Ahhh, spring break: a week-long vacation (or staycation for us broke college kids) dedicated to relaxation, partying, and all around good times. But when it’s finally time to return to the dreariness of early morning classes and studying ‘til the break of dawn, you can’t help but feel the wrath of PSBD, aka Post-Spring-Break-Depression. Not sure how to cure this dreadful disease? The PDX music scene could be your cure. Read on if you’re ready to rock out to Portland’s raddest spring rock ‘n’ roll concerts.
Keeping it old school
Those who say rock is dead will die over all the incredible rockers that’re on tour right now. Coming to the Moda Center on June 10 is one of the biggest names in classic rock (and my dad’s personal favorite): Def Leppard. And if this iconic band wasn’t enough, Poison and Tesla are their opening acts, so you’re getting three badass rock performances all bundled up into one insane night. What more could you ask for?
If the Def Leppard/Poison/Tesla extravaganza is a little too Literally Stadium for you, check out Led Zeppelin tribute act Ramble On, appearing at Doug Fir Restaurant & Lounge on April 15. Ramble On is Portland’s most popular Led Zeppelin tribute and for damn good reason. According to portland.eventful.com, lead vocalist Rich Ray “NAILS the high tenor vocals made famous by Robert Plant,” which is not an easy feat. Definitely an event worth checking out if you’re into ’70s rock.
One of the biggest names in music for the last 20 years is Radiohead. While the band will be headlining festival gigs like Glastonbury and Coachella, they’ll also be gracing us Portlanders with their presence at the Moda Center on April 9. Tickets went on sale months ago and sold out like hotcakes, but you can hit up sites like StubHub if you’re still dying to “Creep” into the show. See what I did there? Not funny? OK, well, I tried.
If you’re looking for more pop-based rock vibes, then say no more because bands like The xx, Bastille, and Grouplove will all be coming to town this April. On the 21st, swing by McMenamins Crystal Ballroom and get “Tongue Tied” with Grouplove’s indie-saturated tunes. More into The xx’s electronica vibes? Then head over to Portland Memorial Coliseum on the 23rd. Or if you’re jonesing for a more indie pop sound, Bastille will be playing on the 25th at Keller Auditorium.
Who really runs the alternative rock world? Girls. Girls like PJ Harvey, who’ll be rocking at the Crystal Ballroom on May 7. This badass chick not only has a bomb-ass voice and wicked songwriting skills, she’s also a killer guitarist and a skilled poet and composer, all of which translate into intense, soulful songs like “This Is Love,” “Sheela-Na-Gig,” and “The Wheel.”
Another mega-awesome artist playing in PDX this spring is the one and only Aimee Mann. Known for her chill and nostalgic ’90s tunes and her contributions to the classic Magnolia soundtrack, Aimee is back and better than ever with new music, including her latest single “Goose Snow Cone.” Also, she guest-starred in an episode of Portlandia and gave up a toe in The Big Lebowski, so no biggie. You can catch her at Revolution Hall on May 10.
Portland is a city notorious for its alternative rock scene, so it’s no surprise that a bounty of alternative acts will be making stops all around the city this spring. A new obsession of mine and a band definitely worth giving a listen to is Lewis Del Mar, hitting the Star Theater May 31. This East Coast duo, comprised of lead vocalist/guitarist Danny Miller and drummer/producer Max Harwood, sets the stage on fire with palpable energy, catchy beats and beach inspired tunes.
Another insanely incredible alternative band making its way to Rose City is Catfish and the Bottlemen, playing at Roseland Theater on May 27. With grungy hits like “Kathleen” and “Cocoon,” there’s no way you’ll be able to resist dancing.
For a more laid back, chill atmosphere, the band Whitney will be heading to Revolution Hall on April 12. Their emotional, melancholy sound could soothe a thousand souls, and their lyrics are incredibly relatable. It’s as if the guys behind the band ripped their hearts wide open and poured them into a record, and that’s how their singles “No Woman” and “No Matter Where We Go” came to be.
Portland is not only home to aesthetically pleasing doughnuts and artfully crafted beer, but also to the raddest post-grunge band the Rose City has ever birthed: Everclear. Famed for singles like “Wonderful” and “Santa Monica,” Everclear is one of PDX’s biggest success stories, and now you can see them and Art Alexakis’ soul patch in the flesh. Be sure to catch them and some ’90s nostalgia at the Crystal Ballroom on May 11.
Haley Heynderickx, recently rated one of the best new artists in Portland by Willamette Week, will be lighting up Alberta Street Pub on April 21. Haley’s indie tunes and soulful voice are a dream that you never want to wake up from. Also, she’s a Portland State grad so that’s pretty sick too, if you ask me.
Smooth rock band Echo Pearl Varsity will be swinging by McMenamins White Eagle Saloon on April 22, and you should for sure look into it. Their music is just cool as hell, like if you mixed up indie rock and good vibes with a tiny sprinkle of jazz, you would have Echo Pearl Varsity. And for only five bucks, why wouldn’t you want to check them out?
Craving something a little more hardcore? Local legend Witch Mountain has got you covered on May 12 at Dante’s, opening for North and Conan. Witch Mountain has been rolling around Stumptown since the late ’90s, and they’re definitely not slowing down yet. With crazy powerful vocals from Kayla Dixon paired with the band’s fiery stage presence, there’s no way you’ll leave the show without a head bang headache—and I mean that in a good way.