Lower Freakuencies: Spotlight on Private Stock
Wednesday, September 02, 2015
Putting on a weekly music event on Wednesday nights can be a painful endeavor. If you do it over a significant span of time, like the four years that The Architex have hosted Private Stock, it's likely to test your resolve and, often, leave you with your head bouncing off of a wall.
Consider a town like Eugene, with a collegiate population that makes it so every four years is essentially an entire cultural lifetime in and of itself. First of all, there's just no catering to college kids. They have tastes and interests which change more rapidly than their sexual partners, and their investment in local culture is shallower than Donald Trump's perspective on Civil Rights. Unfortunately, students in this country are too focused on an arbitrary course load and on ignoring their own crippling debt to make for a very reliable local constituency.
Also consider the genre that Private Stock advocates: Hip-Hop. While there is no denying that Hip-Hop has expanded into every corner of American society, Oregon is still rounding the learning curve when it comes to the primarily urban art form and culture. The Beaver State is still home to a dominately rural population, and even here in metropolitan Portland, Hip-Hop faces a diluted interpretation of the culture, as well as opposition from the city and local venues. According to the event page for tonight's anniversary, however, the event's weekly succes is "all thanks to the great people in our community who love Hip Hop and show their support."
Architex member KI Design says that "the biggest challenge is finding fresh talent in such a small pool," noting how difficult it can be to fill a weekly bill with local artists, when the local artists are in short supply. But, as a further testament to the Architex and their community-building efforts, KI says that Private Stock has been supported by headlining acts planning their tours around a Wednesday night in Eugene. "We appreciate the support over the years and look forward to at least a couple more." KI said, hinting that the four-year mark is no way a final accomplishment for the group or the weekly event.
Touring acts need to plan their time on the road as meticulously as possible. With each stretch of travel taking a bite out of band funding, there are many bigger acts who focus solely on big cities and mega-festivals as performance locations. But, The Architex have managed to bring countless figures from the Hip-Hop pantheon to Eugene, including The RZA, The Pharcyde, Kool Keith, Aceyalone, Eyedea and Abilities, Andre Nikatina, and many more.
All of this is a testament to the conviction and integrity of The Architex, Luckey's, and the Hip-Hop community of Eugene and Oregon, at large. Through Private Stock, The Architex have managed to create a weekly event which gives local and touring acts an outlet to conduct their business and express their passions. Luckey's has supported The Architex in their effort to provide the community with a reliable Hip-Hop event every Wednesday, and the club provides a premier stage and venue for Hip-Hop artists to perform in.
Luckey's is one of the oldest bars in Oregon, operating since 1911. The bar has seen both World Wars, The Great Depression, prohibition, and countless more throughout history. It has survived to become a beautifully nostalgic pool hall and live music venue, encompassing all that Oregon is in history, aesthetic, and contemporary culture. There is something perfectly apropos about a place with so much history doing so much to move the culture of Oregon music forward.
In true Hip-Hop form, The Architex are comedians, storytellers, poets and vocalists. Their content is packed full of punchlines, literary device and an unreserved zeal that is likely to make any audience member grin and bob their head. For this anniversary edition of Private Stock, they have invited DJ Reddfox, Fresh Inc, Durazzo and Stryk-9 to the Luckey's stage. The true beauty of Private Stock is in its abillity to branch out and extend an olive branch from Eugene to urban, suburban, and rural Hip-Hop community members everywhere. They have extended this olive branch for four years, and will continue to do so until they no longer can.
Laugh, cry, dance and celebrate Hip-Hop thriving against all odds by attending Private Stock at Luckey's in Eugene tonight, September 2, at 10 PM.
Related Slideshow: MusicfestNW: Top Ten Acts of 2015
Music fans who exclusively listen to commercial synth-pop and quasi-intellectual indie singer-songwriters will have no problem filling their schedules throughout the weekend. MFNW has done a thorough job of making sure that the “majority” population of Portland will have plenty to see on the waterfront from August 21-23. For those of you seeking something a little more specific, or for those of you who want to get the most bang for their buck by purchasing the single-day, 60 dollar pass, here’s a comprehensive survival guide for your eardrums, in no particular order.
Few bands on the MFNW bill offer a sound as rich as Beirut. Drawing much of their influence from Balkan folk as well as the broader “indie” realm, the band is led by founding member Zach Condon and takes elements from all around the globe to create their unique audio motif. Cascading between methodic soulfulness and danceable baroque rhythms, they bring a lively sort of soul to MFNW that is endearingly sweet and emotionally enriching, the band is set to release their newest project, No No No in September and they will be performing at 8:30 PM on the Morrison Stage on August 22nd.
Milo Greene describes their sound as Cinematic-Pop. When the band was formed, the goal was to create music that they could, “potentially see being placed in movies and TV.” While some might interpret this as a soulless, capitalistic venture devoid of the essence that makes music worth creating, the band has managed to create their own brand of “cinth-pop” making them stand out in the genre. Their songs have a mildly filmic quality, relying mostly on catchy vocals and upbeat rhythms to get stuck in your head. We’ll see if their cinematic focus translates to an engaging live performance... they are set to play at 6:30 PM on the Morrison Stage on August 21st.
