(Berbati's Pan) There have been a rash of assorted sex shows of late (or maybe it's just that I've been too lubed on the chronic to notice them before). The latest in the series is the Berbati's-hosted Not Even Ashamed festival with music, video and woo-hoo exotic performance (how that differs from dancing, I don't know). Local bands Betty Already and Diegrinder will hopefully do a few sex poses of their own, and if they don't I volunteer to super-soak them with water-resistant lube. The whole she-bang is a benefit for Danzine, a non-profit organization that runs two sexual health programs and spices up the alternative media scene with their zine (hey I'm rhyming) by the same name. Not to tell you what to do, but it looks like life at your place is getting a little boring, so please, come join me for a cocktail and a lap dance (but only if you're buying). KATIE SHIMER


(Meow Meow) Shannon Wright's splendidly shivering music sucks the marrow from my bones and melts my skin to saltwater in the same way Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst does. Her voice and ominously simple guitar are intrusive in a too-close-for-comfort way that can get a person's defenses shooting up like a dusty booby trap. It's because she has none of those constrictive defenses; her lyrics sink low and blur, as if she is simultaneously bloodletting and drinking gritty water. Her songs are the devastating equivalent of watching Breaking the Waves the whole way through, twice. And if she and Conor Oberst ever dated, it would probably cause a warp in the fabric of the time-space continuum, leaving only the frail to trudge through this tragic, painful life. JULIANNE SHEPHERD


(Satyricon) It's tuff band night at the Satyricon, so you know you're going to be getting your heavy-hitting rawk. Earplugs should be procured for those of you weak of hearing. Don Caballero dispenses with words altogether and takes the concept of "rock and roll" to more technically challenging heights...kinda the same place that Rush might have taken music if they weren't so pretentious (and Geddy Lee had kept his whiney trap shut). Bluebird have a singer and are loud, loud, LOUD! They channel Black Sabbath and lose something in the translation, but that's half the fun! Dianogah have 2 bassists and drums and have no lyrics, and will give you a mellow intermission from all of the post-alt guitar fury. Bluetip are the most straightforward and simple of the crew, but I have a feeling they'll vibrate the paint off the walls. This show will make you nostalgic for the band you used to have; you know, the one with all the knobs turned up--the one that cleared out the X-Ray in 10 minutes flat. Hell yeah! IAN SMITH



(Laurelthirst) He's not old, right? According to every rumor and speculation and visual analysis--the disguise is good, well-crafted in the decent Halloween costume mold, but far from professional--Baby Gramps is not that old at all. Maybe that's the joke, alleged by his stage name, that he's just a local hipster playing a part. Maybe that's Courtney Taylor or Art Alexakis behind the spiraling gray beard. I still don't get it. It's not a good joke--well, maybe if it were Courtney or Art. It's just a guy in a sub-Troma costume stamping his foot and shouting out palindromes to generic blues riffs. There's quite a bit of the Laurelthirst experience I don't entirely enjoy, but I at least understand the appeal of most acts. His songs are not clever, the see-through illusion undermines the integrity of the music, and still, they applaud. Do they know he's not that old? Are aging philosophy majors genuinely that amused by Spiro Agnew anagrams? Of course, should Baby Gramps actually happen to be a well-kept senior just this side of Alzheimer-induced dementia, then he delivers a visceral and remarkably coherent performance, and I'm a big prick. JAY HORTON


(Oregon Zoo) How the soft summer festivals multiply. People whose parents are living probably have to go to things like this fairly often, which makes me feel lucky. The zoo is a better place to see a milquetoasty kind of show than the Waterfront, where the flatness of the Willamette would only intensify the existential vertigo of boredom. Armatrading is the best of a bad summer. She will knock out some pop singles that will take you by surprise; the unremembered sustenance they offered in those polluted years of "Tainted Love" when our hearts and brains were forming. GRANT COGSWELL


