It gets ridiculous sometimes. Too many good shows in one week—too many, for damn sure, to fit in our music section. So, anticipating a big week, I pulled five of my favorite shows and saved them for this column.
Hold Steady, Sean Na Na, Thurs Oct 19, Lola's Room, 1332 W Burnside
Before Sean Tillman became Har Mar Superstar, he was Sean Na Na and he was my favorite shit ever. It's Sean Na Na's '70s AM radio R&B singing, electric piano, and crashing indierock that lays the blanket, but the best part of the picnic is Tillman's lyric writing, which touches on all sides of life in America, with uncomfortable, aggressive sexuality, bitter grudges, and funny/sad, tragic-comedy lyrics. This is best seen on the great Dance 'Til Your Baby Is a Man.
Tunnels, Kelvin Pittman, Mother Sky, Thurs Oct 19, Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny
When most people think of the word "drone" they imagine mindless worker bees and flat-lined douchebags in high-rise offices pushing pencils and getting fat. I think of that too—a lot, actually—but the drones I'm in love with are the drones made by Tunnels, these long sighs of ambient bliss—without dipping in any clichéd "ambient bliss" waters. The only waters Tunnels wades in are holy.
Jean Paul Jenkins w/Shane Ronet and Asa Gervich, Sat Oct 21, Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny
Valentine's has been throwing some top-notch shows. Best thing is a lot of them are experimental, improv'd, or just plain weird. This week there's a great improvisational trio made up of Ghosting contributor JP Jenkins (guitar), Shane Ronet (sax), and Asa Gervich (drums.) Prepare yourself for beauty.
Strike Anywhere, Bane, A Global Threat, This Is Hell, Sat Oct 21, Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th
As right-wingers rule and we redefine the terms of domestic terrorism to include activism and civil disodedience, Richmond, Virginia's Strike Anywhere is more necessary than ever. Besides great topical lyric writing and catchy riffs, Strike wins big by eschewing hardcore's screaminess for clear, well-annunciated vocals. The possibility of preaching beyond the choir is verily plausible. This is what proactive music looks like.
Church of Psychedelia w/White Rainbow, Plants, Paint & Copter, Ghosting, Sun Oct 22, Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison
Tonight is the final Church of Psyche and curator (and occasional Mercury contributor) Josh Blanchard is going out in style with some of Portland's trippiest, along with visuals by Andy Brown, Jason Frank, Penguin Jetpack, and Sara Robbin. Thanks, Josh. It's been good.