Gig of the week: Surf City

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Auckland rockers Surf City are on a busman’s holiday while taking a break from recording their debut album.

They’re relaxing by hitting the road for a string of shows around the country, including Queenstown’s Dux de Lux on Saturday.

“We’ve been recording the songs in the basement of my apartment and it was time to get out of there for a while,” says singer/guitarist Davin Stoddard.

“We thought we might as well do some gigs to get us out of the house for a bit.”

The four-strong band has become indie favourites in New Zealand through their buzzsaw punk guitar sound and red-hot live performances.

Their self-titled 2007 debut EP went down well on both sides of the Tasman.

And now the tracks are getting rave reviews in Europe and the United States, too, after Surf City secured a number of overseas record deals.

Not bad going for a DIY-style EP recorded in various bedrooms and friend’s lounges.

Stoddard insists NZ music fans are tuning into their raw brand of rock ‘n’ roll after getting fed-up with polished chart bands such as Midnight Youth and Op Shop.

“Groups like that sound like they all come out of the same factory,” he says. “The whole thing is so bland.

“As a reaction to that, there’s definitely been an increase in interest in bands like us who just plug in our guitars and go for it.”

Surf City were first inspired by the early 1980s sound of Dunedin and cult British punk outfits such as The Jesus and Mary Chain.

But they quickly developed their own identity – fast guitar-pop and songs packed with catchy hooks.

The Dux de Lux show marks the band’s Queenstown debut.

“My girlfriend has a place in the resort and I had a few days holidaying there earlier in the year,” Stoddard says.

“We’ve been to the South Island before to play in the likes of Dunedin and Christchurch but for some reason we managed to bypass Queenstown, so it’s about time we did something there.”

After rocking the resort, Surf City will head back north to put the finishing touches to their first album, which Stoddard reckons will hit the shops in NZ early next year.

Meantime, they’re planning a jaunt to New York in October to play at the giant CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival.

Spread over five days and nights, the event attracts some 1200 artists and 120,000 fans who take over more than 75 of the Big Apple’s greatest nightclubs and theatres.

“That’s going to be awesome,” Stoddard adds.