Photo of Free Throw by Aspyn Garfield
Free Throw, Homesafe, Heart Attack Man and Mom Jeans. played at the Analog Cafe in Portland on June 6th.
It was a very hot day in Portland, but everyone pushed through the sweat for this stacked show, and the first band of the night, Mom Jeans., wholesomely reminded everyone to stay hydrated. I’d been meaning to check out Mom Jeans. live for quite awhile since they tour up the west coast so often, but I’ve somehow missed them every time until now. Most people who showed up in time to catch their set happily sang along to songs from best buds and their split with Graduating Life. Their stage presence was very relaxed and they looked genuinely excited to be playing their music right then and there, and that energy was contagious. We also got to enjoy some classic dad jokes while they tuned, the last of which being a pterodactyl joke that we all finished for them. Mom Jeans., as well as all of the other bands on this tour, are definitely on the rise and not to be missed.
I was definitely looking forward to seeing one of the lesser known bands on this tour, Heart Attack Man. They released their debut album, The Manson Family, earlier this year and it’s quickly become one of my favorite records of 2017. All but one of the songs that they played were from The Manson Family including “Carbon Copies” which I requested via Twitter as it is my personal favorite song of theirs, and one of their most relatable. Their energy never slowed down, and they fit as many songs as they could into their set. Heart Attack Man is a two piece at its core (vocals/guitar by Eric Egan and drums by Adam Paduch), but live they’re a full band with another guitarist and bassist to make their music come fully to life. I highly recommend The Manson Family to anyone who likes emo music with a bit of a pop groove.
Finally getting to see Homesafe was beyond satisfying. I’d been wanting to see them live since they released Inside Your Head in 2015, but I (sort of) missed them in January because of being in the hospital (I got to watch that show through a live stream). They primarily played songs from their most recent release, Evermore, like “Float Away” and “Guts,” as well as “Mountain” from Inside Your Head. It’s very evident that they put everything they’ve got into each performance they play, and Tyler Albertson and Ryan Rumchaks’ vocals were even more emotional live. They closed with my favorite song, “Hourglass.” Homesafe seems to be jumping into frequently touring the US now and kicking their efforts into full gear, so if you haven’t seen them yet, you’ll likely have the chance soon!
Headlining in support of their new album, Bear Your Mind, Free Throw finished the night off with a bang. Their set got off to a rocky start as Cory Castro got ahead of himself singing the lyrics to “Open Window,” but things quickly got back on track as Free Throw restarted to pretend that it never happened. All I’ve been listening to since its release is Bear Your Mind, so I was very happy to hear almost all of my favorite songs from it. As I wrote about in my review of their album, when I saw Free Throw open for You Blew It! back in February, hearing the then unreleased single “Hope Spot” made Bear Your Mind one of my most anticipated albums of the year. Hearing that song again this time around gave me chills as Castro’s voice filled the room with the line, ‘The sky doesn’t offer advice to a man that doesn’t have his own.’ The focus and emotion that they put into performing this song always leaves me stunned.
I was amazed at how the crowd’s energy kept building throughout Free Throw’s set. Despite how hot it was, there were a couple little mosh pits during their older songs. Hearing tracks from Bear Your Mind and Those Days Are Gone side-by-side made Free Throw’s musical growth more apparent. In the new songs, the instrumentals do a solid job of setting the tone for the lyrics and acting as an extension of what Castro is trying to convey. After they finished the core of their set and headed off stage to see if the crowd wanted to hear more, they were met with a, ‘Two more beers,’ chant as opposed to any traditional demands for an encore. Free Throw’s set felt like the beginning of something truly special as more people have started paying attention to them since their new record, and I can only imagine that their shows will be even more fun as time goes on.
Find dates/tickets to the rest of the tour at freethrowband.com/tour!