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Smoke Season // Live @ Lola’s Room // 6.28.16.

Article and Photos by: Kristina Dawn


PORTLAND, OR– A humble crowd gathered to McMenamin’s Lola’s Room property on Thursday night. Lola’s: a dark and mysterious club wedged between the famous Ringler’s pub and the world renowned Crystal Ballroom, was crawling with musically inclined hipsters ready for a night full of great drinks and even greater music (y’know, the usual “night out on the town” in Portland).

Warming up the crowd first was local Portlander herself Kelsey Mousley, accompanied by The Next Right Thing. Their soft “Norah Jones-ey” blues-funk vibe fit the relaxed bourbon sipping crowd perfectly. Adorned simply with a single spotlight, Kelsey floated about the stage, transitioning through songs with a few cool yet casual speeches about family, work and her passion for music.


Changing things up bit– er– a lot-a-bit, was the LA based group Caught a Ghost, lead by DJ Jesse Nolan. Sprucing up the stage with a few strobes, fluorescent neon lights and a few lit up drums, Nolan (with a bit of coaxing) drew the crowd out of their dark corner booths and into the pit. But it didn’t take long for the pit to transform into a loose dance party of sorts (thanks alcohol!). Sounding like a bit like 90’s rap, dashed with a smidgen of soul and a sprinkle of contemporary pop, Caught a Ghost enthralled the audience. Nolan excitedly jumping about the stage from his guitar to his drum, accidentally ripping his shirt in the process. But the ladies (and a few of the boys) weren’t complaining.


After a quick set change (and a few more drinks) California duo Smoke Season made their way to the stage. Frontwoman Gabrielle Wortman taking a swig straight from the bottle of Jack in her hand on her way up. Turning the knobs on her vocal warping board, creating an electronic eerie moan that echoed through the club, Wortman signaled her other half (in the band at least) Jason Rosen to start the show. Rosen captivated the audience with a hypnotic guitar pattern, transformed by his string of pedals.

Playing an array of songs from their 2014 EP ‘Hot Coals Cold Souls’ to their most recent EP ‘Ouroboros,” Smoke Season entranced the packed Portland club. Mid-set, Wortman took a moment to acknowledge those affected by the recent tragedy in Orlando, FL, dedicating “Emilia” to the LGBTQ+ community and those whose lives were lost in the attack.

The duo closed out their energy (and Tennessee Whiskey) packed set with both members writhing on the floor, giving their all to the last moments of their performance. Though both Caught a Ghost and Smoke Season left it all out on the stage, both stuck around for hours after the show to speak with fans and friends, showing that genuine artist who really care about their fans still exist today.

Kristina Dawn
Kristina Dawn is a freelance music photographer and videographer from Portland, OR. She hopes to one day tour the world, capturing the extraordinary lives of some of the nations best musicians.