THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 27

DEF JUX ALLSTARS STARRING CANNIBAL OX, AESOP ROCK, MR LIF, EYEDEA & ABILITIES

(Meow Meow) Aesop Rock's voice is melodic, but has a quality so cutting you can almost see his lyrics slicing straight through you. With a voice so tight, this Manhattan native doesn't need overly imposing beats, and the trebly ones he chooses are perfect, complimenting his raps rather than overpowering them. Like his Def Jux labelmates Cannibal Ox, he raps about living in New York, about being real and passionate and honest and hiphop. On his new record, Labor Days, he has a line that goes, "Life's not a bitch/ life is a beautiful woman/ you only call her a bitch/ cause she won't let you get that pussy." Fuck yeah, I think I love him. JULIANNE SHEPHERD See Music pg 19

WOW & FLUTTER, XIU XIU, KINSKI

(Berbati's) San Jose's Xiu Xiu (pronounced "shoe shoe") bring a delightful mixture of organic and electronic instruments by way of Harmonium, a rack of misshapen metal chimes, a crazy old wooden standup bass, keyboards and guitar. Their music is earnest, sincere and darkly cryptic. Singer Jamie Stewart's throaty, fluttering voice is refreshing, not to mention he looks great in a skirt. JAMES SQUEAKY

HILLBILLY KNOCKOUT

(Conan's) Amidst all the flag-waving and drum-banging about being American over the past few weeks, some of the truly true--if not more embarrassing--red, white and blue icons have been shoved into the dark corners. Yes, we're talking about cowboys and hillbillies--perhaps more American than apple pie itself. Tonight, those icons square off, with the immensely talented Lucky Stars holding court with fast-moving cowboy swing, and Six String Eric and His Lazy Ranch Hands leading the charge with hillbilly dueling guitars, slap bass and fiddle. PHIL BUSSE


FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 28

BENEFIT FOR Q IS FOR CHOIR STARRING THE HAGGARD, MATTHEW HATTIE HEIN, HEART BEATS RED

(Robot Steakhouse, 288-6857, 7 pm) Q is for Choir, the record store, is trying to become a collectively-run business. Now, even if you are of the subset of people that still equates communism with the oppressive Soviet Union (i.e., over 60/related to J. Edgar Hoover), you can't deny that is a noble goal. And even if you can deny that, you will not be able to deny the sheer yumminess of these fine musical acts. The Haggard, a tough punk duo, screams some of the best lyrics ever, all about bikes and P.E. teachers and general oppression. Matthew Hattie Hein might rival them, however, with his wonderful crooning and lyrics worthy of librarians and romantics. Heart Beats Red, with their powerful harmonies and overdriven amplifiers, exhibit their passion unashamedly. JULIANNE SHEPHERD

NICE NICE, THE SAMIZDAT

(Ground Kontrol) Nice Nice is an awesome duo consisting of guitars, drums, and pedals (the pedals are so important, they're like a whole extra person). They play rhythmic improv that can start out on the outskirts of funk, venture delicately through ambient or dub music, and end up being a powerful barrage of bizarre samples and compelling noise. Samizdat means "subversive literature or art," and they make relevant political statements from a "goddamn pinko commie" perspective, post Un-American Activities dissolution, post COINTELPRO (as far as we know). JS

UNWOUND, CHOKEBORE, POLAR GOLDIE CATS

(B Complex) I'm more and more impressed at the songwriting Unwound has surrendered itself to; the kind that's rife with patience and beauty, but also rumbling with content and tumult. In other words, they've figured out how to strike a balance between being a leveled, "mature" band (like, one that's been together for a long time), and still being passionate about what they do, blending intellectualism and simplicity with distorted guitars. Ah, the dichotomy of ages! Go early for Polar Goldie Cats, who play neat and monstrous ice-music for the sullen poet in your heart. JS

ARLO, NEW END ORIGINAL, JOHN VANDERSLICE, THE STANDARD

(Blackbird) I've been listening to the new Ben Folds (which has many hilarious moments, both intentionally and unintentionally), and the newest John Vanderslice alternately, and the difference in sophistication (Vanderslice being the more advanced one) is mind-boggling. Ole John adds quirks in his piano songs underneath and through the sides of his rhythms, and I believe he deserves to be the New Model of Cleancut Intelligence 2001. Unfortunately, his billmates New End Original's proclivity for generic pop-punk and insipid lyrics (which, granted, have a good sentiment, but are they really singing "My Birthday is no Earth Day"?!? I hope not) make me want to slit my wrists and bleed all over the Vans Warped Tour, American Pie 2 Soundtrack, Rivers Cuomo, and 1996 (the year) in protest. However, much like that one new piano line in The Standard's repertoire I surprised myself by liking, I do think the drumming in track three of New End Original's album is pretty good. JS

