EARLY MAN, DIAMOND TUCK AND THE PRIVATES, DJ HAUL
(Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside) For such a comparatively young genre, heavy metal has managed to splinter into more divergent subgroups than even American Protestants. Power metal, doom metal, speed metal, death metal... it never ends. Brooklyn duo Early Man can undoubtedly be filed under "hipster metal," despite their small-town Ohio roots. Their album, Closing In, was brought to the light of day by Matador Records, whose only other hesher leanings have been the fuzzy bellbottom jams of Dead Meadow. With or without the indie stamp of approval, Early Man's accessibility shines through in their music—lean, pop-metal shuffles that distill the kinder moments of Metallica or Celtic Frost into four-minute-long sonic pills that even the most irony-deficient hipster can swallow. JOSH BLANCHARD-BLANCHARD
FORCED CHEER: LOVELY, DAHOO CHORUS
(Gallery 500, 420 SW Washington, 5th Floor) Gallery 500, owned and operated by local fashion plate and eccentric Justin Oswald, is as well known for its debaucherous and late-night parties as it is for showcasing eclectic art and performances. Finally closing its doors, tonight marks the last bash before the new Sugar Gallery takes over the space. Besides the pie-throwing (at a cabal of girls dressed as clown elves, hosted by local clown-porn king, Knotty Klown) and sitting on Santa's lap (both privileges can be had for a fee, with profits going toward the roller derby team Guns N' Rollers and p:ear), you'll find grimy glam rock band, Lovely, as well as Christmas carols sung by the Dahoo Chorus. And with sponsorships from New Deal Vodka and Madame Bouffant, you can be sure this party will stay interesting all night long. I hope these Sugar Gallery people know how to whoop it up, too. MARJORIE SKINNER-SKINNER
SPECIAL SURPRISE GUEST, PORTALS, BEIGE FERRARI
(Sabala's Mt. Tabor, 4811 SE Hawthorne) There is an old Haitian saying that goes, "Show me a man that doesn't love a little mystery in his music, and I'll show you a boring, stiff, sad-sack with a stick up his ass." Indeed! Tonight is a night of mystery, my friends. A night of surprises and adventure! Sabala's is listing this one as "Special Surprise Out of Town Guests of Headlining Quality!!! We'll call them 'Enron' for now..." What's going on? What's the deal? What could this mean? At first I was thinking it was New York indierockers Enon, since "Enon" spellchecks as "Enron" (try it sometime). But that's too obvious. So. Moving on. My new theory is it's a band that's been involved in a grand, sensational, Enron-like scandal—which could be anybody from Chuck Berry to psych folkie Patrick Wolf to R. Kelly to fuckin' Gary Glitter. The possibilities are endless... ADAM GNADE-GNADE
ROCK 'N' ROLL SOLDIERS, STELLAR HERO, SHELF BELLIE
(Rock 'n' Roll Pizza, 11140 SE Powell) Send lawyers, guns, and money because it's WAR down on the Mercury's Blogtown, USA! Sort of. A one-man war, anyway. Regular poster "Automator" had the following to say of our recent R'N'RS coverage: "Wow. The Mercury loves the Rock 'N' Roll Soldiers. I must be having a bad dream. I wouldn't think that anyone other than Billboard would have good things to say about those little shits. Cheers to them for moving on from the little town of Eugene to follow their music, but let's stop encouraging them already. They simply aren't that good. It's the same old, same old. And all that constant recording? What do you think that will have as a result? Bland shit. An album only has a couple singles for a reason; singles are the lowest common denominator for music. An all-singles album is pop bullshit... Eugene is happy to be rid of the Soldiers." AG-G
THE TELLING, JIGSAW GENTLEMEN
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl.) See Music, pg 23.
THE HONEY BROTHERS, INVISIBLE, THE GOOD LISTENERS
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) See Music, pg 23.
MARK GARDENER, GOLDRUSH, CAVES
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See CD Review, pg 25.
