Posted in music on April 11, 2011

by Rachel Kowal

Beach Fossils @ MHOW - April 8, 2011 (photo by Kemet Dugue)
Beach Fossils

The line outside Music Hall of Williamsburg Friday night extended farther down the block than I had ever seen it stretch, so far in fact, that like many people, I spent the entirety of Crinkles' set standing outside, waiting to get in. But by the time Craft Spells began to play, the room was packed, which proved to be a welcome treat for the wide-eyed openers.

"What the fuck are we doing here?!" lead singer Justin Vallestero asked incredulously as he stepped up to the mic. "We've never even been to the East coast before!" And with that, they launched into their set.

It's not hard to see why Craft Spells have been generating a fair amount of buzz recently. They exhibit the same kind of easy-going, sun-tinged rock that seems to be all the rage these days, and their candid enthusiasm and wild dancing are pretty charming. But for as bouncy as the music tends to be, Vallestero's steady baritone and the surprisingly mellow backing vocals help temper the band's sound and prevent it from becoming (gasp!) too twee for general consumption.

Following Craft Spells' energetic set, the drummer jumped out from behind his kit and snapped a photo of the audience before walking off stage. That will certainly be one for the scrap book.

The 'secret' special guest of the evening elicited a wide range of responses upon taking the stage. "Oh my God! It's The Drums!" exclaimed one guy excitedly to his unimpressed female companion. "How many opening bands are there?" another concert-goer asked in exasperation. Still others couldn't seem to get past lead singer Jonathan Pierce's little-kid-like appearance. ("That shirt is just atrocious. I think I had one like it when I was like 7 in 1993.") Between his clean-cut look and wild intensity onstage, Pierce resembles a manic Zack Morris on speed.

Say what you will about their shtick or their lyrics. The Drums have come a long way since I first saw them about two years ago, and the crowd responded enthusiastically to their frenzied performance. Even the guy behind me who had initially groaned at the sight of The Drums quickly admitted to his buddies that he was into them upon witnessing just a few minutes of their set.

Following a quick intermission, Beach Fossils kicked off their set with "What a Pleasure," which features a deceptively mellow intro before giving way to a rush of guitars and drums. (Watching bass player John Pena start to twitch as he geared up for the sudden shift was pretty amusing.)

Beach Fossils may not benefit from having such a distinctive front man in their midst, but their energy was anything but lacking. Though just four members strong, they made sure to take full advantage of the spacious stage by cavorting around with wild abandon. Incidentally, they also had no trouble getting the crowd to join in on their dancing. Throughout their set, random members from the audience would leap on stage and boogie down before being ushered back into the crowd by a bouncer. Soon to my disbelief (and at lead singer Dustin Payseur's suggestion), an indie kid mosh pit broke out near the foot of the stage, at which point the guy next to me leaned in. "You're writing that down, right? People are actually moshing to a band called Beach Fossils."

Absurdities aside, I was surprised by how polished Beach Fossils sounded, especially considering their inability to stay still for more than a few seconds.

After powering through their brief set, the boys from Beach Fossils came back for a quick one-song encore ("Youth"), during which time Korvette hastily put down his guitar and wildly leapt off stage for a quick round of crowd surfing before snatching up his guitar once again as the song died out.

--

Catch the Drums again tonight, 4/11, with Matthew Dear at Knitting Factory in Brooklyn (the show is now sold out). It's their last show before they head west to play Coachella.

A live Beach Fossils video from SXSW, and one of Craft Spells playing earlier this month in Seattle, below...

--
Beach Fossils - SXSW 2011

Craft Spells - Scandinavian Crush - live in Seattle

---

      

Comments (29)

"cavorting around with wild abandon"

sounds like my friday night, as well.

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 8:48 AM

A live Beach Fossils set from October last year is to be had here:

http://www.thesoundofindie.com/tag/beach-fossils/

Posted by susy | April 11, 2011 8:49 AM

did he... throw... his bass... in the water?

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 8:51 AM

cavorting around with wild abandon

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 8:55 AM

I wish he'd thrown his bass into the mosh pit.

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 8:59 AM

people were moshing during beach fossils, but no one moshed during sebadoh last night. strange

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 9:06 AM

Great, great show!

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 9:09 AM

>>people were moshing during beach fossils, but no one moshed during sebadoh last night. strange

No moshing allowed on Sunday nights.

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 9:14 AM

matt korvette?

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 9:14 AM

beach fossils is crap. I just wasted 3 minutes of my life.

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 10:02 AM

>>people were moshing during beach fossils, but no one moshed during sebadoh last night. strange

Just goes to show you that moshing at shows in NYC is bullshit to a large degree. More a function of the level of alcohol consumed and the mood of (and jerks in) the crowd. Moshing at a Beach Fossils show is ample evidence of that.

And it works the other way around too. I was at the Sebadoh show last night; and though I'm much too old for a moshpit, I would have had no qualms with one in this case because the music warranted it (awesome show). But, maybe because it was a Sunday night, an older crowd more interested in taking in a rare appearance by a seminal and extremely talented band, they were more interested in taking in the music than taking each other's heads off!

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 10:08 AM

right, because when you're moshing you're completely disinterested in "taking in the music."

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 10:21 AM

Crinkles was really great. Too bad most people missed it.

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 10:52 AM

cavorting around with wild abandon
http://i.imgur.com/D6npa.gif

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 10:55 AM

The lead singer of The Drums is a dead ringer for the bully in The Karate Kid.

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 11:01 AM

Moshing in NYC is bullshit as compared to, say, New Jersey?

Posted by Edward | April 11, 2011 11:21 AM

i thought his name was dustin?

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 11:22 AM

"Though just four members strong, they made sure to take full advantage of the spacious stage by cavorting around with wild abandon."

Am I supposed to take this seriously?

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 11:35 AM

Funny that people are surprised to that reaction to people moshing at a Beach Fossils show. Anyone remember shit like the Neon Indian and BF show at Market Hotel last February? Either way, doesn't really matter because Beach Fossils are not very good.

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 1:26 PM


I'm not sure which is worse. That people paid money to see the Beach Fossils, or that The Drums still exist, or the writing of the "review".

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 1:39 PM

how about Cloud Nothings?

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 1:48 PM

Great show

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 5:53 PM

what a mehsure

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 6:44 PM

people probably missed crinkles because that goddamned line wasn't moving. i was in line for like 35 minutes and it wasn't even that long

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 7:55 PM

whup, shoulda read the post first

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 7:56 PM

where are the fucking pictures of this show

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 8:14 PM

every single beach fossils song sounds exactly the same....exactly....the....same....

Posted by Anonymous | April 11, 2011 9:30 PM

Great show! The drummer is technically a genius! Good connection with the people, specially the second guitar guy. (sorry, Im very bad with names). It won't hurt if they lower the music volume and let the voices stand out a little bit more.

Posted by Gus | April 12, 2011 9:11 AM

seriously. where are the pictures BV

Posted by Anonymous | April 16, 2011 4:08 AM

Leave a Comment