Lizzo Luke Gilford


Before Lizzo made it big, music industry gatekeepers didn’t appreciate how big girls could be so much. Now she’s leading a self-love revolution and making it look and sound sexy. (Just watch her recent performance of “Truth Hurts” on the BET Awards if you don’t believe me.) If you go back and read previous issues of the Mercury, you’ll find several articles—mostly written by me—that rave about the huge talent and multifaceted force that is rapper/singer/flautist Lizzo. Having played here at least four times in the last two years, she’s given Portland fans more opportunities to see her live than we probably deserve. Now Lizzo is back yet again to grace us (twice!) with her fun-loving spirit and soul-enriching soul-pop and rap anthems. From her hip-hop album Lizzobangers to her perfectly varied Coconut Oil EP to her 2019 full-length Cuz I Love You, Lizzo’s more than proven herself worthy of all the recent accolades and attention from the mass media. Cuz I Love You packs her steadfast message of self-glorification to her fans. Her live shows are like a religious experience—one that brings you closer not to god necessarily, but to yourself and your support system. (In my case, I was converted to Lizzbianism after my first time.) Her fierce, feel-good mission shines through on all her releases, but it’s most potent on tracks like “En Love,” “Water Me,” “Scuse Me,” as well as Cuz I Love You’s upbeat “Soulmate,” “Tempo,” featuring Missy Elliott, and the catchy, retro-tinged lead single “Juice.” With a fun and powerful setlist, a Lizzo show is nothing short of transformative. (Thurs July 18 & Fri July 19, 6:30 pm, Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale, all ages, sold out) JENNI MOORE

Kassa Overall Spencer Ostrander


Kassa Overall, Omari Jazz
Some of the most exciting music released so far this year came out in early 2019, carrying with it not only one of the best album titles I’ve heard in ages—Go Get Ice Cream and Listen to Jazz—but also a perfectly conceived hybrid sound that producer/drummer/MC Kassa Overall cooked up with equal parts jazz, R&B, hip-hop, broken beat electronic pop, and experimentalism. How this New York-based artist plans on recreating this melty, sugar sweet musical amalgam live is anyone’s guess, but I’ll be there regardless. (Fri July 19, 9 pm, Jack London Revue, 529 SW 4th, $12-15) robert HAM

Mystic Braves, Plastic Cactus, Souvenir Driver
Torch-bearing ’60s psych-pop crew Mystic Braves wear their paisley hearts on their sleeves. The Echo Park band’s nods to jangly, guitar-forward songcraft are hardly veiled endeavors, as heard on each of their four studio records, including the most recent, The Great Unknown. Time travel to the Age of Aquarius with groovy tunes like “Shades of Gray” or “To Myself,” the scorching, 12-string-punctuated opener from 2015’s Days of Yesteryear. It’s sort of reinventing the wheel, but it’s a great listen for Kinks/Seeds diehards in need of a contemporary fix. And with local support from Plastic Cactus and Souvenir Driver, this is an enticing weekend kickoff. (Fri July 19, 9 pm, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, $15-18) RYAN J. PRADO


Cathedral Park Jazz Festival
Each summer, Portland gets its own version of Jazz on a Summer’s Day at the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, three entirely free days of outdoor jazz beneath the picturesque St. Johns Bridge. This year, Friday night’s performers will emphasize blues, funk and R&B, while the rest of the weekend showcases the wide spectrum of the local jazz scene, with musicians like Devin Phillips, Mel Brown, King Louis, and Dan Faehnle. (Fri July 19, 4:30-10 pm; Sat July 20, 1-9:45 pm; Sun July 21, 1-8:15 pm; Cathedral Park, intersection of N Edison and Pittsburg, FREE, all ages) NED LANNAMANN


PDX Pop Now!
Now going on 16 years strong, the PDX Pop Now! festival has become a Portland institution. This free, all-ages weekend of music puts a spotlight on the city’s vibrant music scene, with 30 performers from every genre playing all day and night under the Hawthorne Bridge. Hear your current favorite Portland bands perform and discover your new favorites—oh, and did we mention it’s completely FREE and ALL-AGES? (Sat July 20 & Sun July 21, intersection of SE 2nd and SE Madison, underneath the Hawthorne Bridge, FREE, all ages) NED LANNAMANN


Deathgrave, Hacksaw, Grave Dust, Human Effluence
It’s unclear what evils are creeping out of the forests and mountains of the Pacific Northwest to inspire Portland’s death metal scene, but said muses sure help produce some putrefied and punishing tunes. One of the newer additions to the fetid local faction is Grave Dust. Last year’s The Pale Hand EP sports six songs of churning terror from the depths of the bleakest, foulest crypt. The riffs and drums are bludgeoning, the occasional keyboard drops are spooky, and Jozy Kinnaman’s vocals sound like the screams of suffering echoing from the deepest caverns of Hell. If Grave Dust isn’t enough to liquify your bones, San Jose’s Deathgrave will finish the job. The death/grindcore from their 2018 full-length, So Real, It’s Now, switches from tornadoes of hammers and anvils, to sludgy, crawling dirges. Deathgrave is ghastly, and they know it. (Sat July 20, 8:30 pm, Cobra Lounge, 2025 NE MLK, all ages, $10) ARIS HUNTER WALES

David James Swanson The Raconteurs


The Raconteurs
Nearly 15 years ago, Jack White formed the Raconteurs with fellow guitarist/singer/songwriter Brendan Benson. They had just created “Steady as She Goes” in Benson’s Detroit attic, and decided to flesh out their lineup with bassist Jack Lawrence and drummer Patrick Keeler (both of the Greenhornes). The alt-rock pseudo-supergroup dropped two solid albums (2006’s Broken Boy Soldiers and 2008’s Consolers of the Lonely) in quick succession, and then fizzled to a halt in 2010. Until recently, White and Lawrence had been busy with their other band, the Dead Weather; Keeler’s been touring with the Afghan Whigs; and Benson and White have been focused on their solo careers. But now the Raconteurs are back on the road in support of their new studio album, Help Us Stranger, providing us a much-needed opportunity to see them shred high-pitched, blues-injected alt-rock goodness right in our faces. While it’s hard to top early songs like “Level” and “Salute Your Solution” (and oh, how I’d love to see them perform the White Stripes track “Ball and Biscuit”), recent single “Sunday Driver” and the somber “Thoughts and Prayers” show the band’s still got it. (Sun July 21, 6:30 pm, Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale, all ages, sold out) JENNI MOORE


Dover Quartet, Edgar Meyer
With an internationally celebrated career exploring classical, jazz, and bluegrass, Edgar Meyer is a double bassist who can play whatever and wherever he pleases, and lucky for us, the dude sits in on multiple gigs throughout the final week of Chamber Music Northwest’s top-notch summer festival. Tonight and tomorrow, in a setlist that stretches across 250 years, Meyer helps p erform a contemporary work for strings that he created, as well as a composition from unequaled baroque master J. S. Bach. After intermission, the brilliant Dover Quartet adds violist Paul Neubauer to their ranks to bring Brahms’ final string quintet to life. (Mon July 22, 8 pm, Kaul Auditorium at Reed College, 3203 SE Woodstock, all ages, $10-62.50) BRIAN HORAY


21 Savage, DaBaby, Calboy, Young Nudy
Rapper/philanthropist 21 Savage is perhaps best known for his singles like “Bank Account,” from 2017’s Issa Album, “No Heart” with Metro Boomin, a feature on Post Malone’s Billboard-topping “Rockstar,” and two singles (“A Lot” and “Monster”) from his recent album I Am > I Was. Despite 21 Savage’s handful of missteps with the law (including being arrested by ICE officials this past February and then being released on bond a week later), the London-born, Atlanta-based rapper has staked his claim as one of the Millennial generation’s favorite trap artists, while simultaneously advancing public dialogue about the experiences of Black immigrants. His show at the Rose Quarter is guaranteed to be a party. (Tues July 23, 8 pm, Memorial Coliseum, 300 N Winning, $31.50-496.50, all ages) JENNI MOORE

Dylan LeBlanc, Erin Rae
For years, Dylan LeBlanc has sort of been one of those secret singer/songwriter powerhouses that permeate the American South, even as bloggers burn pixels to declare the death of rock. If there is any justice in the musical world, LeBlanc’s new album Renegade will push him further into the national consciousness. Produced by the current King Midas of country, Dave Cobb, and recorded in about 10 days, Renegade is a sturdy slab of buzzy Southern rock topped off with LeBlanc’s spectral tenor and a set of searing guitar leads. The end result is something like a swampier Neil Young, or Tom Petty steeped in soul music—good stuff that deserves attention from many ears. (Tues July 23, 9 pm, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside, $14-16) BEN SALMON


Aan, Laura Palmer’s Death Parade, Michael Finn
Bud Wilson, the singer/multi-instrumentalist at the center of indie outfit Aan, has never been short on ambition. But something about the tone and creation of his group’s latest album Losing My Shadow feels even grander in scope and aspiration. Maybe that has something to do with the subject matter of the record being his complicated feelings about his father’s death. Or maybe it’s to do with the dense thicket of modern pop he created with former Radiation City member Cameron Spies. Or maybe it’s just because most other local music sounds watery and thin in comparison. (Wed July 24, 9 pm, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, $10-12) ROBERT HAM


A.A. Bondy
When A.A. Bondy released his 2009 LP When the Devil’s Loose, I was prepared to anoint him the heir apparent to Jeff Tweedy. Bondy’s songwriting is that good. And while he’s evolved from the folk-forward leanings of his earlier work (and, uh, it’s been eight years since 2011’s Believers), Bondy’s innate talents still yield magical results. His new record Enderness is dripping in a warm, trippy ooze of warbling organs and melodies that melt in reverb-y, echoing bliss on creepy slow-burners like “The Tree with the Lights” or the vaguely Lindsey Buckingham-esque album opener “Diamond Skull.” (Thurs July 25, 9 pm, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside, $15-17) RYAN PRADO

New Move, Tribe Mars, Dan Dan
Read our review of Paradise Hotel. (Thurs July 25, 9 pm, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, $10-12)


Erin Jane Laroue, Kertoa Kalevala
Read our interview and story about Erin Jane Laroue. (Sat July 27, 8 pm, The Lovecraft Bar, 421 SE Grand, $5)

Glasys, Maiah Wynne
Fleet-fingered keyboardist Gil Assayas got perhaps his biggest stamp of approval when he was tapped to fill in for Ralph Schuckett on the 2018 reunion tour of Todd Rundgren’s rock group Utopia. And he’s been using the energy generated from those gigs to fuel his latest album, Defective Humanity, a flinty collection of elliptical pop tunes and ’70s prog-meets-modern trap instrumentals. Catch him now before he heads out this fall to join Rundgren, Micky Dolenz, and Christopher Cross on their White Album tribute tour this fall. (Sat July 27, 8 pm, Jack London Revue, 529 SW 4th, $10) robert HAM


Chaka Khan, Michael McDonald
CHAKA KHAN... CHAKA KHAN... Chaka Khan, let me rock you, let me rock you, Chaka Khan. Let me rock you, that’s all I wanna do. Chaka Khan, let me rock you, let me rock you, Chaka Khan. Let me rock you, let me feel for you. Chaka Khan, won’t you tell me what you wanna do? Do you feel for me the way I feel for you? Chaka Khan, let me tell you what I wanna do: I wanna love you, wanna hug you, wanna squeeze you, too. Let me take you in my arms, let me fill you with my charms, Chaka, ’cause you know that I’m the one to keep you warm, Chaka. I’ll make you more than just a physical dream, I want to rock you, Chaka baby, ’cause you make me wanna scream. Let me rock you... rock you. (Sun July 28, Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon, 6:30 pm, all ages, $47.50-325) WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY


There are probably bands out there making music more fragile and emotionally raw than Florist’s, but there might not be anyone doing it better. Built around the quivering whispers, indelible melodies, and resolute honesty of singer/songwriter Emily Sprague, Florist’s 2017 album If Blue Could Be Happiness was a soul-stirring meditation on love, loss, and loneliness, as filtered through hushed, hopeful indie-folk-pop. Now Florist is back with their new album, Emily Alone, and it’s more of the same and just as lovely. The Portland show is one of a small handful of dates featuring Sprague playing solo before she’s joined by the rest of her band. If “unbridled intimacy” describes your kind of live experience, get thee to Lola’s Room tonight. (Mon July 29, 8 pm, Lola’s Room, 1332 W Burnside, all ages, $12-15) BEN SALMON

Love Mercury Music Coverage?

Stef Chura Kelsey Hart


Stef Chura, French Vanilla, Mr. Wrong
Detroit rocker Stef Chura got a lot of attention for her 2017 debut album Messes, which merged her classic indie-rock guitar stylings (think Modest Mouse) with an imperfect singing voice that conveys a very tangible sense of both conviction and uncertainty (think Stevie Nicks). In June, she released her sophomore effort, Midnight, and while it retains a lot of those good qualities, it also benefits from the production of Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo—a guy who knows something about turning lo-fi recordings into polished, efficient melody machines. Throughout Midnight, you can hear Toledo’s influence bubbling just under the surface, but it never overshadows Chura’s strong presence. In that way, they’re a perfect match. (Tues July 30, 8 pm, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, $12-15) BEN SALMON

Backstreet Boys
How did anyone go unfucked in the late ’90s when we were submerged in a soup of romantic ballads about taking relationships to the next level? Boy bands like the Backstreet Boys made it so easy! They spelled out how to get laid. You just have to lie. Or, I mean, talk about your emotions. Also, do some synchronized dances. It’s not like they dressed well! But there’s more to this five-part vocal group than their weird, enormous jeans. There’s Swedish record producer Max Martin, who wrote all their hits. All these songs—“I Want It That Way,” “Quit Playing Games with My Heart,” “Everybody”—are perfectly balanced pop classics and I will take any opportunity to dance like a fool under laser lights to their fearsome symmetry. (Thurs July 30, 8 pm, Moda Center, 1 N Center Ct, all ages, $70-765) SUZETTE SMITH

SLAY Film Fest
In person at the Clinton St. Theater 10/29 & 10/30