BLOSSOM Wed 3/15 Mississippi Studios Miss Lopez Media

Super Pick

SOUND + VISION: BLOSSOM, AMENTA ABIOTO
Saying that Black people have been “taking an L” lately is essentially the biggest understatement ever. Sure, we’ve managed to MAKE the world pay attention to our pop culture—with Beyoncé’s twins, the success of “Bad and Boujee,” and films like Get Out, Hidden Figures, and that irritating Moonlight mess at the Oscars. But these considerable wins do relatively little to alter Black cultural perception throughout the US and the rest of the world. As Black women, we’re raised with the fundamental strength to navigate these battles of skewed views with our heads held high, our pride serving as the guiding light through the storms of microaggressions. There isn’t much representation in Portland, especially in the fair-skinned domination of its music community. For local music votaries of color, we’ve got at least two powerful female voices in Amenta Abioto and Blossom. Abioto’s a triple threat, exhibiting her appreciation for all things cultural and mythological as a songwriter, actor, and producer. Her performances are often captivating theatrical nods to African life, blending jazz and hip-hop with the vocal heft of gospel. We look to Blossom and her funky neo-soul creations as a guideline for mixing meaningful lyrics with sonic enjoyment. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Blossom made her foray into music at just 12 years old; she’s like a local poster child for starting with humble roots and essentially blossoming into success. Both women are talented, intellectual, and inspirational—everything a child of color needs to see from minority figures in a world where representation is lacking. CERVANTE POPE


WEDNESDAY 3/15

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
(Moda Center, 1 N Center Ct) Read our tepid defense of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

FIN DE CINEMA, AKIRA KUROSAWA’S DREAMS: JONATHAN SIELAFF, BROWN CALCULUS, PALM DAT, DYLAN STARK
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Holocene’s popular series Fin de Cinema has returned! For each show, a classic film (usually one that’s surreal or psychedelic) is soundtracked by live musicians. This isn’t a sit-down party (at least not when I’ve gone), and it’s not really a film-watching activity either. There are subtitles, but you don’t get to hear any of the dialogue or foley sound—it’s more like when a band plays a snippet from a beautiful film to accompany their set, but Fin de Cinema actually plays the whole movie. Small point of contention: They always seem to choose films with a perfectly good soundtrack. Playing Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams tonight are Jonathan Sielaff of Golden Retriever, Brown Calculus (Brown Alice and Tribe Mars), Palm Dat of Shy Girls, and dance music producer Dylan Stark. SUZETTE SMITH

LITTLE STAR, TONER, BLUE SMILEY, SOMBER
(Valentines, 232 SW Ankeny) Little Star’s Being Close was one of the best Portland records of 2016. It’s an album about heartbreak filtered through intimate and irresistible post-punky jangle-pop. Now just a little over a year later, the band—helmed by Dan Byers and Julian Morris—is back with an excellent follow-up that retains the sweet-and-sour sonics of Being Close (think ’90s lo-fi Pacific Northwest indie rock), but thematically moves on to post-heartbreak fallout. “I can cope, figure how to move on,” Byers sings to start the new self-titled album. “I can be myself, figure out how to feel good without Zoloft.” A couple of minutes later, his delicate tenor warbles: “I know that I don’t have to feel so sad. I don’t have to feel bad about myself because I’m worth getting help.” Songs about struggling with sadness and self-doubt have been around as long as songwriters themselves, but Byers takes those topics and flips them into anthems of hope and encouragement, and the results are positively heart-swelling. All hail Little Star. BEN SALMON

KELLY PRATT, DANA BUOY, JOHN NIEKRASZ
(Turn! Turn! Turn!, 8 NE Killingsworth) Portland is extremely fortunate to have such a friendly, engaged experimental music scene, and the scene itself is fortunate to have the Creative Music Guild to organize and pay noncommercial artists to perform on a regular basis. John Niekrasz’s dynamic improvisational two-piece Why I Must Be Careful (with Seth Brown of Fender Rhodes) was one of the first bands I really loved in Portland. Over the years, I have seen Niekrasz play spoons on a cement floor, and I have seen him call and answer unintelligible syllables over his drum kit. Mostly I’ve seen him perform measured and intense percussionist pieces that always seem to continue the ongoing conversation Niekrasz has with his work (recently through his performances/compositions with Orchestra Becomes Radicalized and before that with Sporting—a collaboration with Luke Wyland of AU). So yeah, he’s a deep one, but always full of that exciting, unknowable energy that makes me remember why I like music in the first place. SS

THURSDAY 3/16

RED FANG, DANAVA, NORSKA
(Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark) God bless Red Fang. (Wait—shit. Satan bless Red Fang? Whatever.) Portland's beloved metal geniuses hit Revolution Hall tonight, and they're gonna shake that place to its fucking foundation. Not only are they bringing along Danava, but the whole thing is for a good cause: Raising money for Yob frontman Mike Scheidt, who underwent emergency surgery in January. Good on you, Red Fang! Hey, can we put you guys in charge of healthcare instead of Paul Ryan? ERIK HENRIKSEN

