A storm builds around Kurumpaw’s mystical surf-rock

Kurumpaw, defying gravity.
Photo: Spencer Burton

There’s nothing like the excitement of hearing a great band for the first time. Suddenly you want to buy all their records, memorize their discography and catch them every time they play your town. When that band is local, however, there’s a different kind of excitement—the kind where you can’t wait to see what they do next.

That’s what it was like seeing Kurumpaw (named after the short story “Lobo the King of Currumpaw”) at the Griffin last week. The mystical, psychedelic surf rockers have been picking up steam, and it’s obvious why: Their live show is whimsical yet rough, a thunderous vehicle that urges limbs to move.

Kurumpaw’s energetic, somewhat fearless attitude means there’s no shortage of interesting experimental riffage and lengthy, texturized breakdowns (hear: "Hyena"). While some elements might not always work as planned, it’s the risk factor that makes them stand out—like the moment when the band brought a didgeridoo player onstage as singer/keyboardist Cindy Espinosa attacked the floor toms. When she returned to the mic, the two musicians switched places, engaging in a bellowing drum battle with percussionist Ricardo Hernandez.

“I listen to a lot of ’60s and ’70s music and also alternative music in Spanish from the 2000s—anything that’s really out there and alternative influences me a lot,” says guitarist Mikelo Flores. “I feel like right now we’re at a point where we actually don’t care [about genre] anymore.”

That much was clear inside the dark room at the Griffin as Kurumpaw finished its set, each song morphing like a chain reaction of chemicals—some surfy, some psychedelic—but all explosive. It was just the kind of thing we hope to hear more of.

Tags: Music
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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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