Surfer Blood creates waves on Oakland stage with synth-rock sound

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Surfer Blood strode onto the New Parish’s stage Friday night alight with the crowd’s love. After two openers, French Cassettes and GRMLN, the audience’s anticipation radiated throughout the venue for the synth-heavy indie rockers’ set. John Paul Pitts, Surfer Blood’s singer, talked to The Daily Californian after the show: “The crowd was awesome — just really stoked, young kids. Our buddy was mixing (the show), so it was really loud. I got a few drinks thrown at me; it was kind of punk.”

The crowd was decidedly not punk — except for a few die-hard fans moshing in the front — with most of the audience content to sway, sip, repeat. The bands had an electricity, though, that kept even the most reserved audience members engaged.

French Cassettes — the surprisingly fun San Francisco-based opener — power-chorded and jangled its way through the first set, appealing to the crowd’s alternative sensibilities. The lead singer of the band, Scott Huerta, explained indie rock’s influence in the band’s music to the Daily Cal. “I was like, ‘What? That’s what you call that? Where it’s alternative, but not “Closing Time” (by Semisonic)?’ I was so excited. I had heard these songs that I loved but couldn’t categorize.”

Yoodoo Park’s musical brain-child, GRMLN, also put on an inspired set. Though the vocals were taught and stringy, the musicality and energy heated the New Parish’s standing-room crowd. Sounding like an updated version of Yellowcard, GRMLN pop-punked through its energetic performance.

Once Surfer Blood started its set, the audience members enthusiastically sang along to their favorite songs and swung their hips with more conviction than before. Songs from Surfer Blood’s 2010 debut, Astro Coast, received the warmest reception from the crowd. Tracks such as “Anchorage,” “Take it Easy” and “Twin Peaks” garnered shrieks of excitement and resulted in the least self-conscious dancing of the night. Pitts discussed the band’s earlier work, saying, “Our first album shows a band trying to get its footing; and I think — for all its imperfections — it’s really beautiful.”

Surfer Blood also played tracks from later releases Tarot Classics EP and Pythons to the crowd’s shouts of approval. The band rollicked and danced through its set, having a contagious amount of fun onstage. The New Parish’s crowd rode Surfer Blood’s synth-rock waves, rising and falling to the sounds of summer freedom.

Contact Cara Cerino at [email protected].