Tonight in Music: School of Rock's Best! of Portland, Big Ass Boombox, Prefuse 73 & More
SCHOOL OF ROCK'S BEST! OF PORTLAND
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) No matter how diverse Portland's music scene gets, one thing we keep agreeing on is School of Rock. Their third Best! of Portland show gets teens playing onstage alongside some of the city's finest, including Wild Ones, Lovers, the Thermals, Laura Veirs, Sons of Huns, and so very, very many more that it's downright inspiring. MARJORIE SKINNER Also, read our article on School of Rock's Best! of Portland.
BIG ASS BOOMBOX
(Various locations) It's the return of the Big Ass Boombox festival, which means the return of the city's greatest totally free wintertime music fest! Over 40 buzzy, local pop and rock bands—including Summer Cannibals, Adventure Galley, and Lubec—will be spread across five downtown stages in two days, with all-ages sets and absolutely no cover charges whatsoever! NED LANNAMANN Check out tonight's schedule here.
PREFUSE 73, NOSAJ THING, FALTY DL
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Guillermo Scott Herren is a man of many aliases, but his work as Prefuse 73 remains consistently fascinating as he busts down boundaries in the electronic and hiphop spheres. Herren's just started a new label called Yellow Year, and he's bringing Nosaj Thing and Falty DL for what's going to be a night of surreal electricity for the ears and mind. NED LANNAMANN
THE AX, DEADKILL, COUGAR
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Black Flag is a reference point that gets thrown around a lot in press coverage for Deadkill's new album No, Never!. It's not unjustified—there's certainly no shortage of unmitigated Rollins-style fury in Bryan Krieger's vocals and no lack of Damaged-era anthemic nihilism in their songwriting. Hell, the backing vocals on "Hoof Polish" even sound sneakily similar to the shout-along on "Six Pack." But a big part of Black Flag's sonic identity was Greg Ginn's jazz-fueled faith in wrong notes. Where Black Flag's plan of attack involved forays into counterintuitive chord progressions and absurdly random leads, Deadkill is propelled by streamlined, no-bullshit, four-chord riffs. And that disparity is a good thing, especially considering what Black Flag became in 2013. Keep your copy of Slip It In, but consider getting your modern fix of aggression from No, Never! BRIAN COOK
FUTUREBIRDS, DEATH SONGS, MARISA ANDERSON
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Athens-based Futurebirds are not reinventing the wheel. No one has to, really—the wheel works quite well in its current form. That said, the band's latest release, Baba Yaga, is a thoroughly enjoyable country rock album that performs all of the genre's necessary functions. Put it on, and it fills a vacant afternoon with a gust of four-part harmonies, dopamine-boosting guitar tones, and a rambling pedal steel that will entertain your most fruitful daydreams. Yes, tracks like "Virginia Slims" and "Tan Lines" arrive in your house truly sopping with reverb—have towels ready—but anyone who has so much as uttered a note in the shower knows that everything sounds better this way. Combine a sturdy knowledge of this excellent record with attendance at the band's notoriously kinetic live show and you're in startlingly good shape. RAQUEL NASSER
JOSH RITTER, GREGORY ALAN ISAKOV
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) It's not often that incredible Idaho folk singer Josh Ritter shares the stage with a songwriting equal, but that will happen twice this weekend at the Aladdin Theater, where Coloradoan Gregory Alan Isakov will open both of Ritter's sold-out acoustic shows. Isakov is a brilliant tunesmith with three terrific albums under his belt, including last year's rich, self-released The Weatherman. But the highlight of his career so far is 2009's This Empty Northern Hemisphere, a dusky collection that is both deeply rooted—Isakov is a trained horticulturist and owner of a small gardening company—and delicately luminous, as if its creator has crafted modern songs about love, life, and land using only an ancient star chart as his guide. If exquisite, enchanting folk-pop songs appeal to you, find a way into one of these shows. No doubt, Portland will host few, if any, bills better for that kind of thing this year. BEN SALMON