As he's becoming more and more mainstream, Seattle's favorite rapper Macklemore is using his popularity as a platform for social change. He's talking about things on his new album, The Heist, that far too many people in his position would avoid bringing up. He paints the world as a gray cloud with a silver lining. Rather than bashing the people he disagrees with, he presents a call to action for personal and civil rights issues. Macklemore stands up for same-sex marriage, openly discusses substance abuse, and shines a light on growing up in the hiphop community. Producer Ryan Lewis, meanwhile, does a great job of soundtracking the story by creating intensity when appropriate and leaving space where it's necessary. The sold-out show tonight is an affirmation that music fans appreciate the transparency and commentary even in a genre that doesn't always welcome this openness. It's clear, here: Music is a message. ROCHELLE HUNTER
1332 W Burnside, Portland, OR 97209
Hours: Doors usually open an hour before show time.