Indie fans rejoice – this cross-country trip has been long overdue. Tuesday, April 17th saw Los Angeles natives Sure Sure journey across the continental United States to Boston’s cozy hole in the wall The Middle East for their first Massachusetts show in their young careers. The venue, known as a breeding ground for budding artists and underground dreamers alike, was packed to the brim with a young, bohemian crowd waiting for Sure Sure’s self defined “left-field pop” to make its New England debut. Pianist/singer Chris Beachy unintentionally outlined the crowd’s giddy, anticipatory emotions when he asked, both smiling and confused, “You guys know it’s a Tuesday, right?” To Beachy’s surprise, a group of ~150 audience members packed tightly in the back of a Cambridge restaurant can cheer pretty damn loud.
Sure Sure’s opener Tipling Rock led the night off with a rhythm guitar-driven jam session mirroring late 90’s/early millennium organized garage rock luminaries like The Strokes and Franz Ferdinand. The local Bostonians were interactive as can be, showing off their prowess in the familiarly cramped venue with tightly choreographed dances and an adventure 10 feet into the crowd to spin around on the ground in a grungy guitar solo. Equally as interesting was the band’s repeated inclusion of progressions from Dick Dale & His Del Tones’ “Misirlou” in diversified song fills – likely an ode to the band’s multiple beach references. Tipling Rock’s only looming error was the sound production in relation to lead singer Ben Andre. Andre’s studio aptitude is unquestionable from an indie rock perspective, but his mic was muffled for the majority of the performance, leaving his lyrics and crowd banter virtually indistinguishable.
From beginning to end, there’s two words that can define Sure Sure’s set: friendship and fun. It didn’t take long before they were reminiscing about the emotional rush of traveling together – from driving through blizzards at 2am, to seeing a man go into cardiac arrest at a rest stop, to witnessing more than 20 car accidents, they certainly had been through their fair share of poignant tragedies. To ward off the negativity those memories had caused, bassist/producer Michael Coleman countered “We saw good stuff too, like flowers and stuff.” In a band-defining response of appreciation, drummer Kevin Farzad leaned into the microphone and half-jokingly said “Mike’s our precious flower.”
To say their set itself was unorthodox would be a gross understatement. Instead of telling the audience to clap, they would often start snapping their fingers as loud of possible. Instead of telling the audience to jump up or sit down, the band would collectively drop low themselves in a synchronized accord. Their only one-off instruction was to teach the crowd how to dance to their 2017 single “Hands Up Head Down,” during which the audience would raise their arms, lower their head, and flop their hands around in what looked like a bizarre Peanuts Halloween Special dance. Their remaining songs had an eccentric and outlandish whim to them, playfully flowing between tracks with amassed gray area clouding the beginnings of some songs with the ends of others. The group habitually glided between variations of rock, pop, funk, and other dance-centric-sub-categories with an incurable level of symbiotic happiness that radiated to the inspired crowd beside them. These guys weren’t necessarily trying to be entertainers – they were just having an infectiously good time.
The setlist for this indie rarity has not been released, so I’ll offer you a playlist of my favorite songs from both Sure Sure and Tipling Rock in its place. For what it’s worth, I felt the best live tracks between the two bands were the following: Low Tide Love, This Must Be The Place, Friends, New Biome, and Giants.