Boy Pablo: Live in Los Angeles
by Liv Bjorgum
On November 7th, lines of Boy Pablo fans snaked around Hollywood Boulevard waiting for the doors of the Fonda Theater to open. Boy Pablo would be performing three days after their set at Tropicalia, and both longtime listeners and new fans-to-be buzzed with excitement.
The Norwegian band Boy Pablo blew up this year, performing everywhere from their hometown of Bergen, Norway to Singapore. Best described as indie pop-rock, Boy Pablo have been making waves in the indie music scene with their catchy tunes, creative videos, and accessible feel. Their music’s higher production quality sets them apart from the intentional lo-fi sound of today’s bedroom pop artists. The band’s newest EP, Soy Pablo, came out on October 5, 2018, and features seven songs, two of which were previously released as singles. Boy Pablo’s light-hearted, catchy songs are reflected in their music videos, which (although one features a stickered Guitar Hero guitar) are never gimmicky or inauthentic.
The five members of Boy Pablo--frontman and guitarist Nicolas (in his signature athletic short shorts), keyboardist and comic relief Eric, guitarist Gabriel, bassist Henrik, and drummer Sigmund--showed their lightness, energy, and fun stage presence with their unconventional set-list and fun audience interaction. The band has consistently shown their excitement about their fans, even setting up a “hotline” for fans to call in and listen to segments of their EP before its release. Amongst hits from their first EP, Roy Pablo, and songs from Soy Pablo, the set-list included the unexpected “Party in the USA” and “Roar.” The band and the audience even sang “Happy Birthday” to one superfan in the audience.
Boy Pablo was goofy, talented, high-energy, and young. It was just kids having fun on a Wednesday night. In the intimate venue, with the lights flashing on the stage and the sound just right, everyone seemed to be living in the moment for once. By making jokes and providing insight to the subjects of their songs, Boy Pablo made the concert feel special and one-of-a-kind. (For fans in the United States, it really was.) After the crowd pleaded for an encore, Boy Pablo returned triumphantly with even more energy than before. The whole crowd became one. The encore ended with some members of the band shirtless and clad in silly sunglasses and holding foam hands.
Around 11 p.m., the crowd spilled back onto the street, completely energized after the performance. Everything seemed brighter afterwards, the night air a crisp contradiction to the closeness of the venue. I did not feel sad that it was over, but rather grateful for the both fleeting and infinite moments of the night.
A week later, I learned that all of the photos on my disposable camera from the concert had been pre-exposed. None of them could be salvaged, and the film was completely blank. I felt crushed by the loss, but I now realize that the photos were the least important part. I could never lose the concert, because it was less a singular moment and more a collection of all the memories I attached to their music. The Boy Pablo concert was, more than anything, a realization of a dream I’d had to see them live ever since I watched the video for “Everytime,” discussed their music before making playlists full of it in history class, shouted the lyrics to “Losing You” on the lake in the summertime. Seeing Boy Pablo perform live celebrated cherished memories and created new, unforgettable ones that the band, I, and everyone else lucky enough to have this experience now collectively share.