Cultural Calendar: May
by Charlie Wilcox
Modest Mouse @ Crystal Ballroom
Ehh. I mean, okay. I guess. Hmm. Modest Mouse in 2014? I dunno. I don’t want to turn into one of those old codgers that constantly say “but they were so good back then,” especially because I wasn’t even conscious of music when Modest Mouse was good, circa ’97 or so. But listen to ‘The Lonesome Crowded West’ or ‘This Is a Long Drive…” and then listen to, well, anything they made after the year 2000. Yeah, big difference, right? I want to believe that this new album that’s been in the works for several years now will be different, but then I hear ‘Float On’ blasting in the Pool Hall, and a single tear rolls down my cheek. I want to believe, I do. Attend at your own risk.
RiFF RaFF w/ Grandtheft @ Roseland Theatre
It seems that Riff Raff has entered into the top tier of meme-tastic rap acts of our era, along with other luminaries like Tyler, the Creator (who is also coming to Portland this month) and, of course, Lil B. While Tyler is probably the most famous and headline-grabbing of them, most people have a fairly dichotomous reaction to him, whereas I’ve beared witness to many debates between peers on whose shtick is better, Riff Raff ’s or Lil B’s. While the Based God definitely has more of a cult surrounding him, his effervescent cartoonality actually makes him seem more like a real person. By that I mean that he isn’t trying too hard to act like a real person, making him seem more like a real person who is just unbelievable (as many personalities around Reed are, in fact). Riff Raff, on the other hand, seems like he is creating a persona that actively tries to be realistic, a simulacra of a certain rapper brought to its logical end, and that’s what interests me about him. Lil B might just be a person doing his thing, but Riff Raff, he might be angling for something. What that something is, I don’t know. Besides all that academic shit, he makes genuine earworms, songs that are just stupid enough to warrant how catchy they are. It’ll be an interesting show, for sure.
Kishi Bashi @ Wonder Ballroom
Kishi Bashi manages to distill pure happiness and exuberance into a three minute song, and what’s more, he isn’t annoying about it. I feel like a lot of ‘happy’ bands get a bad rap for being aggressively irritating in their effervescence, which is true in a good many cases (here’s looking at you, Matt & Kim). Kishi Bashi, though, manages to create a whimsical, fascinating world that isn’t overbearing. It makes sense that he spent his time in bands like of Montreal. His debut album, ‘151a’, was one of the underrated pop masterpiece of 2012, and hopefully the new album ‘Lighghts’ won’t go so unnoticed. In concert, he is more dynamic, making use of looping to create his songs, which I always find super cool. He and tUnE-yArDs need to tour together, honestly.