(Upper Downtown) The folks behind this week's Up/Down Fest have renamed the area east of the Pearl and north of Burnside as "Upper Downtown" and they're throwing a big three-day bash to celebrate. But can you do that? Can you just rename areas of town at will? Well, they did. The press release offers, "In the colloquial, this will surely be known as 'Up/Down,' as in, 'I'm going down to Up/Down for dinner and drinks tonight,' or, 'I just found the sweetest loft in Up/Down.'" Spanning four clubs (Tiger Bar, Gilt Club, Tube, East) and featuring a bevy of DJ and music acts, Up/Down Fest hopes to "build awareness of the neighborhood as a nighttime hotspot." What this means to the casual barfly is a chance to get drunk and fed (food and drink specials abound) and see some of Portland's best DJs in action. Check out eastchinatownlounge.com for the full schedule. JASON PEARSON
ETTRICK, THE BETTER TO SEE YOU WITH, JOSH HYDEMAN & REDBIRD, MIDWIFE
(Hotel, 503 W Burnside) I just saw the Better to See You With about nine hours ago and I still have mosquitoes in my ears. They played Tube and they were LOUD. Fucking loud, crazy loud, primal-scream loud. The drummer got all low and banged out complex, boxy little beats, the guitarist and keyboard player let their shit bleed, and the singer shrieked, barked, gasped, and spent a lot of the show on the floor reliving birth or having death spasms or digging to China. (She wore some kind of loose, flowing cult robe and looked like one of Manson's ladies.) It was over in one hot flash, maybe 10 minutes of sweet violence, noise squalls, and grinding avant gruel. If you're at all a fan of the "loud" or the "wild" or the "manic" go see this band and give them your heart post haste. ADAM GNADE
SWIM SWAM SWUM, FERMATA, FERONA, THE AUGHT-THREES
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) Featuring former members of Blue Star Creeper, McMinnville's the Aught-Threes play indierock that comes painted up in country colors. It's not country per se, but the colors are there—shades of Nashville-style harmonies, classy lead vocals, and a pace that shuffles along past Wilco, strides in step with Low, before outpacing the Jayhawks and breaking through the paper race ribbon. JP
ANDRE WILLIAMS, THE FLASH EXPRESS, THE WEAKLNGS, PURE COUNTRY GOLD
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Some folks've just got the bug buried deep within their soul—they'll perform to half-full, smoky clubs all their lives. They really have no choice in this matter, but they wouldn't trade it for the world. Touring, for these bitten souls, is akin to your life at home. They are comfortable on the road, so much so that the uncertain becomes natural... even normal. And they die quickly after their creaky legs can no longer climb the stage steps. We're talking here about guys like Bo Diddley, James Brown, and of course, Andre Williams. Though not as popular as the rest, Andre is just as tireless and happy. Maybe more so, because there's no doubt he's doing what he loves, and though he's been around, it doesn't mean he's playing to anyone's standards; he's a dirty old man singing songs about drinking, smokin' weed, and fuckin'. Dude is pushing 70 and still chasing groupies into the van. ANDREW R. TONRY
LADYTRON, THE PRESETS
(Berbati's, 10 SW 3rd) See Music, pg. 25.
(Music Millennium NW, 801 NW 23rd) This one's free and open to kids of all ages. Kinda like your mom. Ooooh! See also Music, pg. 25.
