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Twin Peaks rock Portland’s youth at Doug Fir Lounge
Photo Courtesy of Daniel Topete

Twin Peaks rock Portland’s youth at Doug Fir Lounge

By Carmel Companiott

I didn’t know what to expect from a matinee concert. After an opening set by Spanish indie-rockers Hinds at 5pm, Twin Peaks was supposed to play at 6pm – and finish long before their evening set, scheduled for 8pm. I wondered how they could play two shows in one night, especially since they would have to bring their characteristic no-holds-barred energy to both shows. Would they treat the early show as a sort of casual practice set? Or would they pull out all the stops and go for the high-energy show, despite the odd time of day?

Twin Peaks went for the high-energy show. After almost a full year of touring behind their latest album, Down in Heaven, it’s clear that they’re still having a ton of fun. The band displayed seemingly inhuman levels of energy, even for a young group of committed rock stars. Most concerts, however, rely on a sort of give-and-take between the performers and the audience. The crowd at the Doug Fir Lounge on Tuesday afternoon was an awkward bunch – largely because most looked to be between the ages of 14 and 19. Doug Fir is usually a 21+ only venue, but it occasionally opens early for all-ages performances. This matinee show hosted a relatively small crowd of teenagers, all of whom turned from rowdy to subdued in mere seconds.

There was, of course, moshing during songs like “Strawberry Smoothie” and “Telephone.” However, it wasn’t your typical moshing. It seemed like the crowd was going through the motions of moshing, but uncertainly; subtle things were off. One kid in particular would repeatedly put his hands above his head as if about to dive into a pool, lean over, and plow his way into the mass of jumping bodies.

Despite the energy evident during the songs, there were glaring silences in-between. The members of Twin Peaks kept trying to fill these silences with humor or dialogue, but the crowd just didn’t know how to respond. Typical to the age range – the peak of the “awkward years” – the crowd was lively one moment, insecure and uncomfortable the next. Their energy seemed to disappear as soon as the music stopped. When one of the band members would yell out something like “Who’s ready to party?!,” a single, feeble “Yeah!” was the best the audience could muster in reply.

Twin Peaks’ music is nothing if not outright fun, however, and it’s no wonder that it inspired the excited – if a bit awkward – crowd to throw themselves around in delight. More than anything, the small-sized show served to make the experience more intimate. Twin Peaks’ following is growing by the day, and I count it as a treat to be able to see them these days with ease. The band members were also friendly enough to stick around the venue between the two shows and talk with, sign autographs for, and take pictures with giddy fans – myself included.

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