The last concert I shot for the Mercury was Justin Timberlake, so obviously the natural progression to the next show would be the scorched-earth punk of Vancouver, BC's White Lung Wednesday night at the Doug Fir. The venue was only half full, which was curious considering the placement of their most recent album Deep Fantasy on several best-of-2014 lists and their reputation for ferocious live shows. Bassist Hether Fortune came onstage with "I Can't Breathe" scrawled on her white tank top, an obvious nod to the tragic Eric Garner grand jury decision handed down just hours before the show. Singer Mish Way prowled the stage in a leopard-print trench coat as the band tore through a fantastic, tight set. She bantered very little with the crowd, maybe because of the crappy turnout or maybe that's just not what she does. Guitarist Kenneth William absolutely shreds, and should be mentioned alongside today's best guitar players if he isn't already. White Lung is a great band and hopefully their next show in Portland will attract a crowd with the energy to match the intensity that projects from the stage.
Lots more pictures after the jump! Including photos of opening band Mormon Crosses.
Last Tuesday's show at the Crystal Ballroom was pretty amazing. With the release of this year's full-length album, The Physical World, the Canadian duo are on tour for the first time in the US after an almost 10-year hiatus. Their touring openers, Biblical, were heavy and generally good, although it felt a little like filler in the face of the 10 years of anticipation that DFA1979 had set up. Crowded but not sold out, the all-ages side of the Crystal was packed early on with people that just wanted to get as close to the stage and as sweaty as possible. The sound was excellent, except for one or two moments where the vocals needed to be turned up, and I think in general everyone seemed pretty stoked to be there.
Lots of photos and review of the Seattle show after the jump!
The Mercury asked me to write a few paragraphs to review the show in addition to shooting photos, but I'm only good at pushing buttons, not writing words. So I asked my wife Megan, high school English teacher/JT superfan, and she was happy to oblige.
It’s been seven years since Justin Timberlake’s last show in Rip City, and the crowd was ready to bring the party and the noise. A well-oiled, perfectly executed spectacle—complete with moving catwalk, fierce dancing, and a crazy talented band called the Tennessee Kids—descended to the Moda Center on Thursday night, and the deafening arena even seemed to humble the pop superstar, who reminded the crowd “I’m still running this bitch” during “Sexyback,” the encore of the nearly three-hour show.
Lots more photos and review after the jump!
I have never seen the Roseland more crowded or well mannered than at the Flying Lotus show that transpired this past Monday. A racially diverse crowd of mostly dudes, packed shoulder to shoulder, respectfully snapped their necks to the tasteful beats set forth from FlyLo's laptop, which rested upon what may have been a bible stand. We exchanged knowing looks with each other every time Mr. Lotus altered the time signature or modulated the key of the music; I could feel myself and the crowd becoming more cultured and intelligent with each wave of soothing sub bass that washed over us. Listening to music without words for extended periods of time has that effect on people. Everyone knows that.
More photos and poetic prose after the jump.
Perhaps I was undercapacitated by a few too many pre-show whiskies, or distracted by my particularly pretty date, or maybe old age has slowly but surely loosened the screws of my ship, but when I pulled out my trusty Canon to document Julian Casablancas and the Voidz on a cold and blustery Tuesday evening at the Crystal Ballroom, for the first time in my recollection, I had failed to load its batteries.
Frantically texting my trusty boss, Ned, he calmly suggested I document the slovenly, sloppy, smeared performance via the slovenly, sloppy, smeared image-capturing capabilities of my iPhone. And so I did.
More photos and yammering after the jump.
Last night, the space nerds of Europe landed a rover on a comet. Sunday night, the space nerds of Portland went to see Blonde Redhead at the Wonder Ballroom. The ever-etherial trio are on tour for their new album, Barragán, and were originally booked to play at Doug Fir. While I do love the intimacy the forever-red-and-blue basement offers, the Wonder was a much better fit. The large room filled up slowly and comfortably and there was still room to breathe, both for the audience and the music. Their ninth album might be their most spacious—still typically moody, still dark at times, but with a little more air and a little more quiet space. (See: "Lady M" and "No More Honey.") But maybe I'm just feeling that way from the woodwinds and that cold November night, because there is also an electro-dance undertone that isn't so subtle on the record. There was a quiet awe at the show—wide eyed faces turned towards the lights, and there was a collective sigh of emotion when the 23 and Misery Is A Butterfly albums were visited. We were sent to the cosmos that night, circling three comets singing a song.
Lots more photos after the jump, including openers Hungry Ghost!
I learned about Slowdive when they had already moved on as Mojave 3 and was quite upset that there would never be Souvlaki pt 2. Couple of years ago, there were some rumors about a reunion and in January of this year, it became a reality. And my dream of losing consciousness in a wave of dreamy guitars and vocals was surpassed on November 5 at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland.
