Nothin’ Bad About Bad Suns: A Review of Bad Suns at Hawthorne Theatre

uwlcuhhLA band Bad Suns recently kicked off their promotional tour for their sophomore album, Disappear Here.

I was fortunate enough to go to their third show of the leg of the tour in Portland, OR on Saturday, October 22 at Hawthorne Theatre. Their opening band, COIN, began the night with a few of their singles from their latest album, Inside Palace, and ended their set with their hit, “Talk Too Much,” which helped familiarize them with the audience.

After a 20-minute stage set-up, Bad Suns entered with their single “Disappear Here.” I had only expected them to promote their new album, but they brought songs from their first album, Language and Perspective, to the mix, as well.

Portland is oftentimes known for having a group of lively listeners, completely engaged in the atmosphere. There was a distinct mixture of fans, like myself, who were familiar with Bad Suns’ work, but also those who did not know much of who they were. Bad Suns did a great job of mediating that difference and allowing fans to hear “throwback” music while introducing their sound to new listeners.


Photo by Andrew Boyle

Throughout the course of the hour-long show, we heard popular singles like “Heartbreaker” and “Violet,” but also songs that made them famous like “Cardiac Arrest” and “We Move Like the Ocean.” I cannot emphasize how helpful it was to have the mixture of old and new music; it made the experience rather melancholy, from my perspective. I think too many artists today spend too much time focused on promoting their new work that they forget their fans fell in love with them for their old hits, as well. We ended the show asking for a well-deserved encore, to which they responded and sang three additional songs (the most that I’ve seen in an encore). Their lead singer, Christo Bowman, sang “Rearview” in the middle of the audience, and was eventually carried back to the stage by fans, which I’m sure they enjoyed.

Last year I had gone to their concert in promotion of Language and Perspective, which was also their first headlining concert in Portland. Two years prior, they had opened up for The 1975 at the Roseland Theater, which got their name out into the Portland music scene. Since then, they have been working with the Hawthorne Theatre and making Portland a set location for future tours to promote their albums.

Just recently, they visited Seattle’s Neumos to continue their tour. Many of our own students were lucky enough to make it into their third sold out show (of their four so far). Corinne Bennett, a freshman, commented,

“I felt like I had a close experience with the band in the small venue, and how they would go into the crowd…it was overall a really fun atmosphere.”

This, coincidentally, also epitomizes my experience. The band is only as good as the reaction given from their fans, and, so far, all I’ve heard are positive outcomes from that show.

If you were to take anything from this review, it’s that I encourage people to experiment with small concerts. Though Bad Suns’ shows have been sold out for more than half their tour so far, the venues they’re at are smaller; their capacities are lower than other major artists that you’d expect to see at places like KeyArena. I’ve come to learn from my fair share of live music that all of the best shows I’ve been to were all located in small venues with less popular bands. It’s just a more intimate experience. Actually being able to see the artists singing without the need of a huge projector screen makes it more wholesome.

I have a feeling Bad Suns will become a bigger band in the years to come; they’re constantly evolving.

This concert experience was one of the best I’ve had, and I entirely believe it’s because Bad Suns consistently shares how grateful they are to be making music at every single show they put on.

[P.S. We did an interview with Christo of Bad Suns! Read it here.]



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