Summer concert season is definitely picking up, and it’s getting to that time when there are so many good shows going on that multiple concerts in one night starts to sound like a good idea. Friday was one of many recent occurrences, as while a reportedly epic night of solo act dueling was going down a few blocks away (word is Kurtz won, as predicted), three sufficiently-hyped touring acts were in town for a gig at Empire Dine & Dance.
DC’s Jukebox The Ghost and These United States (whose opening set I missed, unfortunately) both bring a jerky pop sound (though in very different ways – during one Jukebox song a friend asked if they might actually be Ben Folds Five in disguise – not quite). The night’s middle act, the excellent Jenny Owen Youngs (try to imagine a cross between Jenny Lewis and Metric’s Emily Haines and you’re close), comes from Brooklyn has worked up a tour-specific collaboration with Jukebox that comes across excellent when they join forces onstage, as they did a few times at Empire. Thankfully it seemed as though the combined national coverage of these bands worked to bring out a decent crowd in Portland, which isn’t always the case. It’s great to see mid-level acts like this come to this city and get a great response, even without the often-necessary addition of a local drawing act to bulk up the bill (don’t get me wrong, I always think it’s great to give locals a chance to open for touring bands when it could really benefit them, but sometimes it’s impressive to see what a bill of touring acts can do on its own). Check out the full photo gallery here.