With the summer solstice in full effect, it’s fitting that indie-electro artist Bay Ledges is on tour, with a glorious performance Friday night at The Troubadour. His sun-kissed music embodies eternal warm weather and shines a bit brighter than real life, but the fans were there for it, dancing up a storm, and Bay Ledges danced back. Hard. Helmed by former Los Angeles resident Zach Hurd, the Maine native is now based back in the northeast, but claims Bay Ledges developed under the California sun. His new album Ritual was recorded during a time of transition, grabbing on to nostalgia and playfulness, with an effortless blend of slick electro, soul and glitchy, psychedelic production. Bay Ledges was joined by Nashville-based indie-pop duo DOUBLECAMP as the opening act, who played some of their favorites including the feel-good “All My Friends Are Strangers”, hip-hop-leaning “Confetti” and an infectious “Smoke and Mirrors”. Singer Joe Neary worked the stage for the entire set and played the keys in some moments while bassist Jordan Burmeister grooved throughout.
Bay Ledges moved to the happy vibes of “Float” with Ryan Hurd playing his guitar, joined by drummer Kyle Kelly-Yahner. If only there was a pool and a few floats because the cheerful “In Water” was delightful, with blue lights on the stage and the “ooh oohs” in full effect.
The crowd danced ever so slowly to the sexy slow jam “Up”, with Hurd shining on the soulful vocals with wonderful falsetto moments. It was one of the top songs of the night. The indie-rock-leaning “Walk Away” was equally impressive, with Hurd bopping along in his sneakers to the beachy tune, thrashing his hair by the song’s end.
“Feel free to move in here how you prefer”, said Hurd to his fans. “It’s a safe space for all in here”. Hurd jumped in place during “I Wonder”, with strong vocals and a memorable instrumental/drum section highlighted by Kelly-Yahner , with Hurd hitting some big notes by the end.
The stage was flush in magenta during the reflective, whimsical song “Changing”, a truly danceable song that kept the fans moving. The summery vibes continued on “DMT” (which stands for “Dear Music, Thanks), sounding rather timeless with some psychedelic moments and ethereal vocals blended into the production, clever guitar strums and the crowd going crazy as Hurd danced center stage along with them. Following the fluttering production of interlude “Between”, Hurd mentioned the next song was about a short-lived relationship in third grade with a girl named June and he played “June” with its slightly warped, trippy instrumentation and Hurd getting funky on the vocals.
Fans were dancing however they pleased at this point and the energy was high for Animal Collective cover “My Girls”, with Hurd mentioning he doesn’t normally perform covers. “Safe” seemed like a fan favorite, with Hurd’s sweaty hair flopping into his face as he belted and rocked out. The mid-tempo “Mango” inspired Hurd’s body to contort along to the wonky production
The dancing was non-stop for “Wherever You Sleep”, with a muffled mic setting the mood as fans jumped to this one. Hurd danced and jumped himself, working the stage and earning all the love on the bop. The mystery of the muffled mic continued on “Straight Jacket”, with Hurd removing the mic from the stand as he touched down all over the stage while the Troubadour looked like a sea of happy revelers.
For the encore, Bay Ledges performed “In Your Head”, sounding rather anthemic with the beat of the drums and Hurd’s controlled falsetto, wailing out some other notes throughout.
Bay Ledges’ tour continues around California, with stops around the U.S. through July 10 in Connecticut.
Words by Michael Menachem
Photos by Tim Aarons