WATERFRONT BLUES FESTIVAL: LUCINDA WILLIAMS, BLACK JOE LEWIS AND THE HONEYBEARS, ROSIE LEDET AND THE ZYDECO PLAYBOYS & MORE
(Tom McCall Waterfront Park , 1020 SW Naito Parkway) In previous years the lineup for the Waterfront Blues Festival has been less than stellar (sorry, Jonny Lang fans). But this year the annual event is packed to the gills with excellent performers, including tonight's big-name headliners: Lucinda Williams and an after-hours set from Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. EZRA ACE CARAEFF Also see our article on Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears.


MODEST MOUSE, TALKDEMONIC
(Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey, Troutdale) There are two Modest Mouses (Mice?). The first is an innovative, exploratory, historically significant band that's cultivated an envious legacy of era-defining, still great-sounding records—and is still up to audacious moves, such as a rumored recent collaboration with OutKast's Big Boi, or Isaac Brock's work on the upcoming soundtrack for Queens of Country. The other Modest Mouse is a bloated, well-past-its-prime arena-rock band churning out tired hits for drunk, inattentive festival-goers, sounding less coherent and relevant with every passing measure. Which Modest Mouse will perform tonight? We can't say, although if their recent, desultory set at Sasquatch is any indication, you might want to park as close as possible to the exits of the Edgefield lot, in case of a quick getaway. NED LANNAMANN


BROTHERS YOUNG, BRIGHT ARCHER
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) When I say that the music of Bright Archer—the nom de plume of one Johanna Kunin—is similar to Joni Mitchell, I say that not as a lazy (male) music scribe desperately trying to add up the obvious components (sincere female voice alongside a piano's plaintive notes) to form some half-assembled opinion. It's the most sincere of compliments, as Bright Archer's dizzying new LP Hidden Systems harkens back to Mitchell's untouchable 1969-75 run (Clouds through The Hissing of Summer Lawns), but sans the vintage nostalgia of that fabled era. Kunin's earnest vocals and simple yet subtly elaborate song structure portray an artist at her creative peak. Songs like the stark title track wield a titanic amount of emotional weight, while her road-trip love affair "Sunrising" exhilaratingly changes pace at the song's midpoint, seamlessly reinventing itself for the final two-minute home stretch. EAC


MIDNIGHT SNAXXX, GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH, LEADERS, CHEMICALS
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Don't be fooled into thinking that the three ladies of Midnite Snaxxx are just another set of tattooed gals with Bettie Page haircuts. Though they are, Midnite Snaxxx are also seasoned veterans of the "Budget Rock" underground scene of the Bay Area. Drummer Tina Lucchesi started out in the Trashwomen, a female tribute band to the group that launched thousands of rock careers with "Surfin' Bird," and has been making noise in SF/Oakland ever since. Along with guitar player Dulcinea Gonzalez (of the Loudmouths) and bass player Renee Neal, Midnite Snaxxx's repertoire belongs to the Ramones-inspired canon, employing the expected derivative riffs and vocal affectations while a deceptively original and inspired energy lurks behind each song. Also on the bill is local act Youthbitch, a raucous bunch who utilize an organ and various percussion to round out that classic garage sound. MARANDA BISH


IN MONO, SWIM SWAM SWUM, GOUSEION, DJ EPOCH

(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) Ark of War, the largely instrumental debut album from In Mono, sees the band's mastermind Paul Lynch finding common ground in all his previous musical endeavors, including his work as DJ Tan't and his time in college playing in a drone band with Talkdemonic's Kevin O'Connor. The album is stuffed with heavy programmed beats, somewhere west of Pretty Hate Machine, and big-screen sustained guitar, somewhere south of Permanent Waves. There's also a nomadic darkness that's a little too glossy to be called noir, and sometimes the lockstep drumbeats sound a little videogame-y. But when Lynch throws all the pieces of his sound into the wind, as on the graceful flurry of "In Lust" or the guitar whirligigs of "Eat Your Love," In Mono brings the listener fully into its beautiful, strange world. NL


YOB, DARK CASTLE, WIZARD RIFLE, SLOTHS

(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) It's interesting to think that modern doom metal started just down the road in Eugene, Oregon. Perhaps not entirely, but since the mid-'90s YOB has had a heavy—really heavy—hand in bending and shaping the genre, heaving glacial riffs that have the power to slow pulses and rattle beer mugs off tables. The trio is set to unleash their new record Atma in August, five songs that clock in at a sludgy and doom-y 55 minutes. Opener "Prepare the Ground" is a wretched steamroller of a song (and a taut nine minutes) that lies low in the muck for the first two minutes until Mike Scheidt's vocals propel things into otherworldly dimensions. YOB is both frightening and beautiful, as there aren't many bands out there that have the uncanny ability to deliver such melody while coming dangerously close to hitting the brown note. MARK LORE


BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION: THE GNOME SORCERY FEDERATION, UGLY FLOWERS, HOLLYWOOD TANS, LONE MADRONE, CLOAKS, GREY ANNE, MEGAN SPEAR, SCHOOL OF ROCK
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Meow Meow, Satyricon, the Artistery, the Hush, the Grape Drink, the Parlour, Berbati's, Food Hole, Solid State... this is only a partial list of all-age Portland venues that have vanished in the past nine years. Coincidentally, Backspace celebrates their ninth year of existence/survival tonight, a feat all the more impressive when you consider the list of shuttered venues left in their wake. In addition to the slew of local talent sharing a stage tonight, the Backspacers are redirecting the spotlight away from themselves and instead making this a benefit for Music in the Schools. Just when you think they couldn't get any cooler, they go and do something like that. EAC