The Colourist spent the day charming their way through Portland last Saturday, with sets that delighted fans at both Mississippi Studios and Wonder Ballroom.
For their 94/7 Session at Mississippi Studios in the afternoon, the Costa Mesa indie rockers played a tight, largely plugged-in set that sound remarkably similar to their appearance at December to Remember, last year - proving that they can rock small and large venues with equal abandon. At the end of the set, frontman Adam Castilla got to display a little diversity on their one unplugged song, an acoustic rendition of their song "Stray Away."
Later that night, The Colourist's debut at the Wonder Ballroom (which Maya Tuttle noted was the largest venue that they've played on their tour) was preceded by two sets from equally talented but wildly different acts. Texas duo The Wind and The Wave started the evening off with a wonderfully haunting mix of indie folk, country and southern rock - the sort of music that makes you feel like you should be nursing both a beer and a broken heart. The enigmatically named Night Terrors of 1927 followed in a slightly jarring change of genre, switching out The Wind and The Wave's southern twang for dark, brooding synth pop. (It's probably worth noting that the band's lineup includes former Rilo Kiley guitarist Blake Sennett.)
When The Colourist came on stage, the crowd greeted them with a level of enthusiasm that came very close to rivaling Chvrches' reception, last week. As a headliner, something becomes readily apparent about The Colourist: while Adam Carilla may be the most visible member of the band, Maya Tuttle is obviously the backbone of the group - most of the band's songs are carried on the back her drumming and her breathy, Of Monsters and Men-like vocals. After setting the tempo (both literally and figuratively) for most of the show, Maya joined Adam in a brief scover Slayer's "Reign In Blood" before closing out the evening with their hit single, "Little Games."
While The Colourist may not be big enough to snag larger venues outside of Portland, their visit on Saturday proved that their fan-base in the 503 is alive and well.
Dan Croll was one of the first bands we featured on Thoughts From Last Night, when the 23 year-old Liverpudlian and his band played to a tiny crowd at Holocene during their first US tour. Now, almost exactly six months to the day after their last visit, Dan Croll and company returned to Portland to play the Aladdin Theater on Monday night.
Fresh off an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel and the release of his first album, Dan Croll is a man in transition: big enough to command marquee space at The Aladdin and national television appearances, but as he jokingly pointed out, not big enough to actually fill the venue.
The small crowd that showed up, however, was treated a wonderfully light, intimate performance. Amidst songs like "Compliment Your Soul", "Home", and "From Nowhere", the honey-voiced singer took time to banter and joke with fans between almost every song. At the end of their show, the band hopped off the stage and sat in the front row with their fans arrayed around them campfire-style, and then proceeded to do a beautiful, completely unplugged rendition of "Sweet Disarray" that moved a couple of audience members to tears.
If Dan Croll's ascendant trajectory continues, it's unlikely that we'll see him in such intimate surroundings again. But for his fans on Monday night, they had an opportunity to experience one last, almost magical night in close quarters with a rising star.
While The Neighbourhood's visit to The Roseland may have garnered more press, just a few blocks away, Portland music aficionados at the Doug Fir Lounge were treated to a killer set with The Ecstatics and Bear Hands on Thursday night.
Local band The Ecstatics are quickly building a reputation for themselves as one of Portland's hardest-working and most in-demand acts, having opened for Wampire, Sheppard, and Bear Hands all in the space of a week - and their set on Thursday did not disappoint. Although their demographic tends to skew younger than the 21+ crowd at Doug Fir (not surprising, since frontmen Eli & Quincy are barely voting age, themselves), The Ecstatics rocked their brand of indie dance/pop with their trademark enthusiasm and even managed to coax a few members of the crowd (who they jokingly referred to as "you old people") into dancing along to their set.
Writing about Bear Hands is a fairly challenging task, partially because it'd be way too easy to riddle this article with bear jokes and ursine puns (I promise I won't make make silly jokes about them "mauling the scene" or anything. I'm pawsitive.) and partially because their influences are hard to pin down; they come as fast and furious as their riffs. The end result is superb, however - a percussion-heavy sound that meshes lush, dreamy guitar work with edgy, rapid-fire verses. The band showcased their grittier side with songs like "Bonedigger" and "Peacekeeper," and their rendition of their hit song "Giants" actually sounded better live than it did on the record, which is no mean feat. The only downside to their performance were the sound problems that hounded them throughout their set - but if they decide they want a do-over, I'm sure that Portland would be more than happy to oblige them!