Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Surf Report - Live At The Surf and Saddledotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a live and spirited set of songs from San Diego's Surf Report, recorded ambiently. While the sound is not crisp, the fire in the performance is stellar, and the range of songs satisfying. Some tunes date back to the band's earliest days, and others are from their last release. The band's passion renders errors ignorable.
Picks: Landslide, Crazy Train, Naugahyde, Las Olas, Hawaii Five-0, Surfonica, CMB, Crowbar, Latin'ia / Tsunami Rex, Pencil Fight, Caralina / The Wedge, Hazel, A-Salam-Aliekum, Sandpaper Paddles, 3 Rolled Tacos, Ramadan, The Lonely Bull, Tanner, Exotic

Track by Track Review


Landslide dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big surf and slam, with racing glissandoes and power drive guitar. "Landslide" is a shortboard thrasher for a big day in high winds. Exhilaration and danger are stamped, on it. A rousing beginning to this show.

Crazy Train dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Crazy Train" dates back to the earliest days of Surf Report. It creates picturesque traditional surf images with touristy adventure and warmth. This pleasant and carefree journey on coastal rails is originally an Ozzy Osbourne song.

Naugahyde dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Naugahyde" remains my favorite Surf Report original. It's a perfect surf instro that invokes images of an open ocean side road drives along cliffs overlooking the Pacific. The riffs and embellishments are just plain wonderful. While it is not exactly whistle-able, it's infectious rhythm stays in RAM long after it's out of the CD player. This live take brings the live energy of "Naugahyde" to the fore. Excellent!

Las Olas dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Opening with a Dick Dale run, "Las Olas" flows with a fluid Spanish theme, invoking crystalline images of equatorial waters and longboard rides on glassy four foot curl. The guitar parts are very complimentary and well placed against each other. This song dates from the early days of Surf Report.

Hawaii Five-0 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This a somewhat morphed Ventures arrangement of the TV score. If the V-boys ever amped up and edged out, they might have done it this way. Reverent, yet aggressive and powerful.

Surfonica dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Surfonica" is a rockin' surf instro from their first 1996 CD, with a bunch of fire and a strong surf attack. Aggressive, melodic, adventurous, with a catchy riff. Very cool song!

CMB dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"CMB" is conceptually a great song, with lots of energy and a melodic riff. Quite fun!

Crowbar dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

It seems to me that "Crowbar" has evolved into much more than it started life as. Blues based, surf grounded, and aggressive.

Latin'ia / Tsunami Rex dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tommy Nunes' glorious "Latin'ia" is very well done here. In some ways, it's very much like the Sentinals original, and in others, it speaks a modern surf tongue. Very nice arrangement, and beautiful chords too. "Tsunami Rex" a lot like "Surfonica" with Dick Dale glissandoes. It's less interesting than either "Surfonica" or "Naugahyde," but still quite satisfying, and seems to have grown over the years. This is a nice pairing.

Pencil Fight dotdotdotdot
Post Metal Surf (Instrumental)

"Pencil Fight" sports major drive and a riffy power attack, distortion, and fiery picking. More than a mere pencil fight, this is a chalk brawl! Yikes!

Caralina / The Wedge dotdotdotdot
Post Metal Surf (Instrumental)

"Caralina" is a soft Spanish song not too far from Dick Dale's concept with "Esperanza." A pretty Spanish melody and delicate delivery combine to create a flowing black lace adventure. It segues right into a powered up "A Run For Life" arrangement of Dick Dale's "The Wedge." Powerful and aggressive. Big grins here!

Hazel dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Hazel" si a slow, fluid, and moody song. It's an aural canvas on which a picture of a lazy afternoon is painted. Very nice track.

A-Salam-Aliekum dotdotdot
Post Metal Surf (Instrumental)

A dramatic intro gives way to a thrasher that's more progression than melody.

Sandpaper Paddles dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Sandpaper Paddles" is a classically styled surf instro with catchy power and modern edge. This is very close to the infectiousness of "Naugahyde," and it rocks! Excellent!

3 Rolled Tacos dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"3 Rolled Tacos" is delightful Spanish influenced song with cool percussion and a warm melody line and liquid chords. Simply a very nice song.

Ramadan dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Middle Eastern themes and rhythm over a militaristic beat. Pomp, drama, and Bedouin caravans. "Ramadan" is a well written instro, built around the sounds of the Persian Gulf.

The Lonely Bull dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sol Lake's too-cool song is played with a serape and a grin. Palms sway in the warm breeze at Playa Ropa. Simply pretty.

Tanner dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Tanner" opens with a dark bass line and harmonic chords, rising slowly with drama, eventually spreading out to a post punk power train.

Exotic dotdotdotdot
Post Metal Surf (Instrumental)

Much like the way Agent Orange powers "Exotic," Surf Report drives the song for all it's worth. Powerful, intense and demanding.