Central review of "Surf-n-Turf" - March 2010
Dirt from Reverb Central in Felton, CA has put together a nice review
of the SPF4 cd compilation "Surf-n-Turf". The long time
industry veteran has writen reviews, DJ'd radio and produced loads of surf
music since its 1st wave in the early 60's. Review here:Phil
New SPF4 CD to
The new SPF 4 CD "Surf-n-Turf"
is set to be released in October 2009. The 13-song original
compilation will be available at SPF 4 performances, on the SPF 4
website and through a variety of online music distributers as they
are signed on, including I-tunes. The b and is also negotiating a
label signing with Dino Records of Northampton, MA. with hopes of
being added to Dino's stable of artists and distribution network.
Samples from the new CD can be heard at
Summertime Beach Dance Party - in March?
Mass - A triple bill of fun-time bands - each playing music with a
beach theme - filled the house to the rafters at the Hu Ke Lau on
March 1, 2009. The show brought together Sun Protection Factor 4,
Changes in Latitudes, and the Jimmy Mazz Orchestra with special
guest Tommy Sandz - all better known for playing warm-weather venues
With a line out the door and every table taken,
revelers lucky enough to have purchased tickets in advance escaped
the cold of New England in winter in favor of the islands atmosphere
of the famed Polynesian supper club. Many in attendance sported
beach attire, Hawaiian shirts, and leis, and sipped scorpion bowls,
dined on Pu-Pu platters, and danced the night away. It was a fitting
environment for the show which benefited the Children's Miracle
The show caught its first wave as SPF-4 cranked
out a set of blistering instrumental surf rock. Their set, a roughly
50/50 mixture of original compositions and covers of 1960's surf
legends, helped the audience tune out the foot of snow that was
forecast to begin falling before the evening was over.
Jimmy Buffett tribute legends Changes in Latitudes were next to take
the stage. Starring front man Steve Kareta (you mean that wasn't
Jimmy Buffett?), the show was configured in its "mid-sized"
ensemble for this venue. Parrotheads flocked to the dance floor for
a set of classic Buffett tunes that had everyone dreaming of
cheeseburgers and Margaritas.
Jimmy Mazz finished up the
evening's entertainment with an all 1950's and 1960's beach rock
set, supported by singer-guitarist Tommy Sandz. No one works a crowd
quite like Jimmy Mazz, and he soon had partiers dancing the Stroll,
doing the Limbo (how low can you go?) and snaking a conga line
around the room. In addition to great musical performances, these
bands should be recognized for their especially quick transitions
smooth as that first Margarita going down on a hot
Though the show had to end, the fans
(your humble reviewer among them) didn't want to leave. Eventually,
many of us had to be reminded, politely, that it was time to move
along. As we filed out the front door, the bite of brisk wind and
falling snow reminded us that winter was still at hand, though
optimists know this means that summer is coming. Until then,
memories of the Summertime Beach Dance Party will keep us warm.
Casuals and SPF-4 share "Endless Summer Gig" - Oct 17,
The Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA
was the site of the "Endless Summer Gig-Continued"...which
included Cape Cod's Incredible
Casuals, who performed a blistering headliner. The Casuals
brought with them all the energy that thay have been delivering to
fans at the Wellfleet Beachcomber and Cape Cod MA during summers for
the last 25 years. The show, combined with a full dancefloor, had
many elements of a concert and truly showcased the bands talent,
energy and breath of irresistable music. The house sound was
delivered crystal clear and punchy by Jim Frogameni, the Iron Horse
sound engineer for the night. For those who have not experienced the
Incredible Casuals, please do so for your own musical health.
to open the show for the Casuals, SPF-4 enjoyed warming up the crowd
for their upcoming musical heroes. The band deliverd a 50 minute set
of their original surf-inspired rock instrumentals and was well
received by the growing crowd at the Iron Horse. Dave and Rob (and
many of their friends at the show) have been big fans of the Casuals
for 25 years and this was actually the first time they had a chance
to share a venue with them. It was a great night and SPF-4 looks
forward to any future opportunity to share the stage with The
the Boat" on Boston Harbor - July 31, 2008
Boston Harbor and passengers of the Provincetown II got a healthy
dose of surf-rock from SPF-4 on Thursday evening aboard the 2008
Boston Harbor Summer Party Cruise. The tangerine-tinted sunset sky
was the backdrop for the boarding of about 600 colorful passengers
ready to party on a multi-entertainment venue that included SPF-4, a
dance rock DJ and other bands on the 3 decks of the Provincetown II.
