Hey Portlanders! It’s Mac, back once again with the goods on hip shows to see this weekend. Your regular music columnist, Jenni Moore, will soon return, but let’s allow her to enjoy her precious baby photo shoots and bonding time for just a bit more, yeah?
Speaking of babies, the judicial branch of our federal government is being a real downer and trying to pry away our abilities to choose when we have them. I predict some hard resistance in the weeks to come, so let’s try and lose our minds a little bit with the people we love and cherish, while we can.
With that, this weekend provides some hype and diverse entertainment options that I’m really excited about. African beat, Latino heat, and a very special healing event curated by yours truly give us more than a few ways to stay busy this Hear In Portland.
Let’s get the big guy out the way first. The Waterfront Blues Fest doesn’t really need any promotion; you quite literally can’t miss the carnival-sized four-day jubilee that takes Tom McCall by storm and brings dozens of talented artists from across the world to our humble city every year. It’s always an added pleasure for locals to see our own Portlander performers grace the multi-stage event. While the announcement of steady staples like Farnell Newton & the Othership Connection, Andy Stokes, and the Norman Syvester Revue brought me joy, I was especially excited to non-profit Friends Of Noise—which specializes in creating music opportunities for youth musicians—is scheduled to fill four hour-long slots during the daytime on Saturday and Sunday. (Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 98 SW Naito, Fri July 1-Mon July 4, noon, $34-$3340, all-ages)
An idea born from an op-ed—written by community leaders Angela Uherbelau, Sharon Joy Gary-Smith, and Andrea Valderrama—that pushed back on bleak over-policed visions of Portland’s future, Every One of Us is an event designed to heal community, encourage collaboration, build unity, and perhaps most importantly, elevate to the voices of women.
Ethereal Madgesdiq-CEG take the stage, with silky-voiced Veana Baby, it girl Alana Rich, and Madison Shanley—who’s national anthem stunt at Providence Park broke the internet earlier this year. Mega-talented DJ Aspen and Jonny Cool spin tunes through the afternoon at what should be a powerful, yet breezy, much-needed event. (Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW 6th, Sat, July 2 noon, FREE, All Ages)
Latino Heat, aka DJ Fatboy x Jerry Bandito brings out your favorite Latin DJs—La Vanda, DJ Ayyonee, DJ Juice, and Petestylez—for the return of the Day Fade: Portland’s most poppin-est day party since Adidas was doing those Do-Over jawns. Up-tempo, raunchy, shake ya booty music will be on deck and probably not much else, during what’s scheduled to be a 76-degree partially overcast day. If you can get in, you should get in. Watch out for that line though. (Shake Bar, 28 NW 4th, Sat July 2, 2 pm, $10-$40, 21+)
Beastie Boy-flavored rap duo Joey Valence & Brae—a couple of energetic fellas from Penn State who found a legitimate niche making '80s-style raps—touch down in at Holocene this Saturday. And to be completely honest, I couldn’t care less, BUT the show is being supported by one of the dopest rap artists this side of Idaho, Fountaine. The rapper/producer is an underground favorite and a magnanimous performer with exemplary crowd charisma. You won’t want to miss him in a packed venue. (Holocene, 1001 Se Morrison, Sat July 2, 5 pm, $17, all ages)
Rest in peace, Starchile: the heart behind the hip-hop concert series known as Mic Check and the inspiration behind Portland Hip Hop Day. Though we lost him too soon, in 2018, Portland is blessed to have DJ Klyph and DJ OG One keeping the tradition of stellar Mic Check hip-hop showcases alive. For this special show, icon Vursatyl and underground legend Pricy join M. Slago & Dobleon for a boom-bam inspired night of music in North Portland. (White Eagle Saloon, 836 N Russell, Sun July 3, 8 pm, $12, 21+)
Akadi Summer Music Series
Ethiopian restaurant Akadi was noted as one of Portland Monthly’s “Best New Restaurants” in 2018, but the pandemic forced beloved local chef Fatou Ouattara to temporarily close and move locations.
Well, now Akadi has returned bigger and better than ever, at a new location on lower Division. The space host live music five nights a week, with varying start times of 8 pm or 10 pm, and plans to continue to do so all summer long. What really caught my eye (besides the menu) was the promise of an afrobeat night every Saturday with live bands—but the kizomba on Tuesdays, live jazz on Thursdays, salsa/timba on Fridays, and neo soul on Sundays shouldn’t be ignored either. Even if you don’t love the music for some reason, the food is a slam dunk. (Akadi, 1001 SE Division, shows and times vary but are ongoing, $10)