For a band who have such a melodic sound, Surfer Blood has gone through a lot of tough times.
From frontman John Paul Pitts being arrested on domestic battery charges (since dropped) in 2012, to the death of founding guitarist Thomas Fekete from a rare form of cancer last year, the Floridian indie-rockers have gone through more in their thus-far short careers than most bands will ever experience in a lifetime.
Returning with Snowdonia, their first new album since Fekete’s tragic passing, and the departure of longtime bassist Kevin Williams, they stop off at Broadcast at the midway point of an extensive European tour.
Broadcast is only half full as the band come onstage and launch into an instrumental opener as a glorified line check.
Despite the lack of numbers in the crowd, the band are not disheartened, asking if those who have made the effort to come out this evening are “ready to party”, despite it being a Monday night.
The Floridian four-piece are clearly up for it tonight with the likes of ‘Island’ sounding like there are a thousand guitars playing on it, and the Weezer-esque ‘Floating Vibes’ sounding equally as raucous.
The band pay tribute to their former bandmate and friend Fekete on a dark rendition of ‘Six Flags For F or G’ before the frantic verses of ‘Taking Care Of Eddy’ give way to the most poppy-sounding chorus of the evening.
A band name like Surfer Blood doesn’t necessarily give off the impression that they’ll be the friendliest bunch, however this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Despite the words “BAD ASS MOTHERS” being taped onto the bass drum, vocalist Pitts may well be the most polite frontman ever, consistently chatting with audience members and even coming into the small pit, which has been consistently bouncy throughout the evening, to dance with them on ‘Take It Easy’.
His pleasantries, however, do not extend to the newly-elected US President Donald Trump, whom ‘Matter Of Time’ is dedicated to as “the smartest man in the world… not”.
The band continue the party atmosphere on set-closer ‘Swim’, with a member of support act Pip Bløm ending up onstage on cowbell duties as the show draws to its conclusion.
Surfer Blood absolutely nail it tonight, the Snowdonia material slots in perfectly amongst the older favourites, and the new additions to the lineup help give them a much heavier depth.
This is the sound of a band who have come through horrible circumstance and triumphed.
Words: Graham McCucker