Cold War Kids recently graced the stage at the historic McMenamins Crystal Ballroom in Portland, celebrating an impressive 20 years of their musical journey. Words and photos by Jenny Shackleton.

Austin-based indie duo, Hovvdy began the night as openers creating an intimate atmosphere with their dreamy blend of lo-fi indie rock and folk. Their latest album, “True Love,” resonated with the crowd, and tracks like “Cathedral” and “Runner” left a lasting impression. As the final chords of “Brave” faded, genuine applause filled the air—a sweet aftertaste of an opening act that lingered long after the lights dimmed. The atmosphere shifted seamlessly from introspective moments during Hovvdy’s set to the explosive highs of Cold War Kids’ performance.

The band launched into their set with the captivating track “Who’s Going to Love Me Now.” High-energy tunes kept the momentum going, but they also took moments to slow down and connect with the audience. “Sunday in the City” set the mood, and lead singer Nathan Willet’s maraca-shaking dance moves during “Ceiling Fan” added a delightful touch. The band treated fans to several new songs from their self-titled album released the previous year, including the single “Heaven in Your Hands.” Whether it was the die-hard fans who had followed the band for two decades or the newcomers discovering their sound, everyone was united by the rhythm and lyrics. As the final notes of “Something is Not Right with Me” echoed, the applause was thunderous. The crowd spilled out onto Burnside Street, still humming the tunes that had woven their way into their hearts.

The Crystal Ballroom had witnessed countless performances, but this one felt special—an ode to the past, a celebration of the present, and a promise of more music-filled nights to come.

Hovvdy, the Austin-based indie duo, graced the stage at Portland’s Crystal Ballroom, creating an intimate atmosphere with their dreamy blend of lo-fi indie rock and folk. Their latest album, “True Love,” resonated with the crowd, and tracks like “Cathedral” and “Runner” left a lasting impression. As the final chords of “Brave” faded, genuine applause filled the air—a sweet aftertaste of an opening act that lingered long after the lights dimmed.

Photographer | + posts

Jenny Shackleton (she/her) is a photographer based in Portland, OR, originally hailing from Philadelphia, PA. Her love for live music started over 15 years ago after seeing the Jonas Brothers perform on their Burning Up tour in 2008 and the rest is history. As a naturally shy person, it’s surprising she feels so comfortable at concerts with hundreds of people attending, but has always believed that they are special, somewhat liminal, spaces. Everyone is there for the same reason: to have the best night and see artists pour their souls’ onto the stage. That is what Jenny likes to capture in her photos. Jenny enjoys spending time outside with her partner and their dog, watching movies, and owning way too many sneakers.