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Review: Surf Curse @ SWX

Sprawling through nostalgic portraits in an iridescent glow of indie-punk, Surf Curse threw SWX into a frenzy.

By Jake Paterson, Co-Deputy Music Editor

Clad in more denim per square mile than any band I’ve seen grace a stage in Bristol before, the Nevada outfit Surf Curse brought the energy of their adolescent bond to a polished and rapturous set off the back of their one-day-old record, Magic Hour.

After claiming that “time isn’t real” within the space of a few songs, the nostalgia imbued within tracks like ‘Lost Honour’ and ‘I’m Not Making Out With You’ attested to a sense of coming of age in a southern US state’s suburban sprawl. Surf Curse scream the emo trope of knowing everyone in your hometown and being held together by the mates that took you through every awkward relationship and legendary night out.

The unity of each band member was a constant, demonstrated by drummer and lead singer Nick Rattigan leading almost psychopathically. Rolling through new tracks like ‘Sugar’ and the cathartic ‘Unwell’ saw no departure from the seamless style of having played songs like ‘Heathers’ and ‘In My Head Till I’m Dead’ for almost a decade. Life flowed through the band and their songs cast out a desire that was almost tactile.

Surf Curse / Jake Paterson

I was apprehensive of the type of people turning up for a Surf Curse show, given that ‘Freaks’ has amassed over 500 million streams online after blowing up on TikTok, but as soon as someone was pulled out of the crowd by security for smoking a hand-rolled cigarette I knew I was in good company.

Whilst waiting for the band to come on we cheered for someone playing Geometry Dash held up on their phone at the barrier, and the crowd ranged from old rockers in baseball caps and plaid shirts to groups of girls clearly not at their first rodeo. The place was bouncing with frenetic energy from sharp indie-rock riffs to head-banging emo choruses. ‘Freaks’, in the end, threw everyone into an insatiable mosh.

Surf Curse / Jake Paterson

Having lead from the drum kit throughout, Rattigan swapped roles to become a visceral frontman for set closer ‘Disco’, leaning into the frenzied crowd and belting the lyrics out into the air, being met with the mirror of the crowd screaming them right back. To be as dynamic on a drum kit as you are in the arms of those at the barrier said everything that needed to be said about my first outing at the newly renovated venue. Long may the energy of this night continue into the dark days of winter ahead.

Featured Image: Jake Paterson