If you’re anything like me you’ve been listening to almost nonstop Age of Pleasure and Renaissance both in celebration of Pride and in preparation for Janelle Monae’s and Beyoncé’s respective visits to the Pacific Northwest this September. Still, on the local front, there're always more than a few noteworthy happenings and releases to engage with. This week we’re singing the praises of Portugal. The Man’s highly anticipated new album, and gearing up for the start of festival season, and a Thirsty City anniversary show. 


Upcoming local event(s) featuring local artist(s).

Thirsty City: 9 Year Anniversary

Hosted by Slurgeon and NorthernDraw, monthly producer showcase Thirsty City is celebrating nine years this week. The anniversary show continues the series’ tradition of curating stylistically diverse lineups: Queens, New York record producer Ayatollah will headline, supported by Fivepaw (AKA multi-instrumentalist Jamie Pawloski), Portland hip-hop/R&B artist Sam Weber, and MEWTENT. “We want to thank all of the artists and attendees over the years for all the love and good vibes,” reads the Instagram flier announcement, adding that for nine years now, the series has been “coming together monthly to share our appreciation for kicks, snares, synths, and samples.” Thoto Leing will also be streaming the show via his Twitch channel(The Goodfoot, 2845 SE Stark, Wed June 28, 8 pm, $10, 21+)

Waterfront Blues Festival

We’ve been talking about it all year, but it’s finally happening next week, folks! Come throw back a few beers while catching stellar blues and blues-adjacent musicians like Grammy Award-winning guitarist/singer Buddy Guy, “Texican rock ’n roll”' trio Los Lonely Boys, and electric blues singer Shemekia Copeland. Younger fans of Gary Clark Jr. might just fall in love with acclaimed guitarist/vocalist (and Blues Fest alum) Eric Gales, who shares a similar vibe.  (In fact, Gales has performed his epic guitar solos alongside Clark Jr. in the past, on the Austin artist’s “When My Train Pulls In.” And Clark Jr. was featured on Gales’ song “Boogie Man,” from his 2017 album Middle of the Road.) On a right-handed guitar, played upside-down, Gales delivers fiery tunes like “Carry Yourself” and the luscious, five-and-a-half-minute “Steep Climb.” Some local acts to keep on your radar: singer/songwriter/poet Lo Steele, the daughter of Portland's first lady of the blues LaRhonda Steele, and funk and soul band Ural Thomas and the Pain. (Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 98 SW Naito, Sat July 1- Tues July 4,  $55-$1400, tickets here, all ages)


New release from a Portland-relevant artist. 

Chris Black Changed My Life, Portugal. The Man

We’ve followed news of Portugal. The Man’s highly anticipated ninth studio album, and music video release event at Movie Madness with interest, but finally—on Friday, June 23—the Alaska-to-Portland band actually  released the long-anticipated album Chris Black Changed My Life. Produced by Jeff Bhasker, the record represents is five years of work and changes the the band weathered: a slew of medical issues, rare diagnoses, several check-ins to rehab, and forced separation due to COVID. The result is their best—and most personal—album yet, and one that sees them explore a landscape of grief. In addition to previously released singles like the vaguely apocalyptic dance party-ready “Dummy,” and album opener “Heavy Games II (feat. Jeff Bhasker),” highlights include “Thunderdome,” featuring frequent collaborator Black Thought, the ironically upbeat “Grim Generation,” and “Summer of Luv,” which features Unknown Mortal Orchestra and an appropriately infectious sax solo. 


Some upcoming music buzz to put on your radar.

Pickathon Makes Plea for Support

“IS THIS THE LAST PICKATHON?” begins a social media post from much-beloved summer music festival Pickathon. The caption goes on the summarize the Pendarvis Farm- situated fest's current land use status: waiting on a permit that will determine whether future farm festivals are possible—at least in its current home. Rumors of the fest's demise have been ongoing, since the pandemic forced it to take two years off. A wide-reaching parking fiasco took the spotlight at last year's fest, blamed largely on the residential development that shot up around the the farm in the interim three years. When tickets went on sale for Pickathon 2023, festival organizers said they’d secured a remedy to the parking lot debacle. Now there seems to be a danger to the whole fest itself, in 2024. “We’re pushing hard to get our land use permits for 2024," the post reads, "and we’re hopeful that we will, but if we aren’t able to renew our land use, Pickathon 2023 will be the LAST festival at Pendarvis Farm.” The post goes on to call on its community of music fans for support. This is either really sad or really good marketing to get you to buy tickets to Pickathon 2023. Let's take a moment to remember the good times, with this 2023 performance from Sons of Kemet ft. Esperanza Spalding. (Pickathon 2023 takes place at Pendarvis Farm, 16581 SE Hagen, Happy Valley, Thurs Aug 3-Sun Aug 6, tickets here, all ages)