Cayucas Shower The Bowery Ballroom with Sunny Pop on Friday Night

August 3rd, 2015

Cayucas – The Bowery Ballroom – July 31, 2015

Two years ago, I had the pleasure of seeing the Southern California band Cayucas play their very first New York City gig at Mercury Lounge. It’s funny how these boys from the sunny West Coast appropriately turn up to provide the perfect seasonal soundtrack. Following a well-received debut, Bigfoot, they returned this year with a sophomore album, Dancing at the Blue Lagoon, which expands on their familiar surf-rock sound and infuses Afropop touches reminiscent of Vampire Weekend and fellow L.A. cohorts Fool’s Gold and Foreign Born. An orchestration of classical crescendos welcomed twins Zach and Ben Yudin—who brought along bassist Spencer Zahn and drummer Dave Scalia for this tour— to The Bowery Ballroom stage.

Rocking noticeably longer locks, Zach, the lead singer, began the evening with a trio of new songs, “Moony Eyed Walrus,” “Hella” and “Champion,” before crowd favorite and alarmingly Footloose-sounding “Cayucos”  beckoned the legion of Friday night revelers to dance. Ben’s falsetto backing vocals harkened back to the Beach Boys, another familial Californian band. Surprisingly, instead of offering newer material, the set was largely comprised of songs from the first album, not that anyone was complaining. Of course, there’s an art to balancing the old tried and true with the newer, lesser known material.

For Cayucas, dedicating “East Coast Girl” to the local ladies was a nice touch and offering favorites from Bigfoot was exactly what fans craved. Not to say new tracks weren’t enjoyed, their latest’s title track was gobbled up, and folks danced just as joyfully. Zach playfully remarked that they’d have to write more songs as they exited the stage upon completion of “Bigfoot.” The twins and the rest of the group returned for one more, a “new one,” encoring with “A Shadow in the Dark.” Barely a minute into the song, Ben’s guitar strap fell off, so the band had to reboot the song, perhaps a sign that the newer material was a bit more tentative than older tunes. Needless to say the evening was full of sunny pop leaving all who attended happier for it. —Sharlene Chiu