Surfer Blood, Spam All Stars, and Ketchy Shuby Go DWNTWN, October 14

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See the full 32-photo DWNTWN Concert Series with Surfer Blood at Bayfront Park slideshow.

Surfer Blood

With Spam Allstars and Ketchy Shuby

As part of the DWNTWN Concert Series

Bayfront Park

Friday, October 14, 2011

Better Than: A falafel on a cold night.

Under an almost full, waning moon, on Biscayne Bay, Surfer Blood managed to create an enthusiastic onstage mosh pit at a family-friendly night. As part of the DWNTWN concert series, the internationally famous, almost local WPB band hasn't forgotten their roots, playing a free show last night alongside DJ Spam and the Spam All Stars and Ketchy Shuby.

We asked J.P. Pitts of Surfer Blood why they were doing the show. He said, "We're here in downtown Miami partying it up for the DWNTWN concert series. We really wanted to give something back to the South Florida community."

Hundreds of people kicked back on folding chairs, grass, and blankets, munching on treats from the Ms Cheezious and Alphabite food trucks. Kids ran wildly around, getting high on the Miami Children's Museum's bounce house.

Pop, blues band Ketchy Shuby introduced their song "Smile" by saying, "I wrote it after having a lot of pixie sticks," and a guy sitting up front said loudly to his friends, "He's talking about cocaine." Which was strange, because it didn't seem like he was. It seemed like this band actually eats pixie sticks for fun. One enthusiastic young kid christened the area in front of the stage with an impromptu dance and an old guy joined in.

As the sun set, the Spam All Stars went into full all star effect. They played a really long set, breaking it down at the end. People danced the whole time, dads with daughters, friends with friends. couples. They are one of a handful of bands whose flute is lovely and not creepy or annoying. They started off with old familiars then moved on to a more psychedelic sound. Though the Latin fusion sound isn't as popular as it once was, these guys are still incredibly talented and timeless.

The MC of the night was Sam Baum from Overthrow who managed to be amusing throughout the evening. He said of DJ Spam and the Spam All Stars, "Pretty much everything that is Miami distilled into one funky jam band."

During the Surfer Blood set, there was one successful crowd surf, one mini-mosh pit, multiple failed crowd surfs, at least four dorky white dudes dancing onstage, and then a whole shit ton of fans who rushed the stage.

It started out a lot different though with a bunch of kids sitting staring up at Surfer Blood lovingly from the ground. Though the set began kind of laid back, there were some moments of real beauty in the music that came through before the children, uh, before the fans got to their feet to vibe with the band.

With Pitts' falsetto and mini screams during songs like "Floating Vibes" and "Twin Peaks," they almost had a surf rock Morrissey sound (There is no higher compliment from a converse-wearing, distressed while girl than Morrissey, btw). Other influences sort of started to creep in after that, ones that a younger crowd appreciated. There were some funny Weezerish lyrics in there like, "Sometimes you make me sing Amazing Grace, you know it's my favorite song."

Before their brief punk number "Miranda" Pitts said, "We're from West Palm Beach, think of us as your local band, kind of." Which is nice to hear from a guy who's opening for the Pixies. After that, they quietly asked everyone to stand up, and people did and danced. It was a little while before the stage was rushed and Pitts played The Star-Spangled Banner to end the show.

The night nicely transitioned from one vibe to the next and incorporated different crowds into one space for a very DWNTWN experience.

The Crowd: Old people, babies, lots of white kids in their very early 20s.

Something you didn't know: J.P. Pitts is also known as Jock_Rock_420.

Personal Bias: Bona Drag is one ofmy favorite albums.

Set List (almost complete)
"Floating Vibes"
"Twin Peaks"
"I'm One of the Girls"
"Fast Jabroni"
"Take It Easy"
"I'm Not Ready"

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