“I like how you dance, you must really love music.”
You shouldn’t, but you could reduce Surfbort to a binary distinction: one side of them is provocative and spikey; the other stresses characteristics common to punk scenes but often overlooked by outsiders and voyeurs like friendship, enthusiasm and enjoyment. Dani Miller, their singer, said the line quoted above to a group of friends that were mirroring her dance moves – reminiscent of that small child who disrupted a BBC interview. Those dancing down the front were soon joined by her and her permagrin as she jumped down from the stage to mingle mid-song.
Viewed from across the concrete bunker with nods to trendy bar vacuity that is Soup, it gave that ready brek glow feeling you get when you’re a witness to people having fun and being nice to each other. Sounds corny, fully true. And the voyeurs… I showed someone a Surfbort video the other day and they called them ‘deviants’ in a pejorative way. If that’s deviance maybe we should all get a bit different. If only we had a DIY venue that catered to and incubated this type of music and attitude in Manchester.
The Brooklyn-based four-piece (two guitars, no bass) head-down shredded for forty minutes. They’re reminiscent of X, with more sing-along vocals over the three old boy Texan 80s punks reusing the three to four chord riffs of their formative decade. A more recent analogue might be Amyl and the Sniffers in their straight down the line, high energy pop-ish hardcore. Their lyrics are funny, acerbic and sometimes political.
When, two songs into the set they bust out the ‘Where’s my shit?’ opening to ‘Hippie Vomit Inhaler’ they already had the crowd eating out of their hands. As the song lurches from the thrash-inflected verse intro to the heavier chorus, people lost it. As they did when ‘Les be In Love’ mined the riff from the Nirvana song ‘Terratorial Pissings’ to back a lyric that commands people to be in love and party with occasional images of suburban Americana thrown in for good measure.
Even during aspects of their set that could be a bit cringy, a song called ‘Selfie’ might be a cliché, but it is delivered with so much cheek and so little pretentiousness that they pull it off. Not bad for a Wednesday night.
Patrick has a book out! Here’s his sales pitch: “Buy my fucking book or get your local library to order it sukkerz”