Posted by Cody Hoesly
Rap and hip-hop may have a bad name thanks to frequent gangland glorification, gender denigration, etc. But Lifesavas are proud proof that the format has more to offer. Forged in the flames of a friend’s murder, Lifesavas bring a positive message to every lyric. Whether promoting brotherly love, a return to the storied days of old-school hip-hop, or the simple joys of music, these guys are truly a feather in Portland’s musical cap.
I first encountered Lifesavas on Burn to Shine 3 (Portland), playing alongside The Decembrists, The Thermals, Sleater-Kinney, The Shins, and The Gossip. Among those deservedly well-regarded groups, Lifesavas stood out, not just for their different style of music, but also for the high energy, theatrics, and fun they brought to the music. That same atmosphere pervaded their live show at the Wonder Ballroom Friday night. The joy of the performers became the audience’s joy. Arms were in the air, feet bouncing, voices shouting the chorus to “HelloHiHey.”
For me, the show was moving in another respect as well. After having seen the Suicide Kings and Reggie Watts the same evening, I was reminded yet again of the many forms hip-hop can take. From the former group’s heavy and personal exploration of pain and loss, to Reggie’s playful riffs on modern culture, to Lifesavas’ call-and-response crowd-pleasing, each act stayed true to the core of hip-hop but emphasized different features of the genre. With artists such as these, hip-hop has a great future to look forward to.