Analog Theater was sold out October 14th for The Interrupters and SWMRS concert.
By Alicia Romero
“Ladies and gentleman, there is only one race, and that is the human race!” yelled Kevin Bivona, lead guitarist for The Interrupters. Immediately setting the tone for their set, the crowd went wild, captivated by one of Orange County’s greatest SKA-punk bands. As an Analog Theater virgin when I walked up the stairs to one of Portland’s only all ages venues, the theater was small, the stage was poorly lit, and the best place to take photos were on couches lining the wall, still not getting shots without hands in the way. Determined to enjoy the show, I settle near the wall, and watch as the numbers pack in, adding to the eager and the awaiting. The Interrupters took the stage and I found fans young and old. I turn to my left and see a young child on the shoulders of his dad, I turn to my right, and the grandmother of said child is standing on the couches with the rock symbol held high on her hands.
The first sentence out of the lead singer’s mouth (Aimee Allen) put an instant smile on my face: “What’s your plan, for tomorrow, are you a leader, or will you follow, are you a fighter, or will you cower, it’s our time, take back the power!” Lyrics of every song were slightly politically powered, and simultaneously charged me with empowerment, standing up and raising my voice, as opposed to staying quiet and blending in. The Interrupters had a theatrical stage presence that enraptured everyone, the band’s guitarist Kevin Bivona (one of three brothers of the Interrupters) had multiple guitar solos, Jesse Bivona had a drum solo, and Aimee, of course had a voice that rocked your soul for the entire set. Singing and dancing along was so easy, and I felt comfortable within the accepting environment. Even for those who had never heard them before, I was left wanting more, long after they left the stage. The crowd dwindled after The Interrupters, what used to be a variety of ages changed into mostly teens, and a sea of rainbow hair was visible from my location on the couches. Immediately taking the stage with great enthusiasm, SWMRS opened with their song “Palm Trees,” and with every lyric, they were echoed by their crowd. The punk band from Oakland, CA had just returned from their European tour, this being their third appearance at the Analog Theater in Portland. SWMRS (previously known as Emily’s Army) is made up of two brothers Cole and Max Becker, Seb Mueller, and Joey Armstrong (son of Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day).
I’ve enjoyed their music since high school, long awaiting my turn to see them live; I was not disappointed. Their stage presence was enticing, and the vocals were just like the record. Before their final song, Cole left the crowd with a reminder: “Remember that Rock n’ Roll is not going to solve your problems, but it will help you to figure them out.” For many of their fans, it does just that. SWMRS continues their co-headlining tour in California before ending in Auckland, New Zealand this coming February.