This Week in the Mercury

Running Up That Hill


Running Up That Hill

Love and Death on Boyfriend Mountain

I, Anonymous


Friday, December 5, 2014

White Lung at the Doug Fir, Wed Dec 3

Posted by Jason Quigley on Fri, Dec 5, 2014 at 11:31 AM



All photos by Jason Quigley.

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.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Death From Above 1979 at the Crystal Ballroom, Tues Nov 18, 2014

Posted by Katie Summer on Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 5:24 PM

Death From Above 1979 at the Crystal Ballroom
Last week I saw Death From Above 1979 play two nights in a row, and I only now feel like I've recovered. I seriously feel like I was mildly concussed all week, but more on that in a minute...

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.

Death From Above 1979 at the Crystal Ballroom
I took photos for the allotted first three songs and then made my way to the safety of the media side section, where I got to have my own little rock-out without being touched, or pushed, or struggling to see. Never having seen DFA1979 before, I was appreciative that I could really just enjoy the show while working. They played a majority of new songs with only a few older tracks, including “Turn It Out” and “Little Girl.” Their new album is definitely a little less raw and while I'm still super into it, songs like “Right On, Frankenstein!” and “White Is Red” are kind of disappointing. When I first heard “White Is Red” I honestly said, "What is Britt Daniel doing singing on this DFA1979 track?" and then, "Why does half of this song sound exactly like a Spoon song?" But overall the energy level was killer and they definitely put on the show we had all been waiting for.

Lots of photos and review of the Seattle show after the jump!

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Justin Timberlake at Moda Center, Thurs Nov 21, 2014

Posted by Jason Quigley on Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 3:35 PM

All photos by Jason Quiqley.

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!

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Flying Lotus at Roseland, Nov 17, 2014

Posted by Minh Tran on Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 2:34 PM

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.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Julian Casablancas and the Voidz at the Crystal Ballroom, Nov 11, 2014

Posted by Minh Tran on Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 11:02 AM



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.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Blonde Redhead at the Wonder Ballroom, Sunday 11/9

Posted by Katie Summer on Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Blonde Redhead at the Wonder Ballroom

Blonde Redhead at the Wonder Ballroom

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.

Blonde Redhead at the Wonder Ballroom

Lots more photos after the jump, including openers Hungry Ghost!

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Slowdive and Low at the Crystal Ballroom, Nov 5, 2014

Posted by Autumn Andel on Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 10:46 AM

  • Autumn Andel

  • Autumn Andel

  • Autumn Andel
Music journalism of today has become so diluted with substandard writing (thanks to the internet that makes it all too easy for anyone to start a blog and acquire press credentials) that artists don’t seem to pay much attention to the noise. In the early '90s, when Slowdive was trying to survive as a band, before the time of Spotify and advance album streams, many of us relied on music publications to help us decide whether a recording was worth the $10-15 investment. With a discouraging number of negative reviews (along with bad timing) for Slowdive’s releases, it’s no wonder the English quintet called it quits after about only six years. Two decades later, and the ethereal “shoegaze” band is booking music festivals around the globe and selling out shows. How irrelevant those unenthusiastic write-ups are now; only time is the most reliable critic.

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.

  • Autumn Andel
  • Low
Going to see Slowdive was grand enough but having a “slowcore” legend, Low, open for them was the bitters in my whiskey. Low’s music can lull one to sleep at times, but the Minnesota trio amplified their myriad of effects and harmonies to the point of inverting their stereotyped subdued palette. While Slowdive has been dormant for almost 20 years, Low has been diligently releasing new recordings since 1994, the latest in 2013 with The Invisible Way. And judging by their performance, no one will be turning off the lights on Low anytime soon.

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!

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

J. Roddy Walston and the Business at Doug Fir, Oct 20, 2014

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 11:43 AM

  • Nicole Knutson
J. Roddy Walston and the Business came through the Doug Fir on October 20 with Walston's 150-pound Yamaha CP-60 and opening band Fly Golden Eagle in tow. Photographer Nicole Knutson was at the show to take these fine shots of Walston, the Business, and Fly Golden Eagle. Enjoy!
  • Nicole Knutson
Lots more photos after the jump!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rural Alberta Advantage at the Doug Fir, Sat Oct. 25

Posted by Katie Summer on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 at 3:56 PM

Rural Alberta Advantage at the Doug Fir

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.

Rural Alberta Advantage at the Doug Fir

Lots more photos after the jump!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ab-Soul and Bas at Alhambra Theatre, October 18, 2014

Posted by Minh Tran on Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 10:10 AM

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!

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Monday, October 20, 2014

alt-J at Roseland, October 17, 2014

Posted by Minh Tran on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 1:08 PM

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!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Joey Bada$$ and Vince Staples at Roseland, October 12, 2014

Posted by Minh Tran on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 11:39 AM

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!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Yasiin Bey at Roseland, October 10, 2014

Posted by Minh Tran on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 8:42 AM

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!

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Project Pabst Photo Gallery!

Posted by Katie Summer on Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Modest Mouse at Project Pabst

Tears For Fears at Project Pabst

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.

Menomena at the Wonder Ballroom

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!

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Cam'ron at Peter's Room, August 25, 2014

Posted by Minh Tran on Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 12:54 PM

All photos by Minh Tran.

[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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