SALES, an Orlando-based indie pop band, is currently on their spring tour of the south. I had the pleasure of attending their Houston show at White Oak Music Hall on Thursday, April 4th. Lauren Morgan and Jordan Shih, the permanent components of SALES, were joined by their tour percussionist, Malcolm Martin. Additionally, Varsity and Lunar Vacation opened up for them.
Lunar Vacation, an independent soft rock band out of Atlanta, was the first act to play of the night, and they were definitely a pleasant surprise. While they still don’t have their own Wikipedia page, they are on their way up with recent appearances at an unofficial South By Southwest party and some other small festivals. Their performance was very polished and mature, considering the members of Lunar Vacation are pretty fresh out of high school. Performing songs off Swell and Artificial Flavors, Lunar Vacation set the tone for the night with their whimsical approach to rock. Their music is refreshing and light without lacking substance.
Varsity was next up and definitely didn’t let the crowd down after Lunar Vacation gave a solid opening. Varsity is yet another independent rock band out of Chicago. Some of their music has a little more edge to it as compared to their concert mates, so they were a great addition to the show. They treated the audience to some of their more popular songs like “So Sad, So Sad” and “Downtown” while peppering in new songs. Varsity’s set was full of energy and zeal. I would definitely want to see them again at their own show.
While SALES didn’t come on until nearly 10pm, the remarkably young crowd was still intrigued and excited. They started off with some of their lesser-known songs, but intently played popular songs like “Trapped in a Club” and “Sorry Bro” off SALES LP in between. Their experience and maturity clearly showed, but they still had fun with the show which I appreciated. Their performance style is very minimalistic, but it showcases their talent and is well suited to their musical aesthetic.
It became evident that SALES is more concerned with kindling their artistry than appealing to the masses which was really refreshing. While their first full-length album was not as successful as the LP and EP that preceded it, they still played a large part of Forever & Ever. The album has a sort of authority and polish that the LP and EP lack. The creative motifs and commentary on songs like “Off and On” and “White Jeans” really came to life on stage. Lauren Morgan’s voice has a sweetness that is unparalleled and blankets the lyrics over the music in a very nonchalant way.
They finished out the night with some of my favorite songs including “Chinese New Year” and “Getting It On.” Their set was satiating. It wasn’t too long or too short, and they played all of the songs that the crowd expected.
My only criticism of the concert is that it felt monotonous at times. All of the acts had an ethereal, wispy sound that whips you into a trance. With that being said, they all have a lot of musical talent and passion for their craft. I would see any of the bands again.