Don’t get out much anymore? I hear what you’re saying. It’s either a “school night,” or the end of one long week, or you got up too early and the shows start so late!
But having been out more than my usual share lately, it’s been a tantalizing prospect to consider weaving in more of this excursion out into the nightlife! Last Friday, Oct.18, it was a work thing on my end as Portland Radio Project made it official and launched at The Star Theatre. We had arranged to partner with one of the most artistic and unique guys making music in Portland. Christopher Worth was celebrating the CD release of his band WORTH. “Two” is his newest baby.
First a word about The Star Theatre. It’s one cozy venue. Bigger than its parent, Dante’s, just across the street on Burnside. Perfect for lots of the local music scenesters. So keep tabs on this place because you’ll be seeing some exceptional shows. The other bonus is the patio. The venue doesn’t have a kitchen inside. So they made one right out the back door. And there’s an outside bar, too. And lots of seating. And if you are the smoking kind, this is where you will head. Partially covered, but lots of it is open air. Open to all the Portland elements! I bet this place gets really lively on hot summer nights. Bookmark The Star Theatre for future excursions.
Portland Radio Project streamed the entire evening live as our first duty so pressure was on to keep things rolling at prp.fm. We got to put our stamp on the release party for WORTH. Our goal is to reflect local as deeply as we can and the lineup reflected our interest in all kinds of genres.
The evening began with the totally wonderful Wil Kinky. His voice reminds me of Mark Lanegan (Mark comes out of the Seattle grunge scene of the mid-‘80s) and Wil is a huge fan of Mark’s music. I would never have expected that! For a skinny, wiry guy with a huge smile, Wil sure has the unexpected low and mysterious voice. He’s also a huge fan of Queens of the Stone Age and even has a tattoo of the name on his chest. Who would have thought that of such a congenial singer-songwriter-EMO-ish looking guy.
So musically, Kinky does indeed go somewhere between singer-songwriter, soul blues rock and Americana. All good stuff! So good to get to know him better.
Then the evening took a radical turn with the second act, Marv Ellis + WE TRIBE. To say it is rap and hip hop is only the beginning. If you have ever listened to this kind of sound, you know it is all about preaching in the moment.
The best R&R preacher I know is Bruce Springsteen, but this genre goes somewhere else. It’s powerful, disturbing and exciting. There’s even a standup bass involved in the band’s sound. Marv’s sending out the message of Northwest hip hop. What that means, as he told me in our backstage interview? To include the Northwest vibe of caring about our community and jamming. So you get that in huge servings. Sounds like part of the PRP mission!
And the reason we were there finally came to the stage with WORTH. Christopher ‘s vision is so completely unique. He is a spiritual philosopher for starters, and a well-spoken and educated one at that. His newest album “Two” is part of a trilogy. These are concept albums and gather together some incredibly thoughtful ideas and music to fulfill his vision.
This new album is soulful with some arresting rhythm and blues and psychedelic vibes. Singing opposite Christopher is Aliina. Perfectly matched voices.
Here’s a video recap from Proper Villain Productions.