Emerald Recommends: Project Pabst 2017
Musicfest NW presents Project Pabst is taking over the Tom McCall Waterfront in Portland this weekend from Aug. 26 to 27. With a robust lineup, plenty of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a warm weather forecast, the festival is sure to be the a great late summer event. Check out the Emerald’s recommendations for acts to check out this weekend.
The Last Artful, Dodgr — 1 to 1:30 p.m. (Captain Pabst Stage)
Before breaching Portland’s local hip-hop scene with her stylish sound, The Last Artful, Dodgr was simply Alana Chenevert from Los Angeles. That was before she graduated from Humboldt State University in 2011 and became a local fixture, radio DJ and in rap shows. She’s been rapping ever since — her first mixtape dropped in 2013 — and been challenging the genre’s norms. Her EP “Fractures” certified her underground cred two years later.
A queer artist with an ear for socially conscious prose, her first LP “Bone Music” evokes the style of Vince Staples, Frank Ocean and A$AP Rocky with a deeply personal edge. Throbbing bass lines abound, especially on the highlight “Jazz Crimes.” She delivers a drive-by scene in short lyrical spurts, blurring the line between hallucination and cold reality. The “Artful” moniker is well-earned. Fans of trippy hip-hop will find plenty to love.
White Reaper — 1:35 to 2:15 p.m. (Unicorn Stage)
Kentucky-based band White Reaper began to gain an audience in 2014 with a self-titled EP featuring fast and fuzz-filled garage rock. Since then, the band has released two full-length studio albums – “White Reaper Does It Again” and “The World’s Best American Band” – both of which include energetic music that teeters between punk and power pop. The band’s earlier sound is similar to artists that came before them – such as Ty Segall or Jay Reatard – while its newer music leans more towards pop without sacrificing garage rock roots. White Reaper has toured with bands such as Twin Peaks and Deerhoof, and they are currently out on the road in support of the veteran indie rockers Spoon. Expect an energetic set filled with loud guitars and catchy vocals.
Lizzo — 4 to 4:50 p.m. (Captain Pabst Stage)
Minneapolis R&B and hip-hop star Lizzo will be bringing a sense of self love and nourishment to Portland this weekend. Hot off the release of her new single, “Water Me,” on Aug. 17, she is sure to bring an empowering and rambunctious live set to the festival. With the break-up anthem “Good as Hell,” and the sultry, self-assured “Humanize” from 2016’s “Coconut Oil” EP, Lizzo is sure to make even the downtrodden a little more confident. Her Twitter campaign to play the 2018 Super Bowl is the perfect example of this. Check out Lizzo’s performance if you need someone saying “Yas, lord” in your life.
FIDLAR — 4:55 to 5:50 p.m. (Unicorn Stage)
Project Pabst seems like the perfect home for a punk band that sings about “Cheap Beer,” “Bad Habits” and spending neurotic days alone with an endless supply of 40 oz. beers as company. Since its unhinged 2013 self-titled debut, FIDLAR has learned that all parties have to end at some point, as singer Zac Carper has gone completely sober after several near-fatal overdoses and has documented his struggles on “Too.” The band’s October 2015 Portland performance was rowdy and the air was thick from sweating teenagers. Carper claims you “can’t buy liquor in Oregon” in the anthemic road trip song “West Coast,” but the festival’s discounted PBRs should suffice for the band’s adrenaline-fueled performance — regardless of your sobriety.
Father John Misty — 5:55 to 7:00 p.m. (Captain Pabst Stage)
Josh Tillman – who took on the moniker Father John Misty back in 2012 – is often a polarizing figure. Some praise him for his bleak piano ballads, ironic delivery and nostalgic production, while others refuse to look past his often smug and cynical persona. Earlier this year, the singer-songwriter released his much anticipated third album “Pure Comedy,” on which he offered a fair amount of witty criticisms and sardonic lyrics, touching on everything from entertainment to religion. Fans can expect him to perform songs from this newer release, as well as some older favorites off of “Fear Fun” and “I Love You, Honeybear.”
Die Antwoord — 7:05 to 8:10 p.m. (Unicorn Stage)
Hip-hop/rave duo Die Antwoord will certainly stand out from the rest of the acts set to perform at this weekend’s Project Pabst. The South African-duo, comprised of vocalists Ninja and Yolandi Visser, is known for their abrasive lyricism and performance, not to mention their wacky wardrobe. Most songs feature a dance-inspired beat with an overload of synths, while the pair rap and sing in three different languages.
The group is heavily influenced by Zef culture, which is a South African countercultural movement that has inspired, among many things, music, fashion and political ideologies. The duo’s often vulgar and borderline disgusting language is derived from the Zef movement’s emphasis on a “hold nothing back” attitude. The combination of that attitude and musical talent has made Die Antwoord one of the most polarizing international musical acts in the scene.
San Fermin — 3:05 to 3:55 p.m. (Unicorn Stage)
San Fermin, a Brooklyn born chamber-pop band, will also be performing at Project Pabst. The group released its third album, “Belong,” in April 2017. Bandleader Ellis Ludwig-Leone wrote it with a new perspective. His songwriting inspiration came from more personal and realistic scenarios, like his dedication to his band mates and the time he spends alone between tours. Although Ludwig-Leone composes the group’s sound, expect additional members Charlene Kaye and Allan Tate to provide vocals. With singers backed by live saxophone, violin and trumpet, San Fermin provides a mix of classical instruments and hip indie sounds.
After its show in Portland, San Fermin will continue touring North America throughout September and October.
Noname — 4 to 4:50 p.m. (Captain Pabst Stage)
Independent Chicago rapper Noname made her splash into the music scene after providing featured verses on Chance the Rapper’s “Acid Rap” and grammy-award-winning “Coloring Book” mixtapes. In 2016, Noname released her first solo record,“Telefone.” The album, which was released as a free download, was well-received by critics and fans alike. Both Pitchfork and Consequence of Sound ranked the album in their top 50 albums of 2016.
Much of the album is presented in the format of a poetic story, providing information on her tough upbringing in Chicago and the growth she has made since then. “Telefone’s” instrumentation features bright piano chords and soft, upbeat percussion that forms a pleasant blend of hip-hop and R&B. The uplifting beats help soften the blow of the record’s mostly grim themes.
Whitney — 4:55 to 5:50 p.m. (Unicorn Stage)
Indie pop duo Whitney is returning to Oregon after performances in Eugene and Portland last April. “Light Upon the Lake,” the group’s 2016 release, garnered critics’ attention for its smooth and soulful, but still poppy sound. Drummer/vocalist Julien Ehrlich croons from center stage during the band’s performances, while Max Kakacek’s guitar licks follow along behind. The band’s intimate and fun sound will provide a nice respite from some of the more intense acts playing the festival.
Beck — 8:20 to 9:50 (Captain Pabst Stage)
With a string of radio hits in the mid-’90s – including the irreverent “Loser” and the sample-heavy “Where It’s At” – Beck solidified himself as one of the most recognizable names in alternative rock. He continued his career into the 2000s with just as much relevancy, releasing acclaimed albums such as the mellowed-out “Sea Change” and the the psychedelic “Modern Guilt.” He has created an ever-changing style that takes influence from almost every genre of popular music. Just a few year back, Beck won Album of the Year at the Grammy’s for his folk-influenced album “Morning Phase,” and he is currently gearing up to release a new album entitled “Colors” in October. Live performances often feature a career-spanning set, featuring both newer material as well as old favorites.
Stay tuned for more Project Pabst coverage this weekend.
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