September 10, 2018 at The Sinclair
Scattered showers, low sixty-degree Boston weather, and a Monday night might possibly be the last conditions you’d ask for to watch indie-electronic group, Poolside. If their namesake didn’t immediately clue you in and you haven’t yet given their two studio albums, Pacific Standard Time and Heat, a well-deserved listen yet, Poolside excels at producing tracks best enjoyed while lounging under the California sun with whatever tropical drink of choice you prefer. Despite the harsh indifference of the elements, Jeffrey Paradise managed to turn The Sinclair into a veritable disco with not a single soul refraining from grooving to the music.
Adored by dance music fans and lifeguards alike, Poolside showcased their mastery of laid-back and patient electronic beats incredibly well at this show. I was shocked at first when five people came walking onstage, expecting only the duo of Nikolic and Paradise. However, my surprise quickly faded into excitement as soon as the group first started playing. The choice to have a specific person on drums, congas/steel pan, and saxophone/synth added immensely to the atmosphere of the show. Poolside’s music at first listen might seem overly simplistic, and critics have even gone as far to call it repetitive in some instances, but each song they played couldn’t have been more different from one another. The choice to keep a packed stage was undoubtedly the right call as it allowed the group time to stay calm and collected, thus perfectly embodying their music.
Frequently, the saxophonist would come center stage to belt out a crooning sax solo while trading attention with the conga player who mesmerized the crowd with her rhythmic playing. This gave Nikolic and Paradise the chance to show off their chemistry on-stage as guitarist and bassist, each eyeing the other whenever a particularly good riff reacted well with the crowd. At one point, the duo’s killer falsetto on the chorus of ‘Strange Overtones’ had the crowd yelling and busting out their top-shelf dance moves.
The feeling of intimacy between the band even extended to the crowd thanks to the close quarters nature of the venue. Offering one of the greatest opportunities for the crowd and artist to get comfortable with one another in Boston, The Sinclair provided hands down the best atmosphere for this show. Often, the band would take time in between each song to remark on how enjoyable it was to see such a lively crowd come dance away their worries on a Monday. During one particular gap between tracks, someone screamed out ‘Harvest Moon,’ a reference to their widely popular cover of Neil Young’s classic ballad. Indulging both the crowd and themselves, Poolside immediately jumped into the track and showcased precisely why that song has brought them so much attention. While ‘Harvest Moon’ will always remain Young’s song, it perfectly showcases Poolside’s strengths as a group. It is no easy feat to transform a country-folk ballad into one of the most catchy daytime disco tracks in recent history, but Poolside found a way to do it with ease.
Poolside was easily able to take the situation they were given and make for one of the liveliest shows I’ve seen in recent memory. Do yourself a favor, throw them on at your next beach day and thank me later.