Rapsody Swank


Raphael Saadiq, Jamila Woods, DJ Duggz
When it comes to the subject of soul royalty, it’s a goddamn shame that the name of Raphael Saadiq isn’t a regular topic of conversation. Born in Oakland, Saadiq was brought up on gospel and his musical prowess landed him gigs with Prince, Shiela E., and eventually his most famous collaboration, as a member of New Jack Swing godfathers Tony! Toni! Toné! (“If I Had No Loot,” “Feels Good”). His solo career, in which he explores vintage soul stylings, was marked by two great albums: 2008’s The Way I See It and 2011’s Stone Rollin’. He’s spent the ensuing years touring and producing for the likes of Mary J. Blige and Snoop Dogg, piling up co-writing credits with Solange and D’Angelo, and is hitting the road again promoting his latest album, 2019’s Jimmy Lee. And with a career like his, which shows no sign of stopping, it’s little wonder Saadiq is treated with such reverence. (Thurs Feb 27, 8 pm, Crystal Ballroom, $35-175, all ages) WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

Miguel Zenon Quartet

Miguel Zenón Quartet
Saxophonist Miguel Zenón is poised for another great evolutionary leap in his art. His discography is filled with a smoothed out, easy-to-swallow sound that delves into his Puerto Rican heritage, like his most recent album Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera, which finds him exploring the work of the late composer and salsa singer. But recent performances by Zenón and his quartet have been explosive. It’s all prodded to greater heights by his rhythm section—drummer Henry Cole and bassist Hans Glawischnig playing fast and loose—and sax solos that peel back the layers of modal jazz to reveal its hot, molten core. (Thurs Feb 27, 7:30 pm, PSU’s Lincoln Recital Hall, $15-25, all ages) ROBERT HAM

The 4th annual Portland Sketch Comedy Festival
Sketch comedy troupes from all over N. America descend on The Siren Theater for 3 glorious nights.

Rapsody, Sa-Roc, Heather Victoria, DJ OG-One
Rapsody has really been getting her flowers in the last couple years, gaining lots of respect throughout the industry. The MC’s latest album Eve deserves every bit of shine. Its 16 tracks are all named after Black women icons and pioneers—which, [SIGH] are we not going to talk about the fact that Jamila Woods used a remarkably similar model for 2019’s LEGACY! LEGACY!, which dropped just three months before Rapsody’s album? No? Okay. (What’s even more coincidental: Jamila Woods is also playing in Portland this same night, opening for Raphael Saadiq just across Burnside at the Crystal Ballroom.) Regardless, Rapsody’s Eve is still excellent: It’s all conscious, womanist rhymes over soul production, and prestigious collaborations galore; highlights include the single “Ibtihaj,” featuring D’Angelo and GZA, “Afeni” featuring PJ Morton, and “Hatshepsut” featuring the incomparable Queen Latifah, who totally fucking raps about Living Single! Unfortunately, I don’t think Queen Latifah is coming to this show, but, in addition to seeing Rapsody’s undeniable rap prowess live, you can count on a thrilling opening set from hip-hop artist/goddess Sa-Roc. (Thurs Feb 27, 9 pm, Star Theater, $20-69) JENNI MOORE


Out/Loud ft. Maarquii, Amenta Abioto, Jame Doe, Doubleplusgood
Presenting a night of queer-made music, the Out/Loud platform was started in April 2019 by DoublePlusGood’s Erik Carlson, and Jame Doe’s Jake Moffett “to create a safe, collaborative night which highlights the great queer, musical talent from the city of Portland and beyond.” While previous performers include pop artist Frankie Simone and Layperson, this installment will showcase the bold, sex-positive hip-hop of high femme rapper/singer/dancer Maarquii, the soul-forward melodic looping of singer/multi-instrumentalist Amenta Abioto, power pop singer Jame Doe, and Carlson’s romantic pop project DoublePlusGood. (Fri Feb 28, 9 pm, Kelly’s Olympian, $10-12) JENNI MOORE

