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The dark end of the street: Last Mercy Emissions’ continued booking winning streak

Last Mercy Emissions, the brainchild of local extreme music aficionado and occasional booking agent Jon Morse, is a godsend in Portland’s musical landscape. Call it how you see it, but many local heads of significant stature have been confiding in me lately that our off-the-beaten-path, more-special-than-standard music scene has reached a historic low point. Morse, in the meantime, has been bringing all the best, and freakiest, shows to Portland. He’s a one-man army offering up…

Punk's not dead: Downtown Boys carry the fire at SPACE  

What to say about The Downtown Boys? They’re the sort of wildly incendiary, hugely spirited punk act that seems nearly totally missing from the ‘scene these days. They’re as smartly packaged and airtight in conception as Nation of Ulysses at the top of their game, and they’ve hoisted the sax-attack weirdness of X Ray Spex and dropped it into a 21st century, genre-spinning version of punk rock that’s knowledgeable in the wake of classic 80s…

Emo nostalgia: Portland House of Music and Events revisits glory days of poignant tunes

Most of us can admit that we had an Emo phase, whether it was late ’90s Midwest heartbreak, or early ’00s sadness hidden by bangs. Those glory days are still being celebrated. With bands like Taking Back Sunday and Silverstein having 10th anniversary shows for some of our quintessential sad-teen albums, it’s hard not to feel old. But that doesn’t mean that the dream has to die, displayed by the growing revival of the genre…

Into the woods: Bowles, Olsen evoke deep forests, darker moods

Lovers of quiet exhibitions of internal power, bucolic hymns about loves, and strife-ridden mournings, mark July 25 off on your calendars (or moon charts). Angel Olsen’s music is something to stand in awe of. She writes bewitching songs that do not pull punches. They are straight to the point, and with a sonic quality that conjures a setting you feel safe in. She is joined with Virginia native Nathan Bowles, a folk multi-instrumentalist who creates…

With a little help from friends: Delta Spirit embarks on tour heavy with collaboration

Delta Spirit is a band like your best friend. They sing songs that would be better listened to at 2am when you can’t sleep and yearn for a mistake to make. They write heart-scorching songs that are at once thundering and intimate. They question you, they stand by you, they’re stories that are realistic and beautiful and entrenched in a state of pained growth.

Suspects at HOME: City to get the Big Easy star treatment

Some of the biggest names on the New Orleans music scene will play a special concert at Portland House of Music & Events on Sept. 4, ringing in the First Friday crowd with a musical work of art. The New Orleans Suspects are in Scarborough on Saturday to play a private wedding, so Greg Martens, legendary deadhead and local promoter, rang up his friends and got them to play in Portland the night before.

Psychic Roots: Twisted Roots drummer prepares for ‘Dinner with a Psychic’ at Rivalries

“Life isn’t short, chapters are,” Maine psychic medium Sonny Robinson told me recently as I interviewed him at Rivalries. He was referring to his deeply held belief that our souls come through this life many times and that while each life in the physical form on earth, each “chapter,” may be rather brief, our souls are immortal.

Shango Afrobeat Orchestra pumps up OLS

Shango, the 20-plus-member orchestra dedicated to playing Afrobeat music, was founded by percussionist, keyboardist, dancer, composer and arranger Jonny Peiffer two years ago. Last Friday night, most of the band filled the stage at One Longfellow Square and turned the intimate venue into an indoor street party. The tables and chairs were pushed back to make room for the band that makes people dance.
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