If you’re the kind of person who needs a show to kick every holiday off right, consider heading out to Angelo’s the day before Thanksgiving for their Pre-Thanksgiving Bash, featuring some fantastic local punk and punk-inspired bands. Havania Whaal are a down-and-dirty rock group with a quirky edge and some of the weirdest, most beautiful chord progressions I’ve heard. When you think you know where a song is going, sounding full of sweet, surf punk lyrics, they break into almost disturbing, dissonant notes. Their song “Witch Hunt” perfectly sums up Havania Whaal’s mix of the traditional with the eclectic. It’s music that slowly grows on you; at first, you’re not sure what you’re hearing, but then you find yourself smiling at the lyrics and tapping along to the beat. When you listen to music as much as I do every day, it’s incredibly refreshing to find bands that are willing to experiment and dive a little into the weird side of things, especially in Portland.
While we might be better-known for craft beers and hipsters, Portland actually has a hugely vibrant and competitive soul music scene. By far one of the most talented group of people in soul music today are the members of The Dirty Revival. Their music reminds me of the old school Isaac Hayes records; like the incredible soul artists from the 1970s, The Dirty Revival keep their repertoire as expansive as possible. They have sweet, earthy ballads, upbeat swingers and what can only be described as “songs an American Idol contestant would be terrified to sing.” Sarah Clarke’s lead vocals are the best of both worlds: she can sing like no other, but she doesn’t let her obvious depth of talent overpower the songs. Instead, she showcases that gorgeous voice of hers alongside the grooves. Both complement one another in perfect harmony. If you have never seen this group live, take a look at the video below to see for yourself just how jaw-droppingly talented this band is.
If you’ve been paying attention to the music world over the past two years or so, you’ve likely heard of this band. This New-York based, ethereal pop duo have blown up in popularity recently, performing at some of the biggest music festivals in the industry. What makes their show in Portland special is the relatively small venue they will be performing in, relative to how popular they are. You won’t want to miss this group at the Holocene this weekend, since it is likely one of the last changes you’ll get to see them perform in a venue this intimate. The group also rarely makes it out to the west coast, so that fact alone should make you want to snag tickets right this moment.
Marissa Abruzzini is the music editor for mxdwn.com, a freelance journalist, guitarist, and professional music snob. She spends most of her time poking around backstage at Portland’s seediest music venues.
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