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all photos: Joel Didriksen
NPR stream: here

It was a bit of a rough weekend. From Friday to Sunday night I was stationed at the 9:30 Club each night for a different show. Luckily Nada Surf and the adorably tiny, but oh-so-awesome Kaki King were sandwiched in the middle. Sorry Jealous Girlfriends, I missed your set completely.

(here are some photos+click for our old interview with them regardless-svetlana)

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Anyway, Saturday’s sold out show probably couldn’t have gone any better if I had planned it out myself. I mean, really, it’s already in contention for the top shows of 2008 and we’re only a third of the way through the year. The crowd was fantastic and diverse, interactive and lovey-dovey. Hell, there were even little make-out pockets breaking out all over the club.

Prepare for some fawning, I just can’t help it.

I was already excited for Kaki King even before Svetlana’s little interview and YouTube guitar insanity clip. I’m really not that familiar with any of her work and had only heard a song or two on my XM radio, but it was enough. And, she really is the teeniest, tiniest little thing I’ve seen wield a guitar like that. Her backing band was amazing and her voice was just perfect. One of my favorite things about the entire night was the sense of excitement I had following the Kaki’s set. There’s nothing like being able to walk out of a show not only being completely satisfied with the band you came to see, but also surprised at the opener, smitten with new musical offerings. It’s such an amazing feeling.

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There are a couple reasons I’ll always love Nada Surf. The main reason being they’ve been able to consistently produce great albums from “high/low” nearly 12 years ago to the recently released “Lucky.” Another reason is that the New York trio just seems to be such genuinely nice, fun and laid back guys.

The show was heavy on tunes from “Lucky” and “Let Go,” including “Blizzard of ‘77” in the encore. “Inside of Love,” even had the entire crowd swaying, yes, actually swaying side-to-side, in unison. The five or so tracks from “Lucky” included “Whose Authority,” “See These Bones,” “Beautiful Beat” and “Weightless.” I actually got chills during “Weightless.” From start to finish the show was absolutely amazing.

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Lead singer Matthew Caws adorably admitted to being only 98 percent comfortable a little way into the set.
His girlfriend’s family was apparently in the crowd and he wasn’t wearing a collared shirt, only his favorite T-shirt. It was all thanks to a bottle of conditioner opening up in his suitcase. Lucky for Caws, there’s only one show remaining on the tour. He’s seriously so endearing.

The only sad moment of the night was the show actually ending.
As an early show with Blowoff merely moments away, the encore was supposedly cut short by two songs. But finished strong with “Always Love” and “Blankest Year,” my two favorite tracks from ‘The Weight is a Gift.”

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Following the show Caws and crew took a quick break before heading into the dispersing crowd. He had noted earlier in the set he had about 20 cousins in the audience. Nothing short of sweet, he was shaking hands and hugging fans immediately and I even managed to overhear some of his French as he was chatting up some folks near to me as I headed out the door. C’est tres bon.

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