March 2017: A Month of Portland Concerts in 20 Songs

Coming in like a lion, the live music lineup is fierce.

By Lauren Kershner March 1, 2017

Credit   aaron stern hytcbu

Japandroids. Not from Japan. Not droids. What is even real?

From hip-hop mastermind Ghostface Killah to Alina Baraz’s seductive electro-pop, Portland offers plenty of musical cures for your post-winter woes.

MAR 1: PHANTOGRAM, “You Don't Get Me High Anymore”: During the recording of the dream-pop duo's third studio album, Three, PHANTOGRAM endured devastating losses, including the death of band member Sarah Barthels' sister and two of the group's musical influences, David Bowie and Prince. Three is the dark, synth-driven musical manifestation of what Barthel refers to as “finding the beauty within tragedy.”

MAR 2: Ghostface Killah, “Food”: Former Wu-Tang Clan member Dennis Coles (a.k.a. Ghostface Killah) is renowned for agile, hardcore beats infused with stream-of-consciousness narrative lyrics.

MAR 3: Jens Lekman, “What's That Perfume You Wear?”: Swedish guitarist and vocalist Lekman serenades with songs of romantic nostalgia, tinged with both wit and melancholy. His latest album, Life Will See You Now, was released last month.

MAR 4: Coco Columbia, “Orb in Limbo”: The Portland singer-songwriter fuses jazz and electro-pop, resulting in swirly, entrancing, rhythmic, futuristic, cotton-candy-coated creations. [Insert a dozen more adjectives here, and we might come close to describing Coco's sound.]

MAR 5: Skillet, “Awake and Alive”: With genre descriptions ranging from “Christian rock” to “post-grunge” and “symphonic metal,” the Memphis-based Skillet released its 10th studio album, Unleashed, last year.

MAR 6: Milo Greene, “I Know About You”: This LA-based quartet describes their music as “cinematic-pop.” Oddly enough, none of its members are named “Milo.” The band's name was the alias for an imaginary booking agent, a strategy for landing gigs in their early days.

MAR 10: Los Romeros, “Malaguenas”: A.k.a. “The Royal Family of the Guitar,” these four brothers bring classical and flamenco guitar together in aural splendor. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

MAR 14: Lake Street Dive, “Side Pony”: Deriving their name from a street full of dive bars in band member Mike Olson's hometown of Minneapolis, Lake Street Dive effortlessly combines jazz, Southern rock, and folk-pop in catchy, chorus-driven tunes.

MAR 15: Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Californication”: You know these guys. They’re still doing their thing, basically. Moda Center.

MAR 15: Mø, “Don’t Wanna Dance”: Danish singer-songwriter, whose stage name means “maiden” or “virgin” in her native tongue, made her own maiden voyage with the 2014's No Mythologies to Follow. Singles from her upcoming sophomore album, Kamikaze, have steadily supplied the airwaves with punchy, electro-pop anthems.

MAR 16: Indigo Girls, “Romeo and Juliet”: The folk super-icons team up with the Oregon Symphony. Closer to fine? WE’LL JUST SEE ABOUT THAT, INDIGO GIRLS.

MAR 17: Japandroids, “No Known Drug or Drink”: Described by NPR as “one part classic rock, one part punk,” the Canadian rock band has been critically acclaimed by the likes Rolling Stone and Spin.

MAR 17: Save Ferris, “Come On Eileen”: You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn't at least heard the ska punk band's 1982 hit “Come On Eileen.” The band—named after the cult-classic Ferris Buller's Day Off—just released a brand-new EP entitled Checkered Past.

MAR 18: Jesca Hoop, “Memories Are Now”: A former nanny for the children of Tom Waits—who describes her music “like going swimming in a lake at night”—Hoop has churned out experimental folk/rock/electronic tunes for the last decade. Her fourth album, Memories Are Now, dropped early last month. 

MAR 22: Panic! At The Disco, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”: The emo-vaudevillian group exploded onto the scene in the early 2000s. Their debut album, A Fever Can’t Sweat It Out, sold 2 million copies in the US and launched an entire record label—all before the eyeliner-wearing punk teens from Vegas played a single concert.

MAR 23: Pure Bathing Culture, “Pray For Rain”: Local indie-pop duo’s ironically named album, Pray For Rain, dropped last fall. Band member Sarah Versprille describes the album’s creation as “stepping into the realm of discovering who we are as a band and as songwriters.”

MAR 24: Agnes Obel, “Riverside”: Composing her first songs as a teenager on a school hall piano, Obel’s darkly intimate sound marries instrument and voice in melancholic harmony. Her first album, Philoharmonics, went gold in 2011, with haunting tracks sound-tracking episodes of various TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy.

MAR 25: STRFKR, “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second”: The indie rock band—the name started out as a joke—formed in Portland in 2007. Their song “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second” has been featured in a Target commercial, and on the hit TV show Weeds.

 MAR 27: Alina Baraz, “Can I”: Deep electro-downtempo beats coalesce with Baraz’s hypnotic, sensual vocals providing atmospheric bedroom slow jams. Her debut album, Urban Flora—a collaboration with Danish producer Galimatias—was described by one reviewer as “like taking an enchanting walk through a moonlit forest.”

 MAR 30: Elohim, “Hallucinating”: Electro-pop artist Elohim—the Hebrew name for God—keeps her identity an enigma, donning animal masks and using a computerized text-voice system for phone interviews. Synthesized soundscapes intertwined with crystalline vocals make Elohim a best-kept secret.

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