“Poooooooorrrrrrrrrtttttlaaaaannnddddddd …. ”
George Lewis Jr. whispered his crowd greeting Wednesday night in a belabored way that suggested he had sampled the city’s finest kush before taking the Doug Fir Lounge’s stage. A blazed Lewis, in the flesh, represented progress from the first time I paid to see Twin Shadow at the venue last year.
Lewis and Co. started off with “Golden Light” and “Five Seconds” – two of my favorite songs off their new album, Confess. However, they felt low energy and Lewis’s vocals seemed off-time. That did not stop the guy behind me from exclaiming to a friend in his thick Irish accent, “He’s a young fuckin’ Prince.”
Did a young Prince ever wear a see-through sweater? (Maybe.)
Twin Shadow can feel like a style over substance exhibit at times. Like the essential hipster’s hipster band. There was the ringleader, Lewis, wearing a glorified poncho revealing his curly chest hair and flashing silent come-on grins at the gyrating crowd. The synth player to his left looked like a cross between Lisa Bonet and indie it girl Grimes, largely due to her thinly braided her. The bird-thin bass player looked like he could have fit in the British band, the xx. The drummer’s blob o’ hair tied above his head bounced up and down like a bobblehead doll.
At one point, Lewis asked the audience if it were high. Predictably, he said he was too.
His high appeared to wear off in the last 20 minutes or so of the show. Not coincidentally that was the best portion of the show – the part where the band’s talent outshone the image.
“Beg For The Night” showcased Lewis’s pipes while closer “Forget” showcased guitar chops that have not always been apparent on record. Those two songs followed “Slow” and “Castles in the Snow” – two of the best songs off Twin Shadow’s debut, Forget. So, by this point, the band was in victory lap mode. Lewis even cracked a joke about being hurt that no one had complimented him on his sweater, which he bought in Portland. (Of course.)
Lewis also acknowledged the people who attended Twin Shadow’s first show in Portland and for giving him another chance to make things right. I might not be in love with how image conscious Twin Shadow comes across, but his gesture came across as genuine and humble.
Twin Shadow finished on a high note (no pun intended) with its two encore tracks: “When We’re Dancing” and “I Don’t Care”. The former got the indie kids shaking their hips and the latter got them screaming out of time, so delirious were they. Lewis, by this point, was on his game.
The music had won out.