As a city Portland is known for many things most commonly rain and the Trail Blazers just to name a few. If you were born and raised in the city of roses there are certain things you can bank on when people find out where you’re from. Questions involving the climate and sports usually ensue which are common conversation pieces among strangers. Well the next time you step of that plane you’ll be armed with a new conversation piece. When they ask you what’s in Portland just tell them Esperanza Spalding, you know the woman that one best new artist at the Grammy’s. My best bet is they’ll look confused when those words come from your mouth. That’s right the 2011 Grammy party was crashed by none other than Northeast Portland native Esperanza Spalding. In a category dominated by pop icon Justin Beiber and hip-hop superstar Drake Ms. Spalding pulled the rope-a-dope and left with the hardware. In one of the biggest upsets in Grammy history the jazz virtuoso was able to slay goliath with grace and class. What started as a dream in Portland’s King neighborhood came full circle during her acceptance speech in Los Angeles. Standing on stage in front of her peers who most likely had no clue jazz still existed she spoke from her heart and thanked the many people that helped her achieve her goals. In true Northeast Portland fashion she couldn’t exit the stage until she gave a shout out to her city, which led many Oregonians straight to their DVR consoles. This was a win for the city and a win for jazz, which goes all but unheard in this new musical landscape. So the next time your driving down a Portland street you might want to pay attention to surroundings. Shooting hoops all alone at that playground might just be the next Kevin Love, or that kid with the flip cam might be the next Gus Van Sant. Keep your ears wide open you never know, one day your neighbor might just win a Grammy.
It’s very rare these days when things live up to their billing. You can look at virtually anything in life and the hype usually exceeds the substance. As a veteran of the Portland nightlife circuit I’d like to think I’ve seen it all. In Portland clubs come and they go, one moment it’s the place to be the next moment it’s up for lease. I hate to put individual clubs on blast so I won’t say any names but if going out downtown is your thing I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Be that as it may there is a club experience that stands above the rest as of late. Massive is an event held at The Crown Room that has garnered a lot of buzz lately around town. Massive as an event reflects the spirit of Portland in many different ways. If you attend the event the first thing you’ll notice is the diversity of the people there. Unfortunately many spots around town or in the U.S. for that matter have become voluntarily segregated. Segregated in a different way than you might think though, for instance some of the upscale bars and lounges in The Pearl District cater to a specific crowd. Which is cool but you end up with is a social landscape that’s separated by tax bracket. This turns the city into pseudo melting pot where people feel comfortable only when surrounded by their similar tax bracket. What makes Massive dope is all those rules are thrown out the window when you walk through the door. Finally you have a true blend of people and ideals in one place at one time having a good time. The music selection is really what makes it unique, too many times when you go out on the town you hear watered down versions of radio songs that fit the crowd attending. At Massive you might hear an old school Mobb Deep record followed by an up and coming local artist. It’s truly the place to be if downtown nightlife is your thing. It’s rare that something lives up to the hype but in this case it’s ok to believe everything you read. For more information visit http://thecrownroom.net/
Sometimes when you listen to music it just does something to you. For the most part that’s the reason that music holds a special place in most people’s hearts. When you’re having a bad day a good song can change the way you feel about everything. It can put a smile on your face as well as a tear down your cheek and that’s what makes the art as a whole unique. Portland band Hello Morning is keenly aware of that fact and create music with this in mind. The Pacific-Northwest as a whole is notorious for producing a wide variety of sounds. Everything from electro-pop to hard core rock you name it and you’ll hear it played somewhere around town. Hello Morning has a sound that reminds me more of Muse or A Silent Film than anything I’ve heard around town. A lot of their material has a very full and polished sound, which would lead one to believe that they’re well on the way to something great. What makes Hello Morning refreshing to me as a listener is they seem to have already found what works for them. Sometimes when you listen to a new band you can tell they’re still finding themselves musically. This can be a good thing at times for a fan that can appreciate the coal before it turns into a diamond, but in Hello Morning’s case the shine is already bright. You might be a little late to the party if your just now deciding to check them out because they’ve been playing around town pretty consistently for a while now. The good thing about music is there’s always room on the bandwagon for new listeners. There self-titled EP is available on iTunes and if your looking to check them out live visit http://hellomorningband.com for dates, you wont leave disappointed.