Sometime in 1996, I bought the first Nada Surf LP. Yes, I bought it for that one song. But, unbeknownst to me, it was the start of my love affair with the band.
But, admittedly, I wouldn’t fall in love with the group until 2003, with the quiet release of Let Go. Notable releases from the same year included Echoes by the Rapture and Meadowlands by the Wrens (among countless others). Somehow, this LP has always stuck by me; of every record released in 2003 it’s the one I still listen to the most (with Ted Leo and the Wrens right behind). It was the perfect pop album, coming at the perfect time in my life.
Saturday night, Nada Surf brought that entire album to life. Surprisingly, I still know every single word to that album, and I sang along throughout the entirety of the first set, other than La Pour Ca (I don’t speak French). Personal favorites like “Blonde on Blonde” sounded as crisp as ever, and I was reminded just how much I love “Killian’s Red.” It’s funny, the ominous tones of that track never quite clicked as much as they did beneath the fog machine and blue lighting of 3Ten. Still, the band went through it in a business-like fashion, never missing a beat, with a few moments of charm added in like Ira and Daniel sharing a mic to open with Blizzard of 77′ backing vocals.
The latter half of the set was filled to the brim with countless numbers from the band’s past and present, even throwing in a Joy Division medley for a moment to charm the audience. And when they ended the evening, it never really ended, as they took it all out to the streets for a late evening serenade. Pretty sure every one left the evening reflective and pleased.
And for what its worth, my night ended with me feeling grateful for all the pop bands still hanging in out there. Nada Surf may never have gotten the critical acclaim, but they just kept writing great songs. They’re still here writing, whilst trends and hip acts have faded away. And as for Saturday night, they gave us a little of it all, reminding me of a never-ending love affair that began in 1996 at the Best Buy near my house.