(Jasmine Tree) The Standard accompanies my car/driving fetish well, for many reasons. The most obvious one is that they have lyrics about that very thing. Take "Spanglish," track one from their new record, World's Greatest: Drive drive driving/down some coastal freeway. (Fellow proofreading aficionados will note the lack of quotations around the former sentence. I omitted them since I'm not entirely sure of the lyrics, because vocalist Tim Putnam likes to anchor his vocal chords with warbles.). Second, their slightly heavy (like aluminum can-weight heavy) guitars are just poppy enough to inject me with the small amount of testosterone necessary to drive 92 on I-5. And last, their music shifts from a calm swagger (complete with echoed keys) to anvil-toting radio rock, with Putnam sounding somewhat like Live's Ed Kowalczyk (who, in turn, sounds like John Fogerty) all the while reminding me of that time I was going 54 mph on the arduous Pennsylvania Turnpike, right after my tape player broke and the only radio stations I could get were classic rock. JS



(Tonic Lounge) The ever-mutating ensemble known as Hochenkeit is the de facto host of experimental Wednesdays at the Tonic. Since this show is on a Saturday night, expect them to stretch out and wail until they're politely shooed off the stage at 2:29 am. If they don't play that long, please insist that they do. The Cosmos Group is the new unit led by Dewey Mahood of Elephant Factory fame. Their five-song demo yields a few different moods: one tune sounds like The Clash's Mick Jones fronting Polvo, others spritely lurch headlong into Mahood's fire-breathing guitar approach. That boy is all fingers, man! Expect the Replikants to be full of good noise, considering they're made up of various and sundry Unwound members. Actually it could be bad noise, but with their Kill Rock Stars portfolio, it would be bad in a good way. TED THIEMAN


(Paradigm) Since their oh-so-special time on the Crow soundtrack (no, I'm not kidding), My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult has not improved much. Their new stuff is rather thin techno with annoying whispery vocals, which certainly defies their goth band name. However, you might want to check out the show, despite it's probable suckage, because A) it's always interesting to see a former super group in a little tiny venue like the Paradigm and B) you'll probably have the whole bar to yourself. To quote the wise words of LL Cool J, "Don't call it a comeback." KS


(Roseland Theater) Once in awhile, something comes along that manages to be both cool and have ubiquitous appeal. Kickboxing is one of those things. Think about it--no matter what kind of person you are, there's guaranteed satisfaction: Voyeur? Sweaty guys and lots of body contact. Closeted fag? See above. Sports junkie? Adrenaline, live competition, and screaming fans. Adamant Feminist? Fodder for protesting the patriarchy. Asshole? Fodder for producing way too much testosterone. Hippie? Fodder for praising those ancient, Eastern ways. KATIA DUNN



(Oregon Garden) Somewhere in the past decade, a little before the swing renaissance and sometime after the reclamation of disco, the kids discovered country. Whatever the class of 2000 may believe, there was a time, not too long ago, when a Johnny Cash album was something you didn't want lying around the dorm room. Nowadays, when any hipster worth his stripes has the Merle box set and a toaster-sized belt buckle, country's as integral a part of modern music as...well, swing or disco. Old country, that is--meaning, country that badly-dressed folk don't listen to. And, as with Abba or Dino, the kids don't crave the music nearly as much as the lifestyle--in this case, bourbon-swilling shit kickers dispossessed by urban conformity. Amazing, then, that Jerry Jeff's not more of an icon. His music's nothing but an appreciation of the tex-mex idylls--sangria wine, honky-tonks, and getting off those LA freeways. He has none too great a voice and a variable songbook short on quality control, but his best work displays a wit and welcome ironic perspective. That could be our generation's problem with him. He's too much like us. JH



(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall) I once had a poster that said, "The bigger the hair, the closer to God." If that's true, Lyle Lovett is divine. I try to support anybody with high hair (Morrissey and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's being two of my favorites). I have high hair myself. Recently, at a movie theater, some kids sitting behind me called it a "poof," and as a result they had to endure me sitting up straight through the entire flick, my poof blocking their view. Ha! The great thing about Lyle, though, is he also has an interesting face. He'd be a guy who could actually pull off mime, because his craggy face would just be so much fun to watch. Thankfully for us, he also creates some amazing country music that's wry, intelligent, and fun to sing along to. Plus, he has the best stage banter of anyone, period. So, go! Gawk at the hair, admire the face, and dig the sounds. And if you can, blow-dry your bangs so they scrape the ozone layer because you can probably stand to reach Heaven and get a blessing or two. JAMIE S. RICH


