This year marks twenty years since New York-based Nada Surf released their debut album High/Low with its spoken-word rocker “Popular” blasting onto airwaves. However, unlike many other rock bands from the 90’s, Nada Surf is not touring with a twentieth anniversary play through of their debut album. Instead, Matthew Caws and co. are currently promoting their excellent, eighth studio album You Know Who You Are (REVIEW). Friday night saw them playing to an energetic, sold-out audience at The Parish with Ozma’s bass player Daniel Brummel filling in for Daniel Lorca, who is taking time off from touring.
Opening the show was the first track from their new album “Cold To See Clear”, which after a short duration of Caws singing slowly over his guitar, was soon joined with a pounding rhythm section that brought forth the energy that would carry through the rest of the night. Much of the night was rightfully dominated by songs from the new album. “Rushing” and “New Bird” were a couple of the highlights from that selection of songs, translating into great live songs that had some audience members jumping up and down and singing.
Throughout the course of the night, every album saw some play time, with the exception of 2010’s cover album If I Had a Hi-Fi. The inclusion of “80 Windows” from The Proximity Effect had some fans yelling with enthusiasm, as it has only been performed sparingly since 2012. While most of their past albums received a song or two on the setlist, 2002’s breakout album Let Go was given an appropriately disproportionate amount of play time. If the poppy “Happy Kid” and the speedy rocker “The Way You Wear Your Head” had the crowd excited, it was nothing compared to the energetic reception to “Inside of Love”. Before starting the song, Caws asked the audience to sway back-and-forth “…because it will look really cool.” Within moments of Caws strumming the reverb laden chords, even the most resistant person in the audience was swaying and singing along with everyone else. Before launching into “Blonde on Blonde”, Caws told the audience how he came up with the song as he was walking in the rain listening to Dylan’s masterpiece on his Discman. After a short break, the band returned launching into the rocker “Hyperspace” from The Proximity Effect. This was followed up with the obligatory “Popular” which had the audience in a frenzy.
Though Nada Surf has mostly been an under the radar band for much of their career, the dedication of their fans more than makes up for any lack of commercial success. Whether they were playing new material, favorites from Let Go, or selections from their other albums, every song was greeted with enthusiasm and anywhere you looked someone was singing along. With Caws’ ability to write such introspective lyrics, it’s safe to say that everyone there had their own song that speaks to them personally.