Nick Waterhouse and PEP at the Doug Fir Lounge

Vortex Music Magazine

Soul music’s newest rep delivers the golden goods to Portland’s Doug Fir on October 7.

What year is it? With the reemergence of synthesizers in popular music, girls wearing high-waisted pants, half the city sporting mod haircuts, and boy bands still filling arenas, sometimes it’s hard to tell. America’s current youthful generation loves to revive everything. From music and clothing to operating system design, we look back into the past for our greatest inspirations, and then infuse them with what we consider to be new and hip. Like all fads, things that were briefly cool are getting their second, or sometimes even third, chance at a new life—only to likely fade out of popular public opinion again in a short while.

Soul music is one of the few things that has remained cool throughout it all, though. It always has been and always will be. It’s not the kind of cool that needs to flaunt itself. It’s the kind of cool that is ingrained in the DNA of the word cool. Much like taste, class and courage, soul is something you either have, or you don’t. So, it’s kinda strange to hear people say that there's a reemergence of soul music happening at the moment.

Nick Waterhouse isn’t reviving soul. He embodies it. He’s the newest incarnate of a sound that lives deep within each and everyone one of us. With a solid foundation of crunchy saxophone, silky guitar, precise rhythm, and an arsenal of female backup singers, Waterhouse puts modern-day emotions into a vintage sonancy.

His newest release, Holly, walks on a polished footpath thanks to his well-received 2012 debut album, Time’s All Gone. A mixture of rock and roll, blues and soul, Waterhouse howls his way through jabbing horns, rolling pianos and deep-rooted guitar, all with the swagger of his predecessors. While still recording in mono in an analog production studio, he captures the essence of then without adding the flair of now. It gives listeners a feel of authenticity in a time when many things are manufactured.

For your chance to catch Nick Waterhouse and his sound of the past, present and future, look no further than the Doug Fir on Tuesday, October 7. Come to think of it, those stretch pants that everyone’s been wearing might actually give your dancing legs plenty of mobility for this sensational night of swinging. Just remember, though: To soul, we are the fads that come and go. It will be around for a long time.

Aiding in your ability to relive the good ole days of ice cream parlors and candy shops, Brooklyn band PEP bring their delightful, doo-woppy pop to the stage before Waterhouse. Part Shirelles and part Ronettes, these youngsters have managed to capture a sound that at one time took American radio by storm and will be a fitting opening to the night.

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