Singing Along with Slothrust in Portland

Aaron Sharpsteen / March 24, 2017

After their first song was over, a somewhat intoxicated audience member shouted out “I love you Mom!” to Slothrust’s lead singer Leah Wellbaum. While Wellbaum was rightly confused and is not exactly matronly, the shoutout did accurately reflect the level of respect that the young, at least 50% female/female presenting crowd had for her and her band.

I had the chance to catch up with the drummer, Will Gorin, for an interview that is going up on my own website later in the year. Before talking about nerdy drum things, we went over how this tour was going, and how it seemed to be a transitioning point for the band. After going out on the road as support for various artists, Slothrust is getting a taste of headlining, and the results are extremely positive. Indeed, a quick glance at their website reveals numerous shows along the way that have sold out weeks in advance, including the show they played at the High Water Mark in Portland last week.

Their performance left little doubt for their future success.¬†Their setlist was tight and well arranged, and mixed material from their latest album, Everyone Else, such as “Surf Goth,” “Horseshoe Crab,” “Like a Child Hiding Behind Your Tombstone,” along with older material such as closer “Crockpot” and even a couple new songs that haven’t been recorded yet. The energy between the band and the audience flowed freely, with the faster parts of their compositions illiciting raucous dancing all around and the slower sections giving way to constant crowd sing-alongs. While listening to their albums is a treat, it is hard not to notice just how anthemic some of their songs are when a room full of people are chanting along.

If I had anything that came close to resembling a complaint, it would be something only a photographer would notice (and I was there to take some pictures as well). The stage was lit with three spotlights near the front, but for some reason the main mic was set up in between the main front/center spot and stage left. When Wellbaum decided to rip one of her many fantastic solos, her inclination was not to step to her right and forward, into the main spotlight, but rather to take a step back, deeper into the darkness. Hopefully there isn’t anything else to be read into that inclination, because Slothrust proved that they deserve their place in the spotlight in Portland, and will continue to do so on their tour this spring.


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