Friday, May 7, 2010

TVD Bubblegum | Shout Out Louds, May 2, at the 9:30

Sunday evening The Freelance Whales and the Shout Out Louds took the stage at the 9:30 Club. I had never heard The Freelance Whales before but was excited to see another band who once hailed from DC.

It was exactly the type of emo you would expect your fourteen year old little sister to enjoy, and the fourteen year olds that had made it to the front of the state were certainly enjoying it. Their long intros and vocals became monotonous. The chorus of ‘Generator 1st Floor’ was a series of “eheheheheh” that didn’t translate to their live set. It’s always a shame when someone’s recording doesn’t work well on stage, though, to their credit, they are still a young band and it was the first night of the tour.

I have been a Shout Out Louds fan since the summer of 2005 when I was wandering the aisles of a Best Buy in Arizona with my sister-in-law and liked the name of the band – Shout Out Louds. I hadn’t read about them, I was fifteen, I hadn’t yet started actively following new music, let alone new music from Europe, but I had been listening to The Cure – a lot. I bought three cd’s that day, ‘Howl Howl Gaff Gaff’ is the only one that I still listen to (the others were the Garden State soundtrack, and Anna Nalick’s first album – judge away). That album became my high school love life; I could relate each song to a different boy that I had had a crush on. I suppose this was the beginning of my catharsis. They played at the 9:30 Club in 2006, but it was a Sunday, and I wasn’t allowed to go.

They also didn’t curse very often, if at all, so when I was blasting it from my boom box, my parents didn’t mind too much.

In 2007 they released ‘Our Ill Wills’ and this time I bought it on vinyl at Crooked Beat a store my brother had first taken me to earlier that year. ‘Our Ill Wills’ again became an album that I could, and did (and still do) relate to far too many circumstances. ‘Tonight I Have to Leave It,’ ‘Your Parent’s Living Room,’ ‘Impossible’ and ‘Hard Rain’ quickly made it into heavy rotation. They played a second time in the fall of 2008, on another Sunday, and for a second time I wasn’t allowed to go.

When they announced their hiatus in 2008, I was wary of whether there would be another Shout Out Louds album. But after six months apart they came together with a new perspective and a new appreciation for what they do. They created ‘Work,’ it’s more mature and subdued than their previous albums, but in a way I have grown up with them, and it seems to have moved in the appropriate direction.

Seeing them live, on stage, with the lights and the fog was everything I could have hoped for. They opened with ‘1999’ the first track on ‘Work’. It quickly established their presence while inviting the audience to take part. They moved with few pauses through their set. ‘Please Please Please,’ was the first song they played off their debut album, and it became apparent who in the audience had been with them since the beginning – a lot. The movement only grew as they moved to ‘Tonight I have to Leave It.’ At least, the movement in front of the stage increased, I didn’t really bother to look behind me. They spaced the songs at just the right intervals for the crowd to dance, catch our breaths, dance, dance, breathe.

I had not yet heard the entire album ‘Work’ and was quite pleased that people were singing along to even those songs, even some of the parents and fourteen year olds. ‘Show Me Something New’ and the single ‘Fall Hard’ were among the new favorites. They closed their thirteen song set with ‘Very Loud’ a song that could easily be interpreted as being about a lost love, which is only half true, no one would guess it’s actually about the music industry.

They humbly left the stage and lingered just long enough before coming back to play a three song encore - all sing-alongs, all dance numbers. They began with ‘Impossible,’ Then ‘You Are Dreaming.’ They closed with ‘Walls’ the most recent single. It’s chorus - “Whatever they say, we’re the ones building walls. Whatever they say, we’re the ones that never say no. To get to know yourself you have to run away. Never trust anyone, run away, run, run, run.”- was shouted in earnest by fans and performers alike.

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