THURSDAY 12/26

MINE THIRTY SEVEN, AUDIO LEARNING CENTER, WOW & FLUTTER
(Blackbird, 3728 NE Sandy) While two of the members have recently jumped ship, the old crew is still represented on W&F's new album, Names. The new stuff, like the old, is sleepy, orchestral indie music, with somber vocals that weave slowly through the songs and lull you into a morphine-like state. This is the best kind of music for seeing at the Blackbird, because you might actually be able to hear your girlfriend's drink order or have a conversation beyond, "DO YOU HAVE A LIGHTER? A LIGHTER!!" There is just too much pressure for the band to be good when the music is so loud that you fear brain damage. And even though W&F is good enough not to talk through, it's nice to have options. KATIE SHIMER

HUNGRY MOB, DJ KOLA
(Ohm, 31 NW 1st) See MWBW pg 13

FANTASTIC FOUR
(Madame Butterfly, 425 SW Stark) If you keep obsessively rewinding Wild Style for that totally insane basketball battle between the Cold Crush and Fantastic Five, give your finger a break and make your way to Madame Butterfly. The Fantastic Four, Portland's four-man old-skool funk and hiphop DJ crew, will whet your true-school yearning whistle with selections excavated from the deepest innards of the motherland of hiphop, the Bronx (plus maybe some of the stuff that Bambaataa or Flash used to play, like "Apache" or "Freedom" or some Baby Huey). I know, that part where Robbie Rob rhymes, "Well I'm the M (Master Rob!)/like all the pretty girls/ I'll serve your monkey ass like Earl the Pearl!" is hard to tear yourself away from, but it'll be there when you get back, really. JULIANNE SHEPHERD

FRIDAY 12/27

SCIENCE OF YABRA, MERRICK FOUNDATION, MADE FOR TV MOVIE, BIG FOOT LIVES!
(Satyricon, 125 NW 6th) Every time I see Science of Yabra, two things happen: 1. The ETA (estimated time of arrival) of my impending tinnitus is bumped up by a couple months, and I kick myself for forgetting my earplugs AGAIN; 2. I remember exactly how good they are, 'cause sometimes you just don't get the full experience on a record. Though their releases are good--scratchy, tight, powerful examples of screaming rock in the chugging-yet-smart vein--it's their live shows that make them exemplary. They exude assloads of energy, always looking like they're gonna pop a vein and jumping around and shit, but still getting all the solos right and the seething drum hits in perfect time. And that, my friends, is a talent in itself. JS

ANDAZ: BHANGRA, BREAKS AND HIPHOP STARRING THE INCREDIBLE KID, DJ ANJALI
(Fez, 316 SW 11th) Here's a good question: what do sick electronic beats, spicy flutes, strains of sitar, and dance-licious grooves add up to? That's right; Bhangra! Come shake your India/Pakistan-loving bum tonight. JUSTIN "WEST COAST" SANDERS

D-FUSE, DAVE ELLIOTT, JOSH BANKS, ANDREW GONSALES, PROTOCOL
(Ohm) Austin trance DJ/producer D-Fuse mixes a little house in there and works with beats and sounds that don't sit perched on the pyre of cliché. With a selection that is as equally fitting for laser tag as it is jacking Mini Coopers, he'll heat it up, though hopefully he'll leave the ten-gallon he normally sports at home, cause there's nothing cheesier than a dude in a cowboy hat listening to techno (even if he is from Texas). The evening will be rife with progressive house, trance, and techno. JS

GRUPO OBARA
(Canita, 503 W Burnside) Cuban duo Grupo Obara, who spend three months on and three months off touring and performing in the United States, consist of a singer and a drummer, but for this performance they'll have four drummers, a singer, and two dancers performing Afro-Cuban spirituals. It's very loose and steamy, so if you're tired of the crappy gray winter, you'll get a hot dose of sweat. JS