DEAD SCIENCE, IRON LUNG, UNPERSONS, LORDS OF LIGHT, I WILL KILL YOU FUCKER
(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) Recent Xiu Xiu tour-mates Dead Science, which includes frequent Mercury contributor Sam Mickens, make eerie, stormy noise that sounds like bullfight arena songs redone as David Lynch soundtrack music. That might be a little reductive, but it's a dark, potent, evocative sound that conjures such dramatic imagery. My favorite DS record was last year's elegantly titled Bird Bones in the Bughouse, which sprawled and simmered and rolled over five meaty, Nick Cave-esque tracks. Their new record is The Frost Giant, a heavy hitter of avant-jazz doom and wintery psychedelia. Don't miss one of Portland's best, and most original, bands. AG-G
CRITTERS BUGGIN', GABBY LA LA
(Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside) Unfortunately tagged with genre monikers like "jazz-funk-dub" and "world fusion" (shiver), Seattle's Critters Buggin' defy such hippie-licious pigeonholing in the live setting. There will be plenty of improvised jazz-ish licks to be sure, and I'll eat my hat if you don't get at least a whiff of patchouli from the (I assure you, packed) crowd—but beyond all the horns, saxophones, and keyboard riffs, CB's core is more rock and prog than drum circle. Seamlessly weaving pounding, butt-shaking melodies with avant-garde ambience, their live shows are spectacles of stylistic mastery and are, at times, breathtaking to behold. JUSTIN WESCOAT SANDERS-SANDERS
MAGGIE'S CHOICE, KIESKAGATO, S. BROOKS
(Acme, 1305 SE 8th) S. Brooks is Sean Brooks from Minmae's solo thing. Unlike a lotta solo projects, which tend to sound like nothing more than the dude's (or lady's) day-job band sans drums, Sean really tosses his stuff into the ol' transmogrifier and births a new being. As shown on his recent Love Harder release, Wunderkind, the S. Brooks material is folky like Will Oldham, Castanets, and Iron and Wine, with Sean's big, booming Minmae-ic voice redone as crackly, hickish, and chockfull of rusty twang. AG-G
SCOTT KELLY, PLANTS, 2% MAJESTY
(Sabala's Mt. Tabor, 4811 SE Hawthorne) Holy smokes! What a goddamn crusher of a lineup! Headliner Scott Kelly plays bass and sings in Neurosis, whose swampy, witches' brew of metal, industrial, and noise has created a Jonestown-like cult around them. Middle band Plants which features Mercury employee Josh Blanchard, are from sweet home Portland and alchemize hazy, stoned, sylvan folk and ambient sound into warm, shimmering, psychedelic gold. (Imagine Donovan's Sunshine Superman as rewritten by the ghost of John Fahey, then played live at a Fahey tribute show by a Joanna Newsom, Handsome Family, and Wooden Wand & The Vanishing Voice superband.) Local heads 2% Majesty are stone-cold freaks that make freak sound for other freaks and for people who wish they could be freaks, but are really just boring, genre-hopping, faux-hippie indierockers. Don't miss this one. AG-G
YETI SNOWBALL 4: DAHOO CHORUS, MARCHFOURTH MARCHING BAND, SOLOVOX, ROSWELL SISTERS, DJ MANOJ & THE BABY NEW YEAR
(Audio Cinema, 226 SE Madison) Hey, whaddya know—here's a fun seasonal event that doesn't involve any religious mumbo jumbo or forced gift swapping with unwanted relatives! The Yeti Snowball's balls-out lineup banks heavily on the philosophy that "bigger is better." Thirty-five-piece mega ensemble the MarchFourth Marching Band is joined by the double-dozen members of alternative choir Dahoo Chorus (for all those who thought the Polyphonic Spree was a big indierock letdown. Anyone?) DJs, crooning, androgyny, and hula hoopers are also promised. What's not to love? JB-B
BOB WEIR & RATDOG
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) I try not to talk shit on hippies, because they raised me, and because I love a lot of their music, but GODDAMNIT BOB WEIR, YOU BORING HIPPIE, YOU NEED TO GIVE IT UP! Retire already, dude. You sound—and look—tired, and your records feel one step away from falling asleep from stoned, lazy, laurel-resting boredom. The only thing keeping you on the road is you were in the Dead, like, 500,000 years ago. But unlike Jerry, who had the good grace to die (albeit 20 years too late), you keep on truckin' despite the fact that NO ONE CARES. AG-G
3 LEG TORSO