SPF-4 kicked off the mid-deck music scene a few minutes before the
8pm. departure with a version of "Journey to the Stars",
which was greeted with raised cups and good vibes from enthusiastic
passengers. Shortly after kicking off the set, the Provincetown II
subtley lurched from the Seaport dock and gained steam into the
Harbor...accompanied by a nice cheer from the crowd and the band
shifting into full steam with the surf-rock set of tunes.
was the kind of gig the band was built for...the "stage"
was roomy and the sound was great as an open air type setup. Nothing
like the smell of ocean air and a stellar view of the Boston skyline
as you are twangin' some surf-inspired rock. The crowd was equally
enthusiastic and it was refreshing to see a "youthful crowd"
turning on to the surf music, many songs recent SPF-4 original
compositions. As the set progressed, the crowd added to the sweat
that was being generated from the high energy scene...this was one
of SPF-4's best performances and fun scenes to date. After a
1-hour/plus set, the band stashed their equipment and joined the
party, which included some meet and greet , multiple trips to the
bar, viewing the other bands and the high energy, colorful scene
present on the 2008 Summer Party Cruise...needless to say, the next
day was a little groggy.
makes an early '08 stop in the "Ocean State"
The Sun Protection Factor Four made it's Ocean State club debut in
Providence, RI on Sat. Jan.19th '08 at Jerkey's Music Hall. The band
split the bill with Gein & the Graverobbers and an up-coming
local band "The Wake". Jerkey's is a cool club in the
jewelry district and is surrounded by a vibrant and diverse club
scene. After the Wake opened the show, SPF-4 proceeded to deliver a
good hour of original surf-inspired rock that was well received by a
near full house. The gig was a good "home-turf" show for
guitarist Rob Brooks, who has lived in the Ocean State for some
years now. With SPF-4 being well received at the club, Jerkey's will
become a regular stop for the band in RI.
Headlining and closing
the nite out was Gein & the Graverobbers, vetern horror-surf
rockers. The band confidently ripped through their bone rattling set
of material from current and past albums and had the crowd stoked
till closing. Kudos to Myra(guitarist) for her voodoo dance near the
end of the show!
patron welcomes SPF-4 for Surf & Brew happy hours...
6-8pm. happy hour at Paper City Brewery has always been a fun gig
for SPF-4...here is a note that was sent by a first time patron...
" I have attended a couple of shows this past semester,
and all of them have been experiences to remember. There was one
performance I attended that really struck me in a different way. The
venue was the difficult to find, Paper City Brewery, on the 5th
floor of an old factory warehouse. Once my friends and I climbed the
seemingly endless staircase, a lovely older woman was there to greet
us, ask for $5 and an ID. Once we paid the five bucks we were given
an unlimitedly refillable cup and ventured towards the bar, where
there was a great selection of micro brews to choose from. Before
reaching the bar, my ears were greeted with some smooth surf music.
Other than some of the early Beach Boys my dad listens to now and
then, I haven't really listened to any surf music. Usually when I
hear surf music, it is while watching surf videos, or during a
movie. Over the crowd of people amassed in the center of the large
room were 4 guys dressed in surfing shirts. The drummer had an SPF4
logo on the front of the kick drum, so I figured that was there
name. The main thing I realized was that I absolutely loved what I
was hearing. The first thing I noticed was the minimalism in the
drummer's tempo changes and overall beats. This was actually a good
thing because it complemented the overall performance of the band.
There were 2 guitarists that were dynamically complementing each
other with familiar sounding chords and scales. The bassist,
although playing very simply, held the low end of the ensemble
wonderfully. There were no vocals during the performance, which was
great for me because I am a more avid fan of instrumental bands.
