FRIDAY, APRIL 21
Once known only as "Beyoncé's sister"—and, in one infamous instance, her de facto bodyguard—Solange earned her own mononym last year with A Seat at the Table, a stunning statement of protest that stands alongside To Pimp a Butterfly and "Formation" as one of the definitive documents of the Black Lives Matter movement. She headlines this year's Soul'd Out Festival. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, portland5.com. 8 pm. $50-$99. All ages.
Big Freedia, Tribe Mars
A longtime New Orleans hip-hop scenester, Big Freedia was pioneering the sound of bounce—the city's trademark call-and-response party music—long before she announced her intentions to "slay" in Beyoncé's "Formation." And just as Freedia shaped the sound and culture of bounce music, she spread it like glittery butter all across America. Born with the decidedly less spectacular name Freddie Ross, Big Freedia's also had a huge influence on popular ideas of what "queer music" can sound like. Known from the start for her outrageous live performances, the best way to experience Freedia, by far, is to see her live. Dante's, 350 W Burnside St., danteslive.com. 10 pm. $20. 21+.
Director Andrew Shirley's new guerrilla-styled short follows three masked graffiti artists as they journey through a post-apocalyptic world, tracking down beer and weed while searching for the trail left by an enigmatic artist. Shirley will attend the screening, which will be transformed into a detritus-strewn mess for the evening. Trust Art Collective, 325 NW 6th Ave. 6-11 pm.
Before the Spike Lee-directed film of the one-man show is released by Netflix next week, Roger Guenveur Smith is giving his last performance this weekend in Rodney King. Bookended by Willie D's "Fuck Rodney King" and King's "Can we all get along?" speech, Smith evokes scenes from King's life with fast-paced lines and sparse, deeply symbolic staging. See our review of the play here. Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison St., 503-241-1278, artistsrep.org. 7:30 pm. Also April 22 and 23. $15-$30.
Building the Wall
Although every other play seems inevitably contextualized by the current political climate, theaters plan their seasons way in advance, so most theater companies haven't had the chance to really respond to it. But Triangle Productions is one of the 40-plus theaters across the country to add Building the Wall to their pre-planned season, which Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan churned out after the inauguration. Set in 2019, Building the Wall imagines an interview between a historian and a warden of an illegal immigrant prison camp. The Sanctuary at Sandy Plaza, 1785 NE Sandy Blvd., trianglepro.org. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, April 20-29. $15-$35.
Nano Beer Fest
Every year John's Marketplace—the old-schooliest beer market for hard-to-find and exotic beer—hosts a fest for the tiniest breweries around, which are sometimes also the newest breweries around. This year, you should be especially stoked for Hop Haus out of Camas, Wolf Tree from down the coast, and beers from a complete unknown: Brewery 26, whose first beers were brewed April 5. John's Marketplace, 3535 SW Multnomah Blvd. 2-10 pm. Free.
Terra looks more like a battle than a ballet. In the new piece by New York choreographer Helen Pickett, the dancers take wide side stances, form ritualistic circles, slap their chests and yell in unison. See our review of the production here. Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, obt.org. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, through April 22. $29-$102.
Sasquatch Grand Opening
Long the best brewery in suburban Hillsdale, Sasquatch brewing takes a big hairy step to the increasingly populated brewery corridor in NW Portland—home to the new Breakside location, and soon to be home of the second Great Notion facility—to compete for more die hard beer fans. Featuring 22 taps the new location will be the home to a bigger barrel aging program, and will give the brewery the opportunity to explore more lagers. This evening's festivities will showcase three new beers—a kolsch, and amber, and a graprefruit IPA—as well as a hopped cider from the company's New West brand. Sasquatch Brewery, 2531 NW 30th Ave. 3-10 pm. Free.
SATURDAY, APRIL 22
The only theater show in the Soul'd Out Music Festival's lineup, Dahlak Brathwaite's one-man show is a rhythmic, poetic ramble through issues like the prison system and drug addiction. Brathwaite seamlessly flips between storytelling and rapping—including a retooled version of "Flashing Lights"—backed by an onstage DJ. Disjecta, 8371 N Interstate Ave., boomarts.org. 7:30 pm. Also April 21. $12-$30.
Imago Theatre's artistic directors had long tried to find a production that would be worth reviving their set for their production of No Exit, which had a stage that's a giant board that tilts in all directions with the actor's movement. They found what they were looking for in Ben Power's modern adaptation of Euripides' Medea, in which its eponymous character takes revenge on her ex-husband by killing their kids. But by staging one of the most popular Greek tragedies, Imago wants to challenge the canon, not uphold it. Including their unusual set, Power's script reimagines the ending of the centuries-old play. Imago Theatre, 17 SE 8th Ave., imagotheatre.com. 7:30 pm Friday-Saturday, April 21-May 20. 7 pm Thursday, April 27, and May 4, 11 and 18. $19-$29.
