February 23, 2008

Spring Break Shark Attack (a review)

Today I went to this big block party at the Big Top.

There were like 15 bands, most of them fantastic, but the one who stuck out the most to me was the one who played the second slot on the bill: Spring Break Shark Attack of Baton Rouge, LA.

This band transcends all expectations of what a local band can sound like, but first I'll just explain that they're an instrumental surf rock band. Right off the bat, that's something you don't often see, but something more rare is their ability to take an old style and modify it for a modern audience. This isn't a carbon copy of the Ventures we're talking about, this is a truly unique band who doesn't deserve my pigeon-holing them into the surf rock genre.

Most of their song titles have to do with shark attacks (like "Red Tide" and my personal favorite, "Army of Sharkness"), but these comical touches are just icing on top of the rich cake of pure talent that these guys possess. At times their songs transitioned to fast-beat punk sections, but without actually playing power chords (an impressive feat all it's own). At other times they had more metal sounding riffs, which made sense later when I saw one of SBSA's guitarists, Andy, playing with a down-tempo and severely down-tuned (drop F# to be exact) hardcore band called Thou (I tried to hate them but I just couldn't, I sincerely dug that band in spite of my general disgust with modern "hardcore").

SB Shark Attack also had something of a progressive quality. As a trained guitarist, I can say that both their guitarists rival and possibly excel the picking technique of their well known predecessor, Dick Dale. Their songs are well thought-out as well, and I suspect that these guys are former band nerds (takes one to know one, I guess).

Being a surf rock band, they could have easily written a bunch of songs that all sounded alike, but once again they impress in that area as well: each song really holds it's own, while sticking to the surf rock vibe. Not a task easily accomplished, hell the Ventures themselves could barely do it.

I truly cannot express how much this band's mere existence makes me hopeful of rock 'n roll's future in America.

Maybe we
don't have to grow jet black bangs that cover one eye; maybe we can wear jeans that fit properly; maybe bands can actually not suck! Check out Spring Break Shark Attack today and see for yourself (myspace.com/sharkattacksurf).

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