TESTAMENT, VIOLENCE, EXHUMED, VEHEMENCE
(Roseland, NW 6 th & Davis) You may ask yourself, "Why do I continue living, when so many are hacked-up into little pieces with a dull kitchen knife and scattered through the countryside?" Well maybe you don't ask that, but I am sure someone does. While you are contemplating this question, I sure hope you are listening to Exhumed. There is not an act on this evil world we live in that is more fitting to be the soundtrack to all the gruesome murders that are committed everyday. Exhumed play metal the way its meant to be played; loud, fast, and with just the right amount of blood to make the shit fun and exciting. CHRIS REED

THE CAROLINES, DOLOUR
(Meow Meow, 520 SE Pine) The Carolines come close to being just another Flaming Lips-influenced psychedelic rock-pop band, but save themselves with some varied and interesting instrumentation. There are bitchin' guitar solos, string orchestrations, some piano riffs, and even sometimes, as on "Kings and Queens," the clear, sweet notes of a blessed trumpet. It's too bad the hellish ska movement made people wary of trumpets and brass in general. Trumpets are beautiful, beautiful things. J "WC" S

BO DIDDLEY, eric mcfadden
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Bo Diddley got loads of honors in 2002--numerous lifetime achievement awards, inductions into various halls of fame... you know, the pats on the back they give you when they think you're gonna die soon. Well, he may be turning 74 tonight, but the artist formerly known as Ellas Otha Bates McDaniels is still going strong. Yes, he laid the groundwork for rock 'n' roll--his electric blues directly influencing Buddy Holly, the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, AC/DC, the Clash, and countless others. Yes, his experimental guitar style presaged Jimi Hendrix. Yes, you can hear his signature rhythms in nearly all of today's garage-revival bands. But can he still play and sing and tear up the joint? Hell yeah, he can. If you only know about Bo Diddley from history books or Nike commercials, go to this show. Who knows how many more chances you'll get. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

BLACKBIRD XMAS PARTY HOSTED BY PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLERS
(Blackbird) It's the Blackbird's Christmas Party, and in keeping with their wily antics, owner Pat Kenneally has offered to dress up in a Santa ensemble and do free Brazilian waxing in the newly expanded bathrooms (which, if you go there, he'll be happy to give you a tour). Also, he will let you sit on his lap. (As if you can't sit on his lap every other day of the year.) Regardless, the very impressive, charming Psychological Thrillers, with their rocking time changes, almost-jazzlike chords, sung-spoken vocals, and 45-minute-long songs (like Karate minus the boring), host. JS

SATURDAY 12/28

BIG STAR, THE POSIES, HERKEMER
(Dante's) Other than a few exceptions (Teenage Fanclub, Velvet Crush, tonight's openers The Posies) the world of Power Pop is pretty goddamn disappointing. For bands with an insatiable appetite for catchy hooks, the genre has produced few, if any, real stars. (And no, Cheap Trick doesn't count.) While never really living up to their name, Big Star is the closest thing Power Pop got to superstars. And, while the name Alex Chilton might not mean a whole lot to you, to an indie nerd like myself, the guy is a god. Chilton epitomized the over-talented/under-appreciated rock-n-roller who won the hearts of critics and diehard fans, yet never was able to break into the mainstream. It's sad, it's tragic, and if Big Star ever had a real number-one single, they would make for a great VH-1 Behind the Music. Way better than that one I saw on El Debarge--man, what were they thinking? CARMELO MARTINEZ

DJ FLUTTERBY, JESSE (CNSE)
(Madame Butterfly) The lovely DJ Flutterby promises she'll be spinning anything that is "jazzy and electronic," and Jesse, of one-man laptopian Central Nervous System Engineering, shall offer a DJ set, spinning what will surely be a delightful and appetizing concoction. JS

VI FOOT SLOTH CD RELEASE, TWO GUYS, FERN CAPELLA, DJ TAN'T
(Blackbird) The Fifth Winter, the new CD they're releasing tonight, is the best recording I've heard from VI Foot Sloth, and is excellent. Everything just seems to fall into place perfectly--the somber basslines, wistful and precisely soft vocals (not soft in an impotent way, just soft in intention), the littlest amount of psych that makes it dreamy but never drifts toward hokey, and vaguely philosophical lyrics that are never pretentious and always heartfelt. The quintet hit a swimmy, centered stride and it suits them. Not to be written off as merely slow, these songs are quiet in the internal sense--they're a faraway quiet, as with a rumbling thunderstorm or undertow. Strong, stoic, a little mournful, and full of subtly endearing elements (like on "No Good," when the word "asked" is sung like "axed"), they've developed their melodies more than ever. Go see them. JS