For the 15-song set, Slowdive drew heavily from their seminal second LP, Souvlaki, but less from their debut, Just for a Day. Kicking off with the tracks from their self-titled debut EP from 1990, “Slowdive” and “Avalyn,” the five-piece eased into their "hits." There were some off-key flickers, and a minor distraction from a passed-out fan near the front, just as “Alison” heightened the audiences’ spirit. But the dominant mood was that of celestial splendor—the band seemed content, especially singer/guitarist Rachel Goswell, who often smiled gently, moving gracefully in her cherry-topped, red-heeled platforms. During “Golden Hair,” Goswell sat on the stage for a bit after her vocal duty, taking in the surroundings and then quietly left to let her bandmates pleasures us with their sonic assaults.
For the encore, Slowdive chose “Rutti” from Pygmalion and parted with “40 Days.” Countless guitars were exchanged during the show and Goswell even commented, “So many guitars.” Some of us stuck around for few minutes, wondering if the Brits would treat us to ONE more. But I couldn’t think of what could possibly follow “40 Days.” And as anticlimactic (because their music take you into the heights where you don’t know how to come down) as Slowdive can be, it couldn’t also been more perfect.
Lots more photos after the jump!
The Rural Alberta Advantage played a sold-out show at the Doug Fir on Saturday night. The Canadian trio are on tour for their third album on Saddle Creek, Mended with Gold, and they've always written melodic pop songs: a little bittersweet, a lot catchy, with running themes of love lost and empty spaces. But this release seems to have tamed some of the expressive urgency that previous albums had, especially true of their first, Hometowns. Their uptempo drum beats and vocals, always a little more shouted than sung, pushed their emotional lyrics out of the speakers and straight into your soft spots. Mended with Gold still has substance (see "Vulcan, AB") but not every song is as raw and open as what I'm used to from them. Would never pass up an opportunity to see them play live, though. They always have amazing stage presence and energy, and their drummer is tops.
Lots more photos after the jump!
A distant third in the Top Dawg Entertainment ranks, but still with more than enough clout to fill up the Alhambra Theatre on an unseasonably nice Saturday night in Portland, Ab-Soul put on a characteristically casual yet confident performance, preceded by opener Bas.
More Ab-Soul and Bas after the jump!
Sensibly armed with a serene yet bombastic light show to help bridge the gaping disparity between their popularity and stage presence, alt-J put on a very professional performance for the appreciative crowd on Friday night, the second of their two sold-out shows at the Roseland.
More alt-J photos after the jump!
Hot on the heels of a powerful performance from Def Jam's next presumed superstar, Vince Staples, de facto Pro Era leader Joey Bada$$ had the daunting task of raising the energy level even further. Sounding more like Yonkers-bred rapper DMX than any of the famous fellow Brooklynite emcees in his lineage—and looking oddly like a young Flava Flav—Joey dove into his performance confidently.
More Joey Bada$$ and Vince Staples after the jump!
Is Yasiin Bey—AKA Mos Def—still relevant in today's modern musical landscape? While the promoters chose not to ask this question by making the concert a rare 21-and-over event at the Roseland, Mr. Beze made sure all in attendance left knowing he was at least still good, very good.
More Mos after the jump!
Last weekend brought the first ever Project Pabst music festival to Portland's South Waterfront, a soon to be more accessible neighborhood with the addition of the new pedestrian bridge. You can read our Mercury music staff's opinions of the venue, the bands, and the beer here.
My weekend started Friday night with Menomena at the Wonder Ballroom - an awesome sounding, awesome looking show opened by Animal Eyes and Small Black, the latter of which was confusing all around for me. Their sound was too pop and synth for the mood, I thought. Local boys Animal Eyes played one of the best sets I've heard from them, although they still have some rough spots in their set to work out. Some of their songs (slower, more theatrical..?) are just not as good as the rest, and they tend to bring an otherwise awesome set down a few notches. Menomena were welcomed warmly by fans and friends alike, and the pace and energy of the show was top shelf. You could tell they were happy to be playing, and it was a great way to kick off the weekend.
LOTS of photos, as many as could fit into a single post, after the jump. The best of the best! Tears For Fears! Built To Spill! The Thermals! Modest Mouse!
[Photographer Minh Tran got these shots from the Cam'ron show a couple weeks back and had them all ready to go for us, but they slipped through the cracks. Here they are at long last—End Hits apologizes for the delay in getting them posted.—Editor]
There is no album that has survived longer on my storage-deprived 16GB smartphone than the Diplomats' 2003 double-album release, Diplomatic Immunity. And frankly, if it weren't for all the selfies of myself flexing in the mirror, I'd still have room for Cam'ron's Purple Haze as well. However, both these landmark albums are also a decade old, which made the promoter's decision to make Cam'ron's show an all-ages event especially puzzling. Unable to fill Roseland proper, Killa was relegated to the much humbler and smaller Peter's Room.
Perhaps sensing the back-to-basics energy of the evening, Cam didn't make the audience wait long after Cool Nutz warmed the crowd up, before jumping on stage and straight into his deep pantheon of street anthems. Although there was a palpable disappointment in the crowd that he chose not to wear any brightly colored fur items or a cape, the performance itself was high-energy and entertaining, if not particularly memorable.
Lots more photos after the jump!
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