As it has done every year for seven years, Bailey's Taproom will devote its whole taplist to Oregon-brewed German-style beers. That means smoked Helles, American kettle variations of the gose, lagers, weissbiers, altbiers, schwarzbiers, pilsners…boy, the Germans sure do make a lot of beer. Bailey's Taproom, 213 SW Broadway. 12 pm. Free.
Little Beast Launch Party
Former Logsdon Farmhouse Ales head brewer Chuck Porter shares two of the first beers from his Beaverton-based Little Beast brewing, both showcasing his (rightly) acclaimed yeast-driven work at the Hood River enterprise. Delicious sausages will match the suds. OP Wurst, 3384 SE Division St. 5-8 pm. Free.
New York-born vocalist Emily King dropped out of high school at age 16 to pursue singing full-time, and picked up a Grammy nom for 2007 debut East Side Story. Her 2015 follow-up, The Switch, is rife with energetic, jazz-influenced R&B featuring King's husky, whispered trilling. On some songs, like the title track, she sounds a bit like the jazz pop of Kimbra, and even reflects the hushed intensity of Feist. The fast tempo on most songs conveys the vivacity of her soulful melodies, a drive that probably compelled her to dedicate her energies toward singing. The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Ave., theoldchurch.org. 8 pm. $18 advance, $70 meet and greet. All ages.
The UNITY Project Artist Reception
Join Lane Gallery founder Gila Lane for the opening reception of the UNITY project, which is donating 20% of its proceeds to Black Parent Initiative, NAYA, NW Noggin, CHAP, Portland Audubon, Returning Veterans Project, ORA, and Friends of the Columbia Gorge. Lane Gallery, 2412 NW Raleigh St., lanegallerypdx.com. 5 pm. All ages.
Oregon Symphony presents Debussy's La Mer
It's not often a classical masterwork clocks in at under 30 minutes. But in so many spectacular ways, French Impressionist Claude Debussy's La Mer is an exception to the components that are "supposed" to be at work in our most beloved classical music. Totally dismissed by critics at its 1905 premiere as heavy-handed, La Mer is now one of Debussy's most performed works, and can be used as a real measure of the emotionality he was capable of. Very clearly a product of Debussy's obsessive fandom for Richard Wagner, La Mer is all drama—a little unbalanced, a little unhinged—imitating the tumultuousness of its namesake. Featuring superstar violin soloist Simone Lamsma's return to the Oregon Symphony, this program places Benjamin Britten's oddly impressionist "Violin Concerto" between two other gorgeous, seafaring works from Mendelssohn and contemporary Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, portland5.com. 7:30 pm Saturday, April 22 and Monday, April 24. 2 pm Sunday, April 23. $23-$150. All ages.
SUNDAY, APRIL 23
On its latest, this year's I See You, the London trio leans a bit more heavily on the dub and two-step samples that made producer Jamie Smith's 2015 solo release, In Colour, a breakthrough hit. The result is a wider and more colorful world that's still home to deeply personal missives on relationships and the devastation of love. Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 300 N Winning Way, rosequarter.com. 8 pm. $40 advance, $45 day of show. All ages.
Caspar Babypants is the kindie-rock project of Presidents of the United States of America frontman Chris Ballew. With a repertoire of songs like "Jellyfish Jones" and "Stompy the Bear," it's hard to hear old Presidents and not wonder how long Ballew has been angling for stardom among the potty-training crowd. See our interview with Ballew here. The Village Ballroom, 704 NE Dekum St., babypantsmusic.com. 2 and 4 pm (sold out). $7, children under 2 free.
NE-HI is still warm to the touch in the wake of the February release of its sophomore album, Offers. The quartet's torching, reverb-heavy sound possesses the raw thawing power to put the long-ass Pacific Northwest winter to bed for good. The blown-out vocals and guitar-centric approach flirts with grunge, but NE-HI is far too cool and collected for a full-blown stage dive. A fairer comparison would be Weezer, whose moderately punkish pop rock certainly influenced this rising Windy City band. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., mississippistudios.com. 9 pm. $10 advance, $12 day of show.
Sincerity Is Gross
Each week, Sincerity Is Gross books some seriously solid lineups that branch out from the usual rotation of Portland comedy scene's top of the pack, while still booking plenty of well-established and deeply reliable comics. This week, it's Marcus Coleman, whose matter-of-fact delivery earned him a regular spot not long after relocating from St. Louis, as well as host of the Young Gunz showcase Carter, plus Chase Brockett and Thomas Lundy. The Slide Inn, 2348 SE Ankeny St., slideinnpdx.com. 7 pm. Free.