Last week I had the pleasure of seeing the Swedish band Shout Out Louds play the Aladdin Theater. Now, clearly, on a surface level I probably don’t have all that much in common with the swedish group I saw on stage on a rainy Tuesday evening. What we all had in common though, for sure, was that last nights show was just one of many on a crowded schedule. I arrived from class about five minutes after they hit the stage and immediately, things felt like home. There was the familiar cast of characters. To my left, a couple dancing a bit too over aggressively (its a shame that the late 90’s swing revival came and gone because they would have made damn fine extras in a Brian Setzer video) and to my right I noticed a typical cluster of prototypical Portland hipsters standing passively with their hands in their pockets. Fittingly, I was somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. That’s right - I was dancing with my hands in my pockets. It was cold, alright?
It was an excellent set, probably my 2nd favorite of the year (to the superb Walkmen show I saw in January). For those unfamiliar with Shout Out Louds the band plays a blend of indie rock, heavy on synthesizer with driving rhythms and the delicate interplay between lead singer Adam Olenius and backup vocalist Bebban Stenborg and their male/female dichotomy. The night ended with a performance of what might be their signature song “Tonight I Have to Leave It”, sometime before the last verse Adam Olenius jumped into the crowd and sang about five feet away from me. In the midst of a hectic week I was able to find some sliver of peace there with Adam, the obnoxious dancing couple and various other unmet members of the concert congregation in attendance that night. As adam finished the tune I was struck by how relevant this line felt:
So I heard it's no good to run,
but it feels so much better now that it's done
and tonight I have to leave it.
At this point I should probably talk about another key ingredient of the concert going experience: the concert buddy. That night, it was Brendan. Brendan from Connecticut. I’ve referred to him as such ever since the first night we met. His friend Terry (also from Connecticut) was visiting the evening we met and the differences between New Haven and Portland became a backdrop for a wild evening that began at the Cave Singers show at the Wonder Ballroom and ended sometime before 3 AM at the Food Cart Village on SE 13th and Hawthorne Boulevard. We all sat in a daze clutching paper cones stuffed with french fries before we all concluded that we were too drunk and high at that point to consume the scalding hot piles of fried potatoes that we had just purchased. Sitting there in my friend Micah’s car (our ever present designated driver) the Bruce Springsteen song “Backstreets” came on my iPhone through the magic of shuffle (it was fate) and I turned to Terry and drunkenly crooned the opening line:
One soft infested summer me and Terry became friends - trying in vain to breathe the fire we were born in....