Nada Surf was phenomenal Tuesday night, as I had expected. After seeing them acoustic and intimate in the fantastic jewelbox of the Swedish American Hall of San Francisco, I was sated with the gorgeous golden side of their music, but left aching to hear the full electric band treatment.
This is one ferociously good live band that I would see again and again. My companion Kristan had never heard of them but was duly and thoroughly impressed, and more than a few fist-pumping college dudes admitted to being there only because of their 1996 hit song “Popular.” But winning hearts and eardrums seems to be what this New York trio does best, and by the time we got through to “Beautiful Beat,” the room kinda felt like it was going to explode. Or maybe just me.
The always affable Matthew Caws introduced “Inside of Love” by saying that they wanted to write a soulful Smokey Robinson-type song that you could dance to, something to do a little swingin’ twostep to. He charmed the whole crowd into stepping back and forth while they played it. The raddest detail of the stage setup were the five convex mirrors set across the back of the stage reflecting us back upon ourselves. In this video you can see the undulating wave of soul & fancy footwork moving through the crowd, if you look closely:
NADA SURF – “INSIDE OF LOVE” (live in Denver 4/1/08)
Nada Surf is currently doing some shows with Martin Wenk of Calexico, who added keys, trumpets and other flourishes to their set and to their most recent album. During the encore they brought out Lisa Fendelander from Sea Wolf (the opener) to add accordion, which was sublime and wistful. This video turned out really stellar as well:
NADA SURF – “BLONDE ON BLONDE” (live in Denver 4/1/08)
And here is the full setlist of what they played (except I’m pretty sure they left out “Are You Lightning,” which is sad). But man alive — “The Blankest Year” was even more cathartic all electric and loud and yelling. A few more pics are here and a nice local review here. Oh what a night.