Live: The Drums And Surfer Blood Confound At Bowery Ballroom


Not a scene from Napoleon Dynamite

The Drums/Surfer Blood
Bowery Ballroom
Wednesday, January 13

So the Drums, near as I can figure it, consist of four pretty-boy villains from cheesy ’80s movies who’ve banded together to play twangy, relentlessly peppy new-wave with a canned backing track of overzealous synths and robust whistling, featuring a half-pouting/half-preening frontman astride two jaunty guitar players, one of whom occasionally indulging in tambourine playing of such outsized zest and pizzazz as I lack the verbal acumen to accurately describe. Sample stage banter: “This next song, I wrote in my bathtub.” Sample chorus: “I thought that my life would get easier/Instead it’s getting harder.” The young lady from the Pains of Being Pure at Heart comes out to sing a duet on a song entitled “Don’t Be a Jerk, Johnny,” which is the frontman’s name. Let me just say that prior to this show I believed this video, in which the two primary Drums perform poorly at a track meet to much self-loathing/cute-girl disdain/intra-band wan fisticuffs, was ironic or a put-on of some kind, but now I’m not sure so sure etc. etc. My head hurts.

Our old friends Surfer Blood, on the other hand, continue to do their (somewhat winsomely) plodding crunchy faux-Weezer power-pop thing, all very prim and studious-looking save a Chris Cornell impersonator on extra drums, maracas, and super-intrusive Moog. (He should really be in the Drums, but his hair is just ludicrous.) They dedicate a song to Jay Reatard with the opening line “We could have been the best of friends.” I doubt it. To avoid further discordant quasi-harmonies, I would strongly recommend confiscating every microphone except the lead singer’s, and come to think of it I wouldn’t rule that one out either. Ow ow ow ow my head ow ow ow ow.

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