Surfer Blood Warms Iron Horse on Cold Winter Night

Was Surfer Blood always so Smiths-y? The Florida indie-rockers pulled into the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton Wednesday night, where they delivered an hour-long set of songs that often seemed to draw at least as much from Morrissey’s languorous vocal style as the surf-rock sounds that first brought them to attention on early singles like “Swim.”

Singer John Paul Pitts unwound his plaintive vocal melody on “Twin Peaks” with a more leisurely feel than on the album version and captured Morrissey’s sense of frenetic longing in his sing-song part on “Say Yes to Me.” That song showed the band’s more chaotically compelling rock ‘n’ roll side, too, with surging bass that pushed through a brash, noisy guitar solo.

Elsewhere, clanging guitars carried “Floating Vibes” through a series of tight musical turns, and “Swim” hurtled down a descending bassline as Pitts crowed out full-throated exhortations. After 50 minutes or so, the band ended their main set before returning for an encore that started with “Gravity,” a rollicking, catchy song from their 2013 album “Pythons.”

Brooklyn band Fort Lean performed before Surfer Blood, playing a set of guitar-saturated indie-rock tunes, along with a cover of Nick Lowe’s “So It Goes” that sounded more like Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town.”

Lake Worth, Fla., band Wake Up opened the show.


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