Foster The People
With “Pumped Up Kicks,” the band’s 2011 breakout hit, Foster The People became poster boys for commercial, electro-pop music. The leader of the trio, Mark Foster, was once quoted as saying, in regards to the early days of his career in Los Angeles, “I wasn't shy about taking my guitar out at a party. I wanted to be the center of attention." And that’s exactly what the band’s music sounds like. Foster spent a few years as a commercial jingle-writer, a fact that is evident from the band’s infectiously catchy sound. What they lack in depth, they more make up for with enthusiastic zeal and conventional good looks. So if you’re into pretty young men and seeing bands that are well known and popular, well, this’ll fill that particular void in your life... catch them at 8:30 PM on the Morrison Stage on August 21st.
George Lewis Jr., AKA Twin Shadow, is an artist who has been known for revisiting 80’s new wave music while infusing it with sophisticated R&B sensibilities and an intimate array of ambient synthesizers and punching drum sections. However, with his 2015 release, Eclipse, much of that has been stripped away to provide a simpler, more accessible record. With his first major-label project, Twin Shadow has created a style that lives less in the ethers, and more on the ground level. Eclipse is rawer, funkier, and more-booty shaking than his previous work, giving audiences a chance to get out of their heads and into their feet. See Twin Shadow at 6:30 PM on the Morrison Stage on August 22nd.
In a city which has become notorious for neglecting and even vilifying all things rap-related, it can be something of a surprise to see an artist like Danny Brown at an event that otherwise caters to the predominately white & affluent population of the metropolitan area. If it is a surprise, though, it is a pleasant one. Brown is unapologetically individual, with a voice and delivery that might mistakenly be labeled as goofy. He is at his best when engaging in sincere storytelling, such as with the intimately personal “25 Bucks” (Featuring Purity Ring) or the 2012 release, “Grown Up.” On other tracks, Brown delivers high-energy audaciousness with addictive hooks and fierce verbal delivery. Brown will be on the Morrison Stage at 6:30 PM on August 23rd.
Battles will shake your bowels. Every song they create has a life of its own, driven by a shared heartbeat of high-energy enthusiasm and sonic bravery. They seem to have more fun playing their music than doing anything else, and that is exactly what festivalgoers want to see. What pubescent laptop-jockeys pretend to do at EDM festivals across the country, Battles does with zero inhibition and 100 percent authenticity. They mix heavy electronics and brutal, pulsating organic rhythms into an alchemical auditory concoction that can be mesmerizing and uplifting. When they are playing, get close to the stage, and stay there. Get hypnotized and let your bowels shake at the Hawthorne Stage at 5:30 PM on August 22nd.
There’s no other way to say it; Aly Spaltro is an immutable badass. Supported by an impeccable band with whom she seems to share a unique level of connectedness, the singer-songwriter who goes by the moniker of Lady Lamb displays and enigmatic aesthetic, rich with diverse emotional substance and sprinkled around a landscape of passionately personal and occasionally esoteric lyrical content. She has a voice that can crawl inside of you and force your innards to resonate at superhuman frequencies, and her stage presence is capable of inducing audiences into a state of frenzied, messianic hubris. She will make you believe that there is no creature on earth more powerful than a human woman with an instrument in her hands. She’ll be doing this to you at 4:30 PM on the Morrison Stage on August 23rd.
If you are completely unaware of who Modest Mouse is, you’re probably too young or too old to be reading this. The Alternative/Indie ensemble has been around since 1993 and has since established a standard for all other contemporary Alternative outfits to hold themselves to. They have managed to become one of the most recognizable names in popular music, headlining the biggest festivals in the country and releasing their sixth album, Strangers To Ourselves, earlier this year. Amazingly, they have achieved this success without estranging fans of their early work. Modest Mouse delivers a distinct sound, one that is guided by a driving, forceful intention and laced with bright tones and decisive bass lines. Theirs is music that can make you stomp your feet, move your hips, or simply nod your head. But you will move. They’ll be closing out the fest at 8:30 PM on the Morrison Stage on August 23rd.
This is more of a precursor to the fest than it is part of it, as the show precedes the MFNW kickoff party occurring the next day, but Aesop Rock is too good of an act to not include in this list. The New York Native epitomizes hip-hop intellectualism and a music sensibility that transcends genre-conformity. Known for his work on one of hip-hop’s most distinctive record labels, Definitive Jux, as well as collaborations with Kimya Dawson and his own deliriously complex lyricism, Aesop now resides in Portland and will be performing with Rob Sonic, DJ Abilities, and Illmaculate at Star Theater on Wednesday, August 19th.
Part neo-soul, part pop-funk, with traces of high-concept new wave artistry, Miguel is an artist who gives you sensuality wrapped up in a digestible mix of personal confession and contemporary introspection. His latest album, Wildheart, teases at being sexy, while honestly observing modern sexuality and its complications in a world that has become less binary, less normative, and freakier. Along with this observation of sexuality as a function of modern relations, Miguel analyzes the subtler, nuanced aspects of how we interact with one another in the age of technology and social networking. His truthfulness and soulful songwriting will be on display at the Roseland Theater on Friday, August 21st for a sold out show... but who knows, maybe someone you know has two tickets and a crush on you.
- High Notes: The Best Live Music in Portland This Week (Sept 1-6)
- Portland’5 And CMNW Bring Chris Thile To Portland
- Lower Freakuencies: ThirstyCity Serves Up Community Hip-Hop
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp Honors Portland’s Leading Ladies in Music