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Teenaged pop-rock sensation THEM sells out first headlining show

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Photo by Georgia Skerritt
Photo by Georgia Skerritt

When Seattle-based pop-rock band THEM took to the stage at Barboza on December 9 for their first headline performance, they had learned only a few hours earlier that the show was sold out.

Members Thompson, Hudson, Ellie, and Maia — who put the initials of their first names together to create the band's name — have been playing music together since 2017, but last Friday was their first opportunity to headline a show. They played to a full house, one that was packed with eager fans and family members and overflowed with enthusiastic energy.

"We didn't meet through school; we actually met through music lessons," keyboardist and band manager Ellie told the SGN on Sunday. The four teenagers, all from West Seattle, were introduced to each other by a teacher at Mode Music Studios, where they were taking private lessons. After a couple years of group lessons and covers of popular songs, in early 2020 the women decided they wanted to start writing their own music together.

Since then, the band has evolved into the rapidly growing pop music sensation it is today. Previously, THEM played alongside artists like Blu DeTiger, Dayglow, and Duckwrth. But last weekend, the whole crowd was there to hear THEM headlining.

Photo by Georgia Skerritt  

A vibrant and intimate underground venue next to Capitol Hill's beloved Neumos, Barboza offered the ideal space for the band to play and engage with their audience — and they did. Because of their alluring chemistry and collective on-stage presence, watching THEM perform live feels like witnessing something groundbreaking.

The group's music is also a product of community effort — all four women take part in the songwriting process and the tracks are all recorded and produced by Ellie's boyfriend, Dustin. The two currently live together in Los Angeles where Ellie is getting her BA in entertainment business. "I go home about once a month for shows and photoshoots," Ellie explained. "We've also been able to perform in L.A. Thompson and Hudson have come to visit me in the past."

THEM released their first EP, the car, in July this year, and have also released several singles like "Baby Please" and "BAD 4 U," which charted at number five on KEXP within its first week on the radio. The band's set list, infused with a sense of early 2000s pop-punk nostalgia, included their current discography, as well as an unreleased track and covers of "Motion Sickness" and "Kyoto" by Phoebe Bridgers.

Photo by Georgia Skerritt  

The audience sang along the entire night. "For some of the songs I couldn't hear myself singing, which was just a crazy feeling," bassist and vocalist Thompson told the SGN. Complete with ambient pink lighting, a handmade backdrop, and dozens of glow sticks in the crowd, each song performance was charged with energy from both the stage and the floor. "It was just so much support and it really put into perspective for me how much I love doing this."

All members play multiple instruments (from bass to keyboard, guitar to violin), and several of the songs gave them a chance to try out different things — after the first couple of tracks, Thompson and Hudson traded guitar and bass. "We like to mix it up to keep the energy moving on stage and not have us standing in one spot," Ellie explained.

The women were accompanied by openers King Sheim and Cherry Ferrari, both based in Seattle as well. Ellie told the SGN that the group was previously connected to King Sheim, a punk-pop trio, through Mode Music Studios. She also reached out to Cherry Ferrari via social media. "I wanted to give younger artists the opportunity to play a show with us," she said.

Between these three bands, audience members were given a refreshing taste of Seattle's up-and-coming artists that left them wanting more. With an upbeat attitude and magnetic stage presence, THEM is on track to dominate music scenes in the PNW and beyond, so be sure to check them out soon.

THEM has an upcoming show at Chop Suey in January 2023, and they have more dates to come. Their music is available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube. For more updates, find them at https://www.theband-them.com/ or @theband.them on Instagram.