MOTÖRHEAD, MUDHONEY, THE CATHETERS

(Crystal Ballroom) Motörhead is what I consider highway metal. You know, there's death metal, soul-searching metal, instru-metal, and raspy, driving highway metal that you'd imagine guys in leather like to listen to, while they're running from the police in a Monte Carlo and drinking 40-ouncers, snorting coke, or throwing cigarettes out the window. It's not my favorite kind of metal. But it's totally old-school and it's the basis of headbanging. If you're smart, you'll bring your old Motörhead T-shirts and scalp them for big money at the show. KS


SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 29

LACHRYMATOR, PARTY TIME, BLOOD PARTY

(Blackbird) Excerpt from the M¨tal Bible, a long-obscured document recently discovered in a remote cave in Eastern Oregon: "... and so the heavens parted, and a great voice rang from above. It was the voice of the almighty god Lachr¥mator, divine ruler of the land west of Instru-m¨tal and east of the mountain range Riffäge. And the Lachr¥mator imparted upon all the Hessians to headbang that we may live, and the people screamed at the Lachr¥mator's power to play complicated guitar riffs, and some of the women among us fainted. And the drums began, and our land was never the same again." Alas, is the omniscient god Lachrymator a mere myth of mortals, or does he walk among us? If it is true, you shall suffer great folly, would that you miss the Lachrymator's divine appearance. JS

HELL CANDIDATES, SPINDRIFT, HOTBOXED, DOWNSIZE

(Paris) The Hell Candidates are a confusing band, because they have this devil-goat (with an American flag on it?) for their logo, and they have this reputation for being just totally gonzo, and they have all these full pyrotechnics shows (which this will be) where they get banned from venues and stuff. But then you listen to their music, and they just play this rock, that's slightly Black Sabbathy, but also like the singer is the same one from Foreigner. At any rate, they are going to light a bunch of shit on fire tonight. JS

KBOO PICKATHON

(Horning's Hideout) It is a loose premise: Open an outdoor makeshift stage in the middle-of-nowhere Oregon (okay, 20 minutes from Portland) for twelve hours to all string instruments and musicians under the sun. But past the seemingly anything-goes veneer is a serious bank of talent. In years past, Pickathon, a KBOO benefit, has drawn some of the highest quality of string players in the Northwest. Judging from this year's line-up, the organizers have decidedly upped the ante. From the hillbilly punk of Susannah Weaver to the thigh-slapping bluegrass of Sam Hill, they have revved the pace to a rowdy giddy-up, including a tightly wound, if not somewhat off-kilter, mandolin-driven Harebrained, and the evening capper--more mellow, urban cowboy songs from homegrown Caleb Klauder. Driving directions at www.pickathon.com. PHIL BUSSE

RATT, HELLES BELLES

(Crystal) When bands from the '80s get back together to cash in, they're usually a better live act than they were in their heyday. Chances are, they screwed it all up with the one-two punch of drugs and youth, and are grateful for this unexpected chance to go out swinging. Ratt, the pop metal band known for one, and only one song (1983's "Round and Round") are the epitome of this final shot at respect. They can't keep their name free of irony, but they can keep it free of derision. So, in their retro sunset, Ratt may be at their cheesy best. That said, Helles Belles, the amazing all-female AC/DC cover band who opens the show, will probably blow Ratt off the stage. MICHAEL SHILLING

ex-GIRL, THE DIRT MITTS, WOW & FLUTTER

(Meow Meow) Their theatrics alone make the Japanese trio eX-Girl worth seeing. They're all over the place, with vocals that range from operatic to muppet-like, drums that go from rock to techno-y drum machines, and guitars that are sometimes metal and sometimes experimental. With such a broad range, it's hard to categorize them, other than extremely spastic and rock-based, with a totally '80s booming sound. I'll be amazed to see how they can keep this insane shit up for an entire set. KS


SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 30

BINDLESTIFF FAMILY CIRKUS

(Dante's) While it seems unlikely that a whole circus sideshow (albeit an intimate one) plus audience can cram into Dante's, this travelling band of freaks are likely to be a short attention spanner's wet dream. The Bindlestiffs are a New York-based troupe that keeps the spirit of vaudevillian/sideshow culture alive while combining it with a more contemporary approach. Some of tonight's promised occurrences include a human cannonball, lager foam divination, bullwhip demonstrations, a travelling zine library, and musical accompaniment by "obnoxiphone and tampon applicator" (don't ask me...). SIMON GASKEN


MONDAY OCTOBER 1

ELVIS' BIRTHDAY BASH STARRING MONKEYFUR, STARANTULA, GUESTS

(Ash Street) This is not Elvis Presley's birthday, so I'm assuming it's Elvis Elvis' birthday. You know, Elvis Portland. Whichever Elvis it is, Starantula's Seantos will sax-funk the Birthday song slinkier than Marilyn Monroe, with his powerful delivery, abundance of body hair, and unfairly reviled saxophone. The man can play, the man can perform, and even if you think birthday parties are stupid, this one will be saucy enough to tolerate the streamers and cake. JS


