Maren Morris
Maren Morris Jamie Nelson / Courtesy of Red Light Management

Spring is sprung and so have a slew of new music developments in Portland. This week we’re highlighting two new R&B/hip-hop shows at Kelly’s Olympian, a deluxe edition of Mic Capes’ super-dope 2021 full-length In Spite Of…, and the Oregon stops of pop-country singer Maren Morris's Humble Quest Tour.

Two can’t miss upcoming shows.

The Thesis: Kadren, Kahlil Kahlil, Don Knock, LIV†, Verbz

If there's one constant about the long-running, First Thursday music show The Thesis, it’s the series' incredible curation of local talent. April's edition sees Portland-based producer/rapper/singer Kadren stepping into the headliner spot, no doubt performing singles like “League of My Own,” and the more recently released “Feeling a Way.” His Travis Scott-influenced sound is sure to bring sonically pleasing party vibes to the little showroom at Kelly’s. Portland rapper Kahlil Kahlil offers heavy support, and he’ll likely be performing his three-track EP Hustle Vision, all three of which landed on a soundtrack for NBA 2K22. A loose representation of the artist’s youth, the music video for the title track portrays a young talented hooper who struggles with distractions from his environment. Other bill support comes in the form of NYC rapper Don Knock, stellar R&B/soul artist LIV†, and of course, resident DJ Verbz on the 1s and 2s.
(Thurs April 7, 9 pm, Kelly’s Olympian, 426SW Washington, $15 adv, $20 door)


JxJury, Blossom, Mal London, Rasheed Jamal, Farnell Newton

This official album-release show for Portland-born rapper/producer JxJury’s 2021 concept album, DhopeDealer, packs an excellent hometown lineup and a promising show from start to finish. Remarkably, acclaimed jazz trumpeter Farnell Newton will open the show, on a bill that also includes a rare live appearance from epic Portland-based emcee Rasheed Jamal. Seattle-to-Portland hip-hop artist Mal London and San Bernardino emcee Cam Archer will make the trip to Portland for the show and neo-soul singer Blossom steps up to show us what she’s been working on. Since every one of the above billed artists appear on JxJury’s DhopeDealer, audiences should expect to vibe-out to live renditions of tracks like: “Lethal Weapon,” “Gold Chainz,” “Fodahomies,” and “Motion Sick.”
(Fri April 8, 9 pm, Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington, $12 adv, $15 door)

Two great new releases from locally relevant artists.

In Spite Of… (Deluxe), Mic Capes

On March 27, Portland-based rapper Mic Capes dropped a deluxe version of his 2021 album In Spite Of…. The deluxe edition offers four additional tracks: “Reloaded 2.0 (feat. Cool Nuts & Dame DOLLA),” “Deebo’s Revenge (feat. IceColdBishop),” “High Regard,” and “Vanna White (Remastered),” which updates Capes’ 2020 track “Vanna White (August Son).” The catchy, upbeat and flute-backed “Reloaded 2.0” is a major highlight and opens with a cool intro from local hip-hop icon Cool Nutz before Dame D.O.L.L.A. (AKA Trail Blazers starting point guard Damian Lillard) delivers his coveted feature verse. But my personal favorite of the new bunch is the sonically and lyrically sinister “Deebo’s Revenge,” in which Capes raps: “I show confidence, they mistake it for cockiness/ The proof is solid, I’m only saying what’s obvious/I ain’t concerned if what I say strike cord/ Nigga, quit all that bitchin’ and put some points on the board.” Los Angeles rapper ICECOLDBISHOP enters the chat immediately after with a menacing pitch, rapping more basketball puns: “Okay, bitch we up 30 in the fourth quarter/ jury on my motherfuckin' neck, but this not court-ordered/ big bro bro bangin' like the gavel at your court lawyer/ lil bro bro bangin' at the court like he a tough scorer.”

Some upcoming music buzz to put on your radar.

Maren Morris

Prolific country-pop singer Maren Morris—one of the only modern country-styled acts I absolutely love—will bring her Humble Quest Tour to the Pacific Northwest this summer! In support of her 2022 album Humble Quest, the soul- and rock-inspired singer takes the stage August 28, at Troutdale’s McMenamins Edgefield. (She’ll also be singing at Bend’s Hayden Homes Amphitheater a couple days prior, on August 26.) Fans can look forward to hearing Maren sing new tracks like album opener “Circles Around This Town,” the invigorating title track, rockin’ lovesick anthem “Nervous,” and heartfelt “The Furthest Thing,” which expertly portrays the feeling of being in a long-distance relationship. I’ll also be giddily waiting to hear older cuts like “My Church,” “Sugar,”and “‘80s Mercedes,” and hit pop singles like “Girl,” “The Middle,” and “The Bones.”