Young Audiences of Oregon and SW Washington Present Edna Vazquez, the Resistance, Fringe Class; Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, Sun May 3, 2 pm, FREE, all ages
It should go without saying that Young Audiences of Oregon and SW Washington—a nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining the presence of arts programs in our region's schools—is an invaluable resource, but we'll say it anyway. And it's a resource that's directly correlated to the state of all-ages music in Portland—hardly a coincidence, as the organization's executive director is Cary Clarke, who co-founded PDX Pop Now! (and was, once upon a time, a Mercury columnist, not to get too inside baseball) and has long been one of the all-ages scene's brightest and most beloved proponents.
The latest program from Young Audiences, Live S.E.T. (short for "sound engineering for teens") is concerned with an often overlooked but hardly insignificant facet of live music. Ten high schoolers gather at Mississippi Studios—which, intimidatingly, houses one of the best-sounding rooms and rigs of any venue in Portland—every Saturday over the course of six weeks. Under the tutelage of renowned Portland engineers Jason Powers of Type Foundry Studio and Nalin Silva of Revolver Studios, the students learn the science and delicate art of live sound engineering.
The class' penultimate test comes when the students have to engineer a show by themselves. Sunday afternoon's terrifically mixed showcase of locals—which runs at Mississippi Studios from 2 to 4 pm and is completely free—features singer/guitarist Edna Vazquez, local hiphop collective the Resistance, and all-ages stalwarts Fringe Class, whose latest EP Fringe Class Begins is curiously evocative of the Portland music landscape circa six years ago (think: Strength, Starfucker, and Cyrus Lampton-era Wampire).