage. The five-piece played their set of songs with a lot of energy, but most of the members seemed too intent on their instruments to really enjoy themselves. Lead singer Matt Lamkin engaged a bit with the crowd during the songs in which he sang and didn’t play the guitar, and there were a few times when guitarist Matty McLoughlin let loose. Altogether The Soft Pack
sounded fantastic and delivered a great set.
took the stage around 11 p.m. and played an enjoyable set of songs that obviously leaned heavily on their brand new album, but that also included some great songs from their other recent albums. Several people called out for them to play their 90s hit “Popular
” but it wasn’t included in the set. The show didn’t suffer for it, however, since the many albums that Nada Surf have released since then have given them plenty of great material to choose from. Guided By Voices
guitarist Doug Gillard joined the tour as a second guitarist, and the resulting four-piece sounded full and warm. The set was long enough that they were able to slip in a cover of Depeche Mode’s hit “Enjoy the Silence”, and the song was re-worked such that the chorus had an undeniably Nada Surf-esque cadence. It was great to hear a band do a cover that isn’t note-for-note like the original.