Orlando-based band SALES made their way from the Sunshine State to a gloomy, rainy Richmond Sept. 27 for the ninth show of their U.S. tour. Released in July, their newest album — titled “forever & ever” — includes 10 guitar-based pop songs about love, loss and longing.
Performing at Strange Matter, the show opened with Abby Huston, a local singer, songwriter and VCU student. She performed tracks from her album “Rich,” ending her set with a slow, sensual cover of Jorja Smith’s “On My Mind.” Huston’s soothing, dreamy voice was an appropriate precursor to SALES.
Sporting a T-shirt, shorts and a baseball cap, lead singer and guitarist Lauren Morgan took to the stage with guitarist Jordan Shih and touring drummer Malcolm Martin. The three dove into the new album and sprinkled in some old fan favorites.
Every time SALES began playing the first notes of a song, the crowd erupted. The majority of the audience could tell what song the band was about to perform within five seconds of one song ending and another beginning.
An independent band, SALES self-releases all their music — they released their first single, “renee” in 2013, followed by another song that they did not release until Jan. 31, 2014, appropriately titled “chinese new year.” Typically, fans come across SALES randomly in some obscure way. New music from the band is always highly anticipated.
Before playing “renee,” Shih thanked the audience for supporting the band’s music. He introduced the song as “the reason we’re all here,” which for longtime fans made the song even more special to hear live.
Morgan entertained the crowd with goofy dance moves, frequently turning her back to the crowd and swaying back and forth in a very ironic — and obviously sarcastic — “sexy” way. She drew cheers from the audience every time she moved away from her microphone stand and began dancing.
Mosh pits ensued after the band adjusted some of their songs to be more fast-paced than the originals. Morgan also frequently delivered some of the lyrics in more of a yelling-and-singing style, which isn’t how they appear on the tracks. She emphasized certain lyrics and the crowd sang along, joining Morgan in delivering more powerfully.
SALES put on a show that was worth the years-long wait many fans endured. They played every truly important track and tailored the show to fit what the crowd wanted — a chance to sing and sway, and then mosh.
SALES has five more shows left on this tour — all of which are in Florida — ending in their hometown of Orlando.