In its fourth year, the annual Best of Portland showcase pairs School of Rock students up with Portland musicians to perform PDX-made music live onstage. This year's show at the Wonder Ballroom on Saturday, January 31 is no exception and will feature SoR students alongside 23 Portland bands playing a song from their latest record together, plus a special set by Stephen Malkmus.
Also in her fourth year organizing the mind-boggling, all-ages affair, School of Rock Portland instructor Dani Fish "wrangles" some "70 to 80 musicians for one event. Getting all of the bands and artists together is a very... interesting experience," she says. "Being a musician myself, I have pretty realistic expectations of how challenging it is."
But it's all worth the effort. "It's a really big deal to the kids—not that they would admit that, ever. Getting to spend time with the musicians they look up to and respect connects them to the music scene in Portland in a tangible way," she continues. "It gives them an idea of what it's really like to play in bands. And gives them a path to follow. It also gives the students and their friends a chance to see bands who normally only play 21-plus shows."
This year's stacked bill includes the likes of Red Fang, Aan, The Body, Like A Villian, Tiburones, Modern Kin, Sama Dams, The Cry! and The Stops. And to prep yourself for the show, Fish has put together this week's Mixtape Monday playlist featuring Wild Ones, Musée Mécanique, Natasha Kmeto, Guantanamo Baywatch, 1939 Ensemble, Gaytheist, The Shivas, Summer Cannibals, Bearcubbin’!, WL, Lee Corey Oswald, Ripley Snell and TxE.
Best of Portland 4 is also a benefit for Pride Foundation and PROWUS, and "to everyone playing, I am extremely grateful that your bands care and are excited about volunteering your time to make this happen," Fish says in thanks.