Upon walking into Lincoln Hall for the SALES show earlier this week, I could tell that this was going to be fun. A feverish fan base already dominated the floor, filling up the space far earlier than most bands could. Lead singer Lauren Morgan was at the merch table greeting fans and everyone just seem delighted for the show they were about to experience. It’s what concerts should feel like, a mix of hurried anticipation and casual fun.
Opening up the night was Hana Vu, who fit perfectly into the evening’s lineup. She and her band’s chill and laid-back tunes echoed through the venue with an excellent vibe. While the overall sound of the band definitely had the crowd grooving along (so energetically that at one point Vu almost broke her guitar strings), there was something going on beyond that. Vu’s lyrics are filled with small moments of pure intensity, giving the lofty songs some good weight, letting them last far longer in my head than I expected. “Crying on the Subway” in particular lunged at me with its revelatory lyrics. “I’m trying to escape you” she sang as the whole audience let its sentiments wash over them.
SALES was able to elicit the same response from the crowd, obviously mixed with a few overzealous reactions from diehard fans. Lauren Morgan, Jordan Shih and their touring drummer Malcolm Martin emerged on stage while an exuberant hip-hop song played. It was a fun juxtaposition considering how different their sound is, touching more relaxed soundscapes than outright party noise.
From cellphone lights waving in the crowd to short crowd interactions where Morgan’s soft spoken personality shined, there wasn’t a moment that felt wasted. SALES ran through a long setlist, played the majority of both their self-titled LP and EP. The obvious standouts throughout the night, the sing song quality of “Renee” with its punchy chorus and the effortless dreaminess of “Sorry Bro” standing tall among the best of the night. But it was “You Look Well” that hit hardest for me, feeling endlessly familiar and encapsulating much of what SALES does best: personal lyrics, atmospheric instrumentals, and Morgan’s voice at its most tender, forceful, and understanding.
SALES ended their set with a crazy jam-out session, mixing “Be My Baby” with “#1 Hit Single,” an ever-evolving song that has become a mainstay of their shows. It was a dizzying experience, seeing the band jam out with such ferocity while remaining true to their gentle and absorbing aesthetic. As I and the rest of the sold-out Lincoln Hall bobbed along with the masterful finish, I couldn’t help but want it to keep going for the rest of the night.
Photos by Julian Ramirez