Beach Fossils @ the Biltmore Cabaret 7/10/17
Brooklyn-bred lo-fi indie rock band Beach Fossils hit up Vancouver’s Biltmore Cabaret on July 10th with a decent new album to promote, a general playfulness about them and a bit of an obnoxious edge.
“We have something motherfucking hard coming down the pipeline,” said frontman Dustin Payseur to the packed room that Monday night.
Right off the bat the group joked with the audience, pretending to be the band opening for the Beach Fossils. This was possibly because they believed a lot of people in that room didn’t know who they were. Or maybe they just really wanted to mess with everyone. Either way, that joke did not let up, and they even kept with it three quarters of the way through their set saying, “We’ve got a few more for you and then Beach Fossils will be up!”
On the musical side of things, the group was tight. Their discography is packed with atmospheric, slightly poppy personal anthems that play around with spoken word and various instruments including the trumpet and saxophone. This makes for a varied and progressive live set. From “Generational Synthetic” to the new “This Year” from their most recent album Somersault, the group proves that they don’t dwell strictly within the lines of one specific genre. It is odd to see them perform, however, and liken their quality to that of peer and sometimes collaborator Wild Nothing like many critics do. The latter is definitely more floaty and euphoric in his song construction while Beach Fossils have maintained a garage band feel, especially as far as live performances go. Wild Nothing’s own set last year at the Biltmore could not have been more different from the Beach Fossils’.
“Down the Line” and their classic “Sleep Apnea” got big reactions from the audience, who persisted in trying to create a mosh pit throughout the entire show. This was for the most part ineffective, but the spirit behind it was encouraging for the band. Guitarist Tommy Davidson was in fine form, providing some of the most wicked wailing guitar hooks of the evening. The group’s strength is definitely in the guitar weaving between Davidson and Payseur—never ones to shy away from being string heavy. Third founding member Jack Doyle Smith was an enigma that night with dark sunglasses, a towel periodically draped over his head and sporadically choosing to don a trumpet. Near the end of the evening, beauty tracks “Careless” and “Daydream” brought the chillwave tendencies of the band to the forefront.
“My brain’s been in the microwave,” said Payseur to the crowd at the end of the evening. Based on the hyper quality of the guys’ performances that night, this was quite possibly true. The whole set made the room feel like it was actually someone’s basement in an old Brooklyn house.