“We were last here six years ago,” Matthew Caws, lead singer of Nada Surf, stated to the crowd on Monday evening. A packed crowd, meaning I couldn’t see one spot of space from my vantage point on the second level of the Metro.
2017 marked the 15th anniversary of the band’s seminal album Let Go. This nostalgic album instantly connects me back to being in high school again, wandering the halls between class and driving aimlessly around the suburbs because, well, what else was there to do?
I kept wondering where everyone else in the room was when they initially listened to this album. The crowd’s age range spanned decades, yet was united in one mission to hear this album played live just one more time.
Despite it being nearly 20 years since Nada Surf were playing this venue, they sounded absolutely pristine. As promised, they played the entirety of Let Go in its original order. “Blizzard of ’77” was a welcome intro, while “Inside of Love” was aptly sentimental. Nada Surf have always been able to craft songs melded with feelings that are difficult to just convey out loud. But these feelings are universal, and they’re important. And I realized during this five-minute song how impactful these words have been for everyone in the room.
It’s rare that a concert’s audience is equally as mesmerizing to watch as the band; Nada Surf and their fans fit this bill. I watched people mouth the lyrics to every song, grin from ear-to-ear, and stay put during the entire show—which went for nearly three hours. The patient fan base didn’t dissipate after the first set as the band took a 15-minute break to reset.
Give the people what they want, we asked, and Nada Surf obliged. The second set was full of favorites spanning their discography as well as a cover of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” My favorite arc of the set was their encore, during which they played “Popular” (and everyone freaked out accordingly), “Always Love,” and “Blankest Year” in a row. You know you’ve seen a good show when you feel more awake at midnight than you had during the day, and Nada Surf delivered that musical adrenaline.
Traveling back in time is a bit mercurial, but if you have the right album to see you through, it’s well worth sifting through those memories 18 years later. Thank you, Nada Surf, for a performance we won’t soon forget.