“Please get hammered—well, not you kids …” said frontman Benwood to excite the atypical audience on a hot Thursday night. The crowd? A combination of local Slow to Surface fans; inked friends of the poolside Sticks and Stones Tattoo Co., which sponsored the show; and hotel guests with families that happened to be at the pool.
The celebration of the Vegas band’s new EP, Race the Heart, Calm the Soul, was also atypical: They gave out business cards with a QR code to download the album via iTunes. “We’re going green,” Benwood said, “It’s not ’cause we’re lazy!” Whether he was joking or not, “lazy” is a term one would never apply to their live show.
Despite mediocre attendance, the five-piece indie-rock outfit energetically churned through their set as if thousands of people were cheering them on. Highlighted songs from the new EP, such as “Crooked” and “The Actor,” sounded even better live. Continuing to embrace rock with technology, they worked in trademark sample intros balanced with Benwood’s punch-in-the-gut assault of emotion. Guitarist Zach Saucier was vigorously enveloped by the music and rocked out harder than any metalhead could dream. Other highlights included older songs, such as “I’m Gonna Leave” and “Translating Small Talk,” plus their brilliant cover of Hum’s “Stars.” Vegas Seven recently named Slow to Surface the Best Local Veteran Band You’d Love If You’d Listen; the next chance to hear for yourself is Aug. 14 at Beauty Bar. ★★★★☆