By Alex Butler
The Orpheum, a music venue with a history of showcasing metal music, was overtaken by surf rock band Summer Salt and their Hawaiian shirt clad fans on Thursday, Sept. 16.
The tour follows the recent June 2021 release of their newest album, Sequoia Moon. The album was recorded over the course of the pandemic and is the subject of their first live tour since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Staying true to their name and signature beachy reverb, the two-man band, joined by a touring bassist and guitarist performed a set list that could have easily been played as the soundtrack to a tropical summer vacation.
“I’ve worked [photographed] a lot of shows, but I’ve been wanting to see them [Summer Salt] for a while… I started listening to them a couple of years ago, these guys are great,” said Chandler Culotta, senior photography and creative writing double major.
Included in the performance were some of their top hits including “Driving to Hawaii,” which has approximately 28 million streams on Spotify and “Revvin’ My Cj7,” with around 21 million streams.
Walking on stage in a mix of Thrasher and somewhat oversized t-shirts, the band could have been mistaken for almost any similarly dressed member of the crowd or skater on the street. The overall look of the band members was a prelude to the energy that would fill The Orpheum for the majority of the show.
With the surf rock atmosphere, the show may not have been as intensely energetic as the Orpheum’s past death metal artists, but the relaxed feel created an intimate setting between band members and fans. With no rail separating the stage from the crowd, spectators were able to lean on the stage, high five the artists, and freely move around the small venue.
“You guys might be the best crowd we’ve had yet,” said Matthew Terry, lead singer of Summer Salt.
The easy going swaying of the crowd quickly turned into fans crowd surfing as Summer Salt played an upbeat remix of “Candy Wrappers” that showcased drummer Eugene Chung’s skills.
“Holy sh—seeing them live was amazing,” said spectator Robyn Mallory. “I was just coming for live music and have never intensely listened to them before but the performance, the mixing, the energy… it was all so good.”
During the “Candy Wrappers” performance, the band was also joined on stage by Tom Freeman, lead singer of Covey- one of Summer Salt’s opening acts. Freeman added to the amped up energy for that portion of the show and kicked balloons from the stage into the crowd, allowing fans to toss them up like beach balls for the duration of the song.
After a brief off stage break, the band was called back on stage for an encore by the crowd. Following one final song, the artists left the stage as nonchalantly as they first stepped on it.
Summer Salt’s performance in Ybor was their last show in Florida. The tour will continue through November and end in Salt Lake City.
Photo Courtesy of Dylan Wallace.