Portland’s about to get a dose of sweet heat and sultry soul this weekend, with the eighth annual Soul’d Out Festival.
“Some people say this town ain’t got no heart,” to quote The Dead. Portland’s got a reputation for being White – TheAtlantic.com called us “The Whitest City In America”; hell, it’s even referenced on Fox’s New Girl, when Winston won’t come here ‘cuz Portland’s “hella white.”
Portland may have a sullied, storied, problematic past, in terms of racial inequality and tension – which is still being sorted and re-negotiated – but those of us that live here know it’s not reflective of what Portland is actually like. We’ve got people from all over the world, from every culture, color, and creed. For many of us, Portland is the ultimate Sanctuary City, being infinitely more warm-hearted, open-minded and welcoming than a huge majority of North America.
Our music scene has a reputation towards the Caucasian Persuasion, with the remnants of our iconic late-’90s Indie Rock past and a more recent vanguard of perfectly polished, Coachella-ready Indie Pop bands – flower crowns and ukuleles all at the ready, poised to save the world from their privileged vantage point. This Portlandia-like stereotype is also only reflective of one layer of Portland’s cultural imagination, however; we’ve got as many different kinds of music here as we do types of people. PDX’s hip-hop scene has been cracking lately; electronica’s on the rise; metal keeps on grinding and growling; and, little do people realize, but we’ve got a small-but-solid funk, soul, and r&b scenes, that are likely to grow and spread, especially if people start paying attention.
Soul, funk, hip-hop, and r&b freaks are about to flip their wigs, this weekend, with five days of scorching soul and lowdown grooves, with the Eighth Annual Edition of The Soul’d Out Festival.
To help you know what’s going on, who’s playing on what days and what you shouldn’t miss, we’ve compiled a Guide To Soul’d Out Festival 2017, for your delectation.
Freeform Portland’s Guide To Soul’d Out Festival 2017
The don’t miss show on Wednesday has got to be Travis Scott w/ Flying Lotus at the Memorial Coliseum, if you like cutting-edge futuristic hip-hop. The Kanye West and Rihanna-collaborator’s bringing his autotuned croon to the Memorial Coliseum in the wake of last year’s excellent Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight. Legendary futurebeat architect Flying Lotus will showcase 21st Century Soul, with the LA instrumental hip-hop producer’s distinctive blend of cosmic and free jazz and hyperreal synth. Rarely do the underground and the mainstream come so close. This is a killer double-billing with some of hip-hop’s most interesting sonic bushwackers. Do Not Sleep.
Also Playing Soul’d Out Festival Wednesday, 4.19.2017
You’ll have multiple chances to get mad blunted, stoned, and smoked out with almost too much great music on 4.20, Portland’s favorite holiday, to keep up with.
For the jazzy, check out Chicago’s Tortoise, along with Portland’s own 1939 Ensemble, along with cyborg rapper/producer RJD2. If you’ve ever wondered how to get from Ennio Morricone to Gilberto Gil to Gil Scott-Heron to the soundtrack from The Warriors in a single mixtape, come to the Crystal Ballroom and get educated.
For the more forward-looking/thinking, check out West London-based singer/songwriter/producer Shura @ Holocene, to hear her take on alt r&b (can we just drop the pbr&b, already?). Find out what Shura learned in her year in the rainforest, before teaching herself production via YouTube. Holocene crowds tend to love this type of chill beats, so expect this one to go off! Get sweaty!
Also Playing Soul’d Out Festival; Thursday 4.20.2017
Friday is probably Soul’d Out Festival’s biggest night, with a chart-topping, heartstopping appearance from Solange; the robotic diva disco of legendary producer Giorgio Moroder; and a third-eye opening art experience from Alex & Anderson Grey.
Solange’s performance is going to be pure, utter class at the Arlene Scnitzer Concert Hall, along with influential jazz drummer Jamire Williams. The show is all-ages, so this could be your chance to introduce your young ones to some true honey-dipped r&b.
You’ll hear several eras of robo-funk come together when Giorgio Moroder and Dam-Funk take over the Roseland Theater. Moroder set the cogs in motion with such futuristic disco hits like Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” in the ‘70s, and re-scoring the retrofuturistic dystopian android messiah movie Metropolis. LA’s Dam-Funk would take Moroder’s vocoders, slinky bass, and boom-clap beats and usher in a new era of Elevator Rockin’ funk, most likely tripling the cost of keytars the world over.
Also Playing At Soul’d Out Festival Friday, 4.21.2017
It’s a cry for freedom, on Saturday, with protest sounds from all over the world! There’s the political napalm of Dead Prez, at Dante’s, and the Afrobeat freakout of Brooklyn’s Antibalas. There’s also some classic funk/soul, with The Ohio Players, at the Roseland Theater, as well as a chance to check out some up-and-coming local hip-hop at the Rose Tribe Invitational, ft. Tyus, Cassow, and Jonny Cool (who performed at last month’s monthly Freeform Portland hip-hop night @ The Fixin’ To in St. John’s, Northword.)
There will also be repeat performances from Alex Gray and Spiritrials: Hip-Hop Theater
Also Playing Soul’d Out Festival; Saturday, 4.22.2017
Sunday rounds things out on a mellow tip, with the skankin’ dancehall beats of Spawnbreezie. Those lucky enough to have a VIP pass already (they’re soul’d out, sadly), will get to attend a pig roast after the show, as well. Local jazz impresario Jimmy Mak will be honored at the Roseland Theater, as well.
For more info, news, updates, and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.souldoutfestival.com/
8pm Doors / 9:30 Show // 21 and upStar Theater
8pm DoorsCrystal Ballroom
9pm // 21+Dantes
9pm // 21+Dantes
Doors 8:30pm // 21+Wonder Ballroom
8pm Show // 21+Roseland Theater
9pm Doors / 21+Holocene
9pm Doors // 21+Star Theater
9pm Doors // 21+Dantes
8:30 Doors // 21+Star Theater
7pm Doors // All Ages (with guardian)Revolution Hall
8pm Doors // 21+Roseland Theater
To hear a mix of some of Soul’d Out Festival 2017’s coolest jams, tune into Morningstar: The Light In The Darkness, Satuday night into Sunday morning from 2 – 4 am, to hear a special mix put together from dessicant or keep an eye on mixcloud.com/for3stpunk for the archive!
Want more Portland and Pacific Northwestern music, art, and cultural news, reviews, tips, trips, ramblings, and mutterings? Follow J. Simpson on Instagram, Twitter, @Pinterest, and like Forestpunk on Facebook!