- Rob Cullivan
- Portland Tribune - Features
Wassabi Collective, a five-piece band from Nelson, British Columbia, combines pop, rock, hip hop, reggae, funk and jazz in a warm, danceable style that features the semi-cheeky vocals of Melissa Meretsky backed by Brent Hongisto on guitar, Jimmy Lewis on drums, Rahj Levinson on keys and Andrew McCormick on bass. The quintet's first full-length record 'Stories Not Forgotten' earned awards and critical kudos in their native land for its forward-looking hippie dance music, sort of a Sublime for this decade. Definitely a summer feel band. Hip hopper Josh Martinez and Portland's highly contagious hip-hop reggae funksters Luminous Fog share the stage.
Wassabi Collective, Josh Martinez, Luminous Fog, 9 p.m. Thursday, July 1, Mt. Tabor Theater, 4811 S.E. Hawthorne St. $8. Info: 503-360-1450, taborpdx.com.
Quiet riot grrls
When Lilith Fair first took shape in 1997, contemplative female artists like the festival's cofounder Sarah McLachlan were all over the radio, but testosterone still pretty much ruled the summer festival stages. McLachlan changed all that - and made millions to boot - with her all-female headlined festival, which has been resurrected this summer. While the novelty of women singers who aren't shallow pop tarts or trying-to-be-one-of-the-boyz rockers has long worn off, you still rarely see this much musical talent, male or female, together on one stage. In addition to McLachlan, the lineup includes A Fine Frenzy, Marie Digby, Sheryl Crow, Sugarland, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Erykah Badu, Colbie Caillat and Miranda Lee Richards. 'Shrek' fans should keep an ear out for Lucy Schwartz whose voice graces 'Darling I Do,' featured in the movie.
Lilith Fair, 2:30 p.m. Friday, July 2, Sleep Country Amphitheater, 17200 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield, Wash. Ticket prices vary greatly. Info: lilithfair.com.
Some pop with yer pizza?
Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but John Lefler of Dashboard Confessional actually writes catchy, almost Paul McCartney-esque powerpop music that's a just a little more complex than the heart-bleeding-on-your-emo-sleeves sounds he creates with them Dashboard boys. So even if you're a tuff guy who would rather be caught singing along lustily with some feminist folkie at Lilith Fair than seen wiping 'ohmigod-i-totally-luv-this-song!' tears from your girlfriend's face at a Confessional show, you still might enjoy Lefler's solo music.
John Lefler, 8 to 9:30 p.m. Monday, July 5, Mississippi St. Pizza Pub, 3552 N. Mississippi Ave. Info: 503-288-3231, www.mississippipizza.com.
No Portland, No Cry
Anyone who ever saw Bob Marley and the Wailers knows if one thing defined them besides Marley, it was the interplay between the thick but smooth bass lines of Aston 'Familyman' Barrett and the innovative drumming of his brother Carlton. Familyman is touring with the latest incarnation of the Wailers. Familyman was Marley's musical director, arranging a number of Marley's songs, co-producing albums, and even helping him pen such numbers as 'Who The Cap Fit.' The newest version of the Wailers includes Koolant, singer of the reggae hit 'Rat Race,' among others. Portland's own eight-piece rhythm and horn jazz group Philly's Phunkestra will open the show with its brilliant blow-your-face-out jam music.
The Wailers, Philly's Phunkestra, 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 7, Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside St. $25, all ages. Info: 503-225-004, mcmenamins.com.
Cello can you go?
Nothing says PAR-TAY! like the cello. OK, maybe some instruments say party better, but Portland Cello Project Dance Party refuses to cede the booty-shaking world to anyone, and demands you get down with its classical flavored sound. Mixing pop and classical approaches to music is not new - heck, it was already yesterday by a few decades when the string-backed McCartney sang 'Yesterday' - but getting down to a group of competent cellists in a bar is still a novelty for most of us. So if you're tired of the same-old, same-old nightclub experience, sashay down to hear Paul Jenkins and company take them bows and make some aural gold.
Portland Cello Project Dance Party, 9 p.m. Friday, July 9, Doug Fir, 830 E. Burnside St. $12 advance, $14 day of show. Info: 503-231-WOOD, dougfirlounge.com.