Eugene, prepare yourself for three days of peace, music and heavy bass. The first-ever Kaleidoscope Music Festival launches Friday, Aug. 23, at Emerald Meadows in the foothills of Mount Pisgah. Peer into a lens swirling with a colorful collection of art, nature, food and, most importantly, music. With 87 acts, there’s a little something for everyone.
Friday night screeches to a start with electronic music DJ mastermind Bassnectar, now a household name due to his electrified dubstep with big bass and even bigger drops. With only a few weeks left before the show, Bassnectar took to his Facebook page and said, “Gearing up for the West Coast meltdown at Kaleidoscope Festival in Oregon.” Saturday’s cherry on top is the self-proclaimed “King of New York,” Nas. Ever since his incredibly influential debut album Illmatic (1994), Nas has been a rap game veteran with powerful lyrics about growing up in the projects of New York City. Capping off the festival Sunday is the Australian electronic glam-pop group Empire of the Sun.
Friday Night Lights
Indie-punk trio The Thermals play with ferocity and light touches of pop, and they don’t shy away from controversial topics. Their critically acclaimed 2006 record The Body, The Blood, The Machine tells the story of a couple escaping a fascist faux-Christian-governed America. Armed with power chords and enough teenage angst to fill a can of Axe body spray, The Thermals will be a fiery hors d’oeuvre for the weekend.
One of the original major benefactors of online music sharing through Napster, Afroman has made a career on rapping about his infatuation with the Maui Wowie. His 2000 breakthrough single “Because I Got High” propelled Afroman into stardom and solidified him as rap’s Willie Nelson. His colorful raps are backed with live instrumentation and Afroman himself is no stranger to busting out a guitar solo between rips.
DJ Shadow’s release of his debut album Endtroducing... in the fall of 1996 stopped artists around the globe in their tracks. The whole record was created entirely by sampled content, and its moody, rhythmic bravado is seen as the holy grail of tri-hop. DJ Shadow mixes electronically altered drum kicks with old funk records, and he’ll often sprinkle in recorded interviews or soundtrack dialogue.
The Seattle math-rock group Minus the Bear makes our list for the unofficial best song titles award with tracks like “I’m Totally Not Down with Rob’s Alien” and “Damn Bugs Whacked Him, Johnny” (a nod to classic film Starship Troopers). The group tinkers with odd time signatures and peculiar rhythm structures; hear their guitars bounce off each other while being drenched in pop synths.
After a weekend of blaring electric bass, unwind with the laid-back beauty of upright bass. Folksy rock-fiddlers Fruition are fresh off the release of Just One of Them Nights, and their acoustic hoedown will serve as a mellower respite. Deemed “Americana of the highest order” by American Songwriter Magazine, the Portland five piece plays with a driving grace marked by acoustic guitar, upright bass, banjo and mandolin.
Since graduating from Central Catholic High School in Portland, Anthony “Tope” Anderson has been wedging his way into the Pacific Northwest rap scene. Comparable to hip-hop artists Blue Scholars (also playing Kaleidoscope on Sunday), Tope puts out clever lyrics combined with self-produced beats. His track “Family Affair” off 2013’s Trouble Man showcases his witty wordplay and expertise behind the mixing board.
For the full lineup and schedule, visit kaleidoscopemusicfestival.com.