Music for hot times

We’ve been having a real heat-wave here in Portland this week, with temps around 100 each day (today is cooling just a bit!).  I happened to have tickets to a couple concerts, bought a couple months back, and figured I better just get out there and brave the heat.

Photo via wikipedia by Steven Friederich

Photo via wikipedia by Steven Friederich

So Tuesday night was Sonic Youth at Roseland, usually air-conditioned, but on this night it was a real sweat-box!  I missed almost all of openers Awesome Color, who were finished before 8:30.  Then just after nine Thurston Moore bounded onto the stage, followed by his wife Kim Gordon in a shimmery & short silver dress, Lee Ranaldo, Mark Ibold on bass, and drummer Steve Shelley.  The set featured a good portion of their latest CD, The Eternal, and the ‘youth’ sounded strong.  They had 4 panels set up behind the band that looked like sheets with burned holes in them, but when the show started it turned out they were apparently lit from behind and provided a cool backdrop.  Here’s a brief review from the Oregonian.

Then last night was an outdoor show over at the Oregon Zoo.  I walked over, taking the trails through the park, and got there a bit late.  The ticket I had was for Orchestra Baobob, but at some point they cancelled and a new performer from Mali was put on the bill, Issa Bagayogo.  I could see from the nearly empty parking lots that turnout was not so high.  But once the sun got a little low, it was actually a lovely evening out on the grass in the zoo.  The band was interesting, a high-tech/low-tech mix, with two musicians on traditional instruments (Issa plays stringed instrument with a gourd and a stick and it looked like six strings, but no neck or frets like on a guitar), and two on modern things (one guy with a laptop in back, another on a keyboard/synth).  The band played a couple sets, dancers up front enjoyed the beats, and the all-ages crowd scattered on the lawn could sit and relax.

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