Posts Tagged ‘Mad Rad’

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Downtown Bend will celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style Thursday as L.A. fusionistas Ozomatli headline a free outdoor celebration on Wall Street. My conversation with band co-founder Ulises Bella focused more on Ozo’s world travels than its music.

But it’s the band’s role as U.S. Department of State-designated Cultural Ambassadors that sparks a fire in Bella. When he talks about Ozomatli’s music, he sounds excited. When he talks about its overseas work, he sounds inspired.

Since 2007, the band has traveled to Nepal, India, Myanmar, Madagascar, Jordan, Tunisia, South Africa, Egypt, Mongolia and China on official government business, playing free public concerts, conducting workshops and doing community outreach in, as Bella puts it, “places no bands go to.”

To wit: Last summer, Ozomatli performed for thousands of people in a public square in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. They were the first Western band to play there. Ever.

“We feel like some pioneers. Like, yo, we’re gonna go into this country and … maybe a handful of people might know who we are,” Bella said. “In a weird way, it’s a great litmus test for letting the music stand on its own.

“In a lot of ways, there’s something in our music, especially rhythmically, that you can latch onto and be like, ‘Hey, I kind of know this. This kind of seems familiar to me,’” he continued. “We start playing and immediately the reaction is for the most part overwhelmingly positive.”

Bellas was great interview. I hope you’ll click here to read the whole thing.

Elsewhere in this week’s jam-packed music section, we’ve got short stories on Cash’d Out and The Staxx Brothers, plus The Northstar Session, Mad Rad, The Anvil Blasters, Sara Jackson-Holman, Super Adventure Club, Brandi Carlile, Floater, Tony Smiley and Marv Ellis, the Acorn Project and more.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, January 14th, 2011

The Oxford Hotel in downtown Bend will kick off its new jazz series this weekend with three performances by the Mel Brown Quartet. I spoke with the band’s namesake drummer about the MBQ, one of three bands he plays in at Jimmy Mak’s jazz club in Portland’s Pearl District.

The MBQ came together years ago to play tight, hard-swinging bop in a style somewhat similar to that of one of Brown’s heros, Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers. The group has been described as a quartet of bandleaders, though Pacini is the official music director, leading the MBQ through its vast repertoire of originals and standards “with a different twist,” Brown said.

“(The band) is kind of like my background — the way I was raised, the music I grew up on,” Brown said. “We play straight ahead, and it feels really good. Everybody plays and we listen to each other a lot.

“Plus everybody likes each other,” he continued. “In most bands you get something good going and all of a sudden there’s an internal fight, and that’s because you’re around each other too much. I see some of these guys once a week, so we don’t have time to get mad. Hell, we’re just happy to be playing.”

Brown is a legend in the Northwest jazz scene, and you should click here to read the whole interview. While you’re there, read up on the other jazz happenings this weekend, including a Just Joe’s show at Greenwood Playhouse, and Cascade School of Music’s effort to revive the old Sunday shows at Be Bop Coffee House.

Champagne Champagne's Pearl Dragon performs in the rafters of the Old Mill Music Lounge. Photo by Ben.

This week’s Feedback column focuses on two Seattle hip-hop groups — Champagne Champagne and Mad Rad — that performed last weekend at the Old Mill Music Lounge. There’s weren’t many people there, so chances are decent you weren’t there, so read on …

As is frequently the case in this genre, Champagne Champagne’s DJ (Mark Gajadhar) is a secret, shadowy weapon. As is less frequently the case, he may be their MVP. (MCs Sir Thomas) Gray and Pearl Dragon were solid, engaging performers all night; Gray manned a mic stand like a rock singer, and his partner stalked off the stage more than once to rap from within the crowd. They slayed their best song (so far), “Soda & Pop Rocks,” with its wicked, dubstep-y bass line and shoutouts to the streets of Seattle: “My city’s not pretty it’s gritty,” Pearl Dragon raps. “Top notch when the block’s hot, blow up like soda and pop rocks.”

Elsewhere, the MCs showcased their influences: indie/alt-rock (one tune referenced Sonic Youth’s “Bull in the Heather”) and ’80s-child pop culture (“She looks like Molly Ringwald. She’s beautiful to me.”), while Gajadhar rocked like an octopus working overtime, bouncing from electric guitar to keyboard to tambourine to drum machine to melodica and back. His work was sometimes ominous and murky (“Something Strange”), sometimes bright and poppy (“Hollywood Shampoo” sounds like hip-hop built on a Shins song), and sometimes a sweet and sour collision of video-game bloops and punk-rock squall.

It was a great show. I hope you’ll read the whole thing by clicking here.

Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Larry and His Flask headline a show to benefit two of its members’ dad, Tribal Seeds and Anthony B (separately) bring reggae to the Domino Room, Rootdown rocks McMenamins, Empty Space Orchestra continues its January residency at Silver Moon, Seattle folkie Sarah Sample plays Sisters, MC Mystic spins Michael Jackson tunes at MadHappy Lounge and local bands Five Pint Mary and Boxcar Stringband play a benefit for BAKESTARR.

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Pretty packed and diverse, as usual. Here’s what’s in there:

Jim Heath and Jimbo Walls of the Reverend Horton Heat. Photo by Andy Tullis / The Bulletin

–One of the finest young bluegrass bands in the world, the Steep Canyon Rangers, play in Sisters Monday night. Unfortunately, they might be fighting the Oregon Ducks’ national championship bid for eyeballs. We compare the two, Rangers vs. Ducks.

–Sunday night’s Northwest hip-hop showcase will feature two of Seattle’s finest, Champagne Champagne and Mad Rad, plus locals Cloaked Characters and JoAnna Lee. Get the skinny here.

–I went and saw the venerable Reverend Horton Heat on Dec. 29 and wasn’t blown away, but came outta there with a lot of respect for what they do and what they’ve done. Read my whole review here.

–The young, faith-focused Prineville band ER has a new CD out and they’re celebrating with a show tonight. Here are the details.

–Elsewhere in the music section, we have Empty Space Orchestra’s January residency at Silver Moon, Anastacia and the JazzBros at McMenamins, and Jon Wayne and The Pain’s funk/reggae/rock at Silver Moon.