(Blue Monk, 3341 SE Belmont) Every time I hear 3 Leg Torso, I think I'm either listening to the soundtrack to a period film about "the old country" or wrapping up a segment on NPR's Fresh Air. With accordions, violins, Yiddish rhythms, and gypsy beats, the Portland trio cooks up easy-to-swallow Eastern European folk music, minus all the bits that would sound foreign to American ears. The results are cute toe-tapping jigs that will probably make your nana get all teary eyed. CHAS BOWIE-BOWIE
HOLCOMBE WALLER & THE UNICORNS, SEXTON BLAKE, SUSIE BLUE
(Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside) Despite what cross-armed Portland music scenesters will tell you, a band can be both totally derivative and totally good. Sexton Blake are exactly that in every conceivable way—down to the coifs, song titles like "Me or Mine," and the adorable way their neckties are tucked into their tight little vintage vests (mmmm). In addition to the comfortable rehash of simple indie goodness, if I were asked to name the Portlandiest Portland band, they're it—and that fact swells my chest with pride. You know what I'll say before I say it... The sad indie boy singin' about his girl, the constant mid-tempo drums accompanied by the melancholy acoustic guitar and one flair instrument per song—like glockenspiel, keyboard, or even some record scratching. It's a tough thing to be predictable and genuine, but SB achieves it passionately. If this band doesn't make you uncomfortably nostalgic for some road trip you went on with your chums, well then you, my friend, are a hopeless curmudgeon. JENNA ROADMAN-ROADMAN
AS I LAY DYING, NORMA JEAN, A LIFE ONCE LOST, INKED IN BLOOD
(Loveland, 320 SE 2nd) This morning, like most grown-ass men, I woke up early and watched a rerun of the teen video countdown TRL, where sudden hair-metal revivalists Avenged Sevenfold (the same band that defined Y2K "metalcore" a few years ago) had totally kicked Mariah Carey's 57-year-old ass from the top slot. This has very little to do with As I Lay Dying (a group of San Diego death metal fans who are more likely to talk with their fans about Cradle of Filth than pretend they're in Cinderella) other than the fact that while their scene's biggest band now pines for Sunset Strip-hedonism, they're content with preaching Christianity and honing hit-less, blue-collar thrash. More recently, Christian emo rockers Norma Jean have amassed the kind of following that bands you might call "emo" or "Christian" have never been able to floss: ratty bike messengers and art school snobs who were 15 when Botch's We Are the Romans came out, but who figure they deserve a contemporary version of it, anyway. Some other bands—whose names are so terrible I can't even bother to type them—will open. TREVOR KELLEY-KELLEY
(Memorial Coliseum, 300 Winning Way) Oh, Southern Rock, what is there really to say about you? It's hard to knock the saintly twang of the Allman Brothers, or even the mechanized, Texan strut of ZZ Top (despite the debatable rock 'n' roll traitorism of playing the 2004 Republican National Convention). Lynyrd Skynyrd can go suck a big, desegregated dick, however. Skynryd is the Tom Arnold of classic rock; a belching, beer-bellied, ball-scratching eyesore of a band whose only true claim to fame is that Skoal-chewing yahoos still find amusement in shouting "Freebird" at their cousin's gig. JB-B
SUPER XX MAN, JOHN WEINLAND, ROBERT DEEBLE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Lead by John "Adam" Weinland Shearer, Portland's John Weinland has been compared to big uber-talents like Elliott Smith and Nick Drake. That might not mean a lot since everybody and his baby brother have been compared to the saintly duo, but with Weinland the comparison makes sense. Based on Weinland's songwriting, and fleshed out by Rory Brown, Ian Lyles, Alia Farah, and Aaron "Rants" Pomerantz (which could very well be the coolest name in Portland), the group lays down everything from dobro to mandolin to good ol' acoustic guitar, and are currently working on the follow-up to their John Weinland Vinyl record, which we at the Merc gave a big, stompin' four stars to back in May of '04. AG-G
WILLIE NELSON TRIBUTE
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See My, What a Busy Week! pg 19.
