By Emily Davis
When I showed up to Holocene on the eastside of Portland, a line of energetic fans eagerly wrapped around the block waiting to see Flor. The Los Angeles-based band brought their animated indie-rock/synth-pop style to Portland on Feb. 3 for a well-rounded show. Composed of lead vocalist and guitarist Zach Grace, guitarist McKinley Kitts, bassist Dylan William and drummer Kyle Hill, the band was signed by the Fueled by Ramen record label in 2016. Flor is currently on tour promoting their debut studio album “come out. you’re hiding” which was released in May of last year.
After making it past the excited fans and into the venue, I realized that, while Holocene is large, it is not the right venue for this band. It has a club-like atmosphere and the actual stage remained intimate, anyone who went to get a drink or did not want to be packed in tight was instantly separated from the action. A smaller venue with an open floor plan would have suited Flor better.
By the time I entered Holocene, the opening act was already playing. Handsome Ghost, whose mellow yet passionate musical style complements Flor’s high-intensity performance, is touring with them through February. The band is comprised of a drummer, keyboardist and vocalist who doubles on guitar. The ethereal blue and purple lights paired nicely with the smooth syrupy harmonization of the lead vocals and keyboardist. When they ended with their latest song, “Harvest Moon,” the attentive yet relaxed crowd cheered and clapped.
After Handsome Ghost finished, Flor jumped right into their set, and the magenta and blue lighting reflecting off the disco ball paved the way for an energetic and high-spirited set. Flor brought the energy. Their synth-pop rock resonated with the crowd and the heavy bass could be felt throughout the room. The lead singer, with his iconic long orange hair, swept away the fans with his high intensity performance. His voice was soft and high, encapsulating Flor’s electronic rock sound. They played several songs from their new album, with bassist William working on a synthesizer. The crowd was bopping along to each song, with many of them singing along enthusiastically. The members of Flor are from Hood River, Oregon, so the diverse crowd was filled with friends and family coming to support them. Grace picked up his guitar and William his bass, and endearingly addressed the crowd, “This one’s an oldie, sing along!”
There was very little banter between Flor and the crowd, though it seemed to me that was their style as a young band that is still finding its public persona. It wasn’t until the end of the show that Grace introduced each band member.
“Portland, this is it,” he said. Flor ended their set with one of their most popular songs, “Hold On,” and the crowd whooped and cheered when it was all over.
Flor reminds me of the pop-rock I listened to in the early 2000s. Their sound is upbeat and pleasing, but they also add a new synthesized twist to the mix. While I think Flor’s music is simply average, there is something to be said about having a positive and hyped fan base. Flor brought a lot of vigor to the show, and I can see them making a name for themselves in the indie-rock/synth-pop community. This budding band exemplifies the dedication and individuality it takes to make music.