I remember the first time I heard “Swim” by Surfer Blood – it was summer, I was looking for the kind of joyous surf rock that would reflect the hot/cold feelings of a northern summer. They might be from Florida, but their music has the touch of the East Coast that I needed that summer, and apparently everyone else did as they seemingly caught on incredibly quickly. When the chance came to finally see them perform a full set at Sasquatch, I was immediately and totally in. When they kicked on “Floating Vibes” I recalled my own move to the West coast – yeah, I’m not quite sure how the whole surfing thing works, and I definitively understand the feeling of not knowing what you’re getting in to. The first part of the set was almost normal, almost just a good show, until the second guitarist picked up his guitar halfway through a song and shredded with, guess what, his teeth. Yes. He shredded the guitar with his teeth, wailing his way through the song for probably over 45 seconds – long enough for me to think I wouldn’t be able to get a photo, decide I should try, finally get out my phone, finally open the camera app, and finally capture a picture, take the picture, and still be able to watch him continue shredding. The epic-ness of this show did not stop there – within minutes John Pitts handed off his guitar to a friend and walked off stage – totally casual but totally fun. The multitasking teeth shredding as well as also on keyboard guitarist grabbed a pen and threw a cat face on John, and as he serenaded and alternately crowd surfed, everyone danced. He has a sly and sincere smile on his cat-face, and by the time they reached “Swim,” I don’t think I could have asked for a better performance. Surfer Blood was totally together, totally on top of every song, moving back and forth across the stage in a kind of synchronicity rarely seen in bands of their age. And yes, they played new music as well – “Demon Dance” showed up live exactly what it shows us records, a kind of seriousness that’s seeped into their music, but only for the better.
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