HEROES AND VILLAINS, DRATS!!!, JUNIOR PRIVATE DETECTIVE
(Berbati's Pan, 10 SW 3rd) My favorite Heroes and Villains song, "Color Coded," starts off with what sounds like a kid's birthday party. We hear happy little voices arguing, something crashing, something smashing, then a toy piano comes on over a harpsichord playing a simple little waltz. The singer comes out singing, "Start waking up/you know that it's true/policy will go to your head/the cops and the preachers aren't looking out for you." But not one to use "background noise" as a song opening gimmick, HAV bring the kids back in the chorus, shouting sloppy harmonies and really shambling shit up. But suddenly there's a huge time change, and wham the song races forward with the kind of piano-lead immediacy that Ben Folds tries for—and fails every time. Don't miss this show. Heroes and Villains kills so much I feel like I'm sitting in a morgue just typing this. AG-G
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, SWORDS
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Jesus almighty, another sold out Death Cab show at the Crystal? I guess that's what happens when you sign to a major label after having already spent years proving you don't suck to a loyal grassroots fan base. Tonight (if you can get a damn ticket) expect a strange combination of said fan base—hanging out in the beer garden—and an equally-numbered multitude of 14-year-olds—hanging out directly in front of the stage and checking their cell phones every two minutes because they can't hear them over the din and don't know how to execute the vibrate function. JWS-S See also My, What a Busy Week! pg 19 and Music, pg 21.
(Rose Garden, 1 Center Court) See also Music, pg 21.
THE JUANITA FAMILY, PARTY COUNTY, DRUNKEN PRAYER
(Alberta St. Pub, 1036 NE Alberta) Over the last few years, the Merc has written a lot about the Juanita Family. But with good reason: They kick 18 tons of ass. Here's a greatest hits of Mercury Juanita Fam press. Sit back, have a beer, and enjoy our journey into the past. Sept '01: "... Juanita Family's country is rooted in the deep melancholy of Hank #1, and Lana's voice is so scraggy-warm and lilting, you might faint or spill a tear into your Pabst." Feb '03: "Portland's Juanita Family will be happy to buy you dinner, and later, massage lotion into your dry, aching feet with their brand of country music lovin'." Feb '04: "I can't remember the last time these guys played, but that's probably because I have memory loss from the mad cow disease that's eating away at my brain." Sept '04: "Lana's conviction and tone are so convincing you know this shit is lived and not just picked up as part of a Young Republicans Starter Kit at a Wal-Mart outside of Nashville." AG-G
(Red and Black Cafe, 2138 SE Division) Jesus, man, what an intense name! Shicky! Gnarowitz! Wow. But don't get bogged down by the exotic collision of consonants; Shicky's music is just as wild as their name. Caught somewhere between Jewish folk music, the Black Heart Procession, and Seattle's Jason Webley, songs like "Redheaded Waltz" and "My Misery" are hypnotically sinuous. They bend and weave through space and time, touching down on creaky, dew-damp sailing ships, through the trees in black-as-night forests, or in Eastern European gypsy encampments, groovin' out for a while, before swirling back into the starry, starry night in a wisp of campfire smoke. AG-G