There's only a month of summer left, and Portland is making the most of it, packing the final weeks with a bevy of music festivals: Last week, we wrote about PDX Pop Now!, which is still brightening indie venues across town. This week, we'll catch you up on the first annual Kidz Outside Festival and Lose Yr Mind fest. We’re also stoked about the sparkling major label debut from the Last Artful, Dodgr, as well as an upcoming opportunity to hear the Oregon Symphony play Hocus Pocus right before Halloween.
Two can’t miss upcoming events.
The Kidz Outside Festival: Mat Randol and J Prodigy
Portland-based hip-hop artist Mat Randol teamed up with writer/artist Donovan M. Smith (Ignorant Reflections/Gentrification Is Weird) to create the Kidz Outside (TKO) Festival in North Portland’s George Park. A collaboration between music artists and Portland Parks and Rec, TKO is a free, all ages event made in an effort to improve George Park and rebrand it as a safe, family-friendly destination. The very first fest will feature rapper/festival organizer Mat Randol, who will likely be performing songs from his 2021 project, What Are You Afraid Of?, and hopefully a song or two from his excellent 2018 debut, Art of Allowing. Adding hefty support to the bill is impressive 12-year-old rapper J. Prodigy, holding it down for the all ages crowd. (Fri Aug 26, 6 pm, George Park, 7240 N Fessenden, FREE, all ages)
Lose Yr Mind Fest
Lose Yr Mind Fest celebrates its eighth year this year, and returns for two days of shows happening at four venues within walking distance of one another in industrial SE Portland: Vitalidad, Bunk Bar, Swan Dive, and the Get Down. On Thursday, September 1, the fest kicks off with a show at Kelly’s Olympian featuring rock band Death Valley Girls, Seattle-based twin rock duo the Black Tones, and Austin doom metal four-piece Mala Suerte. Then, on Friday, September 2, the Macks will play Bunk Bar with Monsterwatch and Shadowgraphs. Just two blocks away, the Dandy Warhols headline a show at Vitalidad with Abronia and Roselit Bone. While we originally reported that Lollipop Shoppe (in the old Dig A Pony space) would host shows, remodeling took a little longer than Lose Yr Mind organizers Elizabeth Elder and Bryan Wollen anticipated—they co-own Lollipop with North Portland’s Tulip Shop Tavern owners Devon and Tyler Treadwell. All the shows planned for that venue have been moved to neighboring bar Swan Dive, where attendees can anticipate a Friday, September 2 set curated by Mama Bird Recording Co, and a special edition of the Thesis hip-hop showcase featuring Bird Bennet, Sotae, Bathlete, and Lord Lawrence. (Kickoff Party: Thurs Sept 1, Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington, $10-12; Lose Yr Mind: Fri Sept 2 & Sat Sept 3, various venues and times, tickets here)
One new music release from a Portland-relevant artist.
Hits of Today, the Last Artful, Dodgr
After years of anticipation, one-time Portlander the Last Artful, Dodgr—or just Dodgr, as she’s amicably known here—released her major label debut Hits of Today on Friday, August 19 via Interscope Records. Sonically speaking, the whole project is an exceptional, no-skip zone. Starting with downtempo album opener "Ode Feelings," it’s hard to choose favorites from these highly varied, superbly ordered 17 tracks that see Dodgr dabble in electropop, R&B, new wave, trap production, funky synths, and dark, gritty rap lyrics. A number of high profile producers worked on the record, including John Ho, Shroom, Keith Askey, Sam Brodie, duo Take A Day Trip, Roc Nation’s Fred Ball, Mark Ronson (of “Uptown Funk” fame and Dodgr’s “HOT”), and Grammy-nominated record producers Jeff Shum and G Koop. My immediate favorite tracks (hard to chose and may change) are the crooning goodness of “Understood,” sultry stars like “Midnight” and “Choker (feat. Siren and the Sea),” and “Infinity,” which sees Dodgr singing “No matter who’s lovin’ me/ I love me for eternity/ Don’t matter who lovin’ me/ I love me to infinity.” Other highlights include the poppy and lovesick “YOU,” and “If Ever There’s A Chance,” which might just make it onto my actual wedding playlist, with Dodgr belting out ultra-romantic lyrics: “If ever there’s a chance I could be yours/ then I’m all in on everything/ I’m all in on everything/ 'cause knowing is a thrill/ This loving you for real/ And I’m all in on everything/ I want in on everything.” And of course, the previously released radio-ready singles are all here, too. So yeah, the entire album is outstanding, and now we’re waiting with bated breath for Dodgr’s team to announce a tour in support of the project.
ADDED TO THE QUEUE:
Some upcoming music buzz to put on your radar.
Hocus Pocus in Concert: Oregon Symphony
There is arguably no better family-friendly Halloween movie to watch during the month of October than Hocus Pocus, wherein comically vengeful witches (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) return from 17th century Salem, hellbent on consuming the city’s children. This year, the 1993 classic will get even more streams than usual, since a long anticipated sequel is slated to premiere Thursday, September 22 on Disney+. In other words, this is the year to go all-out with watch-parties and Sanderson sisters cosplay. Lucky for Portland, there’s a fun, music-focused way to get in the spirit: As part of the Oregon Symphony’s Popcorn Package, which features the Oregon Symphony live scoring films as they play on the big screen, conductor Deanna Tham will lead the symphony through Hocus Pocus score for three shows the weekend preceding Halloween. (Sat Oct 29, 7:30 pm & Sun Oct 30, 2 pm, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, all ages, $45-95, tickets)