Nashville – Fresh out of Baltimore, Sun Club—a hearty arrangement of five guys and plenty of energy—delivered an epic performance at The End this past Wednesday night, playing for a full house of young fans. Praised by Paste magazine back in 2013 as a new band to watch, the band has since released a variety of sounds and singles that have furthered their steady rise over the past two years. Most recently, they introduced Dad Claps at the Mom Prom in January of last year, and this year, they’re taking their characteristic raucous performance and angst on the road. (Ed., Best New Bands spoke with the band last month on a variety of topics, ranging from the album, musical influences and their next LP.)
Their show here in Nashville marked the third stop on their tour, and the late-night crowd was eager to catch a piece of Sun Club’s youthful fervor. The End—an intimate but popular venue that favors promising new acts—showcased the group in all their punky glory. The unfinished brick walls and low ceilings seemed to be the perfect backdrop for all the jagged pieces of Sun Club’s sound, and I got the feeling that I was complicit in something secret and special while watching the band perform. The End, while rough around the edges, is one of the most genuine venues in a city that’s dripping in rhinestones.
Sun Club—not to be overshadowed—reflected this overwhelming feeling of authenticity. Everything that happened on stage was executed with such a high level of feeling that the crowded floor could hardly contain it, and it appeared that when they performed, it wasn’t an act but instead something more instinctual. Although the band is known for being somewhat irreverent and punctuating their music with boyish outbursts and primal yelps, “Beauty Meat” featured all the best and many facets of the band’s music—a youthful impulsiveness blended with a simmering angst and soaring guitar. The result was something that few are able to achieve: a breezy effortlessness that flowed in tandem with solid, practiced musicianship.
However, these guys understand that you can’t manufacture spontaneity, and not only do they master the art—they take advantage of it. That’s what made their performance so satisfying to see and hear live. Instead of trying to harness unpredictability, they simply unleashed it, letting things happen as they went along. This all gets translated into something so uniquely enjoyable, and its possibly captured best in “Cheeba Swiftkick.”
While it’s easy to label Sun Club as youthful and energetic and leave it at that—because, yes, they deliver a perfect punch of youthful energy—I believe their music is far more nuanced and experienced than their antics might otherwise indicate. The band pulls off a precarious balancing act between keeping things fun and keeping things real, and even in the midst of all this, they refuse to let go of what keeps their sound so utterly distinct. They know when to make a mess, and when toy clean it up. The proof is in their live performance—both in their set list and their kinetic stage presence. Though they’re far too swift to pin down, you’ll find Sun Club somewhere in between California ease and Baltimore rhythm, and somewhere in between order and disorder. The one clear direction they seem to be going in? Up.
There are a few more opportunities to catch Sun Club live. Keep up with the band on Facebook and Twitter.
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