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Elton John should be very proud of himself for cleaning up and taking a stand, but just admit it: his new outfits suck. The old Elton was the one with the best costumes, the most outrageous showmanship, and dammit, that's the Elton everyone (with taste) should want to see. Joel Mason ("Captain Fantastic") has stepped up to the plate, in mammoth sparkly platforms, to indulge fans of the '70s Elton. Mason's voice is virtually indistinguishable from Elton's, his garb just as flamingly flamboyant, and his antics are, thankfully, reminiscent of the classic, substance-abusing Elton, without being as depressing. Endorsed by the International Elton John Fan Club (HERCULES), Captain Fantastic puts on an amazing, guiltlessly indulgent and entertaining show. He can even bring you the Elton John of the '80s and '90s, if you want to hear that song from Disney's Lion King. I'll take the Rocket Man, personally, any day of the week. KATE MERCIER

SUNDAY 12/29

DANCE DISASTER MOVEMENT, GUESTS
(Blackbird) See Music pg 15

BROTHA LYNCH HUNG
(Roseland, NW 6 th & Davis) Once called the "ringleader of horror core rap," BLH got his name because he was so good at executing his fellow emcees at underground freestyling battles in Sacramento. His raps are indeed scary-sounding, with ominously low synth chords, growling vocals, and lyrics like "I don't play that shit low and I ain't soft/ 'bout your rumors Gimmy got his mouth shot off/ then his head cut off just for fucking up/ with a nigga that got a room full of baby gut." But BLH is also a gifted rapper, with mesmerizing beats and unparalleled word play. J "WC" S

MONDAY 12/30

ENDOR, VADDICT, LOITER COGNITION, ANATOMY OF A GHOST, ZERO COMPLEX
(Paris Theater, 6 SW 3rd) Vaddict is my favorite kind of hardcore. They have the aggro screams and heavy bass back-up, but they still do a lot of talented, rock guitar playing and emotional singing. If you are a fan of Snapcase, you should see this band. The lead singer often times sounds like he could be singing one of those songs about drug addiction on NRK, and even occasionally goes toward rap-rock, but right when you're about to get cheesed out, the band breaks into hardcore violence and you forget your reservations. They have the talent and believable anger that a shitload of other hardcore bands lack. I guess this is what people call the "emo." KS

TUESDAY 12/31

NEW YEAR'S IN HAVANA STARRING RAMSEY Y LOS MONTUNOS
(Canita) There is something all at once soulful, seedy, and seductive about New Year's Eve in Havana. After all, it was on New Year's Eve 1959 when tanks rumbled through the then-opulent streets of the small resort island and tossed the cigar-smoking gringos into the ocean. It is also, of course, the rump-shaking music, free from any political context, that makes Havana sexy and festive. What? You can't afford to fly to Havana for this great party? Oh, the State Department isn't letting you in on the fun. Tonight, Canita recreates a spicy slice of Havana's fiesta with the salsa band Ramsey y Los Montunos. PHIL DOT BUSSE

POINT LINE PLANE, THE PLANET THE, NICE NICE
(Blackbird, 9-12 pm sharp) I WILL NOW MAGICALLY DIVINE THE FUTURE. Uhhhh... my crystal ball says that Nice Nice, the only improvising punky dub-robotic no wave duo IN THE WORLD, will release a record on a very awesome world-famous label that is (sorta) newly local in early 2003, and it better be on vinyl so deejays can mix them, finally, because they are The Future of Music... also, the spirits are telling me that screaming-hot keyboard/drum duo Point Line Plane and hreaming-scot he-man/hump trio The Planet The will go on a tour together, and that both of them will release records next year, assuming that natural disasters do not strike. My crystal ball also tells me that this show will be fun and crazy, full of buzzy keyboards and the requisite "antics," and music dorkiness will be spilled, some people will make out, and 2003 will bring more beauty than you'll ever imagine. Love will be spread, musical boundaries will be stretched or blown up, etc. JS

