Best known for their 1996 hit “Novocaine For The Soul” off of the album Beautiful Freak, EELS invited Portland to join them on June 13th at Revolution Hall with their opening act Austin Antoine. The Lockdown Hurricane 2023 tour wasn’t just a live music event, but felt like a show encompassing multiple aspects of entertainment.
The solo artist Austin Antoine opened the show with his laptop accompanying him, filling the concert hall with music as he rapped and sang melodies over beats. In between songs, he talked to the crowd expressing his gratitude and amazement for his opportunity to open for the band EELS. He introduced himself as not just a musician, but as an entertainer. He proved this by telling jokes in the form of raps without music or his beats playing along with him. He interacted with the crowd and asked where the best places to eat were in Portland and some names of local bands. This time, with another preprogrammed beat from his laptop, he freestyle rapped using the answers the crowd shouted to him then led it into one of his songs. After his last song, he stared out into the crowd, scanning the room as people applauded, with a look of accomplishment in his eyes.
A scene of mountains and a full moon illuminated the backdrop of the stage as the anticipation for EELS was building. The four piece came out in matching suits and sunglasses except for the frontman who goes by E, was wearing a blue blazer instead of the others’ shiny gray ensembles. E was barefoot and played the tambourine along to the band’s eclectic, indie alternative music. After the first few songs, E greeted the crowd and made a statement about the members’ ages saying “You can be old as fuck, and rock like fuck.” A couple more songs later, E puts his guitar over his shoulder and joins in with the rest of the band. Both upbeat, some with distorted vocals, and slower songs with minimal drums were dispersed throughout the entire set.
E continued to make jokes and banter in between songs. At one point, he called out the drummer for eating chips from a bag while on stage as laughter reverberated from the crowd. Toward the end of the show, the drummer’s daughter called him on FaceTime, and played a slow lullaby-like song that seemed to be just for her. As the lights turned on after their set, the audience left with a performance of music from their extensive catalog, and a feel for the band’s sense of humor.