These are the times that try men's souls. Or rather last night was one of those times - when Portlanders were forced to choose between Foster The People at the Roseland Theater and the Foals / Cage The Elephant double-header at Crystal Ballroom. That said, by all accounts, it doesn't sound like there was anyone that regretted being at the Crystal... and I can speak with certainty that there weren't any cases of concert-goers' remorse at the Roseland, either.
Following her recent appearance in support of Broods, Meg Myers returned to a Portland stage for the second time in as many weeks. Clad entirely in black - along with her entire band - Meg presented a slightly more somber, reigned-in appearance than she did at Mississippi Studios, but her singing was no less intense. After rocking out through songs like "Adelaide" and her most recent single, "Desire" (which prompted a concert-goer next to me to remark, "Uh... this song sounds like a threat. But I like it."), the singer ended her set with a howling rendition of "Heart Heart Head."
I've seen a handful of bands that have enthusiastic followings - Lorde, Chvrches, even Foster The People in a more intimate setting like Doug Fir. But nothing could have prepared me for the sheer power and energy of the sold-out crowd that packed into the Roseland Theater to see Mark Foster and the gang on Thursday night. When the group started the show off with "Miss You", they were met with a deafening cheer, and the noise level never dipped below a dull roar for the entirety of the show. Although the band saved most of their more iconic songs for the second half of their set ("Coming of Age", "Houdini", "Pumped Up Kicks" and "Helena Beat" all came in relatively short order, at the end), it didn't matter, because the crowd seemed to know every song by heart.
Although the band is supremely talented as a whole, much of Foster The People's crowd appeal comes from lead singer Mark Foster's knack for showmanship and raw charisma. Mark has arguably become the Justin Timberlake of indie rock, and he's a fairly reflective guy, as well. Shortly before launching into the last song of the night ("Don't Stop"), he paused to share a final thought with the crowd: "The enemy of our generation is isolation, and apathy is its friend." Pretty deep stuff, there - but fortunately for the crowd at the Roseland, neither isolation nor apathy were to be found, that evening.