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BILAL + SHY GIRLS – Tickets – Revolution Hall – Portland, OR – April 20th, 2017

BILAL + SHY GIRLS

Soul'd Out Festival & Revolution Hall Proudly Present

BILAL + SHY GIRLS

Laura Ivancie

Thu, April 20, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$20 ADV

This event is all ages

GA Fully Seated

Bilal
Bilal
If there was one R&B artist for whom the neo-soul categorization seemed limiting, it was Philadelphia native Bilal. None of his recordings resembled the sycophantic worship of soul artists who thrived in the '60 and '70s, and it wasn't just because his voice -- classically trained, capable of singing opera in seven languages -- was so unique. While some inspirations were detectable, his recordings were wholly modern and became increasingly creative. His individuality led to being dropped from a major label, and he went several years without releasing any solo material. Through evangelism from his peers and word of mouth from his early fans, Bilal gained an insatiable following and was supported by sympathetic independent labels, where he was finally able to thrive creatively.

Bilal Sayeed Oliver came up in Germantown, a northwest neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A deep interest in jazz was fostered by his father, who took him to the city's clubs. Singing eventually became more than an interest. He attended New York's New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, where he received voice training, as well as training in jazz and big-band arrangements.

Grenique's Black Butterfly, a 1999 release on Motown, was the first major album to feature Bilal's vocals; he contributed to three songs. The following year, he established a deep connection to hip-hop by appearing on Common's Like Water for Chocolate and Guru's third Jazzmatazz album. These recordings led him into the Soulquarians, a rotating collective of collaborators who included Common, Jay Dee (aka J Dilla), the Roots' Ahmir Thompson, D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Q-Tip, and Raphael Saadiq within its ranks.

A turbulent solo deal with Interscope resulted in Bilal's debut album, 1st Born Second. An exemplary neo-soul release featuring collaborations with Mike City, Robert Glasper, and many of the Soulquarians, it was issued in July 2001 and reached the Top Ten of Billboard's R&B albums chart. One of its three singles, "Soul Sista," peaked at number 18 on the R&B singles chart, while "Fast Lane" -- co-written with Damu and Faulu Mtume (the sons of James Mtume and two of the singer's earliest supporters) -- narrowly missed the Top 40. At that point, the closest points of comparison were D'Angelo and Maxwell, yet Bilal was more dynamic than the former and less mannered than the latter. 1st Born Second carried an energy that neither one of those singers, as hot as they were at the time, could boast.

Bilal recorded a second album, Love for Sale, and handled much of the songwriting and production duties, while Jay Dee, Dr. Dre, and Nottz assisted in limited capacities. Promo vinyl was pressed and the album leaked online, prompting Bilal's label to put it on ice. Bilal was subsequently dropped, but his following increased significantly. He must have had some mixed feelings when he performed the material to appreciative crowds who knew the material -- off a technically unreleased album -- inside out.

Meanwhile, nine years passed without a commercially released follow-up to 1st Born Second. Bilal had been a featured artist on songs by Beyoncé, Musiq, Clipse, Sa-Ra, Jay-Z, and several others, including many of his fellow Soulquarians, but it wasn't until 2010 that he released his second proper album. Airtight's Revenge was released on the Plug Research label and saw Bilal working extensively with Steve McKie, along with Sa-Ra's Shafiq Husayn (Bilal had appeared on Husayn's own Plug Research album, Shafiq En' A-Free-Ka), Nottz, Conley "Tone" Whitfield, 88-Keys, and several studio musicians who gave the set a loose, band-like feel. Its "Little One" was nominated for a 2011 Grammy in the Best Urban/Alternative Performance category. In February 2013, after appearing on the Roots' Grammy-nominated Undun and Robert Glasper Experiment's Grammy-winning Black Radio, Bilal released A Love Surreal on eOne. Appearances on a typically diverse range of albums by the likes of Otis Brown III, Kimbra, Kat Dahlia, Kendrick Lamar, and Slum Village led to In Another Life, an album-length collaboration with producer and multi-instrumentalist Adrian Younge. Bilal's fifth commercially released set, it was issued in June 2015.
Shy Girls
Shy Girls
Acclaimed bedroom singer/producer Dan Vidmar, a.k.a. Shy Girls, presents his anticipated debut album, Salt.

For an LP likely to be placed in the R&B aisle, Salt is noticeably impressionistic. At times it bears the painterly, frank essence of a Blue/Court and Spark Joni Mitchell. At others, it strides toward the progressive and cinematic.

There is a striking viscerality in the crashing percussion and detuned piano of “I Am Only A Man” and in the hypnotic woodwind outro of “What If I Can.” The mournful guitar dressing “Watercolor Dreams” seems to nod to Ennio Morricone -- like a future-Western ballad. And even in the
stark ballads that bookend the album, Vidmar delivers swelling sentiment fit for the screen.

Despite its sonic magnitude, Salt never surrenders its intimacy. Salt was self-produced by Vidmar, who also played and recorded the majority of its instrumentation. The beautiful result is a testament to craftsmanship executed almost single-handedly by one author. Rife with tender imperfections, at its core Vidmar’s heartrending vocals are still as silken as ever, as the singer reaches new heights.

Lyrically, Vidmar explores the ambiguous territory in which many so-called “millennials” find themselves, hovering somewhere amidst a pre-internet nostalgia and post-recession tech absorption. He takes an honest and unflinching look at the tension between growth and decay, existential-level FOMO, and the nagging inertia of time.

Shy Girls first came to attention in 2013 with his slow burning, sax-tinged “Under Attack,” followed by the release of his buzzed-about Timeshare EP and subsequent 4WZ mixtape. Vidmar has collaborated with artists such as Cyril Hahn, Tei Shi, Rome Fortune, Antwon, Junglepussy, and ODESZA, and has toured with HAIM, Little Dragon, and Maxwell. Salt is his debut full-length album and will be released on Jan. 20, 2017, via Hit City U.S.A.
Laura Ivancie
Laura Ivancie has one of those voices that compels one to listen and take notice. Her penchant for intelligent and thought-provoking lyricism coupled with sexy grooves, haunting melodies and her smoky, sultry timbre brings expressive and passionate tones to the often repetitive structure of electronica. You need be at this show RIGHT ON TIME, because you don't want to miss a second of her set!!