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Nada Surf @ Sonic Boom

. : : January 9th, 2008 : : .

Three years less a week ago, January 9th, 2008 was an exciting night for me. Nada Surf was playing an exclusive and intimate one-night only, in-and-out early evening acoustic concert at Toronto’s premiere record store, Sonic Boom. The band was previewing songs from the yet-to-be released album, Lucky. Although the album would be leaked online a month before its release date shortly after, only lead single See These Bones had been heard by the general public to date. It felt special to be a Nada Surf fan and living in Toronto. Also, it was a great way to test my new Christmas present to myself — my Core Sound Binaural microphones. Even the cold that I’d developed wasn’t going to keep me at bay.

In my last Nada Surf blog entry, way back when, I complained that the band had become complacent in a predictable set list — but this was before that was ever an issue. After all, with an album release only weeks away, it would have been easy to road test only new material with one or two hits to appease an antsy crowd. Also, it would have been just as easy to play nothing but the greatest hits, to remind the audience of why they liked the band so dearly, and why they should give the new disc a chance. Nada Surf toed the line perfectly, mixing the set with sneak peaks at a handful of new tracks, interspersed with the radio hits, peppered with fan favourite album tracks, and capping it off with a widely unknown b-side from a hard-to-find children’s lullaby compilation.

Matthew Caws, as amicably charming a frontman as any, bantered with the crowd throughout the generous free 50-minute set, while Ira, the band’s steadfast drummer, sat perched atop an interesting percussive contraption: what looked to be a simple wooden crate, but produced various tones of thumps, bumps and taps, depending on the force and position he would strike it. It was a great visual, and although lacking the fidelity of a full trap set, it was perfect for the intimate record store configuration of the performance.

The sound in the record store was about as clean as could be requested, and the crowd was mostly polite and enthusiastic (although, yes, you can hear people texting on their cell phones during the recording). As my premiere mix with the new mics and crude MiniDisc recording gear, my original release of this recording left a bit to be desired. So I’ve gone back in and brightened up the vocals and acoustic guitar, while ever-so-slightly dampening the sometimes too powerful percussion in this, a re-equalization of the the tape. The adjustments carry the original flaws (my occasional cough, and life perserver-esque call out of the next line when Matthew forgets the lyrics to the final song) and a newly formed hiss due to several necessary volume adjustments. However, I think this version of the recording is a vast upgrade to the original, and well-worth the download.

Short of a covers-only release and mini-tour last spring, the band has mostly kept quiet in the last few years and are well missed. I consider this, the second of my many archived Nada Surf recordings, a quick reminder of just how missed they are. Hopefully, another album and tour is one of the band’s 2011 resolutions.

01. [soundcheck / banter]
02. Whose Authority
03. Blizzard of 77
04. What Is Your Secret?
05. Here Goes Something
06. [banter]
07. I Like What You Say
08. See These Bones
09. Inside of Love
10. Always Love
11. Concrete Bed
12. 80 Windows
13. Happy Kid
14. [banter]
15. Meow Meow Lullaby

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See These Bones (Live In Toronto) [MP3 sample]


Thanks to Nada Surf, Barsuk Records and Sonic Boom for a still memorable evening.

Published inLive Recordings

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