Alien Boy Natalie Eagan


A$AP Ferg w/Playboi Carti, Rob $tone; Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th

A$AP Ferg’s father made a living creating custom apparel for the likes of Bell Biv DeVoe and P-Diddy, so it’s easy to understand the Harlem rapper’s career trajectory. On his latest album, Always Strive and Prosper, Ferg calls upon the genre’s greats (Missy Elliott, Migos, Chuck D, and more) to illustrate a narrative that’s laced with nostalgia and references to rap’s yesteryear. He shares stories about home and family without losing his signature edge (“Hungry Ham,” an ode to his neighborhood, is a banger in the truest sense of the word), and raps about navigating the lifestyles of the rich and famous. The A$AP Mob oozes coolness, so it’s nice to hear a member of the hip-hop collective reminding us that he’s just a normal guy who used to work day jobs before he started donning Alexander Wang and meticulously curating his Instagram account.

Alien Boy w/Lubec, Helens, Floating Room; Lola’s Room in the Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside

When it comes to emo music, I have very particular taste: I want SoCal-accented vocals that aren’t too whiny, lyrics about scorned ex-lovers that aren’t too corny, guitars that thrash but also make me want to weep, and a perfect mix of humor and sincerity. Alien Boy fulfills all of these very specific qualifications as a rock group tailor-made for the current pop-punk climate. The Portland band’s new EP Stay Alive rounds out their sound without losing the catchiness required for impassioned sing-alongs. Its members clearly draw inspiration from other bands they admire, like the Smiths, Joyce Manor, and Wipers. But Alien Boy doesn’t sound derivative—instead, traces of these influences show up in their songs like indirect love letters.