TUESDAY OCTOBER 2

THE RAPTURE, GLASS CANDY AND THE SHATTERED THEATRE, THE PLANET THE, CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE

(Blackbird) I'm so stoked for this show. First, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone will charm the pants off you with his one-note Casio love songs and sweet, shy voice. Delightfully, he has been known to switch out patch cords with his amp still on! Then, The Planet The will execute mad and sweaty mind control via hypercomposed keyboards and guitars. After that, Glass Candy's trashy bass compliments the phenomenal presence that is Ida No, who screams every time like her throat just got cut open. The Rapture, who aren't annoying enough to warrant the perpetual Television comparisons, will throw their trash punk in the blender, with slutty beats, funky bass, and unloosed screams that will whip your passion into action. Elsewhere in this section, Shimer referenced a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, which happens to be the first car I ever owned. But THIS is the true Monte Carlo show--it's a '72, primer grey with a black top, and it is bitchin. JS

BACKSTREET BOYS

(Rose Garden) The Backstreet Boys are soooo over. They've been around forever, and while their concerts were once populated with hip high school girls in belly shirts and Capri pants, their fans have grown up and become college girls. And college girls are no fun. They only like college guys and stuffy old professors, neither of which I am. So, if you, like me, want to go hang out with some cute, impressionable fifteen-year-olds, then you should wait and see if 'Nsync are coming to town. J.C. and the others are still pop celebrities, and let me tell you, I want it that way. JAMIE S. RICH

AFI, NO MOTIVE, THRICE

(Crystal) As much as any jaded hipster would hate to admit, AFI brings an honorable combination of exuberance and charisma to the Misfits legacy. Their music appeals to sincere teenagers who haven't yet discovered their inner record-collecting snob: A combination of Halloween themes, fast skate punk, Metal Lite, and anthemic sing-alongs that's not too difficult to appreciate. Singer Davey Havok actually sings, and his wide range isn't your typical snotty pop-punk style. That's to say nothing of the backing vocals, which are brilliant in execution. The vision of a packed arena of kids singing together is enough to make even me smile. SQUEAKY


WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 3

GORDON LIGHTFOOT

(Schnitzer) Some people have their lives changed by a particular song--the soothing sounds of Beethoven that defined exactly how wide a soul can be, or an inner anger uncorked by the Sex Pistols, or a sexuality liberated by Prince. Mine was forever and indelibly altered when I first heard "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." An eerie and woeful tale about the sinking of an overloaded iron ore freighter in Lake Superior in 1975, the twelve-minute acoustic ballad rang with the gloomy pitch and tenor of the working-class soul. Like most of Gordon Lightfoot's lyrics, the song has the bare-bones strength of a Hemingway novel, and Lightfoot's voice is somehow woeful and comforting at the same time. (Or, perhaps the song hit me so hard because it is the only pop song ever written about my home state, Wisconsin.) Sixty years old now, Lightfoot is still carrying the torch for the downtrodden. PB

SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS, SLIM CESSNA'S AUTO CLUB

(Crystal) Call them either an inbred choir from heaven or an angelic orgy from hell, but Slim Cessna's Auto Club is the country, punky answer to your prayers. Proudly defying all other alt-country, this strung-out, twangy six-piece wails and hollers about God, the Devil, and other rural concerns. (Plus, they also play weddings.) Get yer foot-stompin' shoes on! WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

ANGELIQUE KIDJO, DJ DAREK MAZZONE

(Roseland) Walk into any record store, and chances are you'll find this Benin-born and Paris-raised singer's new best-of CD in the "world" music section, where all foreign-sourced or foreign-tongued music tends to get dumped, regardless of style. In a perfect world, however, Angelique would be located in the "pop" section instead. For no matter how wide-ranging her output, she's a modern, eclectic pop star at heart. Fueled by funk, soul, and the voodoo roots of her homeland, Angelique delves into everything from reggae, samba, salsa, gospel, jazz, rumba, zouk, and makossa. JAMES KIRCHMER


GOING TO SEATTLE?

Thurs 9/27: Motörhead (Showbox);
Fri 9/28:
Botch, Blood Brothers, Teen Cthulu (Fire House)
Sat 9/29:
Ivy, Clem Snide (Crocodile)
Tues 10/2:
Sigur Ros, The Album Leaf (King Cat)

For more info, visit www.thestranger.com

New Releases Oct. 2: ABPK*, Eric Benet, David Benoit, Billy Mahonie, Boilermaker, DJ Food & DK*, Vincent Gallo, Goblins, Halifax Pier, Ides of Space, Jackie-O Motherfucker*, Kilowatthours, Moth Wranglers, Now It's Overhead, Oysterhead, Per Mission*, Phoenecia, Scorched Earth, Shockabilly*, Sonna, Swans*

*may actually turn out okay