Gig Recap: Beach Fossils @ The Sinclair

“We’re workshopping that one,” remarks Dustin Payseur of Beach Fossils, after playing a 30-second cover of “Wonderwall” they introduced as “a new song.” Beach Fossils later pulls the same gag at the beginning of the encore, with “Clocks” by Coldplay. On tour for their new album Somersault, released June 2, 2017, Beach Fossils have their musical chops and their sense of humor on full display at the Sinclair this Thursday night. Alternating between dreamy interludes, trumpet solos, and post-rock-influenced crescendos, the band dictates the energy of the night.

Drummer Anton Hoccheim holds the crowd in his thrall, his thudding rhythms moving the audience like strings on a marionette. Having only heard their tightly-mixed and dreamy studio recordings, I’m surprised at the rawness with which Hochheim pounds out the rhythms of songs like “Shallow.” The audience isn’t, however—bodies twist in and out of the mosh pit, heads banging and arms pumping. This crowd came expecting a rager, and they got it tonight. The energy is infectious.

Though Payseur fumbles the riff at the bridge of “Saint Ivy,” forgetting to turn on his amplifier, the crowd doesn’t mind. Instead, a female fan rewards him by throwing her bra onto the stage, and Payseur puts it on for the encore. He tosses it back to her after the show. The mood of the evening is playful—Payseur’s laid-back attitude and soft-spoken stage presence makes the venue feel cozy, despite the giant mass of moving bodies.

The emotional energy peaks during last two minutes of “Be Nothing,” as the band lets their souls loose in a deluge of distortion and kick drums. It’s sheer catharsis, providing a satisfying climax to the night. I’ll admit—Beach Fossils’s songs can get hard to distinguish from each other, but the cosmic swell of “Be Nothing” is certainly one of its own, and their live performance only amplifies that feeling.

I would be remiss not to mention Slow Hollows’s Daniel Fox and his trumpet solo during “Saint Ivy.” There’s something about indie rock and trumpets that works surprisingly well (looking at you, Neutral Milk Hotel), and Fox’s smooth improvisations add a nice twist to the original.

Payseur ends the night with a message of love and support. He also can’t resist taking a jab at our current catastrophe of a President—checking off all the boxes, the band exits the stage to resounding cheers.


James Gui is a DJ for the Record Hospital. Record Hospital airs weeknights, 10 p.m. - 5 a.m.