Summer Salt wows crowd with dreamy performance


Natalie Sweet, Staff Writer

Awash in a dreamy red light, one of many men dressed in straw hats and gray jeans smiled at the small crowd. Clearly, the event was no Governor’s Ball – with approximately a hundred people spread across the floor, the audience members could’ve set up sleeping bags if they wished.

Summer Salt, an indie musical band, took to the stage at Gramercy Theatre on July 24th with header bands Motel Radio and Dante Elephante. The show was the New York stop on their summer tour, which spanned from the East Coast all the way to San Diego, California.

Formed in 2012 and based in Austin, Texas, Summer Salt’s music is reminiscent of 1960s pop, Bossa Nova, and jazz. The group has released one EP and one album, and this summer, they began their second tour. The venue featured a hallway lined with photos from other performances leading to a wide, open floor area before the dimly lit stage. A few people settled into the movie theater style seating area behind the open floor, but most attendees stood on the floor, almost ready to form a mosh pit.

The crowd was mostly teenagers, though a few adults in their mid twenties and thirties drifted throughout the crowd. Though there was a bar tucked away in the back corner, it looked extremely lonely, considering that almost no one was of legal drinking age. Vendors sold tiny Poland Spring water bottles – for five dollars each! Perhaps in a feeble attempt to make up for the absurd drink pricing, the merchandise table was selling t-shirts for 15 dollars each: a great deal for a tour shirt.

The first band took the stage without introduction, as if they were background noise in a restaurant. Their songs had an electric feel to them, a synth based melody with a drum beat as a bottom layer. Despite not knowing the lyrics, the crowd was able to sway to the rhythm and general chatter resumed after the first couple of songs.

“Do you know who we are?” the lead singer shouted into the microphone. “No,” was the resounding noise from the concert-goers on the floor. As if he was used to this, the lead singer introduced the band without a pause. “We are Dante Elephante,” he shouted, and immediately the crowd was lit up with blue screens searching for more information on Dante Elephante, rushing to open Instagram.

After about half an hour, the second band took the stage, introducing themselves as Motel Radio. Despite the fact that their music style was incredibly similar to Dante Elephante’s, their performance juxtaposed the mellow mood of the previous band. Lead singer Ruben Zarate, also sporting a cowboy hat, leaped around the stage, while his fellow performer sent an abundance of flirty signals to the crowd.

Despite Motel Radio’s entertaining antics, it was clear that the majority of the attendees were there to see Summer Salt, and they were getting impatient. Chants of “bring out Summer Salt” arose, and soon enough, a stage manager rolled a metal frame with a paint-splattered piece a cloth reading “Summer Salt” draped around it on to the stage. Cheers erupted from the crowd, and Summer Salt took to the stage soon after.

The band started their set with “Life Ain’t the Same,” a song from their album “Happy Camper.” Soon, they had the crowd shouting the lyrics to a few of their most popular songs, such as “Rockaway,” “Revvin My CJ-7,” and “Candy Wrappers.”

The lead singer jumped up and down on the stage during the faster parts of their songs, while the drummer took the lead in getting the crowd excited. Waving back and forth his floppy, bleach blonde hair, he became a fan favorite as many audience members shook their heads in time with him. Their songs, which are usually about love and happiness, were not meant to “hype up” the audience, but they put the crowd in a good mood with their peaceful melodies.

As the night went on, the crowd began to sway as Summer Salt played their nostalgic hit, “Driving to Hawaii.” Above a simple layer of guitar, Terry sang “Driving to Hawaii / Surfing down the street / Dreaming of these places / I may never see.” It was almost 11 PM when most of the attendees began to file out.

“You know what’s best about these types of concerts?” a bucket-hat-wearing girl in her late teens asked her friend as they left Gramercy Theatre. “The cute bassists that wink at me from the stage?” her friend replied. “Well, I was thinking more about the peaceful, road trip vibe that you don’t normally get from large