THURSDAY 12/23

ALTER ECHO, MIKE 2600 KING
(Goodfoot, 2845 SE Stark) Based in Portland, and very closely connected with New York's DJ Spooky and the Netherlands's Twilight Circus Dub Sound System (he has recorded and remixed several tracks for both internationally recognized sound artists), Alter Echo produces digital dub structures that are oriented to a distant future where the line between humans and machines is a thing of the distant past. Indeed, Alter Echo's dubs are designed to entertain world-weary robots of the next and final century--Dr. Octagon's year of 3000. It is a hyper dub in the galactic sense, and yet possesses in the depths of its electronic furies a calm and beauty that can only be described as the gleam you might see along the rusting shell of a space station rotating through the blue aura of earth's thinning stratosphere. CHARLES MUDEDE



EDDIE SPAGHETTI, I CAN LICK ANY SOB IN THE HOUSE, MOONSHINE HANGOVER
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Beneath the unbelievably disturbing cover art, Eddie Spaghetti's latest, the double-entendre-d The Sauce, bends the trajectory of his beloved Supersuckers even further in the direction of his long-worn country crusade--a fairly consistent collection of surprisingly adept acoustic meanderings into all matters rough and ragged. To further drown your sorrows, arrive early for the familiar whiskey soaked musings of I Can Lick Any SOB In the House, and their bearded brethren in Moonshine Hangover--and as it's one of the Mercury's Low-Dough Shows, it's all on the cheap, so you'll be double-fisting drinks all night! ZAC PENNINGTON



JERRY JOSEPH & THE JACKMORMONS, NICOLE CAMPBELL BAND
(Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside) Jerry Joseph and his Jackmormons baffle me. This hard-rockin' roots trio is, quite simply, one of Portland's musical treasures. Don't like roots rock? Of course you don't--I don't either, but I LOVE Joseph and his band. Joseph has an awesome, booming voice, he's a great songwriter, and the band rocks like they think they're playing an arena show, and not some dinky club. Which brings me back to my original point: What's up with these guys? They haven't played a show in months and months, and the shows they were playing were in places like the Goodfoot, with perhaps 30 people in attendance. Granted, the Doug Fir Lounge is a large and reputable venue, but one Portland show in the last nine months? Is that how a great local band should behave? Plus, they haven't released an album in nearly two years, and the one they did release, Mouthful of Copper, was a live album (albeit an incredible one). Oddly, Jerry Joseph's website (jerryjoseph.com) is currently inviting fans to fly down to Costa Rica with the band to catch a couple New Year's Eve shows and party. The site includes detailed instructions for planning your Costa Rica vacation, including numbers for travel agents and a comparative list of ticket prices for different airlines. This info is given without a trace of irony; the band expects its fans to join them in Costa Rica. But who are these fans? Why have I never met any of you? How has a band that doesn't play shows or release albums accumulated devotees rabid enough to follow them to Costa Rica? Introduce yourselves and explain! I'm at justin@portlandmercury.com. JUSTIN WESCOAT SANDERS



TRICLOPS ORGAN TRIO
(Blue Monk, 3341 SE Belmont) Proper New Year's Eve partying should start around 12:01 a.m. on 12/31, ensuring that participants make the most of this pivotal date on the carousing calendar. Ambitious revelers can start a week early with this Triclops Organ Trio gig, which should provide enough potent funk fuel for a merry-making marathon. TOT sets sexually charged moods with its electric organ overtures, and its grooves are deep enough to swallow small cities. Fans usually end up saturated with sweat, a result more often associated with dance clubs than live instrumentation venues. But techno DJs can't compete with these blues-circuit veterans when it comes to soulful sounds. ANDREW MILLER



FRIDAY 12/24

JESUS BURGER, DYKERITZ
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy Blvd) Local dude Tyler Riggs is the man behind Jesus Burger's grand, epic, electro deviance. It's samples of Bush speeches pasted against Lightning Bolt meets Devo cyber-grinds. It's noise terror. It's leftist propaganda. It's industrial laptop anthems, wartime/election year blooze, and dance party jams for android activists. You should go to this show; It'll be better for you than a pyramid of multivitamins and a 40oz of wheatgrass. Don't believe me? Google that shit and try some of JB's mp3s. Recommended JB download of the week: "Why Yes Walley, Republicans are Nazis." ADAM GNADE



