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Shout Out Louds Return to NYC

March 2nd, 2010

Shout Out Louds – Music Hall of Williamsburg – March 1, 2010

Shout Out Louds - Music Hall of Williamsburg - March 1, 2010
It seemed like the stakes were unnaturally high. Shout Out Louds had returned from the brink of dissolution, back in a city they hadn’t seen in nearly three years—with an audience maybe even worse for wear. But lead singer Adam Olenius has always been a dealer in pain. Only now at a sold-out Music Hall of Williamsburg on a Monday night, Olenius seemed aware of himself as fractured and aware of his crowd as broken and in need of pathos. Dressed in black and sporting the type of beard that, if we are to believe The Royal Tenenbaums, says, “I just tanked a tennis tournament, and the woman I love doesn’t love me back,” Olenius emerged in the flesh, entirely prepared to live or die with us.

The material off the band’s latest effort, Work, is darker in nature, driven at the soul of what almost killed this group in 2008. Olenius strolled out to the album opener, “1999,” and as locked into the past as the song’s titled suggested, he got lost somewhere before things went black. But slowly he and his bandmates found their stride, sounding explosive and pitch-perfect on “Tonight I Have to Leave It.” Minutes later, the band hammered through the latest single, “Fall Hard,” an ode to mutualism in the face of fatality. But Olenius was hardly prepared to give in, directing the band through a fuzzy, shabby-in-places rendition of “The Comeback.”

The set closed with “Show Me Something New” and second-album B-side “Hard Rain,” prompting Olenius to say, “This is for our Mercury Lounge days.” As much as the band was tied to its past, Shout Out Louds were still locked into the present. And then the lights went down, Olenius held his hands aloft and the audience was left with nothing but buzz and echo in the darkness. —Geoff Nelson

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com