The only thing that really made this show a bummer was the extended amount of time between sets. This was a show for Music Fest Northwest, three days here in Portland where a zillion bands play at venues all over town. It works like this: Bands go on at the hour every night across the board. This means you can see a Band A at Venue X at 8, Band B at Venue Y at 9, and Band C at Venue Z at 10. It's a simple and good formula for a festival, but not for this type of show, as the bands performing are used to sub-30 minute sets.
Regardless, that doesn't really change the fact that there were four incredibly solid acts on one bill, which is something I haven't seen in awhile.
Local pop-punk act Broadway Calls started things off with an incredibly high-energy performance of their standard sing-along style. The vocals were delivered with energy and passion while the band members seemed to bounce around stage effortlessly, obviously excited about the bill they were on. The band has a real no-bullshit kind of style, playing the first three songs without so much as a second to clap between and only bantering once or twice to introduce themselves, and then got right back to the songs.
I'd imagine, were Broadway Calls a bigger band, the rather large audience would have responded with the same energy that the band was putting out, but I'd say for a local band the amount of toe-tapping and head-bobbing going on was a positive enough response (especially considering that we're in Portland) for a solid performance.
Second up was Sinking Ships. Now, I love Disconnecting, but I was a bit irked by the live performance of the band. Whether it was the acoustics of the room, their sound was not nearly as full as it was recorded and, except for the lead vocals, the band was relatively reserved. I believe the performance to be half-bad just due to the venue itself -- the stage at the Hawthorne Theater is stupidly high, making interacting with these fun, melodic hardcore acts much more difficult than it normally would be in a basement.
The crowd actually thinned out a bit for this set, and as a nod to Broadway Calls, Sinking Ships really just wasn't able to follow up to the opening performance, which was disappointing. It won't prevent me from seeing them again, I'll just make sure it is in a smaller space.
Shook Ones took the stage to a great response and really set the stage for Lifetime. The band was full of energy and each song was delivered with passion. The between-song banter generally extended for longer than the songs, as there was an hour of time to kill before Lifetime. Being Pacific Northwest natives, the band and members of the crowd knew each other and kept a relatively entertaining dialogue going, which was surprisingly unintrusive to the set.
The mood for the band was, for lack of a better term, jovial and during the songs the crowd actually responded physically by getting the floor ready for the reason everyone was there: Lifetime.
I've never seen Lifetime. I'd imagine a lot of the crowd hadn't either, as the band had only been to Portland once before (at least according to Dr Dan after the show). The response was what I was hoping for, with stage dives and hands punching the air, bouncing along to each beat.
However, I'd say Lifetime had the exact opposite problem Sinking Ships had; while the band was filled with energy and fun, lead singer Ari Katz was relatively subdued, singing the songs with only a mild interest at times. Hardly worth mentioning, but it was one of the only parts about the set that wasn't perfect.
Another detractor form the set was, for the encore, Katz asked the crowd what they wanted to hear. An overwhelming response for "Theme Song..." went ignored, so much so that the venue actually turned the house lights on after the band left the stage while a substantial amount of people were still demanding a second encore to hear the song. For the band's first show in ten years in Portland, playing for just under 30 minutes and not playing the one song the entire audience is requesting seemed a bit of a dick move, but that's just looking a gift horse in the mouth.
And that was the show. I don't often get starstruck around bands, but after the show I was leaning on the stage and felt a tap on my shoulder and heard, "Excuse me, I'm gonna jump down," and Dan Yemin joined the conversation I was having with some friends like it was nothing, which was pretty cool.
While I was fairly sick throughout the show that was mired by time difficulties, while the bands were playing I didn't really have a care in the world. There's a huge lack of melodic hardcore (orgcore) in the Portland area, as most bands around here are of the mosh-bro-core persuasion, so it was a great night to finally see four bands on one bill where no one was spin-kicking or two-stepping in the pit. The score alone is for finally having a show where this goes on instead...