Thoughts From Last Night...

 
Posts from February 2014


The Presidents of the United States of America :: Crystal Ballroom : 02.14.14
Quick! What's the first band you think of when I say "Valentine's Day concert"? If you said, "Presidents of the United States of America," you're probably lying. While Presidents may not be everyone's go-to when it comes to romance, they were a pretty apt choice to kick of Presidents Day Weekend, and their show at The Crystal Ballroom on Friday night proved to be a pretty entertaining (and at times surprising) evening.

Openers You Scream I Scream and Old Light kicked things off with long sets by two very different but complimentary bands. Connecticut-based You Scream I Scream paired gravelly vocals with a guitar-heavy 90's rock sound, while the prolific (they've released six different recordings in the past year) Portland band Old Light rocked out with their own particular brand of psych-metal. It wasn't until almost two hours into the evening that PUSA finally took stage.






























Now, there are two types of people in this world: those who like Presidents of the United States and those who don't. PUSA's nonsensical lyrics and jokey demeanor aren't necessarily everyone's cup of tea. But weren't wasn't a non-believer in the house on Friday night, and Presidents proved why they can still pack in the crowds after all these years. On the eve of the release of their new album, Kudos To You, the band played a high-energy, marathon set that lasted almost two hours, and included their two most famous hits ("Lump" and "Peaches") and a host of crowd favorites, along with over a half-dozen new songs. There was even a hint of love in the air when the band invited a local fan on-stage to propose to his girlfriend - who he met at a Portland PUSA show six years prior.


 



























Presidents may not be all things to all people, but their show on Friday definitely proved that they can still rock out with the best of them. 
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Hellogoodbye :: Crystal Ballroom :: 02.13.14
When I first heard that Hellogoodbye was coming to back to Portland, I was immediately transported back to a time when bands like Hellogoodbye, Metro Station and The Plain White T's ruled the airwaves with poppy songs about young love and heartache. I can even remember at least a couple romances and heartbreaks of my own that were scored to tracks from Hellogoodbye's first album. But that was almost a decade ago. I've grown up, and so has Hellogoodbye - and it was an older, more seasoned band that came to the Crystal Ballroom on Thursday night for the latest chapter in 94/7's "I Saw Them When" concert series.

Before the main act, however, concert-goers at the Crystal were treated to a madcap set by local band, The Ecstatics. Although their two frontmen are still in their teens, the band has built quite a following in Portland, and their fans turned out in force for their performance on Thursday. In keeping with the band's name, from the moment they came onstage, Quincy & Eli turned it up to eleven and kept it there for the duration of their set, which included their best-known track, "Float." (And no, there's no relation to the Flogging Molly song.) Having opened for two I Saw Them When shows (as well as an appearance at PetAid last summer), I wouldn't be surprised if we see them headlining their own ISTW show, one of these days.


 


Hellogoodbye kept the party going with a short but varied set that featured tracks off of their new album, Everything Is Debatable, along with some of their old hits. Led by Ashland native Forrest Kline, the band's set really highlighted how much their sound has changed over the past decade - while old crowd favorites like "Here In Your Arms" and "When We First Met" still sound as pop-friendly as they always did, new songs like "(Everything Is) Debatable" sound more like Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr or Dan Croll than vintage Hellogoodbye. Regardless of which version of the band you came for (assuming you came for Hellogoodbye at all - I talked with quite a few people who actually came primarily to see The Ecstatics), Thursday's show was another solid installment in 94/7's ISTW lineup.

































 
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