Thundercat Parker Day


Eyelids, Talkin’ to Johnny, Zebra Hunt
On Eyelids’ fourth full-length The Accidental Falls, the group finds fresh possibilities in the seemingly exhausted supply of guitar-based music, assisted through every step of the journey by producers Peter Buck (R.E.M.) and Tucker Martine. They apply the perfect amounts of shimmer and aching melody to “Mermaid Blues” and the slow building “Ceremony,” and dogged rock on the title track and “1, 2, 3.” The latter may be one of their finest moments as a band, starting with a sinuous groove and closing with an acid-drenched guitar battle. Combined with vocal turns from Slusarenko and Moen that evoke Left Banke singer Steve Martin Caro or Colin Blunstone of the Zombies, The Accidental Falls feels like a successful version of those re-recordings that bands from the ’60s and ’70s make as a way to update their hits for a modern audience. (Sat Feb 29, 8 pm, Mississippi Studios, $12-14) ROBERT HAM

Wally Shoup and Friends
The organizers of the PDX Jazz Festival really should slap their name and logo on to this showcase of Northwest experimental sounds. All the better to help encourage music lovers to head to No Fun and pay proper tribute to Seattle saxophonist Wally Shoup. Since the ’70s, Shoup has been turning jazz upside down and shaking it until all the change has fallen out of its pockets. His scrabbling, muscular solos have locked horns with fellow sonic explorers like Nels Cline and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and walked away from the musical battle, bloodied and unbowed. (Sat Feb 29, 9 pm, No Fun, $8-10) ROBERT HAM

Thundercat, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Black Calculus
Stephen Bruner is finally in the spotlight. After years playing bass for punk legends Suicidal Tendencies, dropping beats for Snoop Dogg and Flying Lotus, and being a behind-the-scenes musical architect of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, Bruner is gaining success as a standalone artist, delivering deliciously funky basslines, jazz solos, and haunting falsetto under the stage name Thundercat. Because of his wide-ranging resume, Thundercat is able to seamlessly fuse genres, blending ’90s R&B with Miles Davis-era jazz to produce tracks that have everyone nodding along to the beat. Local jazz favorites Brown Calculus and Los Angeles’ Georgia Anne Muldrow open the show. (Sat Feb 29, 9 pm, Portland Art Museum’s Kridel Grand Ballroom, sold out) ALEX ZIELINSKI

Best Coast Grandstand HQ


Best Coast, Mannequin Pussy
Hardcore lifelong Portlanders, take caution: Best Coast is from Southern California, and is unabashedly proud of that fact! If you can manage to get past that, you’ll soon find appreciation for a decade-deep catalogue of songs that includes catchy, Beach Boys-inspired surf rock bops, and also moody, Beach Boys-inspired depressing surf rock anthems. They’ll be joined tonight by Mannequin Pussy, a punk band from Philadelphia that earned praise for its 2019 album Patience. (Mon March 2, 8:30 pm, Wonder Ballroom, $22, all ages) BLAIR STENVICK

Refused Epitaph Records


Frances Quinlan, Mary Lattimore
After a decade spent transforming her freak-folk solo project into a truly unique force in the world of guitar-driven indie rock as the frontwoman of Hop Along, Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter Frances Quinlan opted to go it alone on her exquisite new Saddle Creek-issued album, Likewise. An unconventional folk-tinged indie pop record built on a bed of strummed acoustic guitar, percussion, digital beats, strings, synth, and piano, the album gives Quinlan’s one-of-a-kind voice the space to command each track, allowing her vivid lyrics and idiosyncratic hooks and refrains to remain front and center. The end result is as striking as anything Quinlan has ever released and it only gets better with repeated listens. (Tues March 3, 9 pm, Doug Fir Lounge, $15) CHIPP TERWILLIGER

Refused, METZ, Youth Code
As an ’80s hardcore kid, I never really sussed Refused; they ascended to relevance as a ’90s stock Victory label band into a group boasting they were “the shape of punk to come.” However, by 1998, had you been listening, their “shape” had come and gone, as they owed everything to acts like Fugazi, Helmet, and Rorschach. Still, they’re a top group for late hardcore ’90s/early aughties kids. Now, two decades after The Shape of Punk to Come, they’ve evolved into a good, contemporary, heavy, hook-filled rock band just like many ’80s-era hardcore bands did by ’87, and I’m inclined to reckon 2019’s War Music LP is their October File. (Tues March 3, 8 pm, Roseland Theater, $30-33, all ages) MIKE NIPPER

