After watching Summer Cannibals and their visceral, tectonic plate shifting set at the Soda Bar last night, my bones felt like the ruins of the Parthenon. The band’s singer and guitarist, Jessica Boudreaux, played many roles last evening: consummate badass, slayer of foundations, instrument punisher. Her contained violence on stage would have struck fear into the heart of Ramsay Bolton. Boudreaux played with guitar splintering abandon, basically. Venom was coursing through the Portland band’s entire performance. The carnage and no-survivors-left attitude of “Full Of It” had the crowd thumping the pavement, but it was the soft anger of “Say My Name” that left me in shambles. Already one of the best songs of the year, here, in a live environment, the band hit every emotion with deft accuracy. These guys need to headline all of the festivals next year. How do I cc Pitchfork and Coachella? After the show, I turned to my friend and said “Jessica Boudreaux is fucking rad.” Later, I told my Lyft driver “Jessica Boudreaux is fucking rad.” Finally, when I came home to eat a leftover Mimi’s buttermilk muffin, I looked at my roommate and said “Jessica Boudreaux is fucking rad.”
It became a battle cry.
Earlier in the evening, Colleen Green christened the show with electric humming, woozy riffs, and snark-driven lyrics. Her cavalier brevity was one of my favorite moments of the night, when she looked at the audience and said, “here’s my set.” Green’s sonic, no-nonsense approach emblazoned her time onstage. With “Happy Birfday Jeff” colorfully crisscrossed against the hull of her guitar – if you don’t know, that shit is legendary – the Massachusetts native killed with a dedicated barrage of Jameson drinking and killer singing. Though she didn’t play my favorite jam ever – that goes to “Darkest Eyes”, sup to that song – her setlist was perfectly constructed. I wanted her to autograph my wayfarers, but the venue was packed to the gills. This is the darkest timeline. Things will never be the same.
The Thermals ended the show with a booming and yet syrupy bombardment of bruised lyrics and playful vocals. “Now We Can See” was obviously a highlight for the caffeinated audience of Soda Bar attendees, but it was the seamless shifts, between songs, that carried the band’s elated performance. Out of the many, many shows at this specific venue, last night’s bill on Friday, May 20th 2016 had to be one of the best – probably knotted up with Sharkmuffin, Soft Lions, and Big Bloom – that I have been to. Now who’s up for shots?