Over The Weekend: the Soft Pack at Fingerprints, Long Beach

The Hype: Ten shows in one day? Yes, San Diego indie rockers the Soft Pack were crazy enough to jump in a bus and travel across Southern California playing free shows to promote their self-titled debut album on NYC-based Kemado Records. Their fourth stop of the 10 included a visit to Fingerprints record shop Saturday to bash out a quick performance augmented by a stripped-down set by recent Sub Pop signees and Long Beach locals, Avi Buffalo. 

The Show: After appearing in Venice Beach at 1:30 p.m., the Soft Pack were scheduled to play Fingerprints at 3:30 p.m. One can only imagine the logistics of setting up and playing 10 shows in a day, let alone actually playing on time. Although they were a tad late, the Soft Pack were worth the wait, playing with reckless abandon by turning up their amps for a blazing version of “C'mon.” Brian Hill was channelling Slim Jim Phantom from the Stray Cats with his stand up drumming and minimalist kit.


Matt Lamkin's coolly detached vocals detailed the women worries felt by most young men with “Down On Loving,” which featured Matty McCloughlin making awesomely animated guitar faces while nearly splintering his Fender Telecaster in half with his furious downstrokes. “Answer To Yourself” is lead by a creeping bass line by David Lantzman that just about forces your foot to tap along. Lamkin took a break from his guitar to hit a few notes on a microKorg keyboard for “Pull Out.”  I wonder if he is talking about a military war exit strategy or, ah, something else?
A wobbly bass line and razor sharp guitars rattled the rafters of Fingerprints during “Parasites,” which finished with a drum flurry by Hill. The set seemed to end in seconds. After honing their chops opening for the likes of the Breeders and Phoenix, The Soft Pack appear ready to step up to the next level. A golden opportunity lies ahead with an appearance at Coachella. 
While it was kept on the down low, Avi Buffalo opened with a four song set. Accompanied by the tight rhythm guitar work of George Bucio, Avi plucked out various weird guitar chords for his intricate pop tunes. “What's It In For?” was the standout of the set. Stay tuned for their album in April and a future show at Fingerprints.
The Crowd: Locals in the know dominated the crowd. Avi Buffalo had a large number of supporters due to the fact they live a few minutes away. Other attendees looked like your average record store shopper, assuming you still go to record stores or know what one looks like.
Overheard: As an incentive to attend the performance, Fingerprints gave away a pass to Coachella. “The winner of the Coachella ticket is ..”. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of the winner because it wasn't me.

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