Say Hi
3 October 2015
Mississippi Studios | Portland, OR

IMG_5409By: Meghan Kearney

A Saturday night on Mississippi Ave. in Portland, OR. A packed  crowd filled the tiny area inside of Bar Bar before doors opened for Portland’s bed. and Seattle’s Say Hi and Telekinesis. As most do before a show at Mississippi Studios, I devoured a classic double cheeseburger at Bar Bar, before dragging my feet into the venue, sleepy and full for the late show (10pm opener).

The three piece opener, bed. was feelin’ the late show drawls as well, self-admittedly sleepy, lead singer Sierra shared. But you wouldn’t know it as they kicked off the night quickly bringing people to their feet (save for those huddled up in the upstairs balcony seats).

The tiny Studio’s space quickly filled up as Eric Elbogen, or Say Hi, or Say Hi To Your Mom, depending on when you joined the club, set up a few keys and synths, along with a laptop. Before the haters come out (we’ll address this later), it’s worth noting quickly that the real Say Hi performance is within Elbogen himself. As a one man show he pulls off the crowd-side manner™ flawlessly.

Hitting play on his looping backgrounds to kick off the set it was mere seconds until my friend (Say Hi newb) looked over to me with giant eyes to say “I love it already!” By this time Elbogen was dancing around stage with some of the most classicly fun moves I’ve seen since Future Islands and those deep, weird, lovable vocals.

“This song’s about vampires,” though one of many options, the vampire catalog started with “It’s A Hunger” off of the brand new Bleeders Digest (read our review here). As Elbogen bounced around stage he encouraged the crowd to wave our fingers “like a grandma”  to the beat. Never has there been a more collectively awkward dancing crowd.

To the left, a young woman danced harder than anyone else. “You are winning right now” Elbogen laughed as he reached down to fist bump her in between songs. After asking for her request and receiving mostly giggles as a response he pleased the crowd with “Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh” followed by the classic “Let’s Talk About Spaceships” from the ol’ Mom days.

IMG_5412During about half-time, Elbogen stopped for a question and answer period. Fielding questions like “How many tie clips do you have?” “How do your other tie clips feel?” and “Are you really a vampire?” Elbogen stopped to thank us for being so polite. “Usually I get questions like ‘where’s your baaaaaaannndddd? So I have this response pre-programmed” and with the push of a button his trusty laptop asked “What am I, chopped liver?” Part-time musician, part-time jokester.

“Blah Blah Blah.” was next up on the vampire-themed dance list and by the end of the song the room was unabashedly belting the chorus. Just a rowdy bunch of Portlanders screaming “I want to drink your blood.” Nothing to see here. Up next, the very first live performance of the explosive “Transylvania,” also from the vampire-themed Bleeders Digest. With or without an intimate relationship with the month-old record, each attendee was bouncin’ hard.

Lastly, to much of our surprise, Elbogen announced “this will be my last one, it’s called Northwestern Girls.” An appropriate end to a very northwestern show. Bellowing an enthusiastic cheer for my (possibly for narcissistic reasons) favorite Say Hi track, I finally got a fist bump of my own. Elbogen then joined the stage with Telekinesis on bass, and took his own spotlight so much show that our big winner from earlier came back to request “The Stars Just Blink for Us.” Though awkward as all announced, it was the perfect cap to a stellar middle bill, for the two-set champ, Eric Elbogen.

Good news for the rest of the country – the tour has just kicked off and Say Hi + Telekinesis are out on the road. Check out the full schedule here, and catch them back home on 11/7 at Neumo’s!