He asked if there were drink tickets. The bartender nodded, saying that the band could have wine now, and then beers on stage. Neither of those options would work for Stockton’s Surf Club, whose members were all sporting big black X’s — the mark of the underaged — at their Café Du Nord Noise Pop appearance.
When Surf Club played, melancholic Stratocaster led pop, that youthful innocence was obvious in its music. Well, let’s not say innocence, maybe timidity? The lead singer was a big guy with a small voice, like Frank Black (or Kim Deal? someone from the Pixies) in quieter moments.
The softness fit with the lyrics, mostly teen angst songs void of irony with small goals and wants: just to be friends, just to get out of bed. Surf Club seems to be off to a good start, keeping it simple, strumming along to a speedy drum beat. We’ll see what happens when the shyness wears off. The following band, LA’s FIDLAR (which, if you’re keeping score at home was 75% over legal drinking age) had absolutely no issues with confidence. Hell, with a name like Fuck It Dog Life’s A Risk, you know the band’s got to be somewhat carefree, if not downright cocky.
“This song is called ‘Stoked and Broke,’” the band’s most talkative, spastic member introduced the first song, explaining, “because we’re stoked and broke.” What followed was a frenetic set of punk fueled, stripped down rock. With a rollicking tightness that reminded me of Thee Oh Sees, FIDLAR shot along, keeping the energy up by alternating singers.
Simple can be a conscious choice, and for FIDLAR that meant shouting through a song entirely consisting of the words “I drink cheap beer. So what? Fuck You!” with just enough attitude to make it work. Recently signing to Mom+Pop and with a full slate at this year’s SXSW, FIDLAR was definitely one of the better surprises at Noise Pop so far.