FUCKED UP, CHASTITY
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) It seems like Toronto’s Fucked Up can’t get through a set without lead singer Damian Abraham taking his shirt off. This is not a matter of if, but when—it’s usually gone after the first song, but the exact moment depends on several factors. Is Abraham wearing a button-down or a T-shirt? Is his beard trimmed or long and flowing? (If it’s the latter, his shirt could snag when he pulls it over his head.) Is he screaming through hardcore songs like “Queen of Hearts,” or is bassist/vocalist Sandra Miranda center stage for catchier tracks like “The Other Shoe”? Is the front row populated by fellow shirtless bros going ape with their hats backwards, or some fully clothed hipster narcs spectating with arms crossed? Is the show at SXSW, and do the festival’s tech-fascist organizers consider a Canadian taking his shirt off reason to notify immigration authorities? Conservative reports indicate that Abraham’s big moment will come during the bridge, right before the final chorus kicks in, but I’m hoping it’s the first freaking verse, baby! CAMERON CROWELL

THE WEAKLINGS, DARK/LIGHT, GIRL DRINK DRUNKS, THEE HEADLINERS
(The Know, 3728 NE Sandy) Since Jonny Harbin’s cancer diagnosis in January, Portland’s punk community has continued to rally behind the Jonnycat Records founder. But Harbin’s more than just a label owner—he’s been a champion of the scene for years, and it’s clear he means a lot to the punks of our city. There’s currently a GoFundMe to raise money for his medical bills, as well as a ton of benefit shows. “I’m just trying to do what I can for him—we all want to do what we can,” says Dark/Light vocalist Candy Schramer. “He’s very loved by so many people.” Her band plays Thursday’s benefit, along with the Weaklings, Girl Drink Drunks, and Thee Headliners. These benefit shows feature some of the best and longest-running rock ’n’ rollers in Portland. Something tells me they’ll be a little more intense and sweatier than usual—love will do that. MARK LORE

FRIDAY 3/17

KMRIA, THE MINUS 5
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) St. Patrick’s Day and the Pogues go hand-in-hand. Well, it’s St. Patrick’s Day today, and the Pogues aren’t playing anymore, so the next best thing is KMRIA, who’ll be celebrating a full decade as one of the best Pogues tribute bands. The group—whose acronym stands for Kiss My Royal Irish Ass—is formed by members of the Decemberists, Eels, and Casey Neill & The Norway Rats. So hoist some Irish beer, drink some whiskey, and enjoy the best Irish folk-punk available to you today. DOUG BROWN

ON DRUGS, HORSE MOVIES, AMERICAN MEMORIES, THE TOADS
(Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton) Try as I might to finally enter adulthood, my heart still belongs to drinking tallboys on blacktops, which is definitely the root of my fondness for Horse Movies. The Portland indie-grunge band has a long way to go lyrics-wise, but their distorted, snarling vocals and dueling guitars are grin-worthy. Like the monster truck-obsessed younger brother of Titus Andronicus, Horse Movies is an unpretentious and hyper confection. EMMA BURKE

JAPANDROIDS, CRAIG FINN AND THE UPTOWN CONTROLLERS
(Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark) The cover of Japandroids’ new album Near to the Wild Heart of Life looks familiar. It’s a photo of Brian King and David Prowse posing together like they have for previous releases, but this time with intentional staging that seems like it’s supposed to convey some newfound mature sincerity. This reads less as growing up and more as losing touch, which is reflected in the music. On past releases their secondhand pop-punk personas gave tired genre clichés new life and energy, but that’s lost on Near to the Wild Heart of Life. Absent is the duo’s high-octane charisma that made their odes to positivity so unshakeable. Japandroids’ live shows will undoubtedly continue to inspire impassioned sing-alongs and light thrashing, but I hope they stay on the right side of the “corny or earnest” line they’ve ridden for so long. EMMA BURKE

THE COATHANGERS, THE BIRTH DEFECTS, TENDER AGE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Atlanta’s all-women punk band the Coathangers have been around for a decade. The three-piece regularly kicks out catchy, lively garage hits that aren’t just easy on the ears, but also surprisingly diverse for music that never strays far from its genre. You know what all of the Coathangers records will sound like, but you also know everyone in the car will enjoy listening. 2016’s Nosebleed Weekend presents the Coathangers at their most streamlined and produced, but the group’s live shows are still super loud energy fests made for dancing—or swaying when the measure is a step slower. SS Also see Things to Do, pg. 35.

