The Showcase Showdown: Labels swinging steady.
The Grid/The Map: All the action, and where to find it.
The Bands: Three nights, 180 bands. The weekend begins here:
What's the point of throwing a music festival if you can't get your friends to help? Sure, it means passing the hookah now and again, and everyone hates that, but it all adds up to more. More bands! More fun! More branding opportunities! So we invited a few pals and Northwestern worthies to put together their own nights of music--and a brief inventory of their efforts comes below.
The Bling-Blingin', Neck-Snappin' Musicfest Northwest Hip-Hop Kick-Off Party
Last year, we turned our Thursday-night slot at the Roseland over to a troupe of razor-sharp hip-hop cats, and the crowds poured in. So we're doing it again. Eyedea & Abilities, who've won more microphone battles and DJ tussles than you can waggle a cane at, headline a long, hot night of hip-hop recruited by Portland's own Cool Nutz. On Friday, Jus Family, Cool Nutz's label, showcases at Crystal Ballroom.
Dave Allen's Rhythmic Spectacular
We scoured Portland for people we thought could put together slap-me-silly showcases for Musicfest. And, behold, there on the cover of a year-old copy of WW was the handsome mug of Dave Allen. The former bassist for Gang of Four--YES, WE SAID GANG OF FOUR--has called Portland home for a few years now. Allen's selected music (we say "curated," because that word has a Latin root and makes us feel smart) at Ash Street includes his own "sonic collective," Squall. Also for your edification: the mysterious minimalist electro-rock collages of Menomena; local dig-wizard Keith Schreiner (you know him, you love him, from such acts as Dahlia and Auditory Sculpture) in yet another brilliant project, the Down Band; and, finally, the inexhaustible DJ skills of źber-producer Q-Burns Abstract Message.
Ash Street, Friday
The In Music We Trust Social Mixer & Revue
Alex Steininger's In Music We Trust label came out of nowhere (well, OK, it came out of Alex's boundless love for music and tireless--some might say fanatical--hard work) to corral some of Portland's most notable rockers. Tonight, Alex celebrates his ascent to kinglike moguldom with sets by Joe Davis, UHF, I Can Lick Any Son of a Bitch in the House and Luther Russell.
Paris Theatre, Friday
The Burnside Records Blowout
Burnside Records, nurtured under the paternal wing of Music Millennium kingpin (and, as has been widely noted, Weird Al doppelgŠnger) Terry Currier, is perhaps Portland's premier conduit for gutsy blues and roots rock. John Bunzow, Tim Carroll, Alice Stuart, Bill Rhoades, Terry Robb...gawd, we're exhausted just thinking about it.
Jimmy Mak's, Friday
The IMIX Records Custom-Designed Intravenous Dose of Electronica
Long ago, in an age dimly remembered by all, Portland had no electronic-music labels. Them days are gone, thank goodee, and IMIX is one of the best purveyors of quality digital-oriented and vinyl-approved beatz. CNS Engineering, Wyatt Earp and Scott Seeborg top of this baby.
The KINK Stage
The local-radio mainstay presents two nights of pop, rock and folk--hey, there's even a little reggae there, at the end.
Berbati's Pan, Friday and Saturday
The Jim Beam Still-Raisin' Parties
Jim Beam, one of our gracious sponsors, has assembled a pair of hard-rocking and intense lineups, as sweetly brutal as a straight shot of the company's product.
Fez Ballroom, Friday and Saturday
The KUFO Stage
Hard rawk at Roseland!
Roseland Theater, Friday and Saturday
The Musicfest Northwest High School ShowKaze!
Why everyone got so flippin' worked up over that stupid show American Idol, we have no idea. Why, the Fox-televised antics of a bunch of wannabes (whatever happened to the old casting couch system? Seems like it worked much better) have nothing on the merciless grinder that is the MFNW High School Showcase. We called out for hot high-school rock and roll. And boy, did we get it. All-ages, so you can bring your parents, too.
Meow Meow, Friday and Saturday
The VW Spin Lot
The good people of Volkswagen signed on as a Musicfest sponsor, and Platinum Records offered to set up some DJ gear and rock the out of doors. So we rented out the parking lot on Southwest 3rd Avenue next to Dante's and told 'em to go to freakin' town.
Friday and Saturday