The Shout Out Louds inspire shouting and dancing at Union Transfer (Review, Photos, Setlist)
Sweden’s The Shout Out Louds are artists in the middle of their career. 2013 marks their twelfth year as a band, and the fivesome doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Since forming, the band’s released four records of emotion-fueled electro-pop, including the recent Optica, which dropped this February. Generally, the challenge for any band this far into its career is 1) remaining interesting, and 2) avoiding burnout—but last night at Union Transfer, the Swedes proved they were immune to both, treating fans to an extravagant, 90-minute music and light show that had eager concert-goers singing and dancing along.
It’s been three years since the last time the Shout Out Louds played Philly, and I remember that show (in the basement of the First Unitarian Church) as a torrid, sweaty, crowded affair. At Union Transfer however, there’s plenty of space, and the temperature is moderate and pleasant. Good vibes prevail before the band even takes the stage—then multiply immediately with opener “Sugar” (also the opening track on Optica), whose low-key melody feels electric. This is thanks to columns of blinking LED’s framing the stage, and front man Adam Olenius’s expressive crooning. The marriage of lights and emotion is a recurring motif—the record is called Optica, after all—and the band employs it well, choosing dark blue lights for the dark, new-wavey “Normandie” and stripping to blackness during the fade-out to “Hard Rain,” only to return with flashing strobes and fury when it picks back up.
The band’s set draws mostly from Optica, with tunes like chirpy single “Walking in Your Footsteps” and feel-good rocker “14th of July” inspiring dancing and shouting. Hazy slow groove “Blue Ice” feels soft and steamy, while older tune “Impossible” taps into something potent and real, Olenius closing his eyes tightly to croon, “I don’t want to feel like I don’t have a future.” The Shout Out Louds might play low-stakes pop, but these moments of resonance elevate the whole experience.
The band closes its set with a rousing three-song encore, Olenius venturing into the crowd during closer “Tonight I Have To Leave It,” grinning and crooning. As I noted earlier, it’s been three years since the band last played Philly—but their show last night was well worth the wait.
Walking in Your Footsteps
Where You Come In
Chasing the Sinking Sun
Please Please Please
14th of July
Tonight I Have To Leave It