in the pocket
5 Waterfront Blues Picks
The annual Blues Fest kicked off on Independence Day, but there’s still plenty of action to catch! We checked out the program and flagged a few sure things.
Otis Taylor Band
July 6th at 6:00, July 7th at 5:15
Timeless blues sophistication finds fertile ground in the entrancing solos of master storyteller Otis Taylor and his supernaturally talented backing band, featuring violinist Anne Harris, lead guitarist Shawn Starski, and acclaimed session drummer Larry Thompson. Raw, emotional lyricism and quicksilver phrasing passed between the skilled musicians flow into a hypnotic hybrid of blues, folk, rock, and a touch of avant-garde.
Pimps of Joytime
July 6th at 8:15 and 11:55
Sure, Pimps of Joytime’s inclusive, party-starting sound owes more than a little debt to psychedelic forbears’ Mayfield, Hendrix, and Santana, but the adept ensemble manages to sneak in an abundance of surprising, contemporary musicality into their deep-grooved, Latin-inspired jams.
Cedric Burnside Project
July 7th at 6:15 and July 8th at 6:45 and 8:30
Give the drummer some! This energetic drummer got his start at age 13 keeping time for his grandfather: blues legend RL Burnside. Inspired by the raw-edged juke joint sound of the North Mississippi Hill Country, Cedric teams up with his brother Cody for a lesson in the stripped-down “Burnside” sound his grandfather pioneered.
July 7th at 8:45
If you missed them at the Crystal this spring, don’t fret: Galactic returns to Portland, bringing the (much-needed) heat from the Big Easy, augmenting their inimitable, show-stopping funk with guest performances by members of Living Colour and Rebirth Brass Band.
Members of the Northwest Community Gospel Choir
July 8th at 2:15
Can I get a witness? Tickets go fast for the choir’s annual, must-see Christmas performance at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, but you can catch the dedicated group of locals this year in the relaxed, open-air ambiance by the Willamette’s waterfront.