During the night, I was able to really enjoy, and appreciate this
bands surf music on an observational level. I could start to see
myself listening to this type of music during the summer, while
hanging out, or just to relax. Surf rock music somewhat reminds me
of how reggae really gets me in that "chilled out" state
of mind. Overall, the atmosphere in the venue was great, and the
band tied it all together wonderfully. I was able to buy the bands
demo CD to listen to in the future. I would definitely recommend
seeing these guys in a small club, and would recommend them for any
beach party or related theme events"
surfs into the Iron Horse with Dick Dale...May 22nd, 2007
will have the honor to open the Dick Dale show at the Iron Horse
Music Hall at 7:00pm in Northampton, MA. The (now 70 year old!) surf
music legend continues to embark on a relentless tour, shredding
stages with his pioneering style of surf instrumental music that he
is famous for. This show is a special one for SPF-4 and the band is
pumped to perform the opening set, which will include many new SPF-4
compositions and a few surf classics. The Iron Horse will most
definetly include a sold out, full capacity crowd of surf-instro
fans, so the energy will be tremendous - as it was last year at this
time when the band opened for Dick Dale.
SPF-4 compilation in pre-production...
performance schedule for The Sun Protection Factor Four will give
way to pre-production on a forth-coming compilation to be recorded
sometime in March, 2007. The new CD will include 12 songs written by
Dave & Rob and honed by the band. Slated for release at the end
of March, the compilation will be the band's first disk of original
material, mainly written in 2006. "We're excited to get these
songs on disk" says Dave..."We are overdue for a new
product and this will be a nice body of work featuring the
contemporary surf music of SPF-4."
welcomes SPF-4 for surf in January...Jan 13th, 2007.
Porter Square in Cambridge, MA was the latest sighting of SPF-4 as
they performed their club debut at "TOAD". The intimate
gathering space was arm to arm as the band kicked off their 1st of 3
sets Saturday nite. During setup, there was a threat that the band
would have to squeeze onto the small raised corner stage to
accomodate the tight quarters, but with some creative shuffling of
equipment and clearing of a zone in front of the stage, the band
nestled in with Craig on the "throne" and Rob, Tony and
Dave lined up in front-floor level. "Shock and awe" was
delivered as Dave's reverb tank was set off into the infamous "surf-crash"
as Craig's kick drum vibrated the stage nearby...later remedied by
moving it onto the floor. The club "TOAD" hosted a very
enthusiatic group of patrons, some of whom bounced from nearby
hotspots to sample the surf-rock instro of The Sun Protection Factor
Four. It was also great to be joined by many of the band's friends
from Worcester and the Boston area who appreciated a little "surf"
in the middle of January.
Chimes in Holidays at The Alumni Club...Dec 16th, 2006.
provided the surf-rock-instro for a Holiday get-together hosted by
Kroll Associates at The Alumni Club in Springfield, MA. The evening
kicked off with cocktails, appetizers and a festive gathering of
good friends of the band and client friends of Kroll Associates. As
good cheer progressed, one of the highlights emerged in tow with "Dano"
Surkis -his portable Tiki Bar, complete with Blue Hawiian's and
MaiTai's for fuel! Dan Surkis is Fender Jaguar guitarist for the CT.
based surf band The Clams, and he settled in with guests to enjoy
the "glow" of the Tiki Bar and party atmosphere.
band proceeded to deliver 2 sets of material featuring many new
songs written by Dave and Rob and also included the bands' brand of
trad-surf instrumentals. The stage was nice and sound reinforcement
was delivered tastefully by Rich Janek, who also played some classic
'50's Sci-Fi on the two large flatscreens behind the band. The
evening progressed with patrons engaging in some surf-twist as the
band delivered a dance-oriented second set. It was great to gather
with the mix of people there that eventually exploded into a
power-dance club after the band stopped around 11:30. SPF-4 and
Kroll Associates closed out 2006 with a good time at The Alumni
The Sun Protection Factor Four
reprised their first public performance with a jubilant return
engagement at the Bungalow Performing Arts Center in Wilbraham,
Massachusetts on July 15, 2006. The instrumental quartet, which two
years earlier premiered its classic surf rock show on the same
stage, was personally introduced by Summer Williams, Artist
Relations Manager of the Bungalow, and played to an enthusiastic
all-ages crowd enjoying a private party on the grounds. The concert
of original music and 1960's surf classics was the main event
complementing outdoor activities including a swimming and diving
show, horseshoe and beach-ball volleyball tournaments, and a gourmet
buffet and beer tasting.
