If there's a prevailing theme to Toronto rapper Drake's career right now, it's to be found in the title and lyrics from the song "All Me" (found on the Deluxe Edition of his latest album Nothing Was the Same), the chief sentiment of which goes: "Came up, that's all me/stay true, that's all me/no help, that's all me/all me for real."
A typical boastful rap—and hopefully his early benefactor Lil' Wayne doesn't consider it a slap in the chops—but it helps set the tone for his current tour, which stopped at the Moda Center last night. There was no coterie of backup dancers or hype men with him, and what musicians that were there were wearing all black and on a platform sunk into the middle of the large circle that dominated the stage. Otherwise it was almost entirely all Drake. All the better to drink in the squeals of the many teenage girls in blush-inducing outfits, the grunts of their male hip-hop head companions, and the yawps of a gaggle of older folks trying to keep up with the youthful surroundings.
This also meant that his openers—rappers PartyNextDoor and Future, and soul/R&B singer extraordinaire Miguel—were forced to use a small lip of the stage that couldn't have been more than 15 feet wide. Miguel at least found a way to work with the constraints, setting himself, a drummer, and a keyboard player on raised platforms and surrounding it all with lights. And damn if he didn't make that small swath of real estate his bitch. He vamped, danced, strutted, and did the splits sending the young ladies at the show (of which there were many) into a frenzy. All while wearing a leather jacket festooned with black feathers. Well played, Miguel.
While more Downward Spiral material would have been welcome—no "Closer," although we did hear "A Warm Place"—the show proved Trent Reznor has moved well beyond the bile and rage that earned NIN much of its audience in the '90s. It's been replaced with a tight, incredibly talented outfit that includes heavy-hitters like bassist Pino Palladino (the Who) and singer Lisa Fischer (Twenty Feet from Stardom)—it's probably the band Reznor has wanted to play with all his life: an art-bent progressive rock band with serious chops.
Take a look at KT Wright's amazing photos from the show! Click on each to make 'em bigger, and lots more after the jump.
In all seriousness, it was a great show—and it looks it. Lots more after the jump, including pictures of openers Battleme.
The last two days of MFNW were jam packed with amazing shows and tons of fun, and Saturday got started with a day-time free party at Rontoms. I arrived just in time to see 1939 Ensemble, one of my favorite local bands, and they killed it as always. Star Anna, Crushed Out, and Sarah Jackson-Holman also played to a sunshiny and boozy patio. The rest of the night held some big shows, including a totally amazing, captivating, mind-blowing double header from Earth & Godspeed You! Black Emperor at the Roseland. I was glad to make it to Thao and the Get Down Stay Down and The Helio Sequence, because I love them both, but made special effort to catch The Dodos set at the Star Theater. They have a new album out this year and I wanted to see how it held up live.. I still don't think it's as memorable as their other three albums - I miss some of the songwriting complexity. But their live set was spectacular, as usual.
Sunday saw the gracing of the Pioneer Courthouse stage from the amazingly beautiful and talented Neko Case. Finally a set to enjoy without any other conflicts. Every time I see her play, I can't help but marvel at what a supreme professional she is while still being real and sassy and sometimes crass. She's a rock star, for real. I scooted over after to Rontoms again for their MFNW Sunday Session and caught the fast and ruckus Gallons. THANKS MFNW, YOU WERE GREAT.
LOTS more after the jump! Thanks for looking!
Saturday night, the Builders and the Butchers performed the release show for their fine new album, Western Medicine, at Mississippi Studios. Sons of Huns were there as well, and Rachel Milbauer was there to get these shots. More after the jump!
On Thursday night, the Ace Hotel welcomed back PDX Pop Now! for the festival's annual Make It Pop! fundraiser at the hotel's corner spot the Cleaners. Boasting a sold-out attendance, the evening featured performances from Monarques, Grandparents, Kelli Schaefer, Ezza Rose, and OPB's Jeremy Petersen handling DJ duties. Also on hand? Delicious homemade ice cream from local brand 50 Licks; over the course of the night their unusual flavors developed a own fanbase equal to that of the bands. In between performances, board members made the special announcement that this year's festival will be entirely outdoors and will feature both a vendor market and the launch of this year's Rigsketball tournament.
Lots more photos after the jump!
Last weekend's Malt Ball was a raging success in every sense. The bands were loud and magnificent, every last one. The sell-out crowd was friendly and attractive and in full-on party mode (that may be the first time a mosh pit has ever broken out at a beer fest). And the beer... oh, the beer! It was a day and night to remember.
It was so much fun that some memories, particularly toward the end of the night, are a little foggy. Luckily Rachel Milbauer was there for the Malt Ball's second session, with beer in one hand and camera in the other, to take these great pics of the best music-and-beer fest the world has ever seen (no bullshittin'!). Thanks again to everyone who participated—particularly all the brewers and bands, who brought their A games so that we could have one fantastic, unforgettable party.
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