Photos by: Candace
Words by: DJ
August brought a lot of shows to Portland. The summer is coming to an end and the Project Pabst music festival was the cherry on top of a savory music filled pie. Nestled next to the Tom McCall Waterfront Park were 2 stages – Captain Pabst and Unicorn – food vendors, and more than 10,000 festival goers. Not to mention all the Pabst that came at attendees from all angles. From giveaways by local shops to free samples of ice cream and a festival goer with a six pack of Pabst tattooed on his stomach, Project Pabst was a beautiful two day experience with an awesome lineup.
Day 1: The Last Artful, Dodgr
The first day brought The Last Artful, Dodgr to the Captain Pabst stage. She was the only Portland hip hop representation at the festival this year. Dodgr has made significant strides since she was background singer for Amine on Jimmy Fallon. Since then the L.A. transplant has also been on “Sway in The Morning”, a internet radio show hosted by veteran Hiphop radio host, Sway Calloway. It was a big deal for Dodgr to be brought onto the Sway’s show days after performing on Jimmy Fallon. It was a sign that showed Portland artist, the world is started to acknowledge talent in Rose City.
Dodgr hit the stage and played songs off her latest set of grooves, “Bone Music”. She was the first artist to kick things off for Project Pabst this year. Songs like “Oofda” and “Jazz Crimes” put the crowd in a trance. Fans swayed left and right with Dodgr’s uniquely pitched lyrics accompanied with the jazz infused stylings of producer Neill Von Tally.The fact Dodgr was the only Portland hip hop act amongst a lineup of industry heavy hitters and hot topics was definitely something local hip hop fans could smile about. The future of Portland hip hop is very bright.
A little later in the day, Minnesota transplant artist Lizzo hit the stage. Fairly new to the music game, the Houston raised artist has been quite successful in a relatively short amount of time. Ever since “Lizzobangers” debuted in 2013, Lizzo has been in demand. Lizzo is apart of a growing genre of rap that has been tearing down the misogynistic roots of hiphop. Artist like BROCKHAMPTON, Junglepussy, CupcakKe, and Cardi B have ushered in a new wave of music that celebrates LGBTQ communities and lyrical content that is diverse and hasn’t been seen in the male dominated genre as frequently.
Lizzo played songs like her latest hit “Water Me” and last year’s single, “ Good as Hell”. The Houston native also took time to tell fans her heart goes out to her home city because of the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey. On her Instagram, she posted about a friend who lost everything because of the natural disaster. A lot of hiphop artist across the country are also helping out victims of Harvey in multiple ways. Lizzo continued her set with songs from her “Coconut Oil” project. Thankfully for Lizzo fans in Portland, she’ll be back to town tear the house down in November.
Father John Misty
Later on in the evening, Josh Tillman, better known as Father John Misty was up. Father John is no stranger to the Northwest. He lived in Seattle in his early twenties. Father John had a laid back approach to the stage when his set started. His attitude and tone is much like the music he puts out. Father John placed me in the mind of the cool guy you talked to in the morning rush coffee line. Everybody is frantic and impatient while he just rolls with the punches and smiles.
The D.C. native played tunes from his April release “Pure Comedy”. Songs like “Ballad of the Dying Man” and “Total Entertainment Forever” soothed the crowd, while a cool breeze from the waterfront brought the added feeling of tranquility to festival goers as the music played. Father John was also witty as all get out during his set. As his show came to a close, he jokingly told fans he hoped Iggy Pop was somewhere wondering what the hell happened to music during the upcoming Die Antwoord set.
After the Die Antwoord set finished up on the Unicorn stage, the Godfather of Punk himself took to the Captain Pabst stage with intentions to bring the house down. Iggy Pop was the headliner of day one at Project Pabst and he didn’t disappoint. At 70 years young, Iggy can still put on an amazing show. The Michigan native hit the stage in classic Punk Rock attire: no shirt, tight leather pants, and the spirit of Punk flowing through his veins.
The Punk Godfather made the crowd rage with older songs and songs from his most recent work, “Post Pop Depression”. The crowd swayed and jirated to songs like “The Passenger” and “Lust For Life” as they fed from the pure energy Iggy had his entire set. Iggy and his band kept the crowd rocking out with recent album favorites, “Gardenia” and “Paraguay”. Not often does a Punk Rock legend like Iggy Pop stroll through Portland. He definitely left fans wanting more.
Day 2: Noname
If fans were still hungover from day one, Noname was the perfect hangover cure. The Chicago native has been in Portland a few times before and has always put on a great show. Noname’s spoken word style of rap placed the crowd in a soulful, lyrical frenzy. Fans swayed to and fro while Noname played songs like “Diddy Bop” and “Yesterday”. The 25 year old rapper has gained more mainstream attention since she released her highly anticipated “Telefone” album. After all, fans waited nearly three years for the mixtape.
The last day of the festival was a bit of a scorcher. Noname looked graceful on the stage, while the sun illuminated her melanin. She looked like the young, woke lady with the 90’s aesthetic who would house sit while the neighbors were out of town for the weekend and watch culture classics like “Friday”. Her “Menace II Society” t shirt she wore for the show was a testament to her aura.
The major opener before the main act was Queens Bridge legend Nasir Jones. Nasty Nas has been one of hip hop’s gatekeepers for well over a decade. He’s imparted industry wisdom to today’s generation of emcees. Nas was even a big part of the reason why J Cole started rapping. Thank the hip hop gods. Nas has blessed fans with great music since 1994. With a musical catalogue older than many festival goers, Nas hit the stage and reminded fans why the East Coast was the birthplace of hip hop.
The 47 year old rap legend played classic cuts like “If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)” and “One Mic” for the day one fans. Watching Nas up on stage made you feel like you were there the first time he performed his songs. The energy the Nasty emcee brought to the stage was grown but younger fans could still relate because the message of Nas’ music transcends time. Nas ended his time the “Illmatic” classic “The World Is Yours” and encored with a “Life’s Good” cut, “Stay”. No matter where fans get the opportunity to watch Nasir do his thing, they never leave his shows disappointed.
A weekend of Pabst induced good times, amazing prizes from local vendors, and great local food started to come to a close. Beck took on the responsibility of making sure Project Pabst attendees left with a good taste in their mouth about their experience from start to finish. Hailing from sunny, laid back California, Beck approached the stage with a lax demeanor.
The singer, also 47, played songs like “Dear Life” and “Loser” with his smooth black hat and suit to match. Beck is like the quiet guy you saw around the small town you used to live in. You always wondered what he was like or what he did. He looked mysterious but respectable. The fans were able to leave on a feel good note when “Dreams” came thru the festival speakers. The background graphics for the Beck’s set added another dynamic while he let his voice box hypnotized his fans. Beck took a brief moment to change end his set with a nice white suit, looking like an American folk singing angel. August ended with bang. Thanks Project Pabst.