Monday, 22 February 2010

574 NADA SURF, Ashton Lane, London WC2 Borderline, Thursday 26 September 2002

Another gig at the Borderline! This time we were up for some serious rock, however, as opposed to the recent acoustic interludes there. Nada Surf, last espied in Boston in October 2000, were finally playing a UK gig we can get to; they did one at The Monarch in June this year - the night we flew to Boston!

Anyway, we enthusiastically hit the road at 6.15 with friends, parking up in the Bush as usual and nearly hitting a pizza delivery motorbike in the process of doing a U turn into a parking space! Hit the venue at 8.30, completely failing to sell our spare ticket. A sell-out this may have been, but no touts or ticketless fans were milling about. Bah! Chatted through Ashton Lane's singularly inappropriate and very wallpaper-like Sheryl Crow strum-along country opening set.

Nada Surf were on at 9.45 sharp, kicking off with "Blizzard Of 77", the acoustic opener of new album "Let Go", followed up immediately with the insistent groove of splendidly named new single "The Way You Wear Your Head", with its' Cheap Trick lyrical steal. The Surf are very hook-laden, intelligent and emotive, and their sound thrillingly mixes post-Grunge American rock with a more textural moody sound, harking back to the likes of Pale Saints and even strum-along pseudo-Goth types Modern English! That said, the set, initially drawn primarily from their new and comparatively understated CD, took awhile to catch fire, but when it did, it blistered with a fierce vengeance. The watershed was the magnificent, brooding emotional wound that is "80 Windows", sung with heart and feeling by an extremely good singer (not only a vocalist) in Matthew Caws. Easily the best number currently in their canon, and in this set, but thereafter Nada Surf were magnificent; a smooth rock machine, operating with depth and emotion. The breathless adrenaline rush of "Hyperspace" approached "80 Windows" for brilliance, and they climaxed the set with a couple of newies. Nothing from "High/Low", their first CD, but they more than made up for it. Overall, a quite superb gig!

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