PDX POP NOW! 2011: Ezza Rose, Yeah Great Fine, Archers, Palo Verde, Lost Lander, Karen, Loch Lomond, Wild Ones, Wizard Rifle, Living Proof, Extralone, Monarques, E*Rock, Blouse, Dusu Mali, Purple & Green, Witch Mountain, Nurses @ RefugePDX
Lost Lander and Nurses were the highlights of a very hot Saturday. Lost Lander's perfect songwriter-pop(think Jackson Browne at his best) was worth withstanding the midday warmth of the sun for, and Nurses, performing stellar, danceable new material, were the perfect nightcap with which to cool off.
Sunday, July 24
PDX POP NOW! 2011: Cloaks, Hausu, Port St. Willow, Roller Ball, Nasalrod, Radiation City, The Woolen Men, Diesto, Classical Revolution PDX, Onuinu, Holy Sons @ at RefugePDX
Port St. Willow's phenomenal early afternoon performance at PDX Pop Now! felt like a revelation. Nick Principe's compelling one man solo project recalled the distorted machinations of Dragging An Ox Through Water underneath ethereal singing that held the pathos of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon with somehow more authenticity and integrity. I'm not ashamed to say I cried.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Yuck @ Doug Fir Lounge
Two great buzzworthy bands worth every keystroke of hype.
Monday July 25
A day of rest.
Tuesday, July 26
Mercy Graves @ Someday Lounge
An impressive acoustic set from a gritty young band with a sound worth revisiting. Working class hero award? The group's frontwoman, Marisa LaFata, bartends at Someday Lounge and returned to her shift after her set.
This Charming Man @ Bunk Bar
While there was a serious lack of gladioli, there was no lack of charm in Smiths tribute band This Charming Man's winning set. Featuring OPB DJ Jeremy Peterson as Morrissey, the five-piece group tore through a very well received set of Smiths covers. "You know we'll be playing Patti Smith and Elliott Smith songs, right?" quipped Peterson, whose croon was a dead ringer for the Moz if you closed your eyes. Controversial political rants were made.
Wednesday, July 27
A Gentlemen's Picnic, So Good @ Backspace
Great pairing of unabashedly upbeat electropop wizardry, if I do say so myself.
Golden Retriever, Ilyas Ahmed,Stay Calm, Pierced Arrows @ Holocene
You're soon going to hear a lot about Stay Calm soon if you haven't already. This was the debut performance for the collaboration between Claudia Meza (Explode Into Colors) and Zac Pennington (Parenthetical Girls), and the super group was rounded out by Joe Kelly (31 Knots, Panther) on drums. The threesome's set was enjoyable with familiar feeling driving rhythms: perfect if you still miss Explode Into Colors. The better news is that this wasn't a one off—they'll be at East End at the end of August. Also good news: The band decided against naming the group "Explode Into Girls."
Thursday, July 28
Ultimate Woman @ Holocene
The second lovingly curated tribute show in three nights. Stopping by briefly on my way to other things, I managed to walk in on a cover of "Hounds Of Love." I learned two things pretty quickly: The Futureheads already did the perfect cover of "Hounds Of Love"; and Bush truly is inimitable.
Friday, July 29
Luminous Things @ Someday Lounge
Very carefully took in exactly one of the group's airy, brooding and thoughtful songs, which was a great pallet cleanser from the empty mess that was Cowboys & Aliens...
*Photo by Yousef Hatlani