(these reviews are just brief overviews of shows held outside Lane County, Oregon)
A great show – the weather was perfect, the folks we shared the the sidewalk with (getting there at 1pm meant we were first in line and through the door of course!) were very cool, and we got to meet and exchange a few words with the opening band Kinch. I caught Jim Adkins between trips to/from their bus and the club, and newest fifth member, singer/keyboardist Courtney Marie Andrews stopped by to chat as well.
The Wonder Ballroom is a small venue (max capacity is less than 800) and similar to the Crystal Ballroom in set up, with a main floor area in front of a raised stage, and a balcony overlooking the floor. We grabbed the front row center seats balcony seats so we had a perfect view of the entire show. The venue has nice acoustics, with large baffle pads integrated into the decor. If you haven’t caught a show there put it on your list.
Kinch (you can Google them for their FB, myspace, and other pages) was really good. Front man Andrew Junker switches between keyboards and guitar with ease and grace. The rest of the guys (Brian Coughlin, Jake Malone, and Wayne Jones) were equally proficient. They’ve been touring with Jimmy Eat World most recently and fit in nicely. An all-around decent set of guys and musicians.
Jimmy Eat World was, of course, amazing. It’s always very cool to see a band perform live to compare to their studio work. With Courtney doing some back up vocals and keyboards, the band was well presented – tons of energy, personal contact with the audience, and excellent musicianship. While they aren’t at the top of my faves list, this band definitely makes it to my personal best of show.
Especially cool was Jim’s personal dedication to Portland of “Hear You Me” (which of course was written in tribute to the band’s friends, Mykel and Carli Allan, who would give the band a place to land when they played L.A.), and of course their encore performance of “Sweetness” rocked the house, with the entire floor audience singing and moshing.
I love the energy of a live performance in a (relatively) large venue, where the audience and band personally interact and exchange as a central part of the performance – nothing compares!