Beach Fossils play to a wild sold-out crowd at the Paper Tiger

A recap of an absolutely stacked indie-rock show

Cesar Soto, Staff Writer

Rating: 4 stars

Making a one-off appearance in San Antonio, Beach Fossils came to town to headline a sold-out show at the Paper Tiger on Thursday, Nov. 17. Along with openers The Red Pears, Benches and Floats, it was a high-energy indie rock night in the Alamo City.

Starting the night off was Floats, the new musical project of lead singer and guitarist Mark Perez after his last band, Junkie. The surf rock band completely brought the energy to their hometown crowd, asking them, “This is a rock show, right?”, as Perez hoisted his guitar in the air and his bassist shouted, getting psyched up with the crowd as the circular pits began to form. Perez took advantage of an instrumental song of theirs to move wildly around the stage, with his long hair flipping in every direction. When it seemed like their set was over, their other guitarist ran to the front of the stage and started a countdown into a cover of “Blitzkrieg Bop.” The crowd erupted into a frenzy as their bassist dove off stage, with Perez shouting out a concluding “welcome to San Antonio” to the bands that would follow them.

Benches were the next act up, with the Southern California-based band taking the crowd right back to the feeling of listening to The Strokes. Featuring Anson Kelley on vocals and guitar, Ethan Bowers on drums, Evan Ojeda on lead guitar and Charlie Baird on bass, the indie rock band’s music was not the type to open up the pits. Still, everyone in the band was in tune and on point the entire show. The guitar playing and Kelley’s vocal melodies were great to see live, no matter the song; he switched things up while still making each melody feel uniquely his own. It was the band’s first time playing in San Antonio, dropping a fun little anecdote about going to the Rainforest Cafe. Closing their set off in epic flair, Perez came out from backstage to jump off the stage and crowd surf, keeping the high enthusiasm going that these two bands had started the night off with.

Based out of California, The Red Pears were originally set to play this show as a headliner, but when upgraded to a Beach Fossils gig, the tickets sold for that show were rolled over to this one. Based on the reaction they got when the three-piece took the stage, it was unmistakable that they had sold a considerable amount of those tickets. Surfacing as vaqueros, the band had the loudest cheers, with everyone ready for the mayhem that would ensue. They effortlessly rode the punk and surf rock wave as the crowd surfing, and mosh pits took off immediately and never stopped. With the band consisting of Henry Vargas on lead vocals and guitar, Jose Corona on drums and Patrick Juarez on bass, there were countless highlights to note as all of them had the crowd shaking the room. 

“What’s the Difference?” is one of their older songs that is still a banger to this day, “Twisted Colours” had an awesome guitar riff in the middle before the vocals and drums explosively came back in, and “Forever,” which is a bit slower for the band had the entire room with their hands in the air and singing along; however, the most memorable part of their set was the track “Daylight/Moonlight.” The song started with a chill vibe before fierce guitar notes would play, signaling a tonal change in the song. Again, Perez and the bassist from Floats emerged from backstage to open up a mosh pit in the middle of the crowd. At this point, it felt like every single soul in that room was jumping, screaming, crowd surfing, and having a fantastic time, continuing the hype of this electrifying bill of bands.

The anticipation was now all there for Beach Fossils to come out. They came out on stage in a fun way, playing Lil Yachty’s newest viral hit, “Poland,” and lead singer and guitarist Dustin Payseur asked, “What the f—k’s going on everybody?” They were thrilled to play in San Antonio again, noting that the crowd is amazing every time they play here. Throughout their set, the Brooklyn-based band stuck solely to their older music, noting they had just finished their newest record that they will be touring next. With that, they started with “What a Pleasure,” a throwback to the 80s sound it featured and a throwback to their beginnings as a band.

Payseur did his thing as a frontman, as did the other members, Tommy Davidson on guitar, Jack Doyle Smith on bass and Anton Hochheim on drums. Davidson was especially interactive with the crowd, talking about how the band stumbled into a tiki bar on the Riverwalk and then shouted out their bartender, who was in the crowd. He also called on the crowd to “get a little sweaty, a little crazy,” even though it was a Thursday night. The crowd proudly complied, continuing all the jumping and crowd surfing of the night on tracks like “Generational Synthetic,” “Adversity” and “Calyer,” which saw so much moshing that the band had to say, “Y’all are absolutely f—kin’ wild.” 

Highlights of the set included the track “Sugar,” one of their most calming and emotional songs, and “Down the Line.” For the latter track, Davidson led into the song, having the crowd chant the chorus to Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” This counted perfectly into the song, where the crowd had a great time dancing along. 

Other standouts included “Be Nothing,” starting off gently and building up to such a thrilling release of emotion, with the colors in the lighting starting to flash around the entire room. 

Another was “Sleep Apnea,” a track of theirs that is both slow and comforting. The stage lights were turned off, and all the crowd’s flashlights turned on, making for a powerful sight as the crowd sang along. Performing their energetic three-song encore, the band ended with “Daydream,” where the fans truly made the most of their final time to mosh, crowd surf and go as crazy as they possibly could.

After this night, there is no question why Beach Fossils keep coming back to San Antonio and why the city has so much fun having them here. With endless smiles and laughter the entire show, it was a perfect escape that live music fans, especially the younger ones, needed, making for such a fun vibe at the Paper Tiger.