Indie rock legends Nada Surf are back to their NYC homeland and playing a number of shows around town in support of their new album Never Not Together including this sold out performance at Music Hall of Williamsburg that I was blessed to catch. The new disc is out on February 7th and the concept appears to center on the search for connection in a world gone mad, which feels like a perfect chance for the guys to spin their trademark tender harmonies and catchy hooks to sow a yet another perfectly golden tapestry.
Indie folk artist Aaron Lee Tasjan opened the show with a solo acoustic set that kept the crowd laughing and left heartstrings pulled. This Nashville singer/songwriter alternates between trippy psychedelia, country crooning, and wacky jester with great ease. His mix sounds like if Arlo Guthrie, Herman’s Hermits, and Beck tripped out on acid and make an album together. He has a number of releases under his belt, and his last album Karma For Cheap was an absolute hoot, and the new songs sound more wonderfully divine.
Nada had been a fixture of the NYC indie music scene since the early 90’s until they were “discovered” by The Cars’ Ric Ocasek back in 1996 and suddenly propelled to international mega-stardom. Since then they’ve been consistently releasing angelically harmonic and pristinely poetic albums and have proven to be one of the few bands that just seem to keep getting better with age. For this outing, the founding trio of frontman/guitarist Matthew Caws, bassist Daniel Lorca, and drummer Ira Elliot are joined by their longtime friend and collaborator Louie Lino on keyboards. For this show they also had more backing from guitarist and composer Phillip Peterson, who has been their orchestral man for ages, and Doug Gillard, their lead guitarist from the last few tours and albums, who will also be on tour with his other band Guided By Voices again this Spring.
They played a blissfully blended mix of new songs like their gorgeous new single “So Much Love” as well as songs from all over their career like “Inside of Love,” “Blonde on Blonde,” “Always Love,” “See These Bones,” “Blizzard of ’77,” and, of course, their ode to party “Blankest Year” as the closer. The moment that really brought the house down was their rendition of the Cars’ “Just What I Needed” which made for the perfect upbeat tribute to Ric Ocasek who recently passed away, and made everything come full circle back to the beginning.
Article: Dean Keim