March is perhaps the greatest wild card weather month in the Pacific Northwest, so it's appropriate that this week's column is full of exciting developments: We've got the Waterfront Blues Festival lineup, a new, notable project from rapper Milc and producer Telegangel, and a daytime party to unveil a rebrand for local collective Y.G.B.!


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

YGB: See for Yourself 

Y.G.B. Portland is rebranding folks! Launched in 2015, the entity and series known as Y.G.B., AKA Young Gifted and Black/brown, is a local collective known for throwing parties that uniquely celebrate Black and brown community in Portland. With Rashaunda Brooks (Open Signal) at the helm, and contributions from design studio Good Green PDX and Xicana designer Savina Monet, YGB is getting a new logo and website, and on March 31 there’s a shindig called “See For Yourself” to celebrate the new direction. “Our joy matters in all spaces and especially in Portland,” reads an Instagram caption announcing the event. “While we don’t throw as many parties as we used to, we are still here doing our thang, popping out when we can, and making space for community.” Come enjoy tunes played by DJ Aspen and VNPRT, maybe even a special guest, or giveaway goodies, and see Y.G.B.’S new look. (The Numberz FM located inside the Lloyd Center, 2201 Lloyd Center (on the 2nd floor), Sun March 31, 12-4pm, FREE, all ages)


New release(s) from a Portland-relevant artist. 

Extra Phish, Milc and Televangel

Despite having made his mark as one half of Portland rap duo Load B, with rapper Brill, Milc has been relentless in releasing his solo material. Since 2020, he has expanded his catalog with full tapes of work he's made with various producers from the region, including include Big Belly Blanco with Sxlxmxn, Tiger Milc with Calvin Valentine, Windbreaker and Windbreaker XL with Andy Savoie, Mr. Blanco’s Opus with OPVS Sound, Horseradish with Goldenbeets, and his Televangel-produced The Fish That Saved Portland and Neutral Milc Hotel (plus an extended version). On March 1, he released his third project with beatmaker Televangel, an EP called Extra Phish via Old School Music, which kicks off with an excellent and instantly addictive lead single “Thirty Three 3s.” The album is filled with guest features, like Old Grape God and Slick Devious on “Fish Soup,” and the downtempo “PortOakSea” featuring emcees Squadda B and AJ Suede packs an enjoyable ever-present flute sample.  On “Landlocked” featuring Chicago-to-Brooklyn rapper Skech185, Milc raps over jazzy production and proceeds to wax poetic about concepts like good and evil, heaven and hell, and dealing in dirty money: “Heard they played my tape in hell/ It was well received/ I held it down, I helped them eat/ I seldom leave/ I sold them dreams/ they bought ’em on layaway.” It all builds up to the upbeat and funky closing track “The Last Fish.” 


Some upcoming music buzz to add to your radar.

Waterfront Blues Festival Lineup

Last week, the 37th annual Waterfront Blues Festival announced an initial lineup for 2024, and it’s already looking like a pretty unmissable year. One major name located at the tippity top of the list is Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Ben Harper, who is the festival’s headliner with his band the Innocent Criminals. As a die-hard fan who’s been seeing the artist and activist live for over 15 years, I can say that it’s a total crapshoot to predict what his setlist will be—the man has released 17 studio albums and five live albums over the course of his three-decade career. You can expect to hear the best gems from his 2023 album Wide Open Light, and count on deeper Ben cuts live, too,  which we hope includes the classic stoner anthem “Burn One Down,” reggae bops like “In My Own Two Hands,” the rather timely and relevant “Excuse Me Mr,” which is poignantly powered by political frustration and disappointment. Other recently announced artists on the bill include St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Lo Steele with Igor Prado, Curtis Salgado, Say She She, and much more. See the entire initial lineup here.