Review & Interview: Bad Suns @ Hawthorne Theatre 11.04

Written by on November 10, 2014

Last Tuesday, I saw Somekindawonderful, Bad Suns, and New Politics at the Hawthorne Theater. The night started early as the first opener, Somekindawonderful, started playing at 7:30. Somekindawonderful is a “rock” band from Cleveland, Ohio and if there is anything you should know about this band, it’s that you shouldn’t waste your time on them. Their music had similarities of that of X Ambassadors and The Neighbourhood and has a target audience of 14 year old teenage girls, despite the fact that most of members seem to be in their 30s. Never in my life have I ever dreaded an opening act so much. Thank god, this set was over by 8pm.

Bad Suns

The second opener was L.A. based-band indie rock band, Bad Suns, consisting of Christo Bowman, Miles Morris, Gavin Bennett, and Ray Libby. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from these guys. Like sure, I had met them earlier that night and they were nice and laid-back but performance-wise, I did not know anything about these guys. But when the four of them stepped on stage, you could hear the crowd go crazy. If I didn’t know better, I would have mistaken this band for the headlining act. A girl behind me (among many other teenage girls) started screaming for 20 year old lead singer, Christo Bowman. A group of teenagers even pushed passed me at one point during the set to get closer to the frontman. Despite the obsessive crowd, Bad Suns did not seem at all affected by the screaming. For such a young band, these guys have headlined their own shows, played large summer festivals, and even toured the country with the UK band, The 1975. Tuesday in Portland was the midway point of tour for them. They kicked off their set with “Transpose,” a single off of their 2014, Language & Perspective, album. Like the band said in our interview before the show (that you can find right below), they were able to play their entire album during their set. Overall, they did a great job of getting the crowd to move their feet and get them all ready for New Politics – especially towards the end of the set, when Bad Suns played their singles, “Salt” and “Cardiac Arrest.”

New Politics
The headliner, the Danish alternative rock, break-dancing group, New Politics, was amazing as always. My opinion of them has not changed since I last saw them in February. If you’d like to read about that nine month old opinion, you can do so here. The only thing about this set that differed from the New Politics performance in February was the amount of moshing // physical aggression. Everyone was drenched in sweat by the end of the night. It was gross, but fun.



Before the show, my intern, Aline Crinon, and I, had a chance to speak to Bad Suns.

KPSU – LL: Lanny Lieu, AC: Aline Crinon

Bad Suns – CB: Christo Bowman, MM: Miles Morris, GB: Gavin Bennett, RL: Ray Libby

LL: Can everyone go around and introduce themselves and tell us what they do in the band?

MM: I’m Miles. I play the drums

GB: I’m Gavin. I plan the bass

CB: I’m Christo. I sing and play guitar.

RL: I’m Ray and I play guitar.

LL: So tonight marks the halfway point of tour for you guys. How has it been going so far?

CB: Good. It’s always fun to hit the road and play a bunch of shows. We’ve been playing the album in its entirety and it’s been nice. We’re playing some songs we don’t usually get to play so it’s overall been really great.

AC: How does this tour compare to your summer headlining tour as well as the tour you did headlining for The 1975 in April?

CB: The stuff we did in the summer was more, a week here and then two week there. It wasn’t so much a tour. The 1975 one and this one… on that tour, we were playing some… I’m not sure how to explain it.

MM: I think there’s a progression.  The 1975 tour was our first big national tour and we hadn’t had a record out yet. So it was more like, playing to a headlining act’s fans. This one, it’s still that, but I feel like there are more Bad Suns fans.

LL: What would you guys say would be the most difficult part of tour for you?

MM: Being away from home after a while is hard and the weather’s going to be cold and harsh soon.

CB: Yeah, it’s not fun once people start getting sick.

MM: But there’s more good things about it, I think.

What’s it like when you’re not on tour?

MM: After a long run like this, it is a little strange to be back at home. It takes a couple of days to adjust.

GB: I think it’s weird because every single day, we;re busy all day long. We’re either driving somewhere or something with a show. And when you’re at home, you don’t have anything to do.

CB: It’s really like anything else. You go on vacation or you go to camp or you go to college and you come back. It’s same the as that, you know what I mean? It’s just coming home after being away. The difference is when we come back home, we don’t come back from vacation. Our job is the vacation. But it’s always good. I like being at home and being on the road.

LL: How’d you guys all meet?

CB: Gavin and I met in school and the rest of us just met playing in local bands.

LL: I’ve read that you guys didn’t want your album, Language & Perspective, to be consisted of only a few good singles, but rather, you wanted a collectively, a strong album. How did you go about writing for this LP? 

CB: We like listening to records so whenever I listen to a record, I like to not get bored. We can never say “we did this.” You try to accomplish something but it’s not up to me to say I achieved it. The way we wrote songs, it’s so complicated that it’s not even worth talking about. We’re just always writing and looking for inspiration and doing things like that. Sometimes we’ll work on a song we’re all excited about it and 3/4 of the way through, it doesn’t happen often though, I just might not feel it. If everyone can agree on it, then we move on. As long as the four of us have that “I’m stoked on this” reaction at the end of the song, it’s evident. It doesn’t go much further than that.

LL: Tell us about playing live on Conan.

CB: At this point, we’ve talked about it so often. It was a day. We woke up really early and went to the Warner Brothers studio. You never think you’re going to be able to watch yourself on TV and then it all happened on that day. It was pretty cool.

LL: Any favorite albums of 2014?

MM: I was just sayin’ how I love the album that Bombay Bicycle Club put out this year. The sounds are incredible, the songs are great. As a band, we’ve all been listening to a lot of Blake Mills.

CB: Yeah, it’s called “Heigh Ho.” For me, I’m in love with the War on Drugs latest release. I also really like the new Spoon and Ryan Adams.

RL: There’s this band called Pianos Become The Teeth and they just put out a new album and it’s excellent. There are some really cool guitar parts and drum tones.

GB: There’s this artist named Grouper I’m really into.

LL: Yeah! She’s from Portland, actually!

GB: Oh really? I listened to that new record a few times now and it’s blown me away. So I think that might be in the running for one of my top albums of the year.

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