Even though the weather here in Philly might not be fully ready to acknowledge it, we’re in the throes of Summer. On Tuesday night, the humidity was certainly in the right place as Cayucas, PAPA and Sun Club brought the surf-pop party to a small, yet appreciative crowd at Boot & Saddle. After an afternoon of torrential downpours, the skies cleared for a bit as the sun sank, and the three bands reminded us that longer, warmer days are here.
First up were the Baltimore boys of Sun Club. Ever since seeing them tear the roof of the legendary 9:30 Club in DC, I’ve been in love with these guys, and putting them on a bill with Cayucas made this show an absolute must-see. Before the show, I chatted briefly with the guys. Getting to know them reveals that the earnestness that they put into their music is just a reflection of their collective characters. During our chat they regularly interrupt each other, or finish sentences that started to drag. It’s obvious that they’re five best friends, doing something awesome every day. They’re giddy on playing the music they love, and about the fact that they just wrapped their first headlining tour this spring — “Mostly basements and tiny places, but it was just so much fun,” says frontman Shane McCord.
The East Coast isn’t really known for its surf-music scene, that’s something which California both invented and perfected. Sun Club is putting their foot in the waters of a different shore and making waves, all based out of the ever-eclectic Baltimore. “Yeah, the sound is really reflective of our environment. We all grew up in Maryland, on boats and stuff, so that feel – the water, the sun, all that – comes out naturally when we write music.” Incorporated into the sunny sound is a gritty, almost-punk aesthetic as well. McCord laughs when I mention it and says “Well that’s the suburban background that some of us bring, we had to get out, to get to the city, ya know?”
Gathering buzz – and new management – at this year’s South By Southwest, the future looks bright for the Baltimore boys. This fall promises time in the studio to record a full-length follow up to January’s EP Dad Claps at the Mom Prom, as well as the possibility of a short European tour. I can’t help but project them as a Maryland version of our own hometown boys, The Districts. Watch out for them in the future, and don’t let strange track titles dissuade you from adding Sun Club to your beach playlist this year.
Hitting the stage, Sun Club gives it everything that they’ve got. All of the yelps, chants, and yips found in their exuberant songs are amplified tenfold, live. Guitarists McCord and Mikey Powers leap about the small stage at the Boot, with McCord’s hips gyrating when he needs to remain stationary to use the mic. Multi-instrumentalist Kory Johnson switches back and forth between a floor tom and a keyboard with seasoned fluidity, sometimes even playing both at the same time. Continue reading →