Adventure Galley came out swinging at 94/7's latest "I Saw Them When" show on Tuesday night, with no introduction and a minimum of fuss. The Portland band has done double duty this month as an opener, first at the Knox Hamilton/Colony House show and then for My Goodness, and although they're still a little rough around the edges at times, they definitely brought their A Game for their appearance at the Crystal Ballroom, with improved (even from earlier this month) song transitions and an ever-more confident stage presence. This is definitely the best Portland's pirates have ever sounded.
And now let's talk about My Goodness. I'll admit that I didn't immediately fall in love with "Cold Feet Killer" the first few times I heard it, but hearing them live really changed my perspective on the band. These guys know how to rock. From the minute the Seattle band took to the stage, they immediately turned the volume up to 11 (both literally and figuratively) and kept it there for there the duration of the show. It was the loudest, hardest-rocking and most energetic show I've seen at the Crystal in quite some time, and the crowd ate up every second of it - stamping their feet on the floor before the encore so enthusiastically that the sound reverberated throughout the venue like thunder.
When the lights finally went up at the Crystal, I turned to my friend standing next to me and uttered a phrase that I have seldom - if ever - used when it reviewing concerts: "That was pretty metal, man!" And I wasn't lying - it was.
To say that Lykke Li has stage presence would be a little bit of an understatement. From the moment she emerged from the smoke on Friday night, the Swedish singer took command of the crowd at the Crystal Ballroom and never let up for an instant. Although her vocal stylings definitely swing to the indie side of “indie pop” (at times she sounsd like a cross between Lorde & Lana del Rey), in concert she displays the performance acumen of a rock star, wailing and hanging from her mic stand and making liberal use of the fog machine.
Lykke Li attacked her set with relentless intensity – there were no pauses, no breaks, no throwaway songs – just one riveting performance after another, including her singles “Little Bit” and “No Rest For the Wicked,” along with a sultry cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire,” and a barn-burning rendition of “Get Some” at the end of her set. Although Lykke Li professes to be only “a little bit in love” in the song, everyone at the Crystal was definitely a lot in like with her peformance.
You know how you call tell that Priory is from Portland? They drop words like "Proletariat" into an otherwise light-hearted song about enjoying the weekend. The band received an appropriately populist welcome from the masses gathered at Wonder Ballroom on Sunday night. Although they've been around for half a decade - and used to be a regular fixture back on the Portland circuit, back in the day - they've recently broken into the national spotlight with the aforementioned single, "Weekend." With a retro-tinged sound that mixes teen rock vocals and melodic guitar work, I wouldn't be surprised if we see Priory making an appearance on the soundtrack for a summer comedy, before too long. (My first thought upon hearing "Weekend" is that it would've been perfect for the Adventureland soundtrack, had it come out five years earlier.)
Middle opener Halsey bills herself as a "rap-game Winona Ryder," and while I'm not sure if that's the appellation that I would've given her, she pulled off an impressive pop performance (albeit a slightly incongruous one, given her placement on the evening's lineup). With breathy, staccato vocals, Halsey sounds a little bit like Ellie Goulding, but with far edgier sensibilities. Playing the Wonder on the eve of her 20th birthday, the blue-haired singer delivered an energetic set that included her single "Ghost" and a delightful cover of The Killer's "When You Were Young."
It's been a minute since we've seen The Kooks, but time hasn't dulled the band's chops, any. The British rockers are straight-up rock stars, these days, and the crowd welcomed them accordingly, collectively losing their minds when they heard the first few bars of "She Moves In Her Own Way." Although there's a retro sensibility to almost all of the band's music, the bluesy acoustic-driven sound that permeated songs like "Naive" and "Always Where I Need to Be" has given way to an edgier, funkier sound on songs like "Around Town" and "Down." Lead singer Luke Pritchard is a treat to watch live, too - prowling the stage with a stature that's equal parts Mark Foster and Mick Jagger.