How the Waterfront Went from a Shit-Filled Disaster to Portland's Real "Living Room"
SOUL'D OUT MUSIC FESTIVAL: MAZE FEATURING FRANKIE BEVERLY, RONNIE LAWS, MARLON McCLAIN
(Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay) The Soul'd Out Music Fest starts today and to kick things off is one of your "quiet storm" soul faves from the '70s, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. They're wildly rhythmic and optimistic, and if you are ever down in the dumps, nothing will cheer you up faster than their hit "Back in Stride." WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY Also see our article on the Soul'd Out Music Festival.
BEAR IN HEAVEN, BLOUSE, DOLDRUMS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Bear in Heaven has done a good job of confusing its fans over the past year. First they offered a preview of their latest record, I Love You, It's Cool online... sort of. What people found on arrival was the album, yes, but slowed down so much that its playtime lasted longer than three months. When the record itself dropped, it evidenced a change in direction for the band, whose foundation is in psychedelic, proggy pop. I Love You, It's Cool sounds downright retro, and if some of the tracks wanted to retroactively sneak onto the soundtracks of certain teen movies circa the mid-'80s, nobody would be the wiser. At the same time, the songs' bones may feel familiar but their structure is opulent and winding, and trippier songs like "Sinful Nature" still lead you down long, fuzzy paths of discovery. Such is the duality that has always been associated with Bear in Heaven, at once recognizable and madly inventive. MARJORIE SKINNER
FIRST AID KIT, PEGGY SUE
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) First Aid Kit sings with the world-weary twang of rural America. You'd never guess that the sisters SÖderberg are Swedish and definitely too young to have ever worked in a coal mine. Klara, 19, sings lead and plays guitar; Johanna, 22, plays keyboards and her harmonies haunt every song of The Lion's Roar, their second LP, released at the beginning of this year. Their sound is country-western, evoking the big sky of an idealized American West, and their voices are almost gratuitously like Emmylou Harris'. Not coincidentally, the best song on the album is called "Emmylou" and features an earworm of a hook: "I'll be your Emmylou and I'll be your June/If you'll be my Gram and my Johnny too." It's catchy, but completely misguided: These ladies don't need any tragic country heroes to flesh out their harmonies and break their hearts; they're doing just fine on their own. REBECCA WILSON
WHISKEY PUPPY, MIGHTY GHOSTS
(Alberta Street Public House, 1036 NE Alberta) Raise a glass to Mighty Ghosts, the rootsy string band that's been on the Portland scene since 2005; the group initially started as Mighty Ghosts of Heaven in Bellingham in 2000, shortening their name in 2008, which also marked a shift in the band's focus to original material. Frontman Gus Smith writes folksy, dusty, rollicking songs in the finest string-band tradition, evidenced most recently on their solid 2010 record Aberdeen. Now Mighty Ghosts are calling it a day, hanging up their banjoes and porkpie hats, so stop in for a chance to say farewell before they pluck that final note. NED LANNAMANN
SEPULTURA, DEATH ANGEL, KRISIUN, HAVOK, PROVEN
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Sepultura and Krisiun are essentially the same band. They're both Brazilian, they were both founded by a pair of brothers, and they both play ripping death-thrash. Currently, the only difference between the two is that Krisiun is the band that Sepultura should've been. Sepultura most definitely had its time of importance and influence, but now that both Cavalera brothers have left the band, it seems like Sepultura isn't really Sepultura anymore, a sentiment that was clarified with last year's Kairos album. Krisiun, however, has always been Krisiun. It's had zero lineup changes since its inception, and all of its albums are as blood-soaked and brutal as the next. There isn't much growth between its records, but there's something to be said about not trying to force an evolution out of your band when it already kicks extreme ass. ARIS WALES
SOUL'D OUT MUSIC FESTIVAL: BOOMBOX, LYNX
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Leave it to the kid of a couple erstwhile members of the Grateful Dead—Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux—to find the hidden link between twirly jam-band rock and just-as-twirly electronic house with BoomBox. With DJ Russ Randolph in tow, guitarist Zion Godchaux weaves silky smooth guitar lines around cheeseball house beats. It's pretty unbearable. Unless you like twirling. NL