By Sharon Greenfield
The first day of Northwest Music Festival presenting Project Pabst was a true blast off. It started with local hiphop hero Last Artful, Dodgr and then moved into the poppunk of White Reaper, the deep rock lineage of Filthy Friends, the freshfaced punk of Pup, the smooth RnB grooves of the popular Lizzo, the spazz rock of Fidlar, the delightful croons of Father John Misty, the performance art electrorap of Die Antwoord, and finally then to the godfather of punk with the funniest concert rider of all time, Mr Iggy Pop.
Last Artful, Dodgr
“If you don’t like hiphop, it’s ok”, said The Last Artful, Dodgr midday during her Saturday set. She grinned and kindly chatted with the front row, and then whipped into some artful prose and connected beats including her tracks ‘Oofda’ and ‘Jazz Crimes’. As the most charming Portland-via-LA rapper currently on top of the scene, she had the audience cheerfully in the palm of her hand trying new sounds as she laid out some wicked fast and slick rhymes from her 2017 release Bone Music. Artful indeed.
Her last show for awhile in Portland will be on September 12th.
Once upon a time, a rock supergroup composed of members of Sleater Kinney, R.E.M., The Fastbacks, The Young Fresh Fellows, and The Baseball Project gelled into a controlled fun poppy indie rock sound called Filthy Friends. With this lineage and nothing to prove but the delight in creating music, Corin Tucker’s vocals lead this melodic urgency through a labyrinth of persuasive bass and guitars from, respectively, Scott McCaughey, Peter Buck, and the enjoyable Kurt Bloch on a sharp path of drums from Linda Pitman.
During the latter part of the set, Tucker sings ‘No Forgotten Son’, a song about Trayvon Martin and racial injustice in America. Still, the jangle of the indie pop draws one in to listen to the meaningful lyrics. Later she gives a shout out to her husband film director Lance Bangs, dedicating the next song to him for caring for her, their kids, and their family. This is a band that cuts to the heart of being human, with the pop warmth of a hot soup on a cold day, because it’s wise rock experience guides the way.
Lizzo is popular with the rest of the artists at Northwest Music Fest Project Pabst. Multiple artists spoke about her in between their own songs in their sets, including an enthusiastic Corin Tucker of Filthy Friends. Lizzo was also very popular with the audience, and brought a huge crowd out to the stage as she sung with an earnest realism grounded in positivity. Lizzo’s RnB grooves, sly humour rapping, and super fly dance moves was a fun fierce performance to all.
She had a message of positivity including self health with lyrics such as “Can’t no one love me like I love myself”. As she said to the Saturday MusicfestNW Project Pabst audience, “You are worthy enough to love yourself. You are beautiful and special.” And when she said it, we recognised it’s truth and danced and grooved even more so.
Lizzo’s electro pop soul album ‘Coconut Oil’ came out late 2016.
Father John Misty
Some people give Father John Misty, the nom de plume of Josh Tillman, a hard time for swaying with his hips onstage. However to deny his hips is to deny his graceful vocal expertise and his capability of organising a perfect indie folk pop song. What a show he put on at the Northwest MusicFest Project Pabst. A solid skilled performer who knows how to woo and thrill a crowd, he gracefully crooned through his set material with his band and strong section. The sun slowly lowered in the sky, casting a glow on the stage and Father John Misty’s lullaby of a set.
His latest album, ‘Pure Comedy’, came out earlier this year.
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