This Week in the Mercury

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tonight in Music: Northwest Love Jam, DoublePlusGood, Dead Prez & More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Sat, Aug 27, 2011 at 12:56 PM

(Memorial Coliseum, 300 Winning Way) It's like making sweet, sweet love... in the late '90s! Your fave R&B artists from the last century return for the Northwest Love Jam, a sexified evening of hot, buttered soul featuring Ginuwine ("Pony"), Dru Hill ("In My Bed"), Jon B ("They Don't Know"), and Faith Evans ("Love Like This"). Don't forget your diaphragm! WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) DoublePlusGood, the duo of Andy Nelson and Erik Carlson, have released a series of lovely EPs in the past couple years, and now they've got a full-length called Here They Come, the Birds of My Youth. It's a terrific album, a sweet and infectious synth-pop record that isn't afraid to sound ecstatic. With trilling, buzzing synths forming day-glo walls around Carlson's anchored drums, DoublePlusGood has quite simply found an untouched corner of the pop pasture and harvested it for all it's worth—quick-clip dance beats, wistfully familiar synth patches, layered Beach Boy harmonies, and a tweeful, gleeful energy that's impossible to manufacture. The album, out on Carlson's SoHiTek label, is destined to pack dance floors across Portland, but it sounds just as good on headphones. NED LANNAMANN

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Of course it's still bigger than hiphop. Even if those who coined this now omnipresent call-to-arms haven't actually made a whole lotta, you know, hiphop in recent years. Dead Prez forever altered the political hiphop landscape with Let's Get Free, but that was 11 years ago (your president at the time: Bill Clinton) and their sporadic output since (2004's disappointing Revolutionary But Gangsta, and a handful of hit-or-miss mixtapes and solo releases) hasn't exactly set the world aflame for and M1. That's not to say that the sharply penned militant anthems of Dead Prez still can't raise a crowd of balled fists to the heavens—they surely can—but it might be nice to hear some fresh marching orders from these two distinguished emcees. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) No, not the afro'd guy from Mars Volta, the other guitarist. You know, the dude from Sparta. So begins every conversation about Jim Ward, the talented-yet-overshadowed former At the Drive-In guitar player whose post-band career has been as functional as a one-legged scissor. Ward now goes it alone, releasing the double-disc mouthful Quiet in the Valley, On the Shores the End Begins & the Electric Six, which is a collection of three EPs (2007's Quiet, 2009's In the Valley, On the Shores, and this year's The End Begins) in addition to some amplified material that is thankfully not composed of Electric Six covers. As a solo artist Ward masters the subtle balance that made Sparta's Wiretap Scars work so well, and while the material here isn't paving any new ground, there is a familiar warmth to Ward's solo work. Enough to hopefully make him a household name, for real this time. EAC

(Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon) There were nine songs on Sports; five landed in the Billboard top 20. Huey Lewis and the News' 1983 masterwork of hit-song-after-goddamn-hit-song might sound a bit stale today, but upon its release Sports was pure universal appeal in cassette form, and it launched their well-hung (oh come on, everyone knows this) namesake into the pop music stratosphere. It doesn't really matter what Huey has done since his mid-'80s peak—not much, outside of touring the casino/fair/zoo circuit and occasionally showing up in Portland (rumor has it his ladyfriend lives here). Despite all this, I still fell asleep during Huey Lewis and the News' December 28, 1986 show at the Oakland Coliseum (it was my first concert ever, sorry). But tonight I'm prepared to make things right: I will make it through the entirety of his Zoo performance—unless he plays new songs, then I am so out of there. EAC


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