I’ve been stalking Growing Pains for six months, capturing them in venues ranging in size from coffee shops to sold-out theaters since July ’23. To an extent, they are an enigma to me. Bright, poppy guitars and driving rhythms blend with dreamy, almost sullen female vocals that perfectly express the highs of new-found freedom and quiet inner thoughts of a young adult thrust into an unstable world. It’s the perfect soundtrack for a summer road trip and exactly what you might listen to if your friends had left you behind, and their stage performance reflects the very same; an explosion of talent almost intentionally restrained by a sense of self-consciousness that many in the crowd can relate to.
They are giants in the all-ages scene here in Portland, drawing young fans by the hundreds, and selling out venues that most in the 21+ set can only fantasize about. They have also gained significant traction online, from thousands of followers on Instagram to tens of thousands of monthly streams on Spotify, but what is most impressive to me about these achievements is that they are not the result of a suddenly viral video or high-level industry relationships granting them a pathway through mainstream airwaves – Growing Pains have built their fan base one show at a time, consistently touring through Corvallis and Eugene and, when time allows, covering the entire West Coast, from Seattle to Los Angeles, on a non-stop mission just to play and experience life as traveling artists do.
Would I recommend seeing them at their upcoming show on February 2nd at Mission Theater, a 500-person capacity venue that will likely be packed to the rafters? Yes, I would. But I’d also advise giving them a listen online before you go. You might just find, as I did, that the 3rd and 4th times you hear songs like November and What Are The Odds? will be the moments you find yourself humming along, sensing a certain nostalgia for the present before it’s even passed; remembering what it’s like to feel just as happy and confused and sullen and awkward and empowered as you’ve ever been. Growing Pains are a band you have to hear to believe and see to understand, and now is your chance to see them in their natural state – among friends and fans who have been there from the start, and who will forever have bragging rights for being there in small coffee shops and local theaters, before the rest of the world caught on.
Growing Pains at Honey Latte Cafe – July 7, 2023
Growing Pains at Mission Theater – July 18, 2023
Growing Pains at Polaris Hall – December 16, 2023
Learn more about Growing Pains at https://linktr.ee/growingpainspdx