Better Than: Blasting “Very Loud” very loud while driving down your old street with all the windows down.
It’s been three years since the last time Stockholm’s Shout Out Louds came through the United States on tour, and about as much time has passed since the release of their last record. Now, they’re hyping Optica, their latest out now on Merge, and the album’s danceable qualities translated beautifully to the Music Hall of Williamsburg stage last night for their tour kick-off. You could tell they’re accustomed to crowds that move a little more (and a group of die-hard fans did their part in flailing around in fits of euphoria throughout), but the Swedish five-piece never faltered over the course of their set and were steadfast in their mission to get a room full of people with their arms crossed at the chest to tap their feet in time at the very least. By the third song of the encore, frontman Adam Olenius had whipped out a cowbell and was furiously counting into “Tonight I Have To Leave It,” personifying the kinetic verve and unflinching energy of a band who just can’t quit. They could’ve gone on for another ten songs–and that group in the front would’ve devoured a second helping of Optica‘s new material, along with the smattering of older hits that they provided, without missing a single beat.
I was skeptical about how their live show would play out, and I’m happy to have been proven wrong. I first caught wind of the Shout Out Louds in 2008, when Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist came out in theaters and every indie-savvy 22-year-old with feelings at the time couldn’t get enough of The Shins or The Strokes and other safe, generally likeable bands with a penchant for the letter “S.” There’s little about debut Howl Howl Gaff Gaff that indicates Shout Out Louds and their more beloved singles pop onstage more than they do on the radio. And shame on me for not keeping tabs on them the way I should’ve, because not only did their set list demonstrate their ability to grow and push themselves outside the confines of a particular genre, their songwriting chops have matured along with them in the most palatable of ways. “14th of July” and “Chasing the Sinking Sun” off Optica were especially enjoyable and more indicative of Shout Out Loud’s current explosive, electropop tendencies, but “Very Loud”–that same single included on the Nick and Norah soundtrack–was the arguably the sing along favorite of the night.
Overheard: “We’ve been talking about this show for eight months now. If we seem nervous, that’s why!” Olenius, regarding the band’s absence and their excitement for this bout of touring behind the record. The grins beaming off the faces of the rest of the band fortified the sentiment. Clearly, this crew’s happy to be back at it.
Random Notebook Dump: “You know you’re back in the States when you smell … something … sweet.” Olenius caught wind of the joint that someone had lit up somewhere on the dance floor–as did the rest of the band–and there was a good “HAAAA POT” moment as everyone collectively figured it out together. A joint?! At a concert?! Goodness me! (Seriously though, it was kind of adorable that the band giggled about it.)
The Shout Out Louds | 3/11/13 | Set List
Walking in Your Footsteps
Chasing the Sinking Sun
Please Please Please
14th of July
Tonight I Have To Leave It
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 12, 2013