Among the dignitaries in attendance
was Maxwell Clifford Brooks, son of guitarist Rob Brooks. At one
month old, Max is believed to be the youngest member of an SPF-4
audience. Other noteworthies spotted at the show were "ballroom
dancer" Deb, sister of guitarist Dave Kroll, and bassist Tony
Maciag's wife Carla and parents Charlie and Ann Marie.
to ride the wave with Dick Dale...May 28th, 2006
(The Sun Protection Factor Four) will be opening up for Dick Dale -
"King of the surf guitar" at the Iron Horse Music Hall on
Sunday May 28th... As a "current wave" surf-instrumental
band, "SPF-4" performs a brand of originally crafted surf
that pays reverence to the early 60's sound and adds an injection of
current rock edge. SPF-4 is composed of original Western Mass.
natives Dave Kroll-guitar, Rob Brooks-guitar, Craig Nieske-drums and
Tony Maciag-bass. The band has been performing at surf friendly
venues in New England since late 2004. "When we put the band
together a few years back, Rob and I had just seen Dick Dale for the
first time, said Dave Kroll-guitarist. It was almost like seeing
Elvis...Dick Dale is a true pioneer and innovator in the surf music
genre...hell, he created it!" I never thought we'd have the
opportunity to share a show with someone who has shaped a musical
style such as Dick Dale." SPF-4 will be shaping up their
Fenders for the 7:00pm show at the Iron Horse Music Hall in
SPF-4 takes port at
Land Ho...April 8, 2006
SPF-4 made its club debut at
Land Ho in Oleans, Ma on Saturday, April 8th. Delivering
reverb-drenched surf tunes, the band fit nicely into the friendly
environment that Land Ho had to offer. Patrons of the club quickly
gravitated to the floor in front of the band to exercise their '60's
flavored dance grooves as SPF-4 plowed through their range of
material. On occasion, Dave's back-up Stratocaster was in danger of
being trampled as it stood near an area of the dance floor. The room
had good acoustics due to the large volume of hanging ephimera and a
good layout for patrons to sit back and take in the tunes. Notable
friends of the band that showed up included the
Tremors, folks from Mass. Maritime Academy and the Munson
Galley. It was also nice to meet Bruce Maclean after the show,
famous Gretch guitar twang-master Link Montana. Wrapping up a fine
club debut, the band looks forward to making Land Ho a regular stomp
on the Cape this summer and beyond.
Dee's Lounge meets SPF-4 and friends...Feb. 17, 2006
Dee's Lounge in Quincy, Ma.was given a healthy dose of current-day
surf-rock-instro by SPF-4 and the Preston Wayne 4 on Friday nite.
With a smooth opening set by SPF-4, the club took on a surf twang
atmosphere and continued with the scathing final set by the Preston
Wayne 4. Dee Dee's is one of those clubs that has a great local
patronage that supports live music and the management was very
enthusiastic. The room has fine accoustics and a nice corner stage
with house sound if needed. Maybe next time the large projection
screen could also be used to work with the surf-instro theme
somehow. SPF-4 opened the night with a confident set , followed by a
rockabilly set from Fury III and the night ended with a blistering
set by Preston Wayne 4. Again, the room acoustics worked just right
to keep the sound warm for PW4 and in particular, the wide open
playing of Preston's vintage Statocaster.
