The Hype: Sweden's Shout Out Louds decided to take a break after the release of their second album, Our Ill Wills, and its attendant world tour. Now, however, the five members--frontman Adam Olenius, bassist Ted Malmos, guitarist Carl Von Arbin, drummer Eric Edman and keyboardist Bebban Stenbor are back with their third full-length album entitled Work (Merge). They were joined at The Fox Theater in Pomona on Monday by Seattle math-rockers Minus The Bear, who were added to the lineup after an emergency rescheduling from Friday. Minus The Bear's original support, up-and-comers Young The Giant and Everest, joined both bands as a special bonus, making the night a mini-indie festival.
Minus The Bear capped off the evening, but it was a bit of an anticlimax after Shout Out Louds' triumphant set. The Seattle boys got mathematical, but the muffled, garbled vocals throughout their set marred the performance. Their set consisted mostly of tracks from the new album Omni, a poppier and more produced effort. Unfortunately, the hi-fi sheen was nowhere in evidence. "My Time"--the lead track on Omni--was catchy, but lost some of its sexy impact. The vocal issues continued, and the overall sound was undistinguished.
Some songs broke through the haze, however. "Pachuca Sunrise" was a revelation, a sparkling update of the classic Minus the Bear rattle and hum. The band was in fine spirits, though. They guzzled Tecates all night long, and keyboardist Alex Rose confided in the crowd that he wasn't sick of touring, yet. They seemed to rally a bit musically for their encore, and closed the evening with "Absinthe Party," which is a fitting description of the set: fun for stretches, but not something you will remember for very long.
Surprisingly, opener Newport Beach natives Young The Giant's performance outshone Minus The Bear by a mile. Fans of the National might want to check out this exciting, young band. Their song, "Cough Syrup" was a stand-out of the evening. Los Angeles band, Everest, performed more like openers, with a competent but uninspired set of Neil Young-inflected guitar rock.
The Crowd: Underagers crowd-surfed during Minus The Bear's performance. Rowdy teenagers tossed water bottles left and right while smitten young girls reached out to grab their rocker idols. A 5-year-old sporting the band's T-shirt stood with his parents and asked random fans for their autograph in the hallway of the venue.
Overheard: A Shout Out Louds fan was getting into the moment with his buddy and asked, "Do you think they card here? I need some alcohol."