(Music Millennium NW, 801 NW 23rd) Food's pretty great. Travis Rush sent us some food along with his new pop-country CD. It was shipped in a box full of hay and everything came from his hometown of Gold Beach, Oregon. (Labeled "a taste of my hometown.") The box held two cans of locally spawned fish (tuna and salmon), a bag of his mom's peanut brittle, a jar hand-labeled, "My Favorite Mustard," and some crackers for the mustard. I ate the crackers in one sitting and polished off the mustard in—I dunno—maybe a week. The Mercury's Music Calendar Editor Courtney got the brittle and reports back that it was "okay." Still, we all agree that his mustard was damn good and if presented with a jar of "My Favorite Mustard" by pop country star Travis Rush, by all means don't fuck around—EAT IT. AG
TONY FURTADO, PETER BRADLEY ADAMS, RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
(White Eagle, 836 N Russell) Sometimes it seems that the Americana scene in Portland is largely limited to revivalist bluegrass and zydeco musicians playing shows largely attended by other bluegrass and zydeco musicians. Nothing wrong with keeping a tradition alive, but it's also nice when the experts take a purist art form and make it relevant. Portlander Tony Furtado is a banjo 'n' slide guitar master who can pluck and jive with the best of them, but blends those skills with modern ingredients, creating a big ol' musical cocktail of old-fashioned stylings and straight-up rock 'n' roll songcraft. Even Furtado's voice, a dusty, conversational croon, sounds somehow both archival and totally contemporary. You can expect an impressively diverse range of tunes from him in concert, from the slow-burning original numbers off 2004's These Chains, to mesmerizing instrumental geek-outs, to a twang-tastic cover of Tom Petty's "Running Down a Dream." JUSTIN WESCOAT SANDERS
JON AUER, BOAT
(Towne Lounge, 714 SW 20th Pl) Jon Auer is best known as a founding member of the Posies, who are still around, playing and recording prolifically. He also recently joined the reunited Big Star. Somewhere in his downtime he managed to record a solo album for Pattern 25 records. Songs from the Year of Our Demise is pop rock not unlike anything from the Garden State soundtrack. It's clean, smart, and destined for serious (at least college) radio spins. The Seattle-based Auer was recently nominated for best singer/songwriter in the Seattle Weekly's 2006 Music Awards. Best singer/songwriter in Seattle? A stretch maybe, but Auer deserves all that recognition and more. JP
SCOUT NIBLETT, THE BLOW, FAERIE TALK, EVERYTHING IS FINE
(Berbati's, 10 SW 3rd) See Music, pg. 25.
EDITORS, STELLASTARR*, MONSTERS ARE WAITING
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Somehow, it seemed like a great idea half a decade ago. Rockers our age would revamp the creepy post-punk music our older siblings listened to when we were tots, and we'd all wear black and wax nostalgic about Wire and Joy Division. Interpol did it best, but stellastarr* was my favorite. They mixed Surfer Rosa Pixies with Breakfast Club Judd Nelson, and their debut album was as catchy and hooky as anything out there. Then the '80s revival pulled out of the harbor, and stellastarr* wisely downplayed that part of their musical heritage on last year's Harmonies for the Haunted. But the effect was like going to your girlfriend's parents' house and seeing her eighth grade class photo. Once you see her with the crimped hair, blue eyeshadow, braces, and jangly bracelets, it's hard to ever see her as a sexy grown woman again. CHAS BOWIE
ICE CUBE, THA DOGG POUND
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See Music, pg. 27.
3RD ANGLE @ 20
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) I'm not much for chamber music, but Portland's 3rd Angle Ensemble has a slightly nerdy hum in their strings, making their performances just goofy enough to be fun. Film backdrops and other multimedia tricks are frequently involved. They won me over in 2004 with a fully orchestrated rendition of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" that had the crowd cheering like they were watching an arena-rock band. Tonight's event is in celebration of 3rd Angle's 20th year in existence. There'll be musical highlights from the past two decades, video commentary from Oregon Symphony honcho James DePriest, and an auction, which includes items like the opportunity to bring in 3rd Angle's members to play music in your office. JWS
COLLECTIVE SOUL, MARCHFOURTH MARCHING BAND, INCUBUS, SUZANNE VEGA, MIRA SORVINO (HOSTING)
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) There aren't too many bands I'd like to push off a bridge more than Incubus. The shirtless bongo playing, the flyin' dreds, nu-metal disguised as "art rock"... their sins run deep and heavy. But this is a benefit for Amnesty "Am Nas-tay!" International and MarchFourth is pretty great, so I don't feel bad giving this one some press. But Incubus... beware. Next time you're on a plane and snakes start falling from the overhead compartments and biting your dredlocks off, just know I put them there. AG
ALAN SINGLEY AND PANTS MACHINE, POINT JUNCTURE, WA, PLEASE STEP OUT OF THE VEHICLE
(The Artistery, 4315 SE Division) On locals Alan Singley and the Pants Machine's new record, lovingkindness, we're shown a band that sounds like it started as a (now clichéd) "indie junk orchestra" but somewhere along the way learned how to play their instruments and found a common aesthetic, but kept the youthful playfulness and rambunctious spirit of their early days. Alan Singley (voice, acoustic guitar, keyboards), Gus Elg (upright bass), Leb Borgerson (electric guitar), and Benjamin Jaspers (drums) keep things carefree sounding, disguising the fact that Singley is tackling existential topics in his lyrics that are just as weighty as any band that might wear their heart, aesthetic darkness, and intellectualism, say, a li'l bit closer to their shoulder. JP
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 23.
