Words and photos by Yousef Hatlani
Among the many music festivals Portland offers every year, from Pickathon to Project Pabst to PDX Pop Now!, Soul’d Out has been perhaps the most consistent since its inception. Founded in 2009, there has nary been a year when its list of headliners did not spring off the page with inimitable options: both Buddy Guy and the late Gil-Scott Heron played during the festival’s inaugural year. In 2011, it boasted sets by Ms. Lauryn Hill, Mos Def and Ice Cube. The following year featured Esperanza Spalding, Justice and a special show with Wanda Jackson and Sallie Ford. The year after that had Lee “Scratch” Perry, Booker T. Jones and Prince. Slick Rick, Ural Thomas, Charles Bradley and Robert Glasper are also some of the names of those who’ve played Soul’d Out in recent years. Clearly, this festival is curated with a lot of love for its craft—as much as those who are booked to play it.
2016’s lineup proved no different, ranging from George Clinton to SZA on one night, to Hieroglyphics and Thomas Jack the next, and Bilal playing across the street from Bunny Wailer on another. Faces on the Radio was able to catch three such shows on three different nights of the festival: First, Gary Clark Jr at the Roseland, followed by Sharon Jones at the Keller Auditorium, and finally returning to the Roseland for Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals.