I’m not a musician—or, at least, not a good musician—but if I were, I know the hardest part of playing shows would be finding the right people or groups to play with. Fortunately, Growing Pains didn’t seem to have a problem with finding excellent bands to share their Doug Fir show with. The band is good. Like, really fucking good; I mean, opened-for-bebadobee-at-Pioneer-Courthouse-square good (an experience I, fortunately, was present for). Last night, the group proved something everyone in that room knew: that not only are they incredibly talented, but that they have impeccable taste in openers and co-headliners.
The Portland-based band took the stage at the Doug Fir with two other hyperlocal bands, Bory and Novacane. I’d never heard of Bory before last night, but to say I was pleasantly surprised by the performance is an understatement. The combination of slow indie-pop guitar, crooning vocals, and rapid succession drumbeats had me swaying; so much so, that I lost a bit of my gin and tonic (totally worth it).
Excited for what was to come, I made quick work of the rest of my drink, knowing my hands would be best empty for Novacane’s set. And Novacane, of course, did not disappoint. Heavy, psychedelic riffs oozed through the amps, permeating the wood-walled venue. I found myself compelled to dance, and head-bang, from my perch on the steps. Lead singer Dylan Latimer dedicated the iconic “What’s My Age Again?” by blink-182 to a close friend, successfully riling up the crowd, before the band closed with “Whiskey Town”. Needless to say, everyone in the room lost their shit (me included).
And finally, the moment I had been waiting for. With a fresh Rainer in hand, I returned to my perch on the steps to relive the magic that was Growing Pains; this time, in a more intimate setting. Once again, I was enamored by lead vocalist and bassist, Kalia Storer, bobbing along to the intense bass, ragged riffs and powerful drums that vibrated through my bones. Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the band is insanely talented, and I admired them too—I’m just a bass boy through and through.
Growing Pains concluded the night with two of my personal favorites, “Lemon Lime” (because…Hot Cheetohs, duh) and “What Are the Odds.” The crowd begged for an encore, and the band obliged, graciously gifting us one more song before closing out for the night. All spectators were left to reflect on a night of insanely good music, and the undeniable chemistry and mutual respect all the groups held for each other.