Beach Fossils Prove They Belong

April 11th, 2011

Beach Fossils – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 8, 2011

Beach Fossils
Hometown prodigies Beach Fossils played Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday night based on the strength of their self-titled debut, which is little more than a year old. There’s something about their disarming simplicity and songcraft that resonates with so many people. But when a first album is so universally loved, it can be hard to top its success, although the one place a group has to be taken at face value is onstage. It’s in playing shows night after night that bands make long-term careers. The strength of the songwriting gets you to that stage, but how you deliver on that promise is what keeps you there.

And Beach Fossils are delivering: Building on their album’s straightforward instrumentation and heavily gated, mechanical percussion, the four-piece has expanded on its sound live, turning it into energetic, rocking pop. On Friday, the band was spinning, caught up in the double-time jazz fill rhythms, and jumping around almost more than the crowd. The far-off heavily echoed vocals and the sense of distance have been replaced with a more immediate sounding reinterpretation of the catchy, dreamy vibe with drum-heavy dance beats.

Everything is driven by John Pena’s basslines, which take the sound out of the suburbs of Real Estate and into foot-tapping grooves, compelling people to climb onstage and dance along. Beach Fossils are genuinely appreciative of those in the audience, encouraging them to keep moving. Frontman Dustin Payseur even said, “There probably should be a mosh pit going on here because I’m jumping into all you motherfuckers later.” And then delivering on his promise during the encore, Payseur lifted his guitar over his head and ran out into a sea of arms as a sped-up “Youth” ended in a chaos of a finale. —Jason Dean