Benches at Hawthorne Theater, April 21st 2024

Hawthorne theater is a beautiful brick venue on the corner of Hawthorne and Céasar Chavez in Portland Oregon. As I arrived at the venue there was already a long line of excited fans waiting to be let in. Dressed in their best, everyone chattered in anticipation for the show that was starting in just a few hours. As doors opened, fans hurried in to get a good spot inside the venue, snuggled up close to the stage.

Anson Kelley on vocals and guitar, Evan Ojeda on lead guitar, Charlie Baird on bass, and Ethan Bowers on drums.

The lights finally went down, and southern California based indie rock band Benches took the stage with their lively performance. They started off with the newest single “Naive,” bringing a wave of energy into the crowd. 

Their indie sound with notes of 2000s New York Rock and 90s Britpop makes for a joyous performance navigating the band’s experience of young adulthood. They followed with singles both new and old, including “Red Handed” and  “LA Friends.” Their music discusses topics everyone can relate to, including navigating friendships, social norms, romantic relationships, and everything in between.

While many in the crowd came to the sold out show for the headliner I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME, Benches had the crowd captivated by their infectious energy and emotional vocals. Songs like “Crash” had lead singer Anson Kelley belting his heart out, and the rest of the band playing with incredible passion. 

They took fans by surprise and played an unreleased song, leaving them longing for the day it gets dropped. They closed their set with the 2020 release “It Doesn’t Have To Change,” followed by their biggest hits “Monodrama” and “Violent.” Ending with fan favorites had the crowd cheering them on, they finished with an electric pulse of energy and passion as they played their last notes.

Benches have a new EP being released this spring, and I am anticipating more infectious hits and have my fingers crossed for new tour dates. I cannot wait to see what they have in store for the future.