Tiki Club hosts SPF-4...Jan. 27, 2006
to the Big Apple to play at Otto's Shrunken Head Tiki Bar on E.14th
St. for a sizzling set of Friday nite surf-instro. The modern day
Tiki club, with the help of NY-based surf music promoter
Freddie put together a special "surf shindig" which
included SPF-4 and the Tarantinos-NY. Otto's is a vibrant 60's style
venue with a live music backroom and Tiki decor that fits the vibe
of the surf music scene properly. Hard to find and original early
'60's surf music album covers adorned the rest room walls with
groovy graphic designs. Enthusiastic patrons of the club and friends
of the bands contributed that nite to the vibrant present-day surf
rock scene that has firmly taken root at Otto's Shrunken Head Tiki
Bar and Lounge .Otto's
SPF-4 wraps up 2005 at The
Skybar...Dec. 30, 2005
The Sun Protection Factor Four
chimed out 2005 on Friday nite with a great show at the Skybar in
Somerville, MA. Stepping up on what was one of the nicest stages the
band has set foot on, SPF-4 proceeded to deliver a hot set of
surf-rock instro to an enthusiastic crowd. The club was armed with a
recently upgraded crisp sound system, concert lighting and a
professional house Engineer named Joe, whom may be remembered from
his days at the Channel Club. Joe made the mix come alive and the
band supplied the fuel for the 11pm till closing set of surf. The
Skybar stage was wide and deep and the "flying" sound
system/monitors delivered a punchy clean sound, inspiring the band
to strech out and open up to the crowd. Kudos to Joe and the crew
who put together the stage at the Skybar, for it makes a great
rock-n-roll venue for bands and their audience. SPF-4 looks forward
to returning to the Skybar in February or March of 2006.
and East Coast Tremors at Vincent's -Worcester, MA December 10th,
SPF-4 and East Coast Tremors shared a split bill
at Vincent's on Saturday nite, serving up an evening of surf-instro
to friends and patrons of this cozy nieghborhood club in Worcester,
MA. Vintage pulp fiction book covers laminated the bar and exotic
taxidermi gracing the walls added to the warm crowd that came out to
catch some surf-rock-instro on Saturday night. The "stage"
may have been tight, but the venue afforded folks an intimate
experience with the bands.
East Coast Tremors opened the
evening with a blistering set of their original pycho-surf. Hailing
from the outer Cape, these lads have got it going on. ECT staples
such as "The Kraken", "Honeymoon Academy" "Cameltoe"
and "1996" were delivered with confidence and style.
What's great about these guys is the combination of vintage surf
tone and punk overtones in their material. Jared(guitar) and
Dave(guitar) counter each other with plenty of definition, while
Lee(Drums) and Jeff(Bass) pound out the tight backbeat with no
error. They proceeded to rip through their catalog and set the crowd
into a great vibe.
SPF-4 picked up where ECT left off and
opened with a holiday friendly version of "Surf-Sleighride"
followed by two new SPF-4 compositions "Round-em-Up" and "Perfect
Wave" , both well received. The crowd was in the mood to keep
on surfin', so the band continued with their delivery of material
that fed the warm vibe for the night. Many new friends were made at
Vincent's and the band hopes to make the club a frequent stop.
- "Surf Session 1" (Reviewed by Phil McNamara, Worcester
Well, what can you say about surf music? It
all sounds like Dick Dale... Nooo, it doesn't really all sound like
Dick Dale, but a lot of surf records do. Bands think that they have
to hit you over the head with intensity; that they have to floor you
with speed, volume and ferocity. To their credit, the four guys
mixed it up pretty well and made a record that's about intricacy as
much as anything else. It's a surf record that you don't necessarily
have to crank really loud to enjoy, but it does sound really good
The opener "Collision Course"
sounds a bit mellower than the title would indicate as guitarist
Dave Kroll and Rob Brooks play a mix of smooth rolling surf leads
and what sounds like it could be bits of samba, mariachi, calypso,
and flamenco, while drummer Craig Nieske and bassist Tony Maciag
shift from straight driving rock to island rhythms under them. "The
Rising Surf" is a mid-tempo rocker that conjure up images of
driving up the California coast with the top of the convertible
down, even if you're driving through Worcester in your own crappy
car. The opening of "Loophole" has an early 60s almost
Beatlesque feel to it before it slips into a slow rolling surf tune
with a busy drum beat behind it. It makes for a nice contrast. "Ninth
Wave" builds up nicely with the tension of the start of a
street race before hitting a groovy surf riff and kinda staying on
it a little too long. They do break things up nicely with a couple
drum solos in the middle and at the end to save it. "Latinia"
sounds like it's just waiting for the right trumpet player to find
it. The guitar in this comes close as his it's a bit flamenco and a
bit "8 Miles High" era Byrds. "Cruel Sea" opens
up with a heavy fuzzy guitar riff then brings the record back to
whimsical sounding surf, while "Jack the Ripper" mixes a
heavy rumbling garage rock beat with twangy surf guitars making it
another of my favorite driving tunes.
