Gully, Foam Castles, and Sunset Hearts at Empire was a veritable who's-who of the Portland indie rock scene. Between Gully, the all-star lineup backing Foam Castles, and newcomers Sunset Hearts, members of at least nine different bands were represented. Though the crowd was comprised largely of bandmates and friends of bands, the turnout was good on such a competitive night.

Gully seemed to have been on hiatus, so I was surprised to hear they'd be playing, and even more surprised by how good they sounded. With the usual drunk rock antics missing from their performance, the songs sounded very close to and as good as they appear on the record. A Gin Blossoms cover was missing from their usual set list, but everyone says people in Portland should be more interested in original music anyhow.

Much to my delight, Foam Castles played most of Molly's Jungle and Tyler Jackson's vocals were on point. Accompanying Jackson that night were DJ Moore of Brenda and Mandy Wheeler of Honey Clouds — they had great chemistry on stage, clearly having a blast. Guitar virtuoso Jay Lobley of Metal Feathers/Cult Maze fame was also there, though he stood apart from the other three with his back to the stage. His riffs are so sweet he's more than welcome to be shy.

Sunset Hearts are a sprawling eight members. I thought to myself, that many people hadn't fit on stage since the Talking Heads were recreated for the Clash of the Titans. I then realized it was many of the same faces from that Clash. I had been up since 5 am and wasn't planning on staying. But as I was walking down the stairs, Sunset Hearts started playing and seduced me back in with their '80s New Wave splendor. I can't wait to see them again.

  Topics: New England Music News , Music, Gin Blossoms, Honey Clouds,  More more >
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