A few years ago, after moving to Portland, I discovered a secret: you can do almost anything alone. I’d lived in Austin for most of my life, and as I quickly learned once moving, making friends in Portland is a long process. So, on a whim, I started seeing movies by myself. I went to dinner alone with a book. I even saw concerts… solo, and it was fun. I don’t know why we all think you have to do these activities with other people, but when you go alone you don’t have to wait for anyone to be ready to go, or to leave. There’s no coordination necessary, and if you want to talk to someone, you can always text or use Slack. At dinner, I usually bring a book, and just relax with whatever author I’m reading at the time. It’s magical.
This last weekend, I went to two shows: one alone, and one with a new friend I met in SF at Karaoke who lives in Portland—Hi Mehan.
Friday was Hop Along, with Thin Lips opening. I’ve never seen either of these Philly bands before, but they were both excellent. Thin lips is a punk-y band with a rad queer lady lead singer, who covers chosen family, dating, and anxiety. I’d never heard of them before this show, but now they’re on a regular rotation in my headphones. Hop Along is a favorite of mine since their first album, and Frances’ voice was incredible in person. They have a sound that’s difficult to discuss, so I hope you listen. Her voice is singular, and hella powerful. I usually have at least one of their songs humming in my head any given week while I grocery shop, or go on walks. I stood and danced a bit for both of these bands, and in between, I read on my Kindle iOS app, when I might’ve made small talk. There were a LOT of couples at this show, many of them queer, which ruled. Seeing bands is kinda cool as a date, in my experience, because how often do you get to quietly enjoy something with a loved one?
Sunday night, I saw Deafheaven, who’re kind of “metal for folks who don’t like metal”. They’re sick, and both times I’ve seen them they play and sing their hearts out. Bonus points for Geroge, the lead singer, growing out his hipster haircut into some serious 90s metal locks. Headbanging just works better with long hair. Hung with my friend in between sets, and made dumb jokes. The openers weren’t really my jam, but Deafheaven put on such a wild long set, I immediately forgot about the first hour or so of so-so music.
I’ve got a few more shows coming up this year, and I’m stoked AF to see Mitski, especially.