Surf rock ensemble promotes self-love

Photo: Sarai Nissan - CU Sentry


With temperatures of fall waning into the freezing cold of winter, The Drums and their dolefully optimistic surf rock brought back a taste of the summer sun to Denver on Nov. 6 at the Bluebird Theatre. However, this New York City-based ensemble carried not only animated beach melodies, but compassionate words of wisdom and self-care to the audience as well.

Photo: Sarai Nissan – CU Sentry

Following up the sprightly energy initiated by the opener, Methyl Ethyl, The Drums (primarily frontman Jonny Pierce) utilized the spacious stage to glide and drift as they started off their set with “Best Friend.”

Words can only skim the surface in describing the stage presence Pierce had over the spirited crowd. As if the choreographer responsible for the notorious dance scene with John Travolta and Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction had given Pierce private dance lessons, he sashayed across the stage while the band breezed through their early discography.  

In the contrast of emerald and rosy lights, The Drums performed as if they cherished every last audience member that was present. After the contemplative harmony in “Days,” the strobe lights oscillated in time to the bassline of “Let’s Go Surfing,” almost causing the audience to explode in anticipation, so much so that the youths gathering in the very front, adorned with Xs on their hands, attempted to mosh to the band’s wavering chords.

Though it sounds cliché to describe the energy of the crowd as “electric,” as soon as Pierce started playfully salsa dancing during their track  “Money,”  sparks may have flown off the mass of attendees. Up until a sudden halt in the momentum occurred, as a fix to Pierce’s feedback receiver interrupted the show. “Ugh right when I was really starting to feel it,”  Pierce said as the stage crew appeared to solve the problem.

“I feel like we’re all present now,” Pierce said. “Don’t think I’m ignoring you, I’m just waiting for the right moment.”

As these words resounded, bassist Johnny Aries brought back the effervescent vitality with the bassline of “The Future,” followed by “Blood Under My Belt,” after which the band all said their blatantly false goodnights, setting themselves up for an encore, of course.

Upon the band’s return, the carefree verve in the crowd continued, including an attempt at crowd surfing during “Rich Kids.” Succeeding the lyrical self-reflection in “Mirror,” Jonny expounded his personal wisdom.

“I want you to remember this: You have to be exactly who you are,” Pierce said.  “This is the time to be yourself. It took me some time to find myself, Be yourself and love yourself.”  Pierce expanded on his own experiences with unhappiness, which led the band to finish the night with one of their slower tracks, “Down by the Water,” all while encouraging the audience to sing with him.

The step back Pierce took to explain his own emotions and story mid-encore to make a true connection with the audience and fans emphasized the liveliness of the performance tenfold. The Drums did not just bring their surfer tangos to the stage, but also passed striking words of self-reflection, a call to embrace individualism, and self-love to Denver that night.

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