When we were discussing what to put on the cover of today’s GO! Magazine, I mentioned tonight’s Macklemore & Ryan Lewis show at Midtown Ballroom and told my coworkers this: We get a lot of has-beens and not-yets and never-will-bes in this town, but it’s not that often we have an artist come through at the very same moment that they’re the hottest story in music. Tonight is one of those times. Macklemore – aka Ben Haggerty from Seattle – is in his moment.
Tonight, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis will rock a sold-out Midtown Ballroom. I wrote about their current wave of success and their new album “The Heist,” but focused on the best, most important song on that album, “Same Love.” Here’s an excerpt.
In it, Haggerty tackles the topic head on, ignoring a long-held taboo in hip-hop. He lays out his own stereotypes about homosexuality, decries the casual use of “gay” as a synonym for “bad” in our culture, calls out his own genre for looking the other way and, along the way, weaves in commentary on politics and religion. Seattle vocalist Mary Lambert ably sings the beautiful hook: “I can’t change/ Even if I wanted to,” which is lifted from one of Lambert’s own songs.
Haggerty closes his third verse this way:
“I might not be the same
But that’s not important
No freedom till we’re equal
Damn right I support it.”
Whether or not you or I agree with Macklemore is not the point here, by the way. The point is to acknowledge the guy’s forever-place in a watershed summer for the heretofore odd couple of hip-hop and homosexuality.
I enjoyed writing this, and I hope you’ll read the whole thing.
Also tonight, the third Jazz at the Oxford series kicks off in Bend with a night of Portland blues. My colleague David Jasper spoke to iconic Oregon bluesman Curtis Salgado about his battles against cancer and how they’ve changed him as an artist.
“It’s scary because the older I get, the older I want to get. It’s scary because you don’t want to know how you’re going to die,” said Salgado, who saw his mother die of cancer. “Cancer is the ultimate predator. Cancer’s like a great white shark. It’s dangerous and fascinating at the same time.”
But, with no chemotherapy required, Salgado has been able to do what he’s done for decades: get back out on the road, this time in promotion of “Soul Shot,” his first all-soul album, which dropped April 10 on Alligator Records.
If there’s any plus to cancer, Salgado said, “It just fine tunes you into life, and what’s around you, and every moment. I used to want to fill a coliseum with people and win lots of Grammys and have a nice house on the McKenzie River, you know what I’m saying?”
Now, “I don’t care anymore,” he said. “I’m just very blessed to be here. I’m blessed to play my music with my friends, and play to people who are so nice to me. It’s like, look, man, I owe the universe.”
Read the whole thing and peruse the series’ 2012-13 schedule here.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section: Adventure Galley, The Autonomics, Black Pussy, Aldrine Guerrero, Matt Woods, Michael Dean Damron, The Rum and The Sea and more.