With teenagers decked in floral dad shirts, plastic white clips in wavy hair, and a curfew that lingers in the Tuesday night air, walking into a Summer Salt concert is exactly like what the band’s name suggests. The group of guys from Austin strive to create the perfect soundtrack for chillaxin' by the pool, according to their artist’s profile on Band Camp, where they started their journey.
Rooted in sounds of Bossa Nova and featured on countless Spotify playlists with titles like “Lo–fi Indie,” Summer Salt gained traction recently with the emergence of bedroom pop powerhouses like Clairo and Frankie Cosmos. Their latest release, “Honeywood,” is an EP comprised of six songs and came out a week prior to the show, but did not attract the crowds as much as their prized projects “Happy Camper” and “Driving to Hawaii.”
Upon the conclusion of the show’s two openers, Motel Radio and Dante Elephante, the crowd danced to the intermission picks of Rex Orange County and Castle Beat, excitedly awaiting the quartet. The band, comprised of founders Matthew Terry (vocalist/guitarist) and Eugene Chung (drummer) who were later joined by guitarist Anthony Barnett, and bassist Elliot Edmonds, walked on the intimate stage basked in blue lighting.
“Hey, we’re Summer Salt. And we’re going to be playing you some music now,” said Terry. The crowd smiled in response before “Manastra” began, one of their older tracks. The band immediately launched into an upbeat drum set and guitar melody that can only be described as tropical, coating the venue in a continuous wave of sound. Edging near the stage, I turned around to find everyone swaying in response to crowd favorites, “Candy Wrappers” and “Sweet to Me”. The peak of the performance arrived with “Driving to Hawaii,” a mellow track about dreaming of the impossible instead of focusing on the present.
“Maybe, when we get there, things will be much easier / And life won’t be nothing anymore.”
Despite the haunting element of the lyrics’ meaning, we could not help but smile as the crowd sang along to the background vocals and surprised the band members entirely. Closing your eyes for a moment at a Summer Salt show is almost like getting caught in a different reality, as you realize you slipped into the verse of one track and woke up in the chorus of another.
And before any of us noticed, the band bid their goodbyes following “One Last Time” and disappeared—before coming back for three more numbers and finally slipping away.
Overall, the concert stretched for around an hour and a half, but did not harbor the choppiness of most traditional setlists. It rode as one long, nostalgic summer evening, ending on the front porch with lemonade with the song “Going Native” crooning in the background. Even if you only know a couple of tracks by the burgeoning band or just want to experience some relaxed swaying, we recommend keeping your eye out for the next Summer Salt show—it’s fifteen dollars well spent.