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Okay, yeah, Junior Brown's music would likely make 51 percent of Mercury readers jump in front of the next passing Yellow Line MAX. I can understand this; Brown puts the "honky" firmly back in "honky-tonk." His electrified Texas swing, bass-y drawl, and titles like "Two Rons Don't Make it Right" typify Brown's boisterous mudflap style. But listen closer—under that 10-gallon hat, there's a big western musical gumbo brewing. JB is one of the guitar savants of our time; switching between impossibly fast and crisp solos and guit-steel soulfulness, Brown can flip from Dick Dale to Flaco Jimenez quicker than you can say, "For a cowboy, this guy is fucking amazing!" If you're a fan of Texas music or guitar virtuosos not named "Satriani," this one's for you. CB
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) See Music, pg. 27.
CHURCH OF PSYCHEDELIA W/ETERNAL TAPESTRY, NUDITY
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Maybe you go to church on Sundays, maybe you don't. I'm not usually one to tell people their business, but there's this new kind of church that you should check out. It's very progressive, it meets only once a month, and they've done away with those pesky morning hours (so you can stay up all night Saturday; services don't start until after dark). This church (led by the Reverend Joshua Blanchard) seeks out the deepest soul-plunk around and this time they've got Eternal Tapestry and Nudity. ET is a synthesis of folks from local climes who've done some soul searching and have decided to share. Nudity are traveling the church circuit as purveyors of scorching psychedelic punk. They hail from Olympia, where they've taken part in other graceful works such as Tight Bros and Dub Narcotic. The main difference between this church and others you may have been to is that every surface has been lovingly drenched in high-quality LSD. It's a bit messy, but you can still wear your Sunday best if you'd like. DAN BRYANT
BLUE OYSTER CULT, MOONSHINE HANGOVER
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Little does the general public know, Blue Oyster Cult are actually a legit cult practicing some of the most powerful voodoo magic known to man! With cold-blooded calculation these boys cooked up the smash hit "Don't Fear the Reaper" and buried within its clonky cowbell section a terrible curse. (Play the record backwards, the cowbell actually says "You're fucked dude" in a scary demon voice.) Thus, I give you three cases of the curse's terrible repercussions. (a) My first band tried to cover "D.F.T.R" and it put us on an entropic path leading to booze, hookers, Jesus, and an eventual break up. (b) Soon after SNL's pinnacle "D.F.T.R"/cowbell skit, the show became intolerable. (c) Charles Devereaux, 44, of Columbus, Georgia tattooed onto his bicep an image of himself holding a giant, fluttering American flag and kicking the grim reaper. Every time he flexed, his little ink foot would land on Mr. Bones' exposed backside. Three days later, Chuck Norris bit off his arm. Moral of the story? There are a few of them: (a) Cowbells: the modern-day voodoo dolls that should NEVER be toyed with. (b) Don't fuck with Chuck Norris. (c) Fear the reaper. ELI JEMISON
TORCHE, BLACK COBRA, AKIMBO, RABBITS
(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) Check out this monster Monday night of crushing sludge featuring Floridian headliners Torche. If ex-members of Floor and Cavity means anything to you, then you know that repetitive riffs will fall from above like underpasses in an LA earthquake. Clean, unaffected vocals glide over the top, keeping the music soaring without undermining the heaviness. Torche are being touted as part of the "new heavy" movement along with Early Man, Priestess, and Pearls and Brass, only these guys have the most serious pedigree of the bunch. Black Cobra is a guitar/drums duo that is the newest vehicle from Rafa Martinez (Acid King, 16, etc.). Akimbo are from Seattle and they just signed to Alternative Tentacles. Over the years, their spazzy art-core has refined into a rock machine that is far easier to digest. But seriously, the real gem on this package is Portland's own Rabbits. With Josh from VSS/Pleasure Forever as one third of the guitar/guitar/drums trio, it's not too surprising to see a creative aesthetic cloaking their modern take on metal. It's the hypnotic pulse of Will Haven, the raw energy of Karp, and a few sonic overtones lifted from Neurosis and Voivod. Barring Danava, Rabbits are the local metal band that is most likely to succeed. And it's because they know exactly what metal should sound like in 2006. NATHAN CARSON
THE SWIMMERS, THE SHOTGUN, THE VONNIGUTS
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) What with Coca-Cola commercials, side-bands (i.e., the Raconteurs), and a very public dispute with punk icon Billy Childish (See Music, pg. 27.), the White Stripes' Jack White is everywhere these days. Which is what you might think the first time you hear Portland art punk band the Swimmers. But while White's raspy howl and the Swimmers' vocals are almost too close for comfort, the locals' product is nowhere near the Stripes' blues/garage revivalist sound. The