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Photos: Alvvays, The Courtneys and Candace bring “she shreds” rock to the Wonder Ballroom

By Emerald contributor Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

“You seem to be into everything. Were you paid to be here?” Alvvays singer and guitarist Molly Rankin asked the enthusiastic audience during the Canadian indie group’s concert on May 18 at the Wonder Ballroom. The show was the opening of the Red Bull Sound Select’s 3 Days in Portland festival and was a collaboration with She Shreds Magazine, which highlights female musicians.

It was a night of honoring female artists with openers Candace and The Courtneys, both from the Pacific Northwest. The trio Candace could easily be a 21st century Mazzy Star, although with a cooler, bedroom vibe that still is the perfect soundtrack for a school dance. Singer Jen Twynn Payne proved that the stereotype of drummers being unable to sing is not always true, sounding the best when she joined forces with guitarist Courtney Loove, such as on “Manion.”

Although Alvvays have only released one album (its self-titled 2014 debut), the band has garnered fame for its sweet pop melodies, often paired with surprisingly biting lyrics from Rankin: In “Next of Kin” she sings about losing her lover in a river.

Check out our coverage of Fleet Foxes Portland performance here.

Alvvays stuck largely to its older material. Instead of sounding worn down, these songs (mixed with some newer tracks) still were fresh, filled with energy and tighter than ever.

If the future is female, Candace, The Courtneys and Alvvays proved that so is rock ‘n’ roll.

Alvvays opened with the punk track “Hey” with Rankin backed by keyboardist Kerri MacLellan (who regularly joined her on vocals), guitarist Alec O’Hanley, drummer Phil MacIssac and bassist Brian Murphy. (Hannah Steinkopf-Frank)

Rank jokes that she doesn’t feel “cool in Portland,” though loves playing in the Rose City so much she says yes to almost every gig. She also talked basketball with the crowd, particularly her allegiance with the Golden State Warriors: “You can quote me on that,” she said. (Hannah Steinkopf-Frank)

From behind her drum kit in the center of the stage, The Courtney’s lead singer Jen Twynn Payne was the driving force of the three-piece group’s surprisingly full sound. This was especially apparent on garage rock tracks like “Silver Velvet” or “Lost Boys,” which is about a “vampire teenage boyfriend.” (Hannah Steinkopf-Frank)

As the group is from Vancouver, the Courtneys talked about listening to Soundgarden on their way to Portland, paying respect to singer Chris Cornell, who passed away earlier this week. (Hannah Steinkopf-Frank)

Portland-via-Minneapolis band Candace mixed country harmonies with shoegaze-meets-beach-rock vibes. The band did not hold back from going full headbang. (Hannah Steinkopf-Frank)

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