The Orion

Local band surfs through killer set

Collin Davis

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Mammoth Torta powered through many styles of surf rock Saturday at Duffy's Tavern. Photo credit: Matthew Vacca

“This is our second practice in three years,” proclaimed drummer Jesse Shreibman at the beginning of a whirlwind set by Chico surf rock band Mammoth Torta.

Although the reunited band had forgotten how some songs started and some song names altogether, it didn’t stop it from powering through 30 minutes of intense, surf-influenced instrumental rock Saturday along with Seattle-based garage rock band Murmurs at Duffy’s Tavern.

Mammoth Torta covered many styles of surf music and played songs varying from just one to three minutes long. Every aspect of surf music was touched, from lazy, beachy tunes to “Pulp Fiction”-like guitar riffs.

During Mammoth Torta’s set, someone in the crowd yelled, “The coolest part is that they started playing surf punk way before anyone else had.”

And this was fairly obvious while watching the musicians play. Their sound was more raw than other surf bands out right now and had a certain grittiness that is hard to find.

With Ben Terhune’s phenomenal guitar work, reminiscent of Real Estate or Man or Astro-Man?, and Shreibman’s breakneck drumming skills, the two-piece band filled Duffy’s with its sound and left everyone cheering for an encore.

Murmurs, Shreibman’s Seattle-based band, opened the set with a riff-heavy garage rock show. With a sound that could be compared to some of the early Sub Pop Records bands, it played a grungy set that seemed a little two-dimensional next to Mammoth Torta’s energetic, quirky set. The band still held it down though, all members playing their instruments with skill and creating a wall of sound that could not be missed.

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Seattle's Murmurs played a grungy, garage rock set after a set from local surf rock band Mammoth Torta at Duffy's on Saturday. Photo credit: Matthew Vacca

The most impressive aspect of the performance was Shreibman’s skill as a drummer in both surf punk or garage rock. He was able to play with unrealistic speed and precision while still switching up his style.

Both bands pulled a decent sized crowd, but it was easy to tell a majority were there because they loved Mammoth Torta from its active Chico days, which made for a loving, fun vibe that won’t soon be forgotten.

As Mammoth Torta musicians put down their instruments and walked off stage, the crowd started cheering for the band’s reelection, or rather, resurrection, shouting “four more years!”

It’d be hard to find anyone who would disagree after such a killer set.

Collin Davis can be reached at [email protected] or @collintalksart on Twitter.

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Local band surfs through killer set