Brooklyn Pop in Portland

Vortex Music Magazine

New York bands The Drums and Beverly provided the pre-rain soundtrack at Portland’s Star Theater on October 8.

The dreamy Jonny Pierce of The Drums: Photos by Christina Bargel—click to see more!The dreamy Jonny Pierce of The Drums: Photos by Christina Bargel—click to see more!

Watching New York pop bands The Drums and Beverly share the stage at the Star Theater was like looking at a painting of a sad surfer on a bright day. It was as if the happy psycho-reactive slime in Ghostbusters II never worked. It was like having a nightcap on the shores of Long Island before dreaming in black and white.

Openers Beverly—like The Drums—have a morose vocal delivery and lyrical content that is many times juxtaposed with upbeat instrumental backing. It looked like winter had started early for lead singer Drew Citron as her jaded eyes and subdued singing told stories of isolation and cigarette smoke. Standout songs came from the debut album Careers (released last July), including “You Can’t Get It Right” and “Honey Do” (below).

The Drums started their set off with “Bell Laboratories,” a track from their new album Encyclopedia (released on September 23). The ambient, space-toned intro sifted through the thickest fog I’ve ever seen at a concert. But the women at the Star Theater could see frontman Jonny Pierce just fine, and as he came onstage, shrieks filled the tall-ceilinged room.

Pierce’s dance movements can be described as femme-stumbling and soft sways. Mixed with fan favorites “Let’s Go Surfing,” “Money” and “I Can’t Pretend,” the crowd bounced along with the entertaining show. But as bouncy as the room got, the feeling was never overly happy as there was not a single smile onstage all night.

For Portland, the show was a good start to the rainy months. Illustrating the friendliness and despondency of our city in wintertime, the crowd sang along to the closing song “Down By The Water” (video below): “If you fall asleep down by the water, baby I’ll carry you all the way home.”

It was a welcomed message for those of us who may doze off down by the Willamette River this winter.

Set List:
Bell Laboratories
Let Me
Me And The Moon
I Can’t Pretend
Kiss Me Again
Book of Stories
Best Friend
U.S. National Park
Book of Revelation
I Need A Doctor
I Hope Time Doesn’t Change Him
How It Ended

Baby, That’s Not The Point
Let’s Go Surfing
Down By The Water

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