Friday, October 26, 2007

Shouting Out Loud at the Bowery

Are my priorities out of whack if I'm more concerned about hearing loss than high cholesterol?

Just got in from seeing Shout Out Louds at Bowery Ballroom. Another wonderful show. I saw them a couple of months ago at Luna Lounge in Williamsburg. It pangs me to say this, but after seeing the same band at both venues during the same tour, I may have to concede that Luna Lounge is a slightly better venue. (But that's only if you assess things in a vacuum, which is a rather pointless exercise. Bowery and its sentimentalities are inseparable.)

I somehow managed to drift, drift and drift some more until I ended up at the very front. So far in front that I conveniently set my jacket on the stage. But, alas, that's not such a great place to be because it's a bit of a sonic dead spot. I'm pretty sure the sound would've been better a few feet back.

I've read several comparisons of Shout Out Louds to The Cure, but that never made any sense to me because the Shouts are much too peppy. But tonight, as they played "Shut Your Eyes," I started to hear "In Between Days." And then it started to feel as if they could launch into "In Between Days" in the middle of any song. So, okay. I understand The Cure references now. But only if we're talking The Cure on Prozac, like on "In Between Days" and "Friday I'm in Love." (The Shouts apparently aren't fond of the comparison, which is understandable. Who wants to be compared to anybody when the aim is to be original? I think they're plenty original. It just so happens that a few of their chords and Adam's achy voice now sometimes make me reminisce about The Cure, which is good thing, really.)

Here's a pretty amusing write-up on the matter from Oh My Rockness:

Shout Out Louds are four lads and one lady that have a similar sound to The Cure, although Shout Out Louds come armed with a brighter perspective on life. Singer Adam Olenius does a spot-on impersonation of Robert Smith at his most happy. And that's really the biggest difference between the two groups (besides, you know, millions and millions of album sales). Shout Out Louds don't reach for that anguished diary drama like The Cure often did.

Instead, this band opts for those fun, catchy cowbells and hyper-melodic choruses (more like "Friday, I'm in Love" maybe). Yee haw! And it's a good thing Olenius doesn't incessantly sing about heartbreak, because Shout Out Louds don't have a whole lot to be sad about these days. I mean, they're on Merge Records after all, and are winning tons of fans left and right as they consistently tour the world. I wouldn't be sad either.

People also like to compare Shout Out Louds to their compatriots, Peter Bjorn and John. But whatever, these guys are The Cure.

Anyhow ... all was great until a severely rhythmless and toneless girl somehow ducked in front of me. Fortunately, she and her slightly less rhythmless and toneless friend left before the encore. And the first song the Shouts played during the encore was the one song I was most looking forward to hearing live: "Hard Rain." (That was the only letdown at the Luna Lounge performance: they didn't play "Hard Rain.")

The set ended with a rambunctious performance of "Very Loud," which was (naturally) very loud. A few of their friends from home came on stage to help make things noisier. One of them wore a nifty t-shirt that had an artsy rendition of the Swedish flag emblazoned across the front. I saw that and got all nostalgic. Wish I could've seen them live in Stockholm.

Oh well. For now, seeing them again next Saturday in Dallas will have to do. Can't wait, especially since my Stockholm cohorts will be with me.