On the second of two sold out nights last week at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR, Sudan Archives opened for Caroline Polachek. With Sudan Archive’s mix of beautiful violin solos and EDM-esque beats, the crowd was dancing and singing along as a nice warm up to the night. Shortly after, the lights went out and a one minute countdown projected onto the backdrop of the stage. When the timer hit zero, the room was filled with screams as Polachek began singing the first notes of her latest single “Welcome to My Island.” The stage lit up with volcano imagery and projections and she was the siren luring the audience to her actual island for the night.
She continued to transport us there for the next hour and a half singing her latest album Desire, I Want to Turn Into You in full, as well as throwing in some tracks from her 2019 release, Pangs. Her melodies were incredibly strong and showcased her vocal range and talent. I was so entranced by the way Polachek danced with her hands as an extension of expression, as if there was so much more in her that needed to be let out. The audience danced, sang along, and watched in awe before having to transport back into reality after the final song.
During a break in the set, Polachek told the audience that the last time she played at the Crystal Ballroom was in 2008, with her band Chairflift, opening up for Vampire Weekend. She ended up walking past the framed show poster from that night hanging in one of the hallways of the venue and had a real moment of gratitude. I can speak for everyone when I say that Portland hopes we don’t have to wait another fifteen years to see Caroline roll through here again!