TOY and Soft Shadows at Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, OR (April 29, 2014)
The dreamy psych-karut rockers, TOY, play to hundreds, thousands in their native country. With two solid LPs under their belt and electrifying live sets, somehow the five-piece is still an unfamiliar name in America. On a Tuesday night at Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, the body count struggled to reach a hundred. Those of us who have been a long-time fan (myself and the opening band, Soft Shadows, included) looked at the chasms in disbelief: this show should be sold out.
Portland's Soft Shadows used to play their shoe-gaze-infected pop almost weekly around the town. This time around, the trio was joined by a new drummer and a guest clarinet. Frontman June Kang has expressed in the past, how he wants his band to sound like TOY. And Soft Shadows' set tonight certainly aimed for that goal. From their former hazy dream pop, Soft Shadows shined with psych-out-gaze, making it the perfect appetizer to TOY.
Through 14-songs, Toy enraptured us in their heavenly rock universe. The volume was turned up for an arena, but we were in an intimate cavern - a surreal combination of colours oscillating, and the cheers from the few who did make it out tonight sounded as if they cloned themselves. How divergent it must be from their London show at Shepherd's Bush Empire just two nights prior. As a photographer, I envy the big venue lighting but as a fan, feel lucky to have caught this rock gem in the comfort of Doug Fir Lounge - my home away from home in Portland.
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