(Mt. Tabor) Reggae can be nice, but so can blowing up action figures. My favorite action figure sacrifice was in my youth, an unfortunate Hammerhead Star Wars figure who had outlived his fun, or was a duplicate. By the time my friends and I were done with it, it had holes blasted through it, half of its head was melted and charred pitch black, one of its legs had been spontaneously amputated and cauterized, and its dapper space vest was stained dirty white and pastel from numerous smoke bombs. I saved it for many years, and it never stopped smelling like fireworks. Man, those were the days. IAN SMITH


(Berbati's) The Pink Dots fly in from the Netherlands (or is that the netherworld?) with their uniquely twisted mix of deathly lullabies, dark electronic mindfuck, experimental gothic spacerock, and psychedelic outta-control brain cell-frying freak-outs. And yes, after 20 continuous years and dozens upon dozens of releases that never compromised their warped vision for a more commercial appeal, the Dots have become the Legendary in their name. Vocalist Edward Ka-Spell has a demented twilight-zone pop sensibility, keyboardist The Silver Man creates unlimited electronic headspaces, the Van Hoornblower guy brings an arsenal of different-sized saxes and flutes, and Ryan Moore provides twilight dub rhythms. It's a long way to Andromeda, but not to Berbati's. Dead Voices On Air (which is mostly just one guy, Mark Spybey) opens with electronic music in a far more abstract mode. ROLF SEMPREBON



(Satyricon) I remember reading a review of a New Order show in The Rocket fifteen years ago which said the stillness of that band onstage was stunning, adding an unforseeable gravity to what on record had been only spare and clean. I don't know what The For Carnation do with themselves onstage, but their slow, quiet dirges have more gravity than a black hole. If the yakkers at the back show up for this, they'll simply be vaporized. From their variously cobbled-together membership, TFC take the Midwestern spectrum of Slint/Palace/Seam/Elephant 6 and condense it down to an explosively hesitant, Zen-like hush. Call it Long Attention Span Theater: if you're in the mood, it'll sound just great. Otherwise, please stay in the bar. (See My, What a Busy Week page 15) GRANT COGSWELL


(Buffalo Gap) Why do bad clubs happen to good people? Brian Berg is good people with good music, swirling guitar pop that's genuinely innovative (no, really, really) and entirely dependent upon his phenomenal fretwork. Brian Berg--Portland institution, songwriter, drummer, real estate appraiser, and architect of cascading riffs that sing with the angels. Why is he playing at the Buffalo Gap, a bar and 'restaurant' dedicated to chicken wings and blandly expensive casualwear (as the name suggests)? It is not a place for music. It is not a place for conversation. It is a club for the damned. JAY HORTON



(Mad Hatter) Another rootsy singer/songwriter schooled in sing-a-long punk...oh, hell, you know Pete Krebs. Hazel, Golden Delicious, Gossamer Wings, Friend Of Elliott, eclectic Portland indie icon, and he plays, like, five times a week. The Thinking Man's Working Musician. You're probably seeing him right now. The Kung Pao Chickens, though. Haven't seen them, eh? Jason Okamoto (Flatirons), John Neufeld (Jackstraw), Tim Acott (THE Laurelthirst bassist)--essentially the finest instrumentalists in town; men who can play complicated riffs faster than most folks can do anything--combine their talents toward swing, string-swing of the Django Reinhardt tradition. And, truth be told, I haven't seen them either. Do they have a vocalist? Can masters of frenzied pickin' bluegrass and traditional country easily segue their talents toward jazz? Is there much of a cover? I'm intrigued. And, y'know, there's always Pete Krebs. JH