Sweeping Exits performing at the Black Water Bar, Friday June 9 Natalie Behring

Few bands put on a show quite like Sweeping Exits, and last Friday's celebration of the glam-punk group's new record, Glitter & Blood, was no exception. Black Water Bar was packed like a can of goth sardines for the opening acts, which included Portland favorites Alien Boy and Little Star, as well as Olympia's Babe Waves, who play hypnotic post-hardcore.

Sweeping Exits took the stage amid swirling clouds of dry ice, with fake blood tear stains dripping from their eyes. Led by frontwoman Mira Glitterhound, the five-piece played tracks from the new record and their 2016 EP The Projectionist, which tells the story of a movie theater projectionist-slash-vampire who cannibalizes predatory misogynists.

Glitter & Blood is another concept album. Its 16 tracks follow a vampire queen who orchestrates humanity's apocalypse. Glitterhound uses vampires as metaphors for queer people in her songwriting. In a 2016 interview with the Mercury, she explained, "To me, vampires and queers are the perfect analogy, because vampires are these outcasts, but they’re also so powerful and strong. I think all queer people are strong. We’re just strong because we have to be.”

These songs were fantastic to hear live. "I Only Dream in Black & White" was the concert's standout, with its haunted castle organ melody and doo-wop backing vocals. Another highlight was band member Myrrh Crow's performance of "Charming (Once You Realize You're Dead)" from last year's EP. Crow sang while maintaining disarming eye contact with audience members and pounding away at the keys. Sweeping Exits brought theatricality and fun to Friday's release show—it truly felt like a celebration, and permanently banished any doubts that they're one of the best bands in Portland.

Natalie Behring

Natalie Behring