THE MAKERS, EXPLODING HEARTS, THE PUNK GROUP
(Satyricon) Ironically, the New Year's party where people will be the best-dressed is Satyricon? Weird. Well, if you think you can compete with Mike Maker's cavalcade of crushed velvet, then be my guest. Otherwise, dress in your nattiest and know that as fancy as you get, The Makers will always be fancier than you. Who cares, they'll rock your butt into 2g3, and certainly this night will be one to remember, that is if you're able to after all the required RnR debauchery. JS

THE thermals, Schicky Gnarowitz and the Transparent Wings of Joy
(Stumptown, 34th and SE Belmont) Come New Year's Eve 2003, Portland's best all-star band ever, The Thermals, will probably be playing PGE Stadium with Pearl Jam and a reunited Mother Love Bone opening for them. Until that happens, you can see them play a painfully small coffeeshop tonight--just be sure to "Irish" up that coffee, if ya know what I mean. CM

800 OCTANE, THIRTY3, COUNTDOWN TO LIFE, DJS RETROGRADE, RETROVIRUS
(Nocturnal) This New Year's is looking kind of bleak, with very few parties to speak of, let alone any within walking distance of my house. Instead of my usual get-drunk-and-dance-on-the-coffee-table act, I suppose I'm going to have to get drunk and dance to the melodic, yet aggressive hardcore of Thirty3 and the fun New Wave ultra '80s collection of DJs retrograde and retrovirus (they are the best). This party, at the very least, will not be the same old friends crying from too much champagne with Mannheim Steamroller or bad Bryan Adams skipping on the turntable. And it's only $6. KS

GRUESOME GALORE
(Tiger Bar, 317 NW Broadway) Tonight the gang of seven that is Gruesome Galore will be rockin' it hardcore with a smorgasbord of music--they've got back-up singers, eerie jazz, eclectic rock, good ol' rock and roll, and organs, people! Organs! Their name may lead you to think they're a weird Gwar-esque band, but that's not the case, although costumes may play a role. I don't want to give away too many secrets, but rumor has it there may be some covers of the Bowie and T-Rex variety. Covers or no, this promises to be a great show. Tiger Bar fills up quickly, so get there early and let Shane liquor you up while you listen to some kick-ass music and enjoy your last night of debauchery before your so-called "resolution" to stay sober kicks in. NICOLE WARREN

DJ SWEET-N-LOW, DAHLIA, LIFESAVAS, ODYSSEY, DJ JOSH BANKS
(Ohm) It's fitting that Lifesavas are ringing in the New Year, cause 2003 totally belongs to them. Portland's pride and joy, an intelligent hiphop group with clipped and thick beats, really tight rhymes (easy and conversational flow, extra-charming lyrics, great choruses), the next time you see them, they're definitely not going to be playing a club as small as the Ohm. Just off the CaliComm tour and with the recent release of their second record for Quannum, the awesome "HelloHiHey" 12", more tours are in the works and emcee Vursatyl is even starting his own clothing line, appropriately named "503." (PORTLAND PRIDE! Yay!) So spend New Year's Eve with our superstars before they totally blow up, yes? JS

FLUTTERBY, BC, DJ KENOY, MR. T., SALTFEEND, SUPPOZ
(Madame Butterfly) If you like to wear black and slick your hair back, here's a night of electro DJ madness to ring in your New Year. (Hey, Santa just drove by the office talking on his cell phone, and his beard was sitting on the front seat. What the fuck?) Anyhow, while you're looking chic and bobbing your head in a sultry fashion (no, that is not an innuendo), order the drink that has slices of cucumber in it. It's dope. KS

STORM & THE BALLS
(Dante's) Subtlety isn't really Storm and the Balls' strong point. Storm is an Amazonian-sized blond nymphette, with quite a set of... pipes on her (diminutive, perhaps, only to her stage presence). Recently, they re-enacted the prom scene from Carrie, to the glee and repulsion of their audience. A twisted sister of the classic bar cover band, they reinvent their catalog of favorites--mostly of the pop punk, butt rock, and metal variety--into songs which often sound conspicuously like lounge and jazz tunes. KM