After seeing Wrabel perform at Portland’s Holocene last Wednesday, there’s no doubt in our minds why this tour is called the “happy people sing sad songs tour”. When Wrabel walked on stage with tea in his hand and joy on his face, the crowd was all smiles. Some quick bubbly banter with the audience had everyone laughing, but when Wrabel’s fingertip first touched the keys of the piano, everything stood still.
Seconds into Wrabel’s first song, you could feel a collective change in the room. The man who moments ago was making a room full of people laugh was now displaying a raw vulnerability and passion that everyone in the room could feel. This sort of vulnerability has always been one of Wrabel’s strongest attributes, and it was on full display for the entirety of his performance. The second the first song ended, people clapped, wiped away their tears, and were quickly back to laughing again.
Wrabel’s humorous and off-the-cuff approach to storytelling and introducing his songs was extremely charming and was a welcomed relief from the sad nature of many of his songs. He also opted for every song to be performed on piano, and occasionally guitar, which is different than the studio versions of many of his songs. He still performed many of his most anthemic EDM tracks, but stripped down to their bones. While we love his more dance influenced music, it was nice getting to hear these songs through a different lens.
Describing small, yet meaningful moments during love and loss is no easy task, but it’s what Wrabel does best. Finding hope in heartbreak may be one of the more difficult parts of the human experience, but so long as Wrabel is our soundtrack, it might just get a little easier. Check out some photos from the show below!