“We have this real problem with longevity,” said Nada Surf bassist Daniel Lorca midway through their first set after taking over vocal duties to the French lyrics of “Là pour ça,” “Me and Matthew (lead singer Matthew Caws) met in French class when we were kids, and after all these years we still love to play together.” Nada Surf are in the midst of their Let Go 15th Anniversary Tour, playing their most beloved album in its entirety to their hometown crowd, as well as much, much more during an exhaustingly awesome second set and encore, eventually performing 31 songs in total. There was no opener, instead the night air was exclusively full of Nada classics and treasured deep cuts ascending the crowd into heaven.
They started off with the classic 2002 Let Go album from beginning to end, with the original trio all gathering to the front of the stage for its opener “Blizzard of ’77,” with Caws strumming on an acoustic while Lorca and drummer Ira Elliot chimed in with the lush chorus that define their charm. This is a band with deeply personal yet universally relatable lyrics, angelic harmonies that sail you up into the heavens, and a definitively smooth 90’s indie pop rock outs. For the second sing-along rocker “Happy Kid,” they all took their positions and were joined by guitarist Doug Gillard who has been at their side for the last several years, and who is probably best known for his work with the rowdy outfit Guided by Voices, but who also done some truly awesome solo work as well. They also had another long-time friend of the band along for the ride in the form of keyboardist Louie Lino, who also played on the Let Go album.
The first set was full of Let Go masterpieces like “Inside of Love,” “Hi-Speed Soul,” and my personal fave “Killian’s Red.” There were also lots of stories and anecdotes along the way, one of my favorites being when Matthew was talking about how it was bitter sweet this particular show was, when playing in the town where they grew up and where they started the band, at the same time as he was finally moving out of his Brooklyn apartment (he has been partially or mostly living in England to be close to his first child for some years now, but now he is officially moving there with his new bride). He continued, “I was taking the 6 train uptown to see my Mom today, and I was reminded of when I wrote this song, which was just after a break up, and I was looking out the subway window, and if you ever had the lucky opportunity, and it is timed just right, just after the 42nd Street stop on the 6, the express will ride right alongside you and it looks like you are staring at a mirror of yourself in a train, and after a couple minutes, the express will jet upwards like an angel, and you are left riding the rails alone,” and then they broke into the heart-melting classic “Neither Heaven Nor Space.”
High points of the far longer second part of the show included many other favorites like “Always Love,” “See These Bones,” as well as “Stalemate” from their first LP that also included a cover of of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” comfortably sandwiched in the middle. Then, of course, they played their big MTV hit “Popular,” as well as their mighty call to arms “Blankest Year” as their big finale with the rally cry of “Oh, fuck it, I’m gonna have a party!” It was a glorious night for their legions of devotees, and they did not disappoint.
Article: Dean Keim