Best! Of Portland featuring Typhoon, Radiation City, Wild Ones, & More!
Every year, the Portland-based School of Rock (not the Jack Black movie, the real deal!) takes a venue, last year the Crystal, this year Wonder Ballroom, fill it with a lot of talented kids and teens, then invite, as the title suggests, the best of Portland bands to perform. What comes is one insanely epic night that cannot possibly be described in a single recap. This year, the bands that performed with the SOR kids were: Typhoon, Radiation City, RAC, Wild Ones, Shy Girls, The Thermals, Lovers, 1939 Ensemble, Magic Mouth, Gaytheist, Laura Veirs, The Miracles Club, Minden, Genders, Ancient Heat, Natasha Kmeto, Marriage + Cancer, The Ghost Ease, Like A Villain, and The We Shared Milk. Keep in mind that this is all in the span of two hours. This means that as soon as one band performs, that band gets off stage and the next band is on in seconds. It’s quite a feat to see, and it all came together spectacularly. I really can’t express how awesome this show was! This was my first year attending, and I am definitely going to attend next year. I highly recommend you do as well, and check out some of the other School of Rock shows. These kids have talent, and you need to see it! You can find them here! Now on to the review…
Because the night was so eventful, I’d have a very hard time covering every single band and reviewing everything separate, but I can at least try to cover as much as I can. Here’s what I’m going to do. This review is going to act as more of a “Highlights of…”. If I fail to mention one of the bands, I apologize in advanced. You all did spectacularly! Now, here were my favorite moments of Best! Of Portland 3!
Buried/Prideless – Natasha Kmeto
This truly gave me chills. Natasha Kmeto has such an awesome voice, and is so high in the talent spectrum. She started her two song set showing off her skills at the helm of an electronic beats and synth machine. The result was a very airy, beat-filled dream that echoed throughout the room. What sent tingles through me was at the end of the first song, Buried, when the beat dropped, and seamlessly transformed itself into the second song, Prideless. The bass was huge, and you could feel every note and drum hit resonating through your entire body (it probably helped that I was front row, right next to the speaker). This is when I would like to send out a shout out to my friend, and very talented member of School of Rock Portland, Astrid Scherlie. Her and Natasha deueted for Prideless, and the result was probably one of the most breathtakingly chilling performances I’ve seen. Their voices complimented each other so well, both hitting the low alto notes and higher, airy sopranos effortlessly. The two should really become a duo. They worked that well together. Even if a team up isn’t a reality in the future, I can almost guarantee you’ll be hearing of an Astrid Scherlie, or Redfox, in the future as an up and coming artist.
Smoke & Mirrors – Ancient Heat
“This is a little something the kids are calling disco,” one of the many School of Rock teens shouted out to the crowd before taking lead with Ancient Heat on their song, Smoke & Mirrors. Disco was really a great way to describe it. The whole of the song and the crowd and performers were shot with this energy that was almost untouchable. The whole stage was dancing, and their dance seeped into the crowd and caused this huge bouncy motion throughout the ballroom. It was quite a fun intro into what came next…
March Fourth/JOY NOW!
I had two choices for the night of January the 25th. Go to my schools winter formal, or go to Best! Of Portland. I made the right decision, and I’ll tell you one of the many reasons why. Imagine this: right after a band finished their rockin’ disco number, in through the venue door marches about 6 kids on stilts, followed by a huge marching band wearing the most amazingly colorful, out there costumes that just scream Portland. This happened at Best! Of Portland, and I’d bet you a million bucks it didn’t happen at winter formal. Though March Fourth and JOY NOW! were meant as more of an intermission break between two halves of the epic music sets, it was just as much a part of the show as anything else, and in fact one of the highlights of the night. As the School of Rock kids have talent, these teens do as well! The brass band was entertaining to watch, and even more entertaining were the stilted kids dancing in the middle of the ballroom.
So Easy Payments/Stomach Pains – Gaytheist, & Horror In Clay – Sons of Huns
Both these performances complimented each other perfectly. Between some soft rock and bouncy pop ballads, in came Gaytheist. Things immediately turned from jumping and light dancing to moshing and head-banging. These guys all went hard! And the party didn’t stop with Gaytheist. Immediately following came in Sons of Huns. When bands go hard, the crowd goes hard and it’s one of the most fun things that happen at concerts.
Swampy Seconds – Magic Mouth
The finale was probably one of the most fun performances of the night. Magic Mouth is just a blast to watch. From the dancy disco-jazzy music to the awesome dance moves that accompany them, they got the whole audience pumped at the very end.
Those were my five highlights from the show. It was hard to choose the best parts, as the entire night was just a blast! An extra mention goes out to Typhoon, who are probably one of my favorite Portland based bands. Their song, Young Fathers, was the first song played. However, I wasn’t too impressed with the kid who sang lead on it. It almost sounded more like karaoke. I would’ve preferred to hear the real lead singer sing into the mic. Also, a shout-out to the entire second half! The second half of the show was all just fun! In particular, Wild Ones, Radiation City, Shy Girls, Miracles Club, RAC, and Genders! They all did fantastic! I highly recommend everyone to go next year! It’s something you really don’t want to miss! I’ll see you all at Best! Of Portland 4!