SURFBORT: A Punk Rock Circus
Written by Nina Biel on November 10, 2018
On November 7th, the Wonder Ballroom welcomed Black Lips and IceAge, but to put a fun spin on this night of hard rock, the band Surfbort started off the night. Surfbort is a 4-piece garage rock n’ roll band hailing for Brooklyn, NY. “Surfbort”, which is actually the name of an intercourse position (search it on Urban Dictionary for a good laugh), definitely was a stand-out for their style and energetic sound.
As the band made their way onto stage, I felt like I was sucked back into the 1980’s. Every member was sporting a mullet proudly, and dressed in the proper 1980’s rock attire. Their 80’s style being so on-point isn’t surprising when you realize that most of the band members actually lived through this time period. Alex Kilgore and David R. Head Jr. who play guitar, and Sean Powell on the drums, are all in their 40s-50s. Even with the major dad vibes, these guys are still cooler than most people in their 20s. To bring the energy, the band is led by lead vocalist Dani Miller, who is obviously the star of the show. Dani stands out against conventional standards of beauty: her missing teeth, long black mullet, eyeliner wings past her eyebrows, silver glitter doc martens that match Powell’s drum set, and sweat pants that have a variety of photos of pornography scenes, but with all the females wearing clown face paint.
Her lyrics are direct and to-the-point. There are more reminders of reminders of early 80’s punk with powerful guitar strums and songs that blatantly scream “F*** the government”, our polluted air, sex, and screaming about honest experiences
Alex Kilgore sang along while playing his vintage SG Junior, and David R. Head Jr. focused on playing his Gibson ES335 guitar with silver P90 pickups. The guitars added a classic punk straightforward and aggressive sound, but still with fun energy. Powell gave power to each song with his fast and steady drum beats.
Dani described the next song to be about her need to meditate. “High Anxiety” put the feeling of having an anxiety attack into physical sound form. She screamed, “Having an Attack!” while drums were hit and vicious guitar riffs were played. It was hard not to head bang.
Miller is the ring leader in this punk-rock circus, holding the cord of the microphone like a baton, conducting her band and leading the crowd. Despite the sound of the 80’s music and the hair styles, she holds the microphone and walks around the stage in the style of rap and hip-hop artists. Dani isn’t afraid to make direct eye contact with you as she walks and jumps around the stage. She’s brash, in your face, and creates an environment of energy.
Despite her intensity, Dani encouraged all female-identifying crowd members to come up to the front and mosh for their most well-received song from the crowd, “Les Be in Love”. The friendliness of this gesture was contradictory to the “punk” nature of the songs, as this pit still had vibes of happy, accepting energy while shoving and elbowing the person next to you.
Surfbort has been opening for popular bands such as Leftover Crack, DIIV, The Garden, Thee Oh Sees, Dune Rats, and the Growlers. After tonight’s show, I could see the future potential of Surfbort’s 80’s punk revival, uniqueness, and fun energy in their music, so keep these guys on your radar.
Here’s their music video for “Les Be in Love”:
Keep updated of their tour and antics by following them on Instagram (@therealsurfbort) and check out their newest debut album Friendship Music, out now on Spotify and Bandcamp.
Written by Nina Bielawski (@niinaneptune // Host of KPSU’s B-REEL)
Photography by: Parker Day and Carly Adams