By the middle of the
record SPF-4 mellows out with "Mr. Moto," a low key mix of
surf and Texas twang. "Surfin' St. Helens" keeps up this
feel, while the guitarists explore the high end of their fret board.
"Crystal T" gets back to the drag race surfing wipeout
feel that they capture so well. They pull out a catchy danceable
riff that's fun to groove to, but they stay on it for long enough
for me to wonder when it was going to end. Of course back in the
day, a four-minute song was considered a short song and a 45-minute
album was par for the course. "Perfidia" and "Lonely
Bull" breeze through with a little more brevity. While "Perfidia"
has a classic early '60s feel to it, "Lonely Bull" pulls
out some sonic guitar effects, making a slow Texas twang feel that
wouldn't be out of place on the Repo Man soundtrack.
album winds up with the slow dance prom number "Sleepwalk"
and the military drumming and anthemic guitars of "The Lonely
Sea." The cascading guitars that close out the song make it one
worth remembering. While most of the songs on this record conjure up
the ocean or the dessert, this one makes me visualize the band
playing off each other and working in perfect synch (even though
aside from the bass player I don't know what they look like). This
CD's a keeper, whether listened to as back ground music or just to
put you in the right mood, this record fares better than your
average instrumental album.
Dirt reviews SPF-4 demo CD...
The legendary surf
music reviewer gives his two-cents at Reverb Central...Read
the SPF-4 Phil Dirt Reverb Central review here...
City Brewery & Midway Cafe Get Healthy Doses of SPF-4 ... April
15th & 16th, 2005
SPF-4 kicked off a weekend of
surf-rock-instro returning to Paper City Brewery with a 6-8pm "happy-hour"
. As usual the show was well attended with enthsiastic micro-brew
tasters and surf-instro music fans. One of the best-kept "secrets"
in Western Mass, the weekly Friday nite "bands and brew tasting"
events are a great time. SPF-4 delivered 2 powerful sets of
material, eventually topped in volume by cheering fans(brew
related?). Although the floors were a little sticky, the band
cemented their friendship with the fun crowd at Paper City Brewery.
next night, SPF-4 hit the road for the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain,
Boston to open for the
Chandler Travis Philharmonic. The Midway is an institution for
great live bands and it was a good vibe for SPF-4. Blowing through a
relaxed, yet focused set of choice selections, the band settled
right into the night stage, paving the way for the CTP. After a good
set the band was well received by new and old friends at the Midway
and looks forward to returning there soon.
"Surf Session 1" CD available... April 14th, 2005
The SPF-4 CD "Surf Session 1" is now available at
and at all live shows. Sub-titled "We Don't Sing No Stinkin'
Vocals", the compilation captures the bands brand of
surf-rock-instro and makes a fine addition to any summer music
SPF-4 Recording new
CD... March 2005
SPF-4 is recording a new "Surf-Session"
CD at Signature Sounds this month. The band is excited about
capturing their brand of surf-instro in the sessions that are slated
for release in April. "We are happy to have Mark Thayer at
Sounds working with us on this project" says Dave Kroll,
guitarist. " He is a fan of the surf-instro genre and has
produced many top shelf regional and national projects with
Signature." "It will be great to get into the studio and
capture the energy of this group" says Rob Brooks, guitarist..."we
should come out of the sessions as a stronger band". "This
is an exciting project for me, since it's my first pro-session"
says bass player Tony Maciag. Craig Nieske the bands drummer says "hmmph...should
be a dandy".
Ralph's - Worcester, MA March 4, 2005
A bitter wind
and frigid temperatures outside were no match for the feeling of
endless summer inside Ralph's Diner as the Sun Protection Factor
Four presented a blistering set of surf-inspired rock to a full
house Friday night. Clad in matching black rashguard shirts and
clicking from the first chord, the band members hit their stride
early and kept the groove cooking throughout a 75 minute, showcase
The surf-instro vibe was visually enhanced by
Bruce Brown's 1966 movie classic The Endless Summer which was
simulcast as a backdrop for the band. The film chronicles the
experiences of surfing legends Michael Hynson and Robert August as
they travel the globe in search of the perfect wave.
