March 31, 2010
Nada Surf, Alex Brown Church (Sea Wolf) @ Music Hall of Williamsburg | 3.27.10
JezebelMusic.com @ Music Hall of WIlliamsburg
March 6, 2010 | Nada Surf
It’s safe to say that the Music Hall of Williamsburg and it’s sold out crowd were thoroughly soaked in nostalgia on this particular evening. At the request of Nada Surf, Sea Wolf front man Alex Brown Church kicked off the night. Admittedly nervous without his usual backing ensemble, Church strummed through a set of bare bones folk/pop songs. The droning minor chords and his sublime tenor invoked the feeling of autumns past. After a few botched chords and false starts, Church met the crowd with a capricious smile that certainly matched the atmosphere. Things began to pick up a bit when Nada Surf front man Matthew Caws joined Church on stage for the Sea Wolf favorite, “You’re a Wolf”. Overall it was an enjoyable and intimate performance by an established indie rock front man.
Having only heard Nada Surf’s 2008 release “Lucky” a handful of times, I was unsure if the album could hold it’s own in a live setting front to back. The band kicked off their set with the opening track, “See These Bones”. As Caws began to pick the arpeggiated opening riff, a gang of tipsy college kids amassed in front of the stage and began to dance mirthfully. Bassist Daniel Lorca watched them closely as he bobbed his mangy dreads and smoked a cigarette. Witnessing this interaction, I couldn’t help but take special interest in the chorus lyrics “what you are now, we were once”. The band continued to play through the album and although I wasn’t familiar with every track, the shimmering mid-tempo pop songs were certainly enough to hold my attention. The first set concluded with the album closer “The Film Did Not Go ‘Round”, a wistful duet sang with song co-writer Lianne Smith. To the delight of the audience Caws announced that they would be back shortly to perform another set of old favorites and covers.
While waiting for the second set to begin, I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on some near by conversations. One I found to be particularly striking, involved two long separated friends. They had just recently regained contact via facebook and were sharing memories of Matthew Sweet and Shawn Mullins concerts. While listening to them quarrel about their favorite performance of “Lullaby”, I began to prepare myself for a full on trip back to 1996. Nada Surf took the stage for their second set and began plowing through old favorites. The dancing gang was long gone and their spots quickly taken by 90′s alt-rock aficionados rocking some cords and a mean subtle head nod. Tracks off of early albums “High/Low” and “Proximity Effect” still sounded relevant and meshed well with the newer material. The group did a good job of selecting key songs from their previous albums and performed a solid cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy The Silence”. This performance seemed to easily satisfy both die-hard fans and the occasional listener like myself.
by Ryan Traster
Check out more shots of the show after the jump!
Photos by Ryan Traster