It was their first show in New York in over two years, and Stockholm’s Shout Out Louds overcame some troubles to wow their very excited fans. The Swedes were playing downtown Manhattan’s Spiegeltent on Monday, July 16th, in anticipation of the September U.S. release of Our Ill Wills, their follow-up to their debut splash, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff, with the set roughly divided between each album. And despite the late hour, a busted accordion, and limits to their song choice, the Shout Out Louds didn’t disappoint.
Soon to be playing a number of Scandinavian and German festivals, the Spiegeltent (QRO venue review) might have been the perfect place for this Nordic band. A cross between a Viking dining hall and a Weimar-era cabaret club, it is located just north of the big Pier 17 mall and South Street Seaport (QRO venue review). It can be a little hard to find, located on a pier, far from the street, and surrounded by bamboo fencing. More known for its burlesque shows, an actual tent canopies this summer venue, though the walls, tables, and bar all seem more solid. However, the above-water Spiegeltent did lend itself to a wobbly floor when the crowd really got dancing.
But the one problem with the Spiegeltent was that the whole show was scheduled for 11:30 PM, and started just after midnight – on a Monday night (or rather, Tuesday morning…). Singer Adam Olenius mentioned this when thanking the crowd for making it out, but that wasn’t the only issue the Shout Out Louds had. Mid-way through the set, right before launching into Our Ill Wills’s excellent “Parents Livingroom” (Olenius had even already told the crowd it was next), singer/keyboardist Bebban Stenborg had to give the sad news that her accordion was broken. Blaming it on all their travel, Stenborg suggested that the rest of the band play something else, which doesn’t require an accordion or herself, while she tried to fix it. The crowd shouted out excellent numbers like Howl’s “100°” and Wills’s “Normandie” (as well as David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” for some reason), but they needed Stenborg for both of those (and didn’t know “Let’s Dance”). Eventually, drummer Eric Edman took over accordion-fixing duties, and the Shout Out Louds took up another audience request, “I Wish I Was Dead, Part 2” (their contribution to Music from the OC: Mixtape 5), accompanied by a drum machine.
The bad news is that the accordion couldn’t be fixed, and the band had to pass up great songs like “Livingroom”, “Normandie”, “100°”, and Ill Wills’s “You Are Dreaming”. The good news is that the band rose above it, and delivered a live version of “Wish I Was Dead” that easily exceeded its OC Mixtape recording. And this was just keeping in stride: the preceding “Hurry Up Let’s Go” outshined its performance on Howl Howl, while the following “Shut Your Eyes” likewise surpassed its track on Wills. The Spiegeltent’s floors shook so much during “Hurry Up Let’s Go” and “Shut Your Eyes” that one could be forgiven from fearing the place would fall into the East River, while “Wish I Was Dead” brought the crowd right back into things. And the Shout Out Louds capped things off with their incredible new single, “Tonight I Have To Leave It”, which somehow exceeds their wonderful last single, “The Comeback”, in catchiness and emotion.
Luckily, “Comeback” was not one of the songs the band had to skip, as Howl’s leadoff track came up second that night, after Wills’s expansive “Time Left For Love”. Other wonderful songs early in the set included another great Howl single, “Please Please Please”, and Wills’s impossibly good “Impossible”. However, the Shout Out Louds went directly from “Impossible” into Wills’s not quite as remarkable “South America”, and followed it up with an unfamiliar piece that lacked hook. Those two were probably the weakest patch of the night, but then “Hurry Up Let’s Go” & co followed them up. Oh, and for their encore return, they were unable to play two of the three songs they’d planned (“You Are Dreaming” and the already-played “Wish I Was Dead, Part 2”), so instead they launched into a medley of the one planned song they had left, Howl’s “Very Loud”, and the classic Clash hit, “Train In Vain”; “Train” might have been better than “Loud”, but that’s just because “Train” is so damn awesome.
One of the earliest of today’s ‘Swedish Invasion’, the Shout Out Louds blazed the trail with an exciting, excitable brand of indie-pop that makes you want to move your feet, while also injecting it emotion and meaning. They’ve still got it on Our Ill Wills, and, judging by their show at Spiegeltent, they’ve definitely still got it live…