CRYSTAL ANTLERS + SURFER BLOOD @ MAPLE AVE LOFT
Remember that amazing loft space on Maple Ave that looks like a New York flat, which Peter Bjorn and John played their secret show in? Well here we are again, for a secret show consisting of two extremely talented bands; Crystal Antlers and Surfer Blood. I owe my life to Sean Carlson because he never fails to give me the greatest shows imaginable. I don’t know how he pulls off such amazing bands, at awesome locations, for such great costs (AND he manages to provide the people with free beer).
I arrived 10 minutes to 10:30, when the show would kick off. A woman began yelling at everyone saying, “I am going to call the LAPD and this show is cancelled everyone go home!” My immediate tactless response was “She’s totally on her period, pee on her face!” I stood with the men in charge, and listened to Sean over the phone saying she can’t do this, and everyone should just run up to the 6th floor where the show was. We ran on in, with our fool-proof plan, and we were welcomed by the two bands just sitting around trying to figure out how to get some music playing before they started. Jonny Bell of Crystal Antlers said, “Anyone have an ipod?” and this exact moment being one of my musical fantasies, I said “Yes I do!” Cora Foxx, also of Crystal Antlers, and I tried to figure out a way for me to DJ. I hooked up my ipod, and played a playlist that got the crowd flowing. As if I wasn’t happy enough, Crystal Antlers began playing after just 3 songs off of my playlist, and the FYFestivities began.
Crystal Antlers initiated playing “Knee Deep,” a song fitting to be played at night time on a carousel in the middle of the city. The guitar definitely takes a hold of this song, with the clear passionate vocals of Jonny. Next they played “Summer Solstice,” where Cora and the drummer Kevin Stuart shine with drums that force your hips to sway, and keys that make you swoon. Everyone was definitely on point, and Jonny’s vocals were again heard perfectly. The percussionist Damian Edwards was hitting hard and strong, while dancing and giving his energetic vibe to the audience. They followed with “Two Way Mirror,” another song that is addictively dance inducing and compelling. The whole band got energized for this one, which affected the crowd as well. Lastly they bestowed upon us “Baby Blue” a Bob Dylan cover. They do this song wonderfully, a faster paced harder version of Dylan’s. It was a nice way to end their set, with something that sounded completely different from the previous songs, to amuse all of those Dylan fans bustling about in the loft space.
Surfer Blood commenced their set with all songs from their album Astro Coast and three new songs. First was “Fast Jabroni,” a wonderful upbeat song that wakes you up. J.P the singer/guitarist moves while he is playing as if he is posing, as he sways back and forth and stops in different directions. He embodies his music, and everyone joins in. Next up was “Floating Vibes,” a song that has a heavy Sonic Youth sound, yet it still has a surf influence. The drums are at a medium tempo, and the guitar has that subtle distortion that personifies grunge. J.P thanked us saying, “Thank you guys all for coming out, I know there’s a lot of confusion. It’s that damn basketball game.” as they went in to the next tune ‘Twin Peaks,” which is playful and tropical, yet hard and commanding at the same time. J.P. said “Everyone say your favorite team in unison. 1 2 3 BASKETBALL!” which roused up the crowd for the next song. This song is new, and J.P. told me that it doesn’t have a name yet. It sounded like it upped the ante from their first album, staying true to their sound but becoming a bit more powerful. They followed it with their most well known song “Take it Easy,” and it sounded fucking amazing. This song is definitely something that no one can deny in terms of dancing, with that surf tropical resonance. They played “Swim,” which was well received by the audience and played with effortless energy. Another new song entitled “I’m Not Ready,” was played next, and the crowd seemed to like it just as much as their well known songs. They played “Catholic Pagans” after that, a song that absolutely bleeds surf. We couldn’t get enough, and J.P. said “Another new song, why not,” and played another phenomenal untitled. They ended their perfect set with my utter favorite “Anchorage,” and I sang along devotedly as the crowd bounced. This song is also very Sonic Youth influenced, therefore it’s lovable and gets in your head. It is unquestionable that Surfer Blood bleeds surf, and Crystal Antlers, crystallizes antlers?
—Alyssa Holland (words + photos)