My friends are in a band. Their band is called The Nice Ones. I like them, and I don’t just like them because they’re my friends. In fact, here are five good reasons why you should listen to them that don’t have to do with them being my friends:
1 – Patrick Surdam’s charisma
At the core of The Nice Ones is vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Patrick Surdam. Between arresting glares and deviant smirks, vocals cords that bend melodic serenades into raspy fits of passion, and pulling off a constant thrust of motion, Pat embodies the ideal front man—enough with that shoe-gazing mumble business. The reason Pat’s eccentric behavior on stage is so effective is that, musically, he has the performance to back it. If some chump got on stage hitting bad notes and singing flat while dancing around and staring down audience members it would be obnoxious. But Pat is a true showman; his skill sanctions the spectacle. Plus, if met outside of The Nice Ones, his calm demeanor and near diffidence reassure the skeptical fan that his theatrics don’t translate into arrogance offstage. He’s a nice one!
2 – Sam McGarrity’s face-melting
Sam. McG. JJ. Jumackies. Whatever you call him, he satisfies your musical hunger. While Pat’s emotion is mainstreamed through body language, McG’s can be found out of his amplifier. Every lick or solo that comes from his Paul Reed Smith wails the spirit of an obsessed guitarist. It is rumored that in a room with Jimmy Page, Santana, and Jack White, McG had to pick up their faces after melting them to the floor.
3 – Performances that showcase exceptional songwriting and innovative covers
The Nice Ones are a live band; let’s face it, you can’t experience a front man’s charisma and a guitarist’s face-melting by listening to an mp3 on your laptop. Any bar or house party that’s had the pleasure of booking these boys is not only induced by a strong repertoire of zany yet delightful cover song choices (see McG match instrument with falsetto on The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” below) that out-vibe any Journey-filled karaoke or iTunes Genius playlist, but also by their original performances that are so endearing they trick you into thinking you already know them. Nearly every show I’ve seen them play results in a throb of dancing, and although the audience is often filled with my friends, that’s pretty impressive for a rock band.
“I Believe in a Thing Called Love” in Brooklyn, NY, 2012
4 – Tyler Beaujon’s double bass pedal
Dude rips it.
“Raw Milk” in Sharon, CT, 2011
5 – Dillon Halas’ attitude
Give this guy a bottle of Jack Daniels and a microphone and prepare to get sassed. Whether jesting with his band mates or verbally abusing some buffoon in the audience, Halas’ stage antics could be a show of their own. But despite the ‘tude, this snarky showboat dutifully braces The Nice Ones with deft bass playing and hearty songwriting. Plus he’s had a beard since he was twelve!
So there you have it: The Nice Ones. If you aren’t convinced, perhaps you should investigate yourself. You might just find your own reasons.
Photographs by Alyssa Forstmann.