Music fest offers impressive lineup of legends, locals
Eight years in, and the Soul'd Out Music Festival is "bigger and better" than ever, co-founder Nicholas Harris says.
"Last year we turned the corner with a big lineup and wanted to build on success and momentum," says Harris, who's also executive producer of the event that stages at 10 local clubs, and Veterans Memorial Coliseum for the first time, April 19-23. "Portland is all about celebrating soul music."
Among the first-timers, perhaps the biggest name in the lineup is Solange, who's a pop star in her own right and not just the younger sister of Beyonce.
The Ohio Players, a hit-making group formed in 1959 that gave us "Love Rollercoaster" and other hits, also plays Soul'd Out.
Giorgio Moroder doesn't come to the United States very often, but Soul'd Out was lucky enough to attract the legendary producer/composer, who helped Donna Summers reach disco mega-fame.
And, the likes of Lupe Fiasco, Toots and the Maytals, and Bilal return to the festival, which also features local acts such as Marlon McClain, Andy Stokes, Laura Invancie and Edna Vazquez. A "Tribute to Jimmy Mak" pays homage to the late jazz club owner Jimmy Makarounis.
Complete information can be found at www.souldoutfestival.com. Individual tickets remain for all concerts. Venues include the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Crystal Ballroom, Dante's, Holocene, Doug Fir Lounge, Roseland Theater, Wonder Ballroom, Star Theater, Mississippi Studios and The Goodfoot Lounge, as well as Veterans Memorial Coliseum for Travis Scott and Flying Lotus.
Toots and the Maytals
7 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, Roseland, 21-over
As the story goes, Toots gave birth to the term "reggae" music.
"It may seem like a hyperbolic comment," Harris says, "but he was the first to use the term in the song 'Do the Reggae' in Jamaica in the early '60s. He's truly a legend in the genre."
His career sprung forth from Jamaica, halted briefly by a stint in prison, and then went big in Britain.
In 1975, the group called itself Toots and the Maytals and signed with Island Records. Their "Funky Kingston" showcased their unique interpretation of John Denver's "Country Roads" ("West Virginia" in the song became "West Jamaica").
In 2007, they released "Light Your Light," which received a Best Reggae Album Grammy nomination.
Toots and the Maytals are on a co-bill with Lee Fields and the Expressions.
8 p.m. April 20, Roseland, 21-over
He's a leader in the rap genre who once had a legion of fans protest Atlantic Records to release his third album, "Lasers," which eventually topped the Billboard 200, Hot R&B/Hip Hop Albums and Hot Rap Albums. The hits were "The Show Must Go On" and "Out of My Head."
The controversial rapper often has vowed not to release more music, but "Drogas Light" landed in February as Fiasco's first independently issued album.
"He's always been a big popular artist in the market," Harris says. "He's known as a more thoughtful, intellectual hip-hop artist, he has more of a social conscience; definitely not coming at you from bling and strip clubs, but community centers and how to help people."
7:30 p.m. April 21, Schnitz, all ages
She managed her sister's group Destiny's Child, often appearing as the opening act, and debuted her first single in 2002, "Feelin' You, Pt. 2," followed by her first solo album, "Solo Star," that featured collaborations with Timbaland, Missy Elliott and Pharrell Williams.
Her breakthrough came with "Sol-Angel & the Hadley St. Dreams" in 2008, with five singles making the top 10 Billboard club chart.
Solange's latest album, "A Seat at the Table," has been described as calmly cathartic and considerably at odds with mainstream R&B. It promotes healing and empowerment in response to racial oppression.
"It's her first time in the market," Harris says. "She's got a different kind of style, more arty and thoughtful."
8 p.m. April 21, Roseland, 21-over
His name was synonymous with hit-making in the 1970s and '80s. Moroder will spin his hits as a deejay in Portland, supported by DaM-FunK.
He and Pete Bellotte helped launch Donna Summer's career with "Lady of the Night" in 1974, and her "Love to Love You Baby" followed in 1975 with a 17-minute title track that became internationally famous.
Along with riding the wave with Summer, including with 1979's "Bad Girls," through the disco era, Moroder moved into film scoring for pictures such as "American Gigolo," "Cat People" and "Flashdance," which produced "Flashdance ... What a Feeling," earning Moroder his second Oscar.
"Daft Punk did a disco throwback on his last album and had Giorgio on as a special guest," Harris says. "He's been a very influential and reclusive performer; he doesn't perform live very often."
The Ohio Players
7 p.m. April 22, Roseland, 21-over
The support acts are Portland band Shock, with Roger Sause and Marlon McClain, as well as Andy Stokes.
"Very cool, old-school Portland lineup," Harris says. Shock was a terrific Portland funk band in the 1980s, and McClain a guitarist from top Portland band Pleasure.
The Ohio Players were formed in 1959 and reached great heights in American funk and R&B, including with No. 1 album "Fire" and hit "I Want to Be Free."
The 1975 release "Honey" gave us "Love Rollercoaster." The band continued recording on several labels.
This and that
The Travis Scott and Flying Lotus show was a late addition, and it's the first coliseum show for Soul'd Out. "We had him on our radar, and definitely had Flying Lotus (aka Steven Ellison) on our radar for a long time," Harris says. Scott is touring on his "Birds Eye View" tour. The details: 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, Veterans Memorial Coliseum, ticketmaster.com, $42.50-$55. ...
The "Tribute to Jimmy Mak" will be held at 7 p.m. April 23 at the Roseland. "It's an apt wrap-up for the festival," Harris says. "We're happy to be involved with a benefit concert and establishing a music scholarship (in Mak's name) at Portland State University." The lineup includes drummer Mel Brown's band, joined by vocalists Bobby Torres, Dan Balmer, LaRhonda Steele and Andy Stokes, and The Yachtsmen backing Jarrod Lawson, Paul Creighton and Moose E. Lee and the Soul Vaccination Horns.