Doug Fir Lounge
Portland, OR (obviously (eye roll))
So this past Saturday I went to my first concert here in Portland (I feel like this should have happened way sooner, but Grad school commands just a bit of dedication…). I decided to tag along with my friend Ashley to see one of her favorite bands, Two Gallants, at the Doug Fir; a decked out lob cabin of sorts in in the basement of a hotel/restaurant. I would describe it as a cabin fit for Tom Haverford and Entertainment Seven Twenty (If you don’t get that reference, shame on you). Now I had never heard of TG, so I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into. For the record, there was definitely not a lack of beards, flannels, and sweet thrift store sweaters, but this is Portland so I’m pretty sure that happens almost everywhere.
We got to the Doug about an hour and a half early, so Ash got some wine and I, being the class act that I am, enjoyed a bottle of Miller High Life ($6 and $2.50 respectively). The crowd trickled in pretty slowly, but by 9:30 the place was packed (I would say about 150-200 people. The show was sold out so it was at full capacity). The opener was a band out of San Fran called Future Twin. The singer reminded me one of those old timey chicks in the black and white pictures, with a ruffled collar up to her chin and a giant pile of hair on top of her head, but I digress. Vocals weren’t terrible, but the drummer provided most of the entertainment with his awesome ‘stache and sweet hair. He was also the only one that really spoke between songs and actually had some energy while performing. The rest of the band just kind of nodded around and did their thing. I couldn’t decide how I felt about them, even after they were finished, which means I wouldn’t be bummed to see them as an opener again, but I wouldn’t make an effort to seek out their material.
At about 10:30, after a quick change up, Two Gallants took the stage. Just a reminder, I had never heard of these dudes before, and I can’t find the playlist from the show, so I was only able to figure out a handful of song titles. Genre wise, it is kind of hard to put Two Gallants into one box. The set list was all over the place, showcasing some folk tunes, a bit of rock, a couple acoustic ballads, and some funk, southern, and blues moments mixed in. If you are unfamiliar with the band, as the name suggests, there are only two members. However, they pull off the whole White Stripes (or Middle Class Rut) vibe where, while listening, you tend to forget there is only a guitar and a drum set (and sometimes a rad harmonica).
Speaking of the harmonica, by the time that thing came out for song two, the crowd was pumped up and ready to go. I would have to say my favorite songs of the evening were “Ride Away” and “My Love Won’t Wait”. The strictly lyrical opening is haunting on the latter, “You can try, but ain’t no use, I’ll lose it if you cut me loose”. I am a sucker for a good harmony and these boys did not disappoint. Highlights of the night included “Steady Rollin’” and “Nothing to You”. Adam could have stopped singing on both of these songs and the whole crowd would have continued on with every word. There are few experiences, to me at least, that measure up to being at a show and knowing that everyone around you is singing (or mostly just yelling) the same words with the same amount of passion. Also, the guys came out and played a three song encore, ultimately ending the night with “Waves of Grain”.
Adam’s voice is a bit pitchy and delicate, but it works for the group. What I didn’t expect was an almost Cobainian (this is now a word) rasp on the chorus of some songs; it was a pleasantly interesting mix for sure. And Tyson pulled out the cotton ball sticks (I am sure there is some technical name for these, but I like cotton ball drum sticks. It reminds me of elementary or middle school band), tambourine, and maracas, while playing drums. Not to mention some pretty on-key harmonies.
Bottom line, the show was great. I would recommend checking out both Two Gallants and The Doug Fir (if you are around the Portland area of course). I have already been jamming out to some 2G, and it hasn’t even been 24 hours since the show.