The Oh Hellos at Baltimore Soundstage

Last night I went with a bunch of friends to see The Oh Hellos at Baltimore Soundstage with opening acts Super City and The Collection. I haven’t been to Baltimore Soundstage for several years. The last time I was there it was an entirely seated shows with tables and food service. I found it really annoying as a concert format and it sort of turned me off from the venue unless I was really dying to see someone. Either they’ve given up on that format or at least did for this show, which I was happy about. There were still some tables along the side and back you could pay more to sit at, but most of it was standing room only in the area of front of stage, which is much better. It was especially good for these bands who definitely want to make you dance around.

I had never heard of Super City before. They were 5 hipster looking guys. I wasn’t very excited about their music. I really only liked one of the songs that they played, but they were at least entertaining to watch.

The second opening band seemed the perfect complement to The Oh Hellos. They were a band called The Collection, though they themselves never said who they were. Don’t do that opening acts. Not everyone necessarily knows who you are and if they do like you and want to look more into you, don’t make it hard for them by never introducing yourselves. They’re definitely one of those bands that have been popular in certain segments of music these days that have lots of people who play tons of different instruments and play a sort of folky rock. I’m sure this sound will eventually seem very indicative of the 2010s, but for now I’m still very much enjoying it. There were I think 7 people in the band and most of them played a ridiculous number of instruments. I was especially fascinated by the one woman who at times was literally alternately playing a clarinet and saxophone at times even hold them at the same time and then stopping to play the keyboards. I have no musical talent, so I’m always impressed by people who can play lots of them. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone in a band that wasn’t a marching band play a clarinet. They were a ton of fun and just full of great joy up on the stage. The Oh Hellos bring so much energy to the stage and it was really fun that they had an opening band that brought the same level.

This was my first time seeing The Oh Hellos as a headliner. I first discovered them a couple of years ago at the Newport Folk Festival. They were my favorite set of that year. Pretty much every year at that festival my favorite set belongs to someone I had never heard of before. I can’t wait to see who I discover this year. But I digress. I immediately fell in love with them as did the rest of the audience, and it was one of those times that as soon as they were done playing I looked up to see when I might be able to see them again. I then saw them open up for needtobreathe, and again it was a delight to watch the friends that I was with as well as the rest of the crowd be completely won over by them.

Last night was a little different because the audience was there to see them. People were fired up from the start because they knew what they were getting. I do somewhat miss the fun of watching people have no idea what’s coming and then be blown away, but really I’m happy for The Oh Hellos that they are at a place where they can be the headliner and fill the room full of people who love them. As always they were amazingly fun. It’s great that they have two albums of music to pull from now. The first time I saw them they only had an EP. They did great mixing up the upbeat, wild dancing around the stage songs with the more quiet, introspective songs. They also played a good mix from both of their albums. They’re pretty much everything I love in a live performance. They are super into it and give everything 100%. Seriously with 9 of them up on stage, every time I see them I don’t understand how they’re not all crashing into each other during the times they’re just dancing and bouncing around the stage with wild abandon. As usual it was an amazingly fun show. They’ll be at Newport again this summer, and I can’t wait to see them again.

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