Florida-based indie rockers Surfer Blood made their Oakland debut last Friday at The New Parish, taking a quick break between their two Coachella performances to get a taste of the East Bay. French Cassettes and GRMLN provided some crowd-pleasing support.
Surfer Blood opened with “Fast Jabroni” and “Twin Peaks” from their debut album, Astro Coast (2010), before getting the crowd dancing with their Pythons (2013) track “Weird Shapes.” Immediately afterwards they transitioned into “Miranda,” which turned the audience into a classic mosh pit, crowdsurfers and all. Singer John Paul Pitts was visibly surprised by their immediate rowdiness, but welcomed the feeling with open arms. His mic stand was bumped into his guitar as he dodged cups flying all over the stage and at the floor. “So this is that East Bay shit everybody’s been talking about!” he remarked.
As the set progressed, Surfer Blood displayed their versatility as performers, utilizing member Thomas Fekete on the keys as well as the guitar. Pitts ditched his own guitar and entered the crowd during “Take It Easy,” and welcomed willing audience members to join him on vocals.
To their sound technician’s surprise, Surfer Blood celebrated their five-year anniversary with him by announcing a new song they had never played live, then playing it to “keep him on his toes.”
After this unexpected event, the band continued through their standard set, playing all of their hits, including “Demon Dance” and “Say Yes To Me.” They ended with one of the first songs they wrote together as a band — “Drinking Problem” off their Tarot Classics EP. When Surfer Blood left the stage, they left The New Parish unsatisfied. But after a moment of deliberation from venue staff, they were allowed to return for an encore, consisting of “Gravity” and “Anchorage.”
Surfer Blood had the crowd in the palms of their hands, inciting jealousy in those who couldn’t see them again at Coachella, and inspiring others to check out their latest Record Store Day deal: demos and b-sides from Pythons.
Article and photos by Atreyue Ryken