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Ten days before the Soft Pack take the stage on the David Letterman Show, the San Diego band formerly known as the Muslims returned to the Tower Bar in City Heights to release their s/t debut. The show was free, and by 10 p.m. the venue reached capacity. Outside, a line wrapped around the building. Inside, more than a hundred fans elbowed up next to each other to hear the group's newest material.

Playing in front of a projector screen showing ’70s porn, the Soft Pack started the gig in usual fashion, Matt Smith cracked a steady and loud snare beat, Dave Lantzman picked distorted and busy bass lines, Matty McLoughlin strummed clean, raw, reverb-heavy guitar riffs, and Matt Lamkin yelled out punchy vocals while filling it out with garage-inspired rhythm guitar tones.

The quartet mixed new songs, such as “C'mon” and “Down on Loving” with older tunes like “On My Time.” By the eighth song, “Bright Side,” the crowd bobbed their heads and pumped their PBR tall boys in the air, helping the band with the chorus.

The Soft Pack ended the hour-long set much as they started it and the same way they finish the new album, with busy snare beats, choppy guitar riffs, fuzzy bass lines, and Lamkin’s punk-croon vocals on crowd favorite “Parasites.”

  • Concert: The Soft Pack
  • Show date: February 2
  • Venue: Tower Bar
  • Seats: Underneath dangling speaker, pinned against pillar
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