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…and you will know us by the trail of dead, Surfer Blood [5/5/11]

Contrary to its modern day significance, Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration of cerveza, tacos, or Lee Trevino. In fact, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the vastly outnumbered Mexican militia’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Only appropriate on this day, then, to take in a show featuring bands whose names invoke images of a massacre.  

And what a massacre it was. By the end of the show, the death toll included one guitar, countless strings, a drum set, my ear drums, and any notion that TOD had abandoned the vigor which makes their music “absolutely classic.”

Surfer Blood lead-crooner John Paul Pitts prefaced the slaughter, waltzing back and forth across the stage, serenading anyone within arms-reach, and wishing bandmate Thomas Fekete a happy birthday. John must have given him a guitar for his birthday, because Thomas ended the set by destroying his guitar and nearly punching a hole in what looked like a ridiculously expensive Vox hand-wired amp.

Hanging Ten.

“Shattered Vibes.”

TOD’s set followed the arc of their best songs: perceived serenity evolving into calculated pandemonium. Insanity was an understatement. Jason Reece, who opened the set playing guitar, would spend time crowd surfing during verses as lead singer and giving current drummer Jaime Miller a run for his money while behind the kit. Conrad Keely also took a turn on drums between power stances on his monitor while belting out TOD classics like “Caterwaul” and “Totally Natural.” It was a tremendous performance. Count me amongst the dead.

Conrad says “hey.”

Closing it out with a set dive.

Next up, Nelsonville Music Festival!

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