SXSW 2012, Day 2: Nada Surf

photos by Jim Bennett

Listening to Nada Surf‘s most recent release The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy, it’s hard to believe it was recorded by a band that has released seven studio albums over the course of a 16 year-career dating back to their 1996 debut High/Lo. Caws, Lorca, and Elliott seem as they’re almost getting younger with age, as the new album is one of the most youthful and aggressive collections we’ve seen from the power pop veterans. Their performance from Mellow Johnny’s will mark the second time in the last few weeks the band has played an exclusive set for KEXP. In February they treated us to a performance from the Triple Door along with Doug Gillard of Guided By Voices, which you can watch right here.

You might recall that Tennis was originally scheduled to fill this slot. They had to pull out, and we were more than happy to have Nada Surf step in to fill the void. On such short notice, they could only manage a two-man acoustic set that featured frontman Matthew Caws on guitar and drummer Ira Elliott on a wooden box he was able to manipulate surprisingly well. The pair had Mellow Johnny’s largest crowd of the day mesmerized as they churned out a number of favorites including “When I Was Young,” “Teenage Dreams,” and “Looking Through,” all the while harmonizing beautifully. Though it would have been nice to hear their powerful new album with a full electric band, it’s hard to be disappointed with a Nada Surf performance of any kind.

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