Portland March music calendar

MusicWatch Monthly: March of Progress

Virtual house shows, American composers, a micro-opera festival, and more

I don’t have much experience of the “good old days” of Portland. I was a toddler when Powell’s City of Books renovated in 2002 and barely a teenager when IFC’s Portlandia premiered–two events I have heard heralded as the beginning of the end for our true underground culture. The nineties and early 2000s economy that allowed for our Elliott Smiths and Dandy Warhols among a hundred others to blossom was short-lived, and we can attribute the shift to Portland’s cultural discovery by the rest of the country, gentrification, the boom of the housing market, the influx of tech companies wanting to avoid Seattle and Palo Alto…or some combination of those things. It can sometimes be hard to remain forward-looking all the time.

One of the lesser-thought-of social casualties of this shift–and especially of the last year–has been the world of house shows. Thankfully, KPSU is hosting a virtual house show on March 6th from 6-8 pm, an imitation of what once was but still a welcome chance to hear some young local talent. This includes local experimental synth duo Sea Moss (a pun on the CMOS batteries computers use to keep time), named by Willamette Week as one of Portland’s best new bands of 2020, and Songs for Snow Plow Drivers. Nothing will match the experience of standing in a crowded basement somewhere in Northeast, reeking of mildew and tobacco smoke, listening to great music by your friends, your friends’ friends, the band that friend of yours knows from work.

To some that sounds awful, to others heavenly. You can find their virtual house show online here. There is also a bit of a scavenger hunt: on the days leading up to the show, PSUaffiliated instagram accounts will be giving out clues, leading to letters and eventually leading to a word. Guess the word right and you’ll get entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card.

This month’s installment of Fear No Music’s Tomorrow is My Turn series is its own sort of house show, a livestream featuring flutist Amelia Lukas. The concert is available for forty-eight hours from its premiere at 7:30 pm on Monday the first, so tune in now while you have the chance. The program features Valerie Coleman, Carlos Simon, Allison Loggins-Hull and Joshua Mallard. A friend of mine compared Lukas’ playing to a shredding metal guitarist, which sounds awesome–and after hearing it myself I have to agree.