February is here and hitting the ground running with a new Downtown Bloc Party (three days of dueling shows at Kelly’s Olympian and Jack London Revue), a chic home base for producer-focused showcase A Beat Happening, and a new single from MAITA’s forthcoming all-acoustic album—plus, a bevy of upcoming Pacific Northwest shows.
Can’t miss upcoming events.
Downtown Bloc Party
Kelly’s Olympian and Jack London Revue are collaborating on Downtown Bloc Party: three nights of co-presented shows to celebrate and support downtown Portland and its small independently owned venues. The party kicks off this Thursday, February 2, with a particularly affordable edition of the Thesis at Kelly’s. Tickets are just $10 in advance/$13 at the door to see rapper Chain Taylor step into the headlining slot. We know from experience the showcase's most lit moments often happen during the opening acts, and this month you won't want to miss Houston-to-Portland rapper Julian Outlaw, and singer-songwriter Kmar Woods—who will, no-doubt, be performing new single “On Me,” and hopefully also one of her stunning covers, like this jaw-dropping TikTok video of her singing of Adele’s “Easy On Me” into the haunting acoustics of a parking garage. Make sure to also look for community-focused hip-hop artist DDwili (host/producer of Bars Over Bars, on which headliner Chain Taylor recently appeared), and special guest Shar’dai. A mellower but no less kinetic evening can be found just head around the corner at Mel Brown B 3 Organ Group's Jack London show. On Friday, electronic krautrock and cumbia-infused act Dreckig heats up Kelly's, and plays host to alt country rock band Jack Habegger’s Celebrity Telethon, and experimental pop duo Lo Glo, while well known music producer C.Ant Beats (AKA C.Anthony Beavers) will be on the 1s and 2s at Jack London. Jack London steps into the spotlight on night 3, with Jamaican roots and reggae artist Prezident Brown and Grammy-nominated musician Jubba White; the vibes at Kelly’s are a stark contrast, focusing on post-rock trio Shaylee, indie shoegaze band Mila Mila, and Spaghetti Western-informed psych rockers Abronia. And those are just our picks. See the venue websites for tickets and full line-ups. (Kelly’s Olympian and Jack London Revue, Thurs Feb 2-Sat Feb 4, various times, 21+)
New release(s) from a Portland-relevant artist.
"Honey Have I Lost It All (acoustic version)," MAITA
One thing about me: I love an acoustic version. It lets the vocalist slow down and get super raw and intimate, so when you're blasting it in your headphones, it feels like being serenaded in person. On MAITA’s forthcoming acoustic album Loneliness, the only accompaniment to Maria Maita-Keppeler’s voice is her nylon string guitar. Recorded at Portland’s Echo Echo Recordings, the track listing is essentially identical to the excellent and acclaimed 2022 I Just Want to be Wild for You. The album liner notes narrate: "Following the release of IJWTBWFU, Maita felt the urge to record a quiet, introspective record, allowing the same songs to be heard in a different light, closer to how they were originally written.” So far, “Honey Have I Lost It All” is the only track available, but the full album drops on February 17. There are a handful of upcoming tour dates in the Pacific Northwest: the Dark Arts Festival in Astoria (Feb 18), a special guest spot in support of the Ballroom Thieves at Bend’s Volcanic Theater Pub (Feb 23), Portland’s Polaris Hall (Feb 24), and Seattle’s Madam Lou’s (Feb 25).
ADDED TO THE QUEUE:
Some upcoming music buzz to put on your radar.
A Beat Happening Moves into Lolo Pass
A Beat Happening has long been a stronghold of chilled-out, mostly instrumental hip-hop evenings—where noteworthy beatmakers from Portland and beyond share a stage with the occasional emcee. After previously calling outposts like White Owl Social Club, comics and gamer shop Future Shock, and Produce Row home base, the magnetic showcase has a new home at chic hotel/hostel Lolo Pass. This housewarming show spotlights beat sets from DJ Bryson Wallace, Thoto_Leing, Just Alfa (Sumalienz), Free Tillman, stalwart Portland hip-hop producer Sir Nai, and rapper [E]mpress. (Lolo Pass, 1616 E Burnside, Sun Feb 19, 4 pm, FREE, all ages)