Dani Miller, lead singer of the band Surfbort walked along the line to admit ticket holders into the Lodge Room moments before the doors opened and the words, “Rainbow Vampires” flashed in my mind. She walked the length of the line, glowing with gratitude, admiring and complimenting people’s mullets, liberty spikes and band t-shirts. A seemingly accidental but extremely willing ambassador to an underground garage/trash punk music scene that lives in venues, on vinyl and is powered by the internet.
This was my second time seeing Surfbort. I knew what to expect and I was excited to see it at the Lodge Room. Not only did Surfbort exceed every expectation with a powerfully energetic, command performance but every band on the bill was well rehearsed and the energy in the room was kinetic, cathartic and joyful.
First up was was Shamon Cassette, a departure from the punk vibes of the rest of the evening…or was it? The eccentric MC vibes of Shamon Cassette smacked of Kool Keith/Dr Octagon, both in vocal cadence and eccentricity. The band was more difficult to pigeonhole but no less formidable. People who came to slam dance began crip walking and the psychedelic vibes that surround the flow were a good way to warm up the crowd.
The Freakees truly set the tempo for the evening with airtight hardcore punk that musically, gave me Dead Kennedy and Minor Threat vibes. The Freakees lead singer gesticulated, spasm’d and seemingly had a nervous breakdown with each line of every song and moved like a cracked out Mick Jagger or Iggy Pop.
The big revelation of the night had to NIIS, though. Damn. Melodic banshees and unabashed metaphorical murder by music. Furious. All of which sounds bad but is actually amazing. To comment on the glamorous and trashy aesthetic would be a cheap way to start a review because if you were to just close your eyes and listen, you would understand that this band sounds even better than they look-but their look is intoxicating. Singer and prototypical front woman, Mimi SanDoe with her fiery locks, fishnets and ferocity completely owned the stage, along with compatriots McGuffin and Najera. It would minimize the impact of their own presence to mention one of the highlights of their set was Dani Miller coming out for a duet but nonetheless, it happened.
Finally, Surfbort. The reasons why Surfbort became darlings of the pop underground aren’t difficult to understand once you see their live show. Their grittiness is much more polished now but Surfbort still retain the raw power that guided their ascension. The pit erupted the first time Miller shouted, “Fuck the Government” during the song “Sunshine”. There was a lost and found in the middle of the pit filled with shoes and protective football gear someone shed in the melee but the Lodge Room staff of elves would periodically attack the floor with a mop so that injuries of slipping punks would be kept to a minimum. A good time was had by all.
Despite the security guard that kept attempting to bounce credentialed photographer, Taylor Wong, the night was a win for everyone. For the bands, the Lodge Room and in particular, paid ticket holders.
Words by: Danny Baraz
Photos by: Taylor Wong