lovelytheband Amps Up Portland Crowd on First Night of North American Tour
Photos + Words by Sydney Wisner
Wonder Ballroom is easily my favorite venue in Portland. The walls are lined with bold murals, a giant disco ball hangs in the center, and the lighting is a photographer’s dream. When you walk in, you can see 21 over and under sections respectively split down the middle by the photo pit. The venue does a great job recognizing what kind of crowd they’re going to have and gives the age restricted side with more viewers stage-touching priority. This time it went to the underage folks— lucky ducks are close enough to touch hands with the performers, should they allow it. Tonight’s show featured sets from Jagwar Twin, Flora Cash, and lovelytheband, respectively.
From the moment the members of Jagwar Twin started taking place on stage, a positive energy radiated throughout Wonder Ballroom. Front man Roy English came on last and the crowd went wild. Not only were each and every one of their outfits on point, but the spirit they brought with them was powerful. Jagwar Twin had one of the strongest stage presences I’ve seen in a while. Most of the people were in the room to see lovelytheband, but by the end of Jagwar Twin’s set, people were here for Roy. The bouncy vibe of their songs had the crowd moving and grooving along to the beat or slowing down and flashing the lights on their phones like lighters. Needless to say, 30 minutes was too short of a set for the infectious band.
This was my second time seeing Flora Cash live and they put on an amazing set as expected, but this time with new tunes. They played two new songs, “You Love Me”, which is unreleased and “I Wasted You” from their EP Press. It was their first time performing either of these live, so the Portland crowd was very lucky (we’ll be in their hearts forever). Flora Cash definitely created a more sensual and calm energy for the fans to vibe with. The chemistry between Shpresa Lleshaj and Cole Randall is undeniable. Having been married since 2013, their love for their music and each other is potent.
The first time I saw Flora Cash, Shpresa danced half the time and controlled the beats on her computer the other half. This time however, the couple had a little help from their backing band, which allowed her to dance along with the crowd. In addition, they played less songs that required Cole to play his guitar, meaning he could stare into Shpresa’s eyes during duets, making the crowd swoon. Flora Cash continues to produce smooth, late night jams and carries their love and appreciation into their live shows.
Coming off a European tour with LANY, lovelytheband is currently headlining across America— starting in Portland. The stage was illuminated by a neon pair of lips (the band’s signature mark). Before the band took stage, the light pulsed with a beat to amp the Portland crowd up. Fans everywhere were jumping up and down, phones out as to not miss lovelytheband’s entrance. Mid-set the band acknowledged the fact that the Portland crowd was mostly young women by giving a “shoutout to the dads”! I’m glad I wore earplugs to this show so I didn’t lose my hearing due to all the screaming. The crowd was nothing but loyal.
lovelytheband stayed true to their recorded sound, playing hits like “broken”, “stupid mistake”, and “coachella”, even covering Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” to play a little karaoke with the crowd. They seamlessly blended their upbeat pop songs with slower melodies. I personally enjoyed a light rocking on this rollercoaster. After playing for an energetic hour and a half set, the show concluded and everyone was forced to face the fact that it was a Wednesday night and they had school and work in the morning, despite the great sets they witnessed earlier.