Habibi Bailey Leiter


Habibi, Rudy De Anda
Garage psych rocker babes Habibi are bringing their dreamy vocals and hip-shakin’ bass lines to town, and we couldn’t be happier. The NYC foursome fittingly released their latest album Anywhere But Here on Valentine’s Day, meaning Portland will be one of the first locations to hear the new tunes live. Get ready to fall in love. (Wed March 4, 8 pm, Mississippi Studios, $12-$15) ALEX ZIELINSKI

Dogheart, Slark Moan, Neilson Family
Dogheart’s 2019 full-length, Yeah No for Sure, is a breezy collection of no-frills guitar-pop that strikes a perfect balance between melancholy and gleeful. It’s a record designed for the long drives and slow hangs of spring and summer—a companionate work committed to the known pleasures of the pop form. Like so many Burger Records-flavored bands, Dogheart sounds like they can see the ocean from their garage, but the Portland duo transcends contemporary context; they seem to pull as much from ’80s college rock as they do from latter-day limited cassette runs. The results are familiar but not obvious, comforting but not cloying. Yeah No for Sure is your new best friend. In October the band followed it with their five-track EP Blue Guts, giving them plenty of material to pull for this show in the Liquor Store basement. (Wed March 4, 9 pm, the Liquor Store, $7) CHRIS STAMM


Plastic Weather, Seance Crasher, Internet Beef, Baby LeStrange, Violet Hex, Jay Shingle
Drawing inspiration from the Rolling Stones’ (cursed?) Rock and Roll Circus—where The Who famously stole the show so the Stones sat on the videotape of it for 28 years—local synth-punk favorites Plastic Weather dreamed up a varietal evening of not only music groups—Seance Crasher and Internet Beef—but burlesque by Baby LeStrange, comedy from Jay Shingle, balloon animals by Clancy Hanes Feahr, caricatures by Vo Minh McBurney, and a drag performance from Violet Hex. Truly everything you could want! (Thurs March 5, 8 pm, Holocene, $10) SUZETTE SMITH

The core sound of UK trio Shopping—twitchy, rhythm heavy, high on its own supply—hasn’t changed much in the eight years since the band was formed. But the feeling of the group’s latest album All or Nothing couldn’t be more different from their 2013 debut Consumer Complaints. Their music has been given a proper studio makeover, sleek and water-resistant. And their instrumental skills have grown by a factor of 10. The drums rumbling instead of slapping, the bass bouncing instead of jerking. Post-punk is an easy thing to ape, and a hard concept to get right. Meet the new masters. (Thurs March 5, 9 pm, Mississippi Studios, $14-16) ROBERT HAM

Drama Jennifer Medina


Blackwater Holylight, Abronia, Night Swim
Blackwater Holylight lurched onto the local music scene last year with a promising self-titled debut album that found the band traversing several avenues of heavy music: hard rock, doom metal, shoegaze, psych, and beyond. On their sophomore effort, Veils of Winter, Blackwater Holylight ditches the paint-by-numbers approach in favor of finding their own way. Opening track “Seeping Secrets” features about three minutes of capable, earth-moving doom riffage before bassist Allison Faris and guitarist Laura Hopkins deliver a glistening chorus that instantly brings the song into perfect balance. Bluesy, rock ’n’ roll swagger collides with the motorik beat on “Motorcycle.” “The Protector” is heavy yet seems to float on a cloud of burbling bass, faded synths, and dead-eyed vocals. And “Death Realms” is a smeared, punchy dream that earns a comparison to My Bloody Valentine, but also doesn’t get lost in its own fog. (Fri March 6, 8 pm, Mississippi Studios, $15-18) BEN SALMON

Drama, Ric Wilson
Na’el Shehade and Via Rosa definitely live up to the name Drama, but the Chicago duo create it with subtlety. Shehade’s beats aren’t overbearing, and instead hang mystically behind Rosa’s supple vocals. The project’s mellow dramatics could score both late-night dance parties and solitary introspection. On this return visit to Portland, Drama will be joined by self-proclaimed “electrified motivational funk hop pop poet” Ric Wilson who will expand your mind with his entertaining combo of funk, R&B, and rap. (Fri March 6, 9 pm, Wonder Ballroom, 9 pm, $18, all ages) CERVANTE POPE

