Where Surf Meets Blues: A Review of Eyes on the Shore @ Hotel Utah

05/07/2014

Heavy reverb. Huge sound. Crashing surf. Drop in some Hendrix-esque guitar licks, heavy bass, an extra floor tom, a clean white Stratocaster…and kaboom, you have Eyes on the Shore. The band headlined Hotel Utah last Saturday night, and all was good — actually, more than all good. The band is gearing up to play Oysterfest in Golden Gate Park this weekend, and rest assured — they’re firing on all cylinders.

For those who don’t know, Hotel Utah is an awesomely tiny venue in SOMA that holds maybe 100 people, and gives an incredible up-close and personal experience with the band. It was the perfect venue to see a band that’s in the early stages of what I like to think will be a long-winded run.

The night began with an opening set from Tidelands, a three-year-old duo who mustered a pleasantly surprising abundance of sound. A combination of looped guitar, horns, synths, and a cheerful drummer who was simultaneously playing keys, the group definitely stood their ground — to say the least — as a two-man ensemble. After an impressive solo from drummer Mie Araki, it was time for Eyes on the Shore to take the stage.

Reminiscent of Vietnam-era rock (think Hendrix, Zeppelin, etc), the band falls somewhere between a Santa Cruz surf band and a guitar smashing, Stevie Ray Vaughan tone-having blues rock band. Their presence is powerful, but well blended with thick guitar and driving bass lines that mirror one another, walking each other across length of the fretboard.

The band jumped out of the gates with several newer songs, opening with a fast-paced “One in the Same” before busting into a mammoth “Roads to Nowhere” — a super high energy song with some quality blues shredding from guitarist Antrom Kury, all the while frontman Cory Tauber simultaneously hammered on an extra floor tom while singing lead vocals.

Another new (and favorite) song of mine from the newly forged quartet (the band used to be a trio before adding Kyle Albery on drums) was “Won’t Be Long.” On the surface the song sounds like a laid-back “ride the wave” kind of song, but is layered incredibly well with a booming baseline courtesy of Kayhan Golkar and a barrage of catchy sliding blues licks that only an American Strat can provide.

The band closed out the night with a chilling “Path of Fire,” a song that sounds right out of a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western, complete with a sit in trumpeter. After all was said and done, I was definitely left wanting more — and am glad that they’ll be acomodating my wishes this weekend at Oysterfest (they go on at noon).

Make sure to get your tickets before they sell out — I’ll see you all on the other side.