[For the entire month of January, Portland Music Month features 100+ musical acts designed to get you into our city's great clubs and venues, and $1 from each ticket goes to support individual music artists and their professional needs. Find out a lot more here, and enjoy the following preview of an upcoming Portland Music Month pick!—eds.]
This Wednesday, January 12, Portland Music Month continues with a show at Mississippi Studios that features a local band whose sound has only grown and expanded over their multiple, universally strong albums.
Forty Feet Tall's roots may date back to 2011 Los Angeles, but they are a Portland band through and through. Sorry LA, they’re ours now and you can’t have them back—they’re here to stay, blessing us with musical stylings that are a unique amalgamation of influences. Don’t take our word for it, they've been aptly described by the American Songwriter as “if The Strokes and The Struts ran headfirst into each other,” which we can absolutely get on board with.
The group released their first album in college in 2014, a strong debut work that still slaps. Fair warning, it will make you feel like your own college experience was wasted on nonsense. Studying for exams? Writing papers? They were doing all that and making an album at the same time. And this was only the first sign of what was eventually to come.
They have since released the album A Good Distraction, their best work yet that couldn’t have come at a better time. Written during the height of the chaos of the first days of the Trump presidency, it captures the uncertainty of the time. Who knew it would still resonate several years later as we continue drifting toward a variety of catastrophes from climate change to the global pandemic. Music like this is perfect for embracing the endlessness of the unknown unfurling before us.
The band is currently made up of childhood friends Cole Gann (vocals/guitar) and Jack Sehres (guitar), with Brett Marquette (bass) and Ian Kelly (drums) joining later to make the band what it is today. In particular, Gann’s command of vocals is worth highlighting for how eclectic and wide-ranging his talents can be.
He's able to go from creating sweet, melancholic tones in one moment to in-your-face declarations the next. The track “Sweeteater” from their aforementioned, most recent album is a prime example. It captures a free-flowing quality that feels peaceful, hiding what's about to become as it ups the ante in the blink of an eye. The song is much like the band itself—a hidden gem that sneaks up on you before you realize how great they really are.
So if you’re feeling up for taking the leap and discovering something new that may just become your next favorite group, you can’t go wrong with Forty Feet Tall. They’ll be joined by openers Bodies on the Beach and Beverly Crusher.
Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, Wed Jan 12, 8 pm, $11, tickets here