Time really does fly at great shows, and letlive.’s headliner felt like it was over in the blink of an eye.
Night Verses opened the tour and set the bar high for the rest of the night. I was really looking forward to seeing them live after watching videos of drummer, Aric Improta, doing jumps and flips while playing. Their set reminded me that they recently put out a new record, INTO THE VANISHING LIGHT, and I immediately felt compelled to listen to it. They played two songs from each of their releases, and I wish their set could’ve been longer, but hopefully they’ll soon be playing longer sets on future tours. We did get to see Aric stand up on his drum stool and yell along with vocalist, Douglas Robinson, during the end of “I’ve Lost My Way Back Down,” and then he jumped back down when the drums come back in to conclude their performance.
The members of Silver Snakes were all in the same local scene as letlive., and they played shows together growing up in their first bands, so I highly respect letlive. for staying strongly connected to their roots and bringing them out on tour. Silver Snakes were the perfect transition from the intensity of Night Verses to the more relaxed vibes from Seahaven. Garrett Harney of Silver Snakes had a light up drum kit which looked cool with the low lighting during their set. Their performance featured six songs from their new album,Saboteur. Alex Estrada, lead singer and guitarist, also played on an electronic box of sorts that added a little something more to elevate their sound. Silver Snakes will be opening for Korn on an arena tour this fall, so check out dates for that here, and show up early to catch their set!
This was my second time seeing Seahaven, and it was definitely their best set of the two times, but unfortunately most of us watching them weren’t able to fully enjoy them because of an incredibly disrespectful crowd member. He was treating Seahaven’s set like a hardcore show and getting up in other people’s faces and grabbing onto their shoulders and backs. He was repeatedly told to stop by everyone, and wouldn’t listen which really distracted everyone from the transcendency of Seahaven’s music. Despite how disruptive that person was, the band’s set fully got me hooked on their music. They recently released a single that they also played live called “Find a Way” from their next full-length because the lyrical content really matched what everyone has been feeling in regards to the recent tragedies in Orlando, so 50% of its first week proceeds went to the victims and their families. Hopefully I can see Seahaven live again soon in an environment where people respect them and everyone else in the crowd.
I’ve been actively listening to letlive. since they released “Good Mourning, America,” the first single from If I’m The Devil…, and the most vital part in my understanding of what this band is about came through seeing them on this headliner. From the first chord of “I’ve Learned To Love Myself,” an energy came to life in the room. I learned that this energy and feeling is what they refer to as ‘ll.ove’. In the case of seeing them live, it’s the fact that everyone in that room is there because they get what letlive. is about and they are there because they believe in it. Portland was definitely a smaller show for the band, but the three or four rows of people who were there went as hard as a massive crowd would have, and I ended up moving to side stage thanks to letlive. and their tour manager, Rich Humphrey, realizing that it wasn’t a good idea for someone in a wheelchair to be in that crowd.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been loving If I’m The Devil…, but that hasn’t been the case for a lot of people. Vocalist of letlive., Jason Aalon Butler, put it best when he said that they’ve always been about challenging the boundaries of punk rock, and that he’s still angry about things, but now he sings about them rather than screaming like what people expected on this new record. The most frequent complaint I’ve seen is that If I’m The Devil… is not a hardcore record, but letlive. have always called themselves soul punk, and that is exactly how I’d describe this album. Jason talked about that before playing “Another Offensive Song” which is the heaviest of the 11 tracks, and a great way to introduce those who are unsure of change into the evolved sound. If I’m The Devil…, may not be constant high energy, but Jason’s vocals and the sheer amount of work that went into this album should be enough of a reason to give it a chance.
Most people who know of letlive. have heard that Jason is known for his on stage antics, and just when I was wondering if I’d ever see him climb anything, he made his way up the balcony stairs and hung over the railing to finish “27 Club.” Jason stayed up there and told guitarist, Jeff Sahyoun, to stop playing so he could talk to the crowd without using the microphone. He thanked everyone for coming and said, “I guess it doesn’t matter how many people are in the room as long as they get it.” Some of my favorite moments of the show were when Jason was dancing around on stage and sliding around in the water that they kept getting all over the stage floor. He even ended up breakdancing at one point which I’ve never seen anyone do on stage like that.
The power of ‘ll.ove’ is something truly special. Often times when I attend shows at extremely inaccessible venues it takes away from my overall experience, but despite having to walk up two flights of stairs, I still felt wholeheartedly welcomed and safe during letlive.’s performance. This show earned the spot as my favorite touring show so far in 2016, and it will be very hard for another show to top it this year.