Shows of the Week: Machine Gun Kelly Isn’t an Aggro-Rap Also-Ran Anymore

What to see and what to hear.


In the past three years, Machine Gun Kelly transitioned from an aggro-rap also-ran to one of the most exciting contemporary pop stars. Embracing pop punk just as the zeitgeist swung around to embrace it, the 32-year-old presents himself as a damaged boy hiding a heart of bubble gum. Last time he came to Moda Center, he opened for Young Thug. Now, the idea of MGK sharing a stage with Thugger seems as far-fetched as him opening for anyone—in fact, he’s got no less than Avril Lavigne opening for him, plus “Emo Girl” duet partner Willow Smith. Moda Center, 1 N Center Court St. 7:30 pm. $25.50. All ages.


The harp is the most benevolent of instruments, long associated with rarefied beauty and safety from evil. Local artist Sage Fisher’s work as Dolphin Midwives won’t dispel this image—this stuff is extremely angelic—but it might just change your perception of what the instrument can do, looping it into undulating, evolving compositions shot through with her eerie, keening voice. Portland is a great town for New Age music, and Fisher’s brought along fellow local sound explorer Crystal Quartez for this show, alongside {arsonist} and Ethereal Champion World. Alberta Abbey, 126 NE Alberta St.. 8 pm. $12. All ages.


One of the last living legends of the 1970s roots-reggae era, Burning Spear (born Winston Rodney) is also one of its most active in the studio and onstage. Though he announced his retirement in 2016, he’s back on the road and stopping at the Roseland Theater on his latest tour. Reggae neophytes be warned: Rodney’s sparse, fiercely political work makes no compromises to audiences whose idea of reggae is based on Bob Marley’s cuddlier music. If you know reggae, you know he’s an all-timer. If you don’t, be ready to dive into the deep end. Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave. 8 pm. $35. 21+.

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