On the 28th November 2022, I had the pleasure of seeing American indie legends Nada Surf, with support from Brooklyn singer-songwriter Kevin Devine. The band have been around for almost 30 years, garnering fans through many quirky methods. For example, my personal story is that I heard one of their songs on a TV show and fell in love instantly. When I heard they were returning to Glasgow I was euphoric and they didn’t let me down.
The support set got the night off to a great start, with Kevin Devine engaging the crowd. His funny banter, excellent crowd interaction and beautiful acoustic songs with huge emotional depth endeared him to everyone straight away. His set list was comprised of songs from his most recent album such as ‘Overdrive‘ and ‘Albatross‘, but also incorporated some of his lengthy back catalogue, most notably ‘My Brother’s Blood‘. Several songs made me well up, and I saw tears in the eyes of other attendees too!
It was such a moving performance and the soul-baring lyrics no doubt resonated with everyone in attendance. I have to admit I hadn’t heard of him prior to this gig, but I left the show a huge fan. I suspect he might turn up in my 2023 Spotify wrapped, in fact! Furthermore, the fact he was able to stand away from the microphone and still be heard perfectly is a testament to how amazing Saint Luke’s is as a venue.
Then the time came for Nada Surf to take the stage. From their very first song ‘Popular‘, we were all captivated by the stage presence of this experienced, accomplished band, especially magnetic frontman Matthew Caws. Every guitar riff was more gorgeous than the last, and all totally distinct from one another. That said, every single member of the band had their chance to shine with their instruments on different songs, and the most powerful one of all was Matthew’s voice harmonising with a crowd screaming back every word. ‘Hi-Speed Soul‘ is aptly named, because during this early part of the performance, some souls in the room absolutely ascended within the three minutes of hearing it played live. Also, major kudos to Saint Luke’s once again as the purple/pink light display during ‘Inside of Love’ made a song about appreciating something beautiful easy to relate to.
This was even more noticeable towards the end of the set, as the band kept back some of their biggest hits for a 5 song encore- including ‘So Much Love‘ and ‘Always Love‘ both of which celebrate the power of kindness and continuing on when life is tough. The screams when we heard the soaring guitar intro of Always Love are still ringing in my ears, and I feel so lucky to have experienced the collective joy of it. Although we were perfect strangers, there was indeed an infinite amount of love in that room.
The band capitalised on this feeling of Intimacy by finishing off with an intimate acoustic version of ‘Blizzard of 77‘. It was just four men softly singing, an acoustic guitar and a crowd soaking in every minute of it, connecting with the feeling of anxiety but also that there is beauty in the world.
At the end of the night, Matthew promised us that they were hard at work on a new album and would hopefully see us again soon. I, for one, cannot wait to be reunited with Nada Surf.