MO TROPER AND THE ASSUMPTIONS, THE EXQUISITES, ALIEN BOY, MAYHAW HOONS AND THE OUTSIDERS
(The Know, 3728 NE Sandy) Timelessness is just one of Mayhaw Hoons’ endearing qualities. His artistic fearlessness is dizzying on Lime Green, Hoons’ latest release with his band the Outsiders. Even during the most tender musical moments, he’s wired to exert as much emotive urgency as is vocally possible. The fantastically baroque-heavy “Revenge” pisses and moans with a fuzzed-out power-pop verse, eventually blooming into a piano-led chorus that finds Hoons shrieking in key, his upper register breaking apart as the melody soars ever further into melancholy. Known primarily for playing the role of indispensable sideman in groups like the Shaky Hands, the Minders, Horse Feathers, and Kyle Craft’s band, Hoons’ magnetic lyrics and chameleonic rock ’n’ roll swagger take center stage on breakout tracks like “The Swinger” and “Anorexic Again.” Hoons and the Outsiders open tonight’s all-Northwest bill, so get there early. RYAN J. PRADO

SATURDAY 3/18

JESCA HOOP, RITCHIE YOUNG
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Read our story on Jesca Hoop.

MEAT PUPPETS, THE MODERN ERA
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) From its beginnings as a Southwestern cow-punk parallel to the ’80s SoCal hardcore of Black Flag, the Phoenix, Arizona, three-piece Meat Puppets always had an ear for melodies. Even as 1984’s Meat Puppets II opens with the straight-up, no-chaser punk track “Split Myself in Two,” brothers Curt (guitar/vocals) and Cris Kirkwood (bass) immediately dive into twangy, psychedelic alt-country ditties “Magic Toy Missing,” “Lost,” “Plateau,” and full-on jam “Aurora Borealis.” Though Meat Puppets did achieve some mainstream success with the 1994 gold record Too High to Die, which features their only commercial hit, “Backwater,” they’ll most likely be remembered more for their direct influence of countless ’90s alternative megastars, including radio mainstays Everclear, Beck, and Nirvana. Meat Puppets assured their mark in rock history when Kurt Cobain asked the brothers Kirkwood to come onstage while he covered three of their songs during his legendary MTV Unplugged session. CC

SUNDAY 3/19

ISAIAH RASHAD, LANCE SKIIIWALKER, JAY IDK
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) After listening to his 2014 album Cilvia Demo, the first thing that struck me about Isaiah Rashad was his cadence. Rashad reminds me of other fast rappers like Kendrick Lamar and André 3000 (both men are close to his world—he shares a label with Lamar and often cites Outkast as a big inspiration). But Rashad’s affect is more relaxed, like he’s moving through molasses without getting stuck. His songs follow mellow rhythmic paths that are perfect for both introspection and getting down. Last year he released The Sun’s Tirade, which adds even more chill samples that keep his poetic and probing lyrics grounded. With an equally talented network (SiR, SZA, the aforementioned Lamar) and such an audible wit, Rashad shows no signs of slowing down. EMMA BURKE

CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH, VITA AND THE WOOLF
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Old-timers may remember the mid-’00s as a golden era for music discovery. MP3 blogs ran wild in the early days of file-sharing, and record labels tried to figure out how to navigate this new reality. For a time, music geeks with oddly named websites became tastemakers, and weird little bands like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah found themselves riding the hype-wave seemingly overnight. For a dozen years now, CYHSY’s Alec Ounsworth has been releasing records that always get compared to his band’s buzzy 2005 debut, fairly or not. Their latest is called The Tourist, and it finds Ounsworth returning to his favorite wells: wiry indie rock built on rubbery bass lines, modest experimentation with electronics, and twisted lyrics delivered in his adenoidal warble. What’s new: the influence of producer Dave Fridmann, who’s worked on two other CYHSY releases before now, but never so obviously. His distinctive shimmer and warm ambiance closes the distance between Ounsworth and the listener. BS

MONDAY 3/20

XENIA RUBINOS, FRITZWA, RASHEED JAMAL
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Last time the ultra-talented Xenia Rubinos swung through town, the Mercury's Jenni Moore characterized the singer as jamming “at an unmarked intersection of jazz, funk, electronica, punk, and indie rock.” That's as fitting a description as any for an artist whose work is smart, surprising, and addictive—and thankfully, tonight we've got a more concrete address where we can find her. That'd be 10 and SE Morrison, better known as Holocene. ERIK HENRIKSEN

TUESDAY 3/21

CHRIS SHIFLETT, BRIAN WHELAN
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Dave Grohl is such an omnipresent rock star, sometimes it’s easy to forget that those other Foo Fighters have lives and interests of their own. Heck, sometimes it’s easy to forget there are other guys in the band. But there are, and Chris Shiflett is one of them. He plays guitar in the Foos, and he did the same in the punk bands No Use for a Name and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. But right now, Shiflett is exploring his interest in twang. He released a record full of honky-tonk covers in 2013, and now he’s back with West Coast Town, which finds Shiflett kickin’ back somewhere between Buck Owens’ slick Bakersfield sound and the Rolling Stones’ roadhouse country-blues. There are lots of good bands that do this well, but Shiflett holds his own as both a songwriter and roots-rocker. If nothing else, West Coast Town provides another perspective into the mind of a guy who can usually be found outside the spotlight. BS