Worth the Wait: Shoring Spent their Twenties Marinating in Other Bands
It’s an old musician’s cliche that you should never give up on your dreams. But the other side of that is that at a certain point, your back starts to hurt from schlepping your amplifier in and out of basements. And your wallet starts to hurt from constantly bailing it out of the pawn shop when you’re short on rent. That race against time is a big defining factor for Portland band, Shoring. The four members had been in and out of different Portland groups for years, and two members had been playing together since they were teenagers. But the wear was starting to show.
“We’re in our early thirties at this point, and Portland has got to be ground zero of the Peter Pan Syndrome,” says Nick Kostenborder, the band’s drummer. “But still, breaking into the music business is a young person’s game. Something had to happen fast, or it would’ve probably been time to shift focus.”
Like aging movie mobsters looking for one last big score, they rallied a new group behind the songwriting of frontman Brian Bergstrom and got to work. It turned out to be the combo they’d all been looking for.
“There’s definitely a ‘lightning in a bottle’ feel to this band that I’ve never experienced before,” says Kostenborder. “And it feels like we’re the last ones standing. Like, we’ve all been let go from other bands who aren’t around anymore. We’ve all been dumped unexpectedly. But we’re all still doing what we always wanted to do and most of the people from our past are not.
Kostenborder says the band’s sound, which trends indie-folk, is limited only by how far they’re willing to travel in a particular direction.
“As a music fan and drummer, sometimes I’ll hear a song and I’ll really wish that we had a song with that particular feel,” he says. “Sometimes we’ll have a tune in the hopper and I’ll suggest changing a bit here or there to give it that pace or feel I’m longing for. And sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Kostenborder says a big part of what makes that work is having Bergstrom’s hand on the rudder as the songwriter.
“It’s nice having one person who knows when the song is done, and knows when it’s gone too far in the wrong direction,” he says.
But so far, they’ve mostly been going in the right direction. The band released its self-recorded and self-titled debut in February, and have gotten almost exclusively positive feedback, including the out-of-state touring offers that were so elusive for their collective earlier projects.
“We were very encouraged by how many offers we got,” says Kostenborder. “And everywhere we go, people really embrace us.”
That includes Southern Oregon, where the band had a great performance on their first tour.
“Ashland is such a beautiful town, and you all really embrace touring, original bands,” says Kostenborder. “That’s not the case everywhere, and we couldn’t do it without you guys.”
And whether the band makes or not, for Kostenborder, the wait has been worth the payoff.
“We’ve made something I’d be proud to share with my heroes,” he says. “It’s a real album, and there’s a lot of really good stories behind it. I think if people give it a listen, they’ll find a lot to relate to.”
9 pm Fri., June 9
Oberon’s, 45 N. Main St., Ashland