At this stage in the game, it's not surprising when the lineup for PDX Pop Now—Portland's best all-local, all-ages, all-free music festival—turns out to be a wide-ranging snapshot of the Portland music scene circa right now. For the volunteer-run festival's 10th anniversary, though, the organizers have outdone themselves. It's not all-inclusive—in a scene as the broad as this, that's nearly an impossibility—but it's damn close. PPN has some competition this year, but it's hard to beat free, particularly when free gets you this much. Here are five of the things we're most excited for:
1. The upstarts. This is what PDX Pop Now is all about, right? Meeting, greeting and experiencing the bands and artists you'll be hearing and reading a lot more about in the coming year. This year's lineup is full of them. The standouts in that regard include "big on the Internet" R&Blog duo Magic Fades, roaring post-punks Hausu, jaw-dropping one-woman show Like A Villain, haunted folkstress Mojave Bird, synth-rock throwbacks Hot Victory, dream-rockers WL and weirdo soulsters PWRHAUS.
2. The legacy acts. Sure, PDX Pop Now is focused on, well, the now, but it respects its "elders," too—and that reverence takes on greater precedence this year, considering the milestone anniversary. Y La Bamba, Willy Vlautin's Richmond Fontaine, Blue Skies for Black Hearts and ex-Menomena member Brent Knopf's Ramona Falls represent the crop of vets.
3. The hip-hop. Rap has gradually made its way in from the margins of Portland's music scene in general (emphasis on "gradually") but, thanks to past performances from artists like Tope and Illmaculate, hip-hop is infiltrating the PDX Pop Now lineup more and more each year. This year features appearances from MCs Cassow and Luck-One, plus Portland-via-L.A. transplant Slimkid3, of the legendary Pharcyde, backed up by the Doo-Doo Funk All-Stars, which will certainly be one of the highlights of the entire weekend.
4. The outliers. The acts who don't belong to any scene but their own, and who are given an opportunity to win over an entirely new audience. For instance: Papi Fimbres' trad-cumbia orchestra Orquestra Pacifico Tropical; Tune-Yards and Shy Girls saxophonist Noah Bernstein's experimental sax-and-synths duo Grammies; African blues-groovers Dusu Mali; and Gnar Tapes/Burger Recs affiliated misfits the Memories and Unkle Funkle.
5. The Best New Bands. Yeah, this is a bit of a humble brag on our part, but all 10 finalists that made our Best New Band poll—including Shy Girls, Gaytheist and Natasha Kmeto—will also be performing. And, well, I think we told you pretty thoroughly why you should be excited about them last month.
PDX Pop Now is July 19-21 at the Eastbank Lot at SE Water and Salmon. Along with 45 bands on two stages, there's also a new street fair, a food court, an "activity area" and, the coup de grace, Rigsketball! Check out the lineup announcement video, along with a list of all the bands, below.
Billions and Billions
Blue Skies for Black Hearts
Dangerous Boys Club
Like a Villain
Orquestra Pacific Tropicale
Slimkid3 w/ Doo Doo Funk
Sons of Huns
The We Shared Milk
Wooden Indian Burial Ground
Y La Bamba