Diner is an institution of sorts in Worcester, Massachusetts. The
diner is the genuine article - a railroad diner car. The menu
consists largely of burgers, dogs, and chili, with a good selection
of draft beer to wash it down. Adjacent are upstairs(with a newly
renovated stage) and downstairs cavern-style bars with eclectic décor
that gives revelers plenty to observe and contemplate. Ralph's has
hosted a plethora of regional and national acts for the past 25
Among the dignitaries in the audience were members
of the surf band 9th Wave and NESMA
founding members -guitarist Mike Rosado and multi-instrumentalist
Sandy Brooks. Also present were professional staff of the University
of Massachusetts School of Medicine and many recently made friends
of SPF-4 from previous Worcester area performances.
Worcester, MA January 15, 2005
I was surprised to
hear that a surf instrumental band had formed around the Worcester
area. Usually to hear some good Surf music one has to "venture"
into Boston or beyond. Oddly enough, there was a big surf show going
on in Somerville on the very night of this show. I chose to stay in
Worcester and check out SPF-4 (The Sun Protection Factor 4). I had
never been to Club Car before. Unfortunately, there were TV's
playing football in every corner and I was worried that they would
be a distraction to the live music. It's definitely the Keno-Sports
kinda hangout. I was surprised that the stage was squished in the
corner when there was an entire other room that would make a great
music hall. Anyway, as I got my flat Guinness and sat down at a
table with my party, I glanced at the band's equipment. Seeing some
sparkly Rogers drums and a nice lineup of Fender guitars, I felt a
sense of relief...these were the tools of the true surf- obsessed
The band started and the TV's went on mute. The
band was wearing matching board shirts, which I think is a smart
look for any bands doing any kind of retro-inspired thing. About
halfway through the first song, one of the guitarists broke a
string. He was playing a DeArmond guitar w/a Bigsby tremolo on it.
Knowing myself what a pain it is to switch out strings on these, I
wasn't surprised to see him recover by grabbing a Fender Jazzmaster.
The same guitarist also played a Strat part-way through the set, but
went back to the Jazzmaster later on. The other guitarist played a
Fender Jaguar most of the time and also switched it out with a
Strat. I couldn't make out the bass players first guitar but he
switched with a Fender P-Bass into the set as well. It was
interesting to hear the contrast between the Jaguar and Jazzmaster
The first thing that hit me about these guys is
how much they had that "Ventures" sound, they just seemed
to have that tone. I don't think either of the guitarists were using
separate reverb tank units, so things didn't get too soupy. They had
a good clean sound with just a little "garage-y" bite.
They did two sets of cover songs and when I talked to a couple of
the band members (sorry I'm bad with names) and found out that they
were doing all covers this time and would be bringing out their
originals at their next gig. Actually, it was a real treat to hear
so many Surf-instrumental covers! I should have grabbed a set-list,
but a few I remember are: Miserlou, Surf Rider, Out of Limits,
Sleepwalk, the Lonely Bull, Penetration, Walk don't Run, Diamond
Head and Rebel Rouser. I think the highlight of the evening for me
was hearing Santo and Johnnies "Sleepwalk". I have never
heard this one done live before. Overall, these guys had their stuff
down tight and I look forward to seeing them again. They were all
good musicians. (That surf staccato picking ain't easy ya know).
Both guitarists traded off on rhythm and lead, the bass and drums
were solid and the occasional announcement on the megaphone was a
nice touch. Oh yeah, after multiple requests by the locals, they
even did "Wipeout".
Cutting Room: NY, NY 11-27-04
SPF-4 made their New
York City debut Saturday night at the Cutting Room on W.24th St. The
show was graciously hosted by "Unsteady Freddy"- the
famous NYC surf music promoter and "Twang Ambassador" of
the region. The club offered the band a fine stage and house sound
that inspired The Sun Protection Factor Four to deliver a tight,
powerful set of their brand of surf-instro.
progressed nicely with highlights featuring Rob's heartfelt delivery
of lead on tunes like "Lonely Bull" and "SleepWalk".
