SadGirl At Zebulon With Love Fiend And The Crudes, Saturday December 28th 2019
Zebulon was the site of a joyful riot on Saturday night, the kids had lined up outside for a long time when I arrived at the small Frogtown venue, but many of them could not get in as they were told the 300-capacity club was at capacity. SadGirl was playing a free show and the band has visibly become one of the kids’ favorites. I am certainly not a kid anymore but I could get in and while using my camera as a good excuse, I made my way to the front, on a side the stage, because I knew the middle of the scene would be totally unbearable… and I wasn’t mistaken.
Before SadGirl, two bands were opening, Love Fiend and The Crudes, which warmed up the crowd with their two very different styles.
Love Fiend, a band from Oakland formerly named The Radio Fliers, had a few things going on at the same time: a sort of ‘70s tempo, a muddy bass, an occasional dissonant sax, some infectious beats, and a keyboard at the top of all this while building hypnotic grooves, completed by the badass and morose delivery of the singer. It was some unusual music, a fun and original brand of rock ‘n’ roll while the singer’s vocals were commanding the scene and carrying their grooves like a rock god of the past.
The Crudes played some unexpected sonic amalgam, a graveling rap over smooth jazz and sexy bass, wobbling keys, and an R&B vibe with a raucous east LA accent rapping into autotune… They surely wanted everyone to have fun, they were so happy to play their original music in front of a larger crowd, and they brought people on stage to celebrate their ‘west coast-east of the city’ friendly spirit.
But everyone was there for SadGirl at Zebulon, as well as their handsome and talented frontman Misha Lindes. The music was romantic and very catchy, and they played a long set of surf guitar instrumentals, passionate songs with a bleeding heart on the sleeve, whose sad lyrics were shouted at the top of everyone’s lungs. SadGirl has certainly one foot in the 60s nostalgia (even ’50s at times) and you can even pick here and there some Phil Spector or doo-wop inspiration, but the idea is surf-punk with the physic of a movie star and much much gritter guitars. As soon they played ‘Feel Like Shit’, it was a tsunami of bodies banging the edge of the stage and a constant crowd surfing, ‘Jack the Ripper’, straight from a best-of Dick Dale, triggered even more chaos while the 60s-inspired ‘Breakfast for 2’ was a sweaty singalong with a choir of screaming girls.
SadGirl is a quartet but singer Misha was certainly the center of all the attraction, while the girls were singing very loudly all the lyrics of the older songs, and the new ones I must say. SadGirl’s latest album,‘ Water’ was released this summer, with a title perfectly summing up their surfy influences and songs reflecting their diverse inspirations. But Misha has known the business since childhood as his dad, Hal Lindes, played for Dire Straits in the ‘80s before becoming a session guitarist and a composer of music for movies.
Everyone in the band and the crowd was having a blast, slowing down with a sexy languor during the new ones like ‘Water’, ‘Little Queenie’ or ‘Chlorine’ which introduced a nice sax solo, and a moment to breathe for all these crowd surfers. Meanwhile, the next ones ‘Ready for Nothing’ or ‘Swine’ were making once again big splashes in the water, and ‘Take Me Home’ was alternating sweet moments and speedy exhilarating accelerations, summing up in one song the entire show.
Throughout the set, there was a hook galore, no doubt about it, and the band was not afraid to go completely retro with the doo-wop-y ‘Breakfast is Over’ sung with plenty of conviction while the crowd surfers barely stopped.. it was a total anomaly, a complete aberration to have this sweaty, steamy punk show with these sweet retro melodies. But don’t get me wrong, it never sounded outdated, the whole thing resonated with a fierce romanticism and a youthful joy.
Setlist of Sadgirl at Zebulon
Feel Like Shit
Jack the Ripper
Breakfast for 2
Norma & Jessica
Ready for Nothing
Take Me Home
Sex in Sleep
Breakfast is Over