THE RED CHANNELS
(Devil's Point, 5305 SE Foster) Taking one page from VU and another from a more compelling Mazzy Star (like if a cackling Kat Bjelland replaced Hope Sandoval), The Red Channels stumble through songs in a drug haze. Dramatic, dirgy, and creepy, it may not be the most exciting live show (a little variety never hurts, dudes), but it's perfectly suitable for stoning out. MARJORIE SKINNER



SATURDAY 12/25

PORTLAND SS, DJ SCARFACE
(Sabala's Mt Tabor, 4811 SE Hawthorne) For a band that only put out one good record, it's sort of an admirable coup that the Clash are forever remembered as the "Only Band That Mattered." In spite of the many times I tried to immerse myself in their catalog, I can hard think of a band less important in my life than the boys of Brixton. Perhaps it's high time for my Christmas seminar on all matters Clashy, as Sabala's celebrates the loveably pale scamps in an evening of film and song. Screening the 1980 anomaly Rude Boy (a quasi-documentary that juxtaposes the band against a manufactured dramatic storyline) along with 2000's proper documentary Westway To the World, the evening is cherry-topped with a live performance by Clash cover band Portland SS, featuring members of Defiance, the Riffs, and the Nice Boys. ZP



SMOOCH KNOB, PUMA FRENZY
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) You know how at the last second the Mercury endorsed Jim Francesconi? And sometimes Julianne Shepherd would write really thoughtful articles about the genius of the Ying Yang Twins? Well, sorry Smooch Knob-- you're out of luck. I know it may be akin to kicking a dead horse, but this horse still seems to be twitching around in a backwards baseball hat, cargo shorts, and a soul-patch. (Q: Why do these sorts of bands even bother with press photos?) If I could say one good thing about this band, it's that they make openers Puma Frenzy look a lot better than they might already be. KIP BERMAN



SUNDAY 12/26

THE FELLOW BETRAYED, MIRACLE ENEMY, OLIVER, STRINGS OF THE TONGUE
(Conan's, 39th & Hawthorne) Portland band The Fellow Betrayed are biting heavily off metal masters like Metallica and Pantera. Their singer hams it up with a lot of aggro, hardcore, metal yelling while guitar riffs churn away in a sinister background. But even though this music harkens to a time gone by, I give these guys credit. I miss angry metal that makes you involuntarily bang your head and conjures phrases like "kill 'em all," "get the hell out of my face," and "if you say one more word I'll bash your fucking kneecaps in"--but that's just me, and I'm a very sick person. KATIE SHIMER



GOBSHITE KILL SANTA CABARET
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week! Pg 15



MONDAY 12/27 My President is Charlton Heston.



TUESDAY 12/28

Aa, 1999, SECRET PUPPETS, YUMA NORA, PANTHER
(The Nest, 6125 NE Mallory) See Music, Pg 17.



THE WPP, RAISED BY WOLVES, STOP SIGN GO, SCRATCH
(Davey Jones' Locker, 5925 SE Foster) Low-fi electro solo singer guy Raised By Wolves will undoubtedly impress the heady set, and might even win over a rocker or two. All of his songs vary quite a bit one to the next, one a noodly little ditty, another a dirgy guitar jam--so if nothing else, it won't be boring--a surefire spectacle to behold. KS



PINK MARTINI, ART ABRAMS SWING MACHINE BIG BAND
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Pink Martini got big in France, and now suffer the curse of vilification by local wretches who secretly envy their glamorous, European fame. They took a million years to release their second record, Hang On Little Tomato, so long in fact that most people forgot they could actually generate material. Their Euro-ethnic mix of bailando and cartoony old time saloon ballads sounds like background music in a very fancy shoe store--elegant and utterly inoffensive. MS



TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA
(Rose Garden, 1 Winning Way) Not to be a Grinch, but it can be an overwhelming time of year when neighbors fill their yards with animatronic reindeer, inflatable Santas, and enough light strands to guide the Mariners through a night game. However, even the most elaborate displays seem like tasteful holly wreaths compared to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's stage spectacle. A seasonal symphonic offshoot of the virtuosic bombast factory Savatage, TSO recently completed its Christmas-themed rock-opera trilogy. The saptacular plot involves a young angel sent to Earth to save Christmas, and the story-advancing songs share space with streamrolling, synthesizer-smothered instrumentals ("Wizards in Winter") and traditional tunes. On paper, TSO seems too heady for the lighter-lofting masses, with its intimidating musical complexity and esoteric cultural allusions ("Wish Liszt" is a nod to "Hungarian Rhapsody" composer Franz Liszt, not a vehicle for a gratuitous metal "z"). But the group's hard-rock riffs leave ears ringing like Salvation Army bells, and their shows include more laser beams than a sci-fi anthology. AM



WEDNESDAY 12/29

CHAIN OF BEING, SIDEWALK SHADOWS
(Ash Street, 225 SW Ash) Chain of Being can be described with the single word "rock." The Eugene-based band eschews punk's savage efficiency, saving space for sprawling solos, and it replaces metal's growling menace with vocal vulnerability. "Modern" is an optional modifier, as COB doesn't exactly sound like Chuck Berry (though it references rock's kick-starter on its website.) But "modern rock" conjures images of Matchbox 20 and other acts that bear the stigma of sterility. COB's fire-obsessed lyrics hint at metaphorical pyromania, but its searing riffs and slow-burn singing style generate genuine heat. AM



FEDERATION X, THE NARROWS, KNIGHT BADGER, THE INNOCENTS
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) The Narrows, a trio from Bellingham, WA take their time building minimal notes and snail's pace bpms into epic drone riffs that can raise goosebumps. Their namesake, the infamous Narrows bridge that twisted apart in the wind, gives some indication of the type of damage their anvil-heavy slowcore can produce. Reminiscent of the heyday of indie power trios like Codeine and Seam, the group seems to be reserving its energy for the distorted outbreak that never seems to arrive or last long enough when it does. On the self-released Skull at Life Size LP, singer/guitarist Justin McIntyre's voice cracks stretching out anguished existential done-wrong lyrics. In turn, bassist Sean McKee and drummer Matt McIntyre play with a sense of restraint that makes each opportunity to crunch down that much more gratifying. While it may seem like the Narrows are working in an anachronistic genre, they somehow distill the essence of what made its reference points worth following--hesher heaviness and emo introspection trimmed of its excesses. GEORGE CHEN



LYRICS BORN, LUMINOUS FOG, LIGHTHEADED, MADEGESDIQ
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) As the bitches and riches shtick wears increasingly thin, Lyrics Born emerges as one of the hiphop emcees who are steadily stomping the shit out of the one-trick pony of current mainstream rap. Along with his other homies in Quannum, he makes a point of bringing a social conscience to the stage as well as impressive lyricism, and those all important funky, funky beats. MS



SISSY BOY
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Much like karaoke and sushi, drag queens are SO 1999. Why the trends of drag queen cool eerily mirror the trends of strange Asian fish and music innovations we'll never know. What's important is that, much like karaoke and sushi, the entertainment value of drag queens is completely separate from their cool quotient. Simply put, sushi, karaoke, and drag queens will never stop being fun, even when your scenester friends try to convince you to the contrary. Tonight, sad to say, you're only getting drag queens (no sushi or karaoke as far as we know), but you're getting a lot of them. And they'll be dancing with groovy host Sissy Boy. And we're pretty sure there'll be Drag KINGS there as well. Drag Kings are SO 2004. Too bad they only have a couple weeks left before they go out of style, too. What will be the reigning gender-twisting genre in 2005? Our heart flutters with anticipation. JWS



SOLOVOX, THE PUNK GROUP, DJ ROMO
(Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside) Comedy rock comes in many flavors. Certainly, the tongue in fat cheek bar schlock of The Bare Naked Ladies is vanilla, while Weird Al, who appeals solely to the unsophisticated palettes of pre-pubescent boys, would be pink bubblegum. The Punk Group, who are sweet and refreshing, is mint chocolate chip. These two smart, yet thoroughly devolved jocko homos keep their low budget new wave simple and catchy, taking jabs at Portland's cultural sacred cows (Sleater-Kinney, bike punks, rockabilly) and having a blast in the process. While many bands that rely this heavily on humor grow stale over time, the Punk Group is consistently a highly stylized good time. I'll take two scoops with whipped cream, white sunglasses, and a cherry. KB