Later memorables included Dave's chiming Stratocaster on "The
Rising Surf" and staccato lead on "9th Wave" - which
was graced by a surprise jump on stage "surf-a-go-go"
dance by the lovely Sandy "Oceana" of the exotic opening
act "The Acoustic Surf Tone's"! see
picture... She later rejoined the SPF-4 stage with an
encore surf-a-go-go to the band's blistering version of "Crystal-T".
band was very well received by the applauding crowd and SPF-4
proceeded to put the debut Big Apple gig into their back pocket,
looking forward to the next show in the city.
Beach: Wellfleet, MA 8-29-04
The Sun Protection
Factor Four continued their Summer Tour with a gig high atop the
bluffs of White Crest Beach in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. The event
was focused around the annual Old-Timers Longboard Competition. A
junket of family and friends made their way to the Outer Cape for
one of the best weekends of the summer!
In casual attire
complete with shades, the SPF-4 played a 90-minute set consisting of
many originally crafted surf numbers. The sun was still strong in
the late afternoon when the band opened their set and there wasn't a
cloud in the sky. The northerly breeze gently blew the long manes of
Rob on guitar and Tony on bass. Craig looked cool as always behind
his 60's silver sparkle Rogers drum kit and Dave, now sporting a
soul patch and long sideburns, smiled quite often, revealing his joy
of playing surf guitar. You couldn't ask for a better setting to
hear Surf-instro and dance like crazy people.
well received by locals and tourists who had never heard of this
fairly new band. A local radio station(WOMR) rep. tapped fans for
information about these guys and where their roots were.
Predominately a group of old high school buddies from Western Mass,
these four musicians have played a whole range of genres over the
years. I have personally followed them since the late 80's when they
were known as Picture This. They never disappoint and the
Surf-instro scene is made for these guys.
The long boards
gave way to long shadows and the day came to an end with a glorious
sunset. After putting all the gear away, family and friends
celebrated the successful gig on the beach until dark. The "adults"
went out for dinner at a local restaurant where it is rumored one of
the guitar players "mistakenly" rode his bicycle into
Terra Luna thinking it was the bike path! It was a fine weekend for
SPF-4 and friends and hopefully the beginning of an annual tradition
at the Oldtimer's Longboard contest...Jay
Photo-Video review of the Whitecrest show...
Summit": Kirkland Cafe, Somerville, MA 8-14-04
made its Boston-area debut on a hot summer Saturday night at the
Kirkland Cafe. Performing ahead of three other
SPF-4 kicked off the night with a blistering set of material and got
the crowd revved-up for the "Surf Summit." The stage was
tight, but the band delivered enough energy to heat up the room and
make new friends on the dance floor. After finishing the set with
SPF-4's version of Dick Dale's "Nitro," the crowd yelled
for one more. The band obliged with their energetic version of "Miserlou."
Following the performance was Boston's own "They're
Gonna Get You" delivering a frantic set of material, followed
by the stunning performance of "9th Wave." The Surf Summit
was wrapped up by sinister surf-maestros "Phantom Creeps."
What a great night at the Kirkland.
Combo Makes East Coast Debut"
A hot summer
Saturday and a party atmosphere set the stage for The Sun Protection
Factor Four on July 17. The show marked the surf combo's East Coast
debut as well as the inaugural concert at the Bungalow Performing
Arts Center in Wilbraham, Massachusetts.
backdrop of festive lights and road-trip décor, The Sun
Protection Factor Four lit up the late afternoon with a tight set of
surf instrumentals. Guitarists Rob and Dave combined their
musicianship in a style that honored the surf music tradition
without sounding formulaic. Bassist Tony and drummer Craig set the
pace with a tight, smooth groove that kept the audience on their
The audience - dressed in beach attire and spanning
the age spectrum from toddlers to octogenarians - embraced the surf
music scene enthusiastically.
Surf is back (some would
argue it never really left) and The Sun Protection Factor Four is
catching the wave... Scott