Winding up their 22-date summer tour, San Francisco-based Painted Palms finished strong, giving an enthusiastic, lively performance at the Bunk Bar in Portland July 3 that featured the majority of songs from their powerful, psychedelic pop full-length debut, Forever, released this year.
Painted Palms are cousins Reese Donohue and Christopher Prudhomme, who write and record their material as a dup but toured with additional support from Patrick Jeffords on bass and keyboards, and drummer Shaun Lowecki. While most recording duo's opt to keep it a twosome on the road, it was refreshing to see and hear that Donohue and Prudhomme chose to fill out their lush, layered sound rewarding the crowd.
Prudhomme started the set with the lead track Too High with its skyrocketing synths reverberating throughout the club, and backed by Prodhomme’s soaring vocals. Immediately, Jeffords and Lowecki’s rhythm contributions gave the airy pyche-pop tune a solid, grounded beat.
Next up was the title track, Forever, which starts with a shuffle of synths sounds that are a cross between a helicopter taking off and train passing through a subway, which was apt imagery given Prodhomme’s reflective, amnesic lyrics and their weather reference. Painted Palms’ music is the perfect vehicle for the dreamy adventure they take you on.
While songs like Here It Comes and Sleepwalking invited the crowd to float along in the surreal journey of uncertainty, tracks like All Of Us and Click were more straight forward pop affairs that focused on the dance-pop beat with soaring choruses.
And, perhaps to see if anyone in the crowd was paying attention, Prudhomme and company slipped in a adventuresome cover of Bob Dylan’s I Want You for good measure. It would be safe to say only die-hard 60s music lovers, or Dylan fans, would have recognized the song. But since most in attendance weren’t born yet, maybe some had a chance to delve into their parent’s record collection for a listen.
But it was the finale where Painted Palms peaked and finished off the evening and tour in powerfully impressive form. The band geared up for an overflowing, effervescent version of Spinning Signs, and punctuated the last song of the night with a boisterous, pop-rock rendition of Hypnotic, including a bursting, gunslinger guitar solo from Prodhomme.
As finely crafted and produced their debut, Painted Palms played each track with added vitality, and gave each song an extra charge. On the full wall mural behind the band, a lone cowboy walks on train tracks in the middle of the desert, he now had the soundtrack to go with his endless journey.
The show was opened by the melodic alternative rock of Imperial Mammoth, with harp and guitar, and the dance rock of Foreign Orange.