As the calming blue lights dimmed in the Bowery Ballroom, a fan made the remark to his friend, “Wow, that’s really on time. Like within a minute.” That’s the thing about Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils. Just like back in the band’s earlier days with one of its many lineups at 285 Kent (a venue name hollered with pride constantly by a couple of presumably Williamsburg-repping crowd members throughout the set), the band keeps its fans in mind. And though they’ve moved from the tightly knit Williamsburg-Kent-Avenue music scene to headlining a show at the Bowery Ballroom, Beach Fossils still seem like a couple of friendly kids who’d be hanging out in the crowd on any other night.
Beginning with the guitarist, each member of Beach Fossils strolled on stage and started his part to the eponymous track off of the band’s new album, Clash The Truth. Frontman Dustin Payseur bolted from backstage and leaped headfirst into the crowd, just barely grabbing the microphone in time to gasp the disenchantment-laced lyrics on cue. As with every Beach Fossils show, a tide of playful, physical chaos ensued within seconds: fans wrapping around Payseur in mindless dance or moshing wildly. Fortunately, Payseur managed to find his way back to the stage in time to finish the song, and the band was rewarded with the crowd’s roar of approval.
Playing a solid set that interspersed generous amount of old material with the new, Beach Fossils made sure the crowd was happy—aside from the one girl who made the impossible request for Payseur to “make love to me.” Besides “Moments,” there was never a dearth of moshing or punkish communal vibe. From two burly fans clashing into each other, petite girls attempting to shove the gigantic spectators surrounding them and one fan whose crowd surf turned into a nose dive straight for the floor during “Sometimes,” (“When somebody jumps, you gotta catch ‘em!” Payseur joked) the crowd provided just as much entertainment as the band itself.
After closing the set with “Careless,” the band quickly returned for the encore. Drummer Tommy Gardner stood next to Payseur and wielded a dinged-up tenor saxophone for “Sleep Apnea.” An impressive range of bluesy trills and arpeggios filled his solos, perfectly complementing Payseur as he droned the song’s sleepy vocals. After following with “Crashed Out,” the last awkward between-set-silence filled the room. “Now’s the time to freak the fuck out, or else it’s not gonna happen!” Payseur jokingly commanded to everyone still standing.
The crowd deafened the room for one last song: “Daydream.” The sunshine-drenched riff filled the room, igniting the spark for one last pit. With everyone drenched in sweat and trembling with physical exhaustion, the crowd’s state was a sign of Beach Fossils having truly graduated to the venue big leagues.