The early 2000’s nostalgia was heavy on a Tuesday night in Hollywood, as The Spill Canvas rounded out their nationwide tour in SoCal with all the trappings of early alternative rock: angsty teen anthems, romantic crowd-pleasers, sarcastic soliloquies between sets, and no shortage of the intimate and raw vulnerability that’s fueled the Sioux Fall-based quartet since their 2002 debut. The amity of Dashboard, the hilarity of Blink, the grit of Taking Back Sunday– The Spill Canvas brought a diverse Roxy Theatre crowd the quintessence of the alt genre.
Chalking lead singer Nick Thomas’s charming and unruffled stage presence up to the decade glazes over the most unique aspect of all- the way he approaches each stage like a stripped down, backyard kick back. Three tracks in: the audience is belting in tandem with Thomas, nearly drowning out lead guitarist Mike Naran’s major-toned licks, with age-old love. “This next one…this song is very close to my heart. We’re friends- I hope we’re friends,” Thomas coos between sets. An inside voice- uncommon, but welcomed at the heart of a rock show- leaning coyly into the front rows, arms outstretched, phrases exceeding the ordinary howling of “Los Angeles!” during the half second rest between songs. Thomas looks out to the audience, not as two-hundred-something bodies in a blackened venue instead, he works the apex of the stage with genuine affinity, bettered by his quirky humor. “Sorry guys, fuck Twilight. I’m just kidding. Well, not really.” Random. Causal. He’s making us laugh as a prequel to tracks like Self-Conclusion, a stripped-down, unforgiving acoustic ballad that had two third of the crowd contemplating clicking send on that I miss you text.
Arguably Spill’s most endearing moment? Drummer Bryce Job introduces the rolling open of This Is For Keeps, bassist Landon Heil echoes the downtempo backbeat, Naran offers up faint high-necked picking, and Thomas forgets the lyrics. He laughs into the mic, and the crowd answers the same. The band continues ever on- pushing the song’s instrumental preface to nearly two minutes as Thomas spills over the lovable irony of forgetting his own lines. “What’s the first f****** word to this song?” Thomas asks. A handful of the more spirited fans cry: “The streets are dark!” Another bounces back: “My pulse is flat-lined!” Naran and Job pick up the tempo. The better three-quarters of the crowd, amid laughter, sings along.
The final hoorah: Thomas, Naran, Heil and Job crouch in a semi-circle at the stage’s edge, beckon the crowd forward, and a flash of white light torches the theatre. “We’re all friends, we’re all just hanging out!” Thomas jokes, vindicating The Spill Canvas’s obligatory post-show photograph. Hollywood is All Over You, Spill. In the best way.
The Spill Canvas will be on tour for the next few weeks. For tickets and show dates, click here.