PDX POP NOW!
(SE Salmon & Water) Suck it, Christmas. This is the most wonderful time of the year: PDX Pop Now! time! The three-day, all-ages, all-local, all-free festival kicks off today with bunches of terrific bands, and this year's fest also includes the first round of the annual Rigsketball tourney, in which Portland bands compete on a rigged basketball hoop attached to the back of And And And's van. Summer is NOW, yo! NED LANNAMANN Read our feature on PDX Pop Now!
SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION FESTIVAL: PINK SKULL, DAS FLUFF, WHITE FANG, PULSE EMITTER, PINKS QUIETER
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Sean Hocking started his Metal Postcard Records label in Sydney, Australia, then moved it to New York before finally ending up in Hong Kong. Lately he's taken an interest in Portland, and the label's second Sometimes a Great Notion festival kicks off this weekend. Headlined by Pink Skulls and Das Fluff, Friday's lineup features alternative takes on electronic music, complemented by locals Pinks Quieter, Pulse Emitter, and garage-rock shit-kickers White Fang. Saturday night's wide-ranging lineup includes Ken Stringfellow (the Pogues and sometimes REM member), Seattle heavy-hippie group Rose Windows, alt-country from the Maldives, and local songwriter Matthew Heller. MATT SULLIVAN
HAUSU, SATAN WRIDERS, CELLMATE
(Record Room, 8 NE Killingsworth) I didn't have a chance to hear Hausu's beautifully weird debut album, Total, until it was released right in the middle of their recent month-long tour. It grew on me pretty quick after repeated listens, so it's great to have them back home and playing all over town again (you can catch them at tonight's intimate Record Room show and Saturday night at PDX Pop Now!). The gnarled, distorted, cranked-up guitar work and desperate vocals on tracks like "Gardenia" and "Chrysanthemum" are going to work their way into plenty of my summer-fading-to-fall playlists a couple months down the road. Tonight's show should also have a bit of a season's change feeling, as Stockton, California's Satan Wriders' lo-fi and carefree sunny rock songs fade with the day and make way for Hausu's fresh, chilling, and dark blend of post-punk. CHIPP TERWILLIGER
BIG FREEDIA, DJ BEYONDA
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) If you're in the mood for a string quartet and mild head bobbing, I'd recommend you NOT see Big Freedia. Freedia is the gender-straddling purveyor of the popular New Orleans booty-thrusting dance music aptly named "bounce," not for the faint of heart or light of rear. A repetitious and fast off-shoot of hiphop, bounce has been captivating the booties of New Orleans with its Mardi Gras-style chants since the '91 hit "Where Dey At" by MC T. Tucker. Now the current standard-bearer of bounce, Big Freedia brings color, class, and style to a genre most associated with ogling bouncing women. I wouldn't recommend listening to Freedia while studying for an exam or reading the Quran, but she and her back-up dancers will undoubtedly wow you, especially if you missed her opening for the Postal Service at the Rose Garden. (I know, WTF?) ROSE FINN
DANAVA, LECHEROUS GAZE, LONG KNIFE, DJ DENNIS DREAD
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) You know that weathered, grizzled, greasy, long-haired rocker standing outside of the show smoking cigarettes and staring into space like he knows something you don't? If you handed that guy a microphone and a guitar, then scraped some band members out of the gutter for him, Lecherous Gaze would be the result. Equal parts punk and good ol' rock 'n' roll, Lecherous Gaze kicks it out like the Dead Boys and MC5. The guitar solos and bass lines scream Back in the USA, while the vocals sound like someone choking Stiv Bators. Basically, Lecherous Gaze plays old-fashioned rock 'n' roll that has a real bad attitude. ARIS WALES
JOYCE MANOR, MERRY CHRISTMAS, LEE COREY OSWALD
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) When I first wrote about LA heartthrobs Joyce Manor, it was for a relatively inglorious show they played at a bookstore. That was a little over a year ago, and quite a bit has changed since then: In the winter, Joyce Manor embarked on an East Coast tour with Desaparecidos, on which Conor Oberst joined the band onstage for their signature song, "Constant Headache." While a new release from the band would absolutely be welcomed, their self-titled debut is a perennial pop-punk (with a huge emphasis on the "pop") classic that I still bump constantly. Its follow-up, Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired, is less consistent but still wholly enjoyable. So far, Joyce Manor have proven to be a band that can do little wrong. All we can do is hope they keep it up. MORGAN TROPER
CATHEDRAL PARK JAZZ FESTIVAL: NORMAN SYLVESTER, ROSELAND HUNTERS, TRANSCENDENTAL BRASS BAND, & MORE
(Cathedral Park, N Edison & Pittsburg) Maximize the fine Portland summer by spending it lounging on the grass while surrounded by the sounds of the West Coast's longest-running free jazz festival—the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, now on its 33rd year. MARJORIE SKINNER
JOHN MAYER, PHILLIP PHILLIPS
(Sleep Country Amphitheater, 17200 NE Delfel, Ridgefield WA) John Mayer's "Say"—the schlocky ballad the singer/songwriter/skeeveball wrote for that cinematic dud The Bucket List, and which has lived an unnaturally long life in Hallmark ads and dentists' offices since—has got to be the most tepid, worthless piece of musical diarrhea ever committed to tape. Building off the endlessly repeated refrain, "say what you need to say," its trite lyrics are vague to the point of meaninglessness. Its feather-light, adult-contempo arrangement is similarly offensive in its inoffensiveness—it's the equivalent of Mayer squeezing out a silent fart in a crowded elevator, hoping no one will notice—but good lord, it stinks to unholy heights. This is a song unsuitable for weddings, children, or operating heavy machinery. It was designed to deliberately, cruelly chip away at the listener's well-being. The next time you hear it in the grocery aisle, complain to the store manager. There's no reason we need to put up with Mayer's shit for another second. NED LANNAMANN