In between her two Coachella sets, Maggie Rogers performed a sold-out show April 15 at Crystal Ballroom. On the rainy Monday night, Rogers brought her high-spirited energy, and danced a more wholesome version of Lindsay Lohan's beach club shoulder shuffle.
Since her previous Portland show two years ago at Doug Fir Lounge, Rogers has gone from viral darling to low-frills pop star, performing on Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show. She loves Portland—a bandmate's parents live here, and Rogers' new music video for her single "Light On" was filmed in rural Oregon by New York-via-Portland artist Olivia Bee.
Still, you could be forgiven for wondering what the big deal is. Overall, Rogers' concert was self-positive, inoffensive and apolitical. She and her band played a baker's dozen songs, including a John Prine cover and a duet of her most popular song, "Alaska," with opener Melanie Faye, who, like Rogers, experienced a viral rise to fame.
Rogers' music is often described as "electro-folk," but that label overlooks the pop lacquer on her debut album, Heard It in a Past Life. She fits into the emergent trend of reclaiming "being basic" from the pejorative. Her music melds organic and electronic sounds, and as Rogers told her audience at the Crystal, her lyrics express the thin line between the ecstatic joy and overwhelming embarrassment she has experienced during her unexpected rise to fame. Her dancing, from the school of Elaine Benes, is for her own catharsis, and you can't knock it until you try it yourself.
Rogers has already announced her next Portland concert, which will take place Sept. 12 at the Schnitz. By then, it's likely she'll have evolved as a musician yet again. Rogers' music invites you to pause and listen, and you'd be wise to take her up on the offer.