Eric Nam CJ E&M


Eric Nam, Friendship
At the 2020 Golden Globes, Parasite director Bong Joon Ho said, “Once you [English-speaking audiences] overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” Well, the same is true about non-English lyrics. Because, sure, smoking-hot, bilingual, heartthrob Eric Nam recently released a debut English record, Before We Begin, with the very danceable, posi break-up anthem “Congratulations.” But if you ignore his Korean-language singles you’re going to miss out on all the light-hearted bangers he made before this, like “Runaway” and “Potion.” Okay, actually it looks like they made an English version of “Runaway,” but what about “Potion?” Won’t somebody please listen to “Potion?” (Sat March 7, 9 pm, Wonder Ballroom, sold out) SUZETTE SMITH

Mark E. Smith Birthday Celebration
Fans of the Fall, and that band’s cranky and impassioned lead singer Mark E. Smith, in the US are few but they are a dedicated crew. Just a few days after Smith’s actual birthday—and a month after the one-year anniversary of his death—his legacy will be honored anew by one such gang of enthusiasts: the Fall tribute band La Chute. This early evening, all-ages show at Kenton neighborhood record (and tape) shop Speck’s will open with another post-punk racket performed by Plastic Harmony Band. And it’s your last chance to hear La Chute with founding guitarist Ross Morgan. (Sat March 7, 7 pm, Speck’s Records and Tapes, $5 suggested donation) ROBERT HAM

Ásgeir, Khushi
Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson crafts elegant folk music with restrained electronic elements, setting his tender, sweet, silkily high-toned and ethereal vocals against it. I’m reminded of the very first Bon Iver album, when Justin Vernon was recording all by himself in an isolated cabin in Wisconsin, and you could hear it in the songs. Ásgeir’s music has a similar feel, though it’s somehow brighter, lusher, and sexier, while still maintaining a subdued tone. His 2020 third album, Bury the Moon, is an early contender for my Best of 2020 list. (Sat March 7, 9 pm, Doug Fir Lounge, $25-27) LEILANI POLK


Bill Frisell
Jazz guitarist extraordinaire Bill Frisell’s name may be on the front cover of his latest album Harmony in a bigger font than the rest of his bandmates, but the rest of his team—vocalist Petra Haden, cellist Hank Roberts, and guitarist/bassist Luke Bergman—deserve equal billing. Frisell takes a slightly diminished role in these compositions, quietly humming in the background of tunes or doubling Haden’s vocal melodies. When he does solo, it comes out shyly: a gentle flutter of notes as he takes to the air to join the rest of the flock on their journey south. (Sun March 8, 8 pm, Aladdin Theater, $35, all ages) ROBERT HAM

Fennesz Luis Martins


Fennesz, Britton Powell, Visible Cloaks
A quarter century on, Austrian guitarist/laptop musician Christian Fennesz is still creating ambient music of stoic grandeur and subliminal beauty. He debuted on record with 1995’s Instrument EP, four tracks of beatless industrial klang in the vein of early Cluster, and on subsequent early Mego releases, laced static and glitch into poignant melodies, peaking on 2001’s Endless Summer. Fennesz has spent the last two decades refining his sound into less abrasive realms while collaborating with esteemed artists such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Sylvian, Jim O’Rourke, and King Midas Sound. With his latest album, last year’s Agora, Fennesz has produced his most eventful work in years—ambient music of thrilling cinematic drama. Don’t miss this rare Portland appearance by a master. (Tues March 10, 8 pm, Holocene, $20-25) DAVE SEGAL

Tool Travis Shinn


Young M.A
Read our story on Young M.A. (Wed March 11, 9 pm, Hawthorne Theatre, $21-99, all ages)

The 13-year wait for Fear Inoculum, the latest album by slithery quartet Tool, seemed borderline excessive; an impious gestation period that promised either an abomination or a glorious new evolutionary stage for heavy-lidded prog-metal. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. The album’s 10 tracks stay the course with unusual time signatures, shuddersome production techniques, and touches of sly humor. At the same time, the canvas Tool is using feels much bigger, as they let musical ideas stretch out and grow and allow for grooves that are easier to sink into and get comfortable within. At least until the knives come out. (Wed March 11, 7:30 pm, Moda Center, sold out, all ages) ROBERT HAM

Participate in a Hearing Research Study
Adults aged 18-35 with good hearing will be paid for their time. Located at the Portland VA Medical Center