PICTURE THIS: Nada Surf, The Soft Pack, Cuckoo Chaos, Republic of Letters @ 4th and B, San Diego 1/28/12

January 31. 2012 | By Dustin Shey

Last Saturday in San Diego, a wonderful thing happened for local music. Three bands who have been around for quite some time got the chance to open up for Nada Surf. Republic of Letters, Cuckoo Chaos, and The Soft Pack were supporting the New York based “almost pop” sensation Nada Surf.

Republic of Letters

The night began with a strong performance from Republic of Letters, a group of guys who have been playing in San Diego for nearly 6 years, did a couple of tours, and released a pretty good album last year. Though the crowd was small at 8pm when the band went on, San Diegans actually moved to the front of the rather large 4th and B to give the band their attention.

Republic of Letters

Spanning a set that reached back into some of their older tunes, Republic of Letters sounded as good as they've ever sounded as a band. Their tunes were tight, their set was swayable, and their appreciation for the opportunity to open for such a strong bill of other bands was humbling.

Republic of Letters

Republic of Letters

Cuckoo Chaos

Cuckoo Chaos was also in attendance for the evening, offering up their Paul Simon-esque sounds as an offering to the Nada Surf gods. Recently off a short tour in New York where the band sold out various shows, it was a pleasure to see that San Diego might actually give these characters a chance.

Cuckoo Chaos

Cuckoo Chaos

Although their new songs didn't raise anyones temperature by dancing, the mellow crowd seemed to enjoy the musical explorations of a band that values rhythm almost as much as it values style. Cuckoo Chaos will soon head back into the studio to record their second EP where hopefully some of the material will get shortened. It's not that the songs are too long, it's just that in a parallel universe, the band is the child of Vampire Weekend (good!), Paul Simon (great!), and Phish (obviously I'm not a fan of 7-minute songs).

Cuckoo Chaos

The Soft Pack

The Soft Pack, I was told, was completely out of their element at 4th and B. Though they've been touring the world to show off their new punk-surf sounds, a room that isn't packed where the crowd can't dance their ass off and sweat out all the booze really isn't their thing.

The Soft Pack

The Soft Pack

Before Saturday I had never heard of The Soft Pack, even if they've played the Ed Sullivan Theatre for David Letterman. And their music wasn't bad, at all. It was just misplaced in a night of pop bands that have a melody to sing. You can bet though that the next time I hear they're in a small bar with no air conditioning, I'll be the first one in line to get my surf dance moves on.

The Soft Pack

Nada Surf

Nada Surf is one of those bands I'm still surprised to hear when a fellow music lover is just discovering them. The group has seen various changes in its lineup, but still manages to keep the songs in tact. Since they've been recording songs since 1996, it's impressive to see how young this group of fellows still looks; and how fresh they play considering a 16-year career in the music business would usually lead to a plethora of drug, alcohol, and countless nights of playing the same music over and over.

Nada Surf

Nada Surf

Currently Nada Surf is finishing up their US tour, which wraps up in the states on February 8th in New York. After that they'll head on over to Europe in support of their new album The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy.

Nada Surf

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