On a cold Tuesday night in Carrboro, about 250 people warmed up to the Swedish pop stylings of Shout Out Louds.
Nico Vega, from LA, started the show. Unfortunately, I only caught the last song of their set. That one song though was a high energy showstopper. Lead singer Aja strutted around stage in a leotard and tights while Rich, the guitarist, wore a leather vest with no shirt. Oh yeah, they're definitely an LA band.
Two-piece band Johnossi took the stage next. Like Shout Out Louds, Johnossi also hail from Sweden. The band played with just guitar and drums (ala White Stripes and Black Keys) but with a twist. Guitarist/singer John Engelbert played acoustic guitar all night, but processed like an electric guitar. There were echo effects, distortion, the whole gambit. The odd thing is that it worked.
John and drummer Ossi Bonde played high energy pop songs for about 30 minutes, mostly from their self-titled debut album. The set included "Santa Monica Bay," "There's a Lot of Things To Do Before You Die" and "18 Carat Gold," a new song.
While the set was good, the band were a little confused about where they were. John at one point said, "it's good to be in North, um, South Carolina. Right?" The crowd didn't seem to mind the confusion, but it was a bit embarassing considering John also tripped while walking on to the stage at the beginning of the set, falling behind the drums.
Shout Out Louds took the stage and launched into a set that pulled from the band's two albums. After opening with "Time Left For Love," the band played "The Comeback" which seemed to loosen up the crowd. By the fourth song, "Impossible," the crowd was dancing and having a good time.
The rest of the main set included "Shut Your Eyes," "Normandie," "Please Please Please," and the high energy set closer "Tonight I Have To Leave It."
The band left the stage briefly and then returned to play a 3-song encore. The band played "Hard Rain" and was then joined by Ivan from The Rosebuds for "Go Sadness." Ivan sang back-up on the song.
Fellow Rosebud Kelly and sometimes Rosebuds drummer Matt McCaughan joined Shout Out Louds for the show closer "Very Loud." The stage turned into a big party with everybody playing tambourines and various percussion while bouncing around the stage. It was a great end to a stunning set of pop songs from the band.
Shout Out Louds prove that clever Swedish pop didn't die out with Abba. The melodies are smart and catchy and arrangements are sparse but effective. Since the band is on Merge Records, we can expect to see the band back in the Triangle with more frequency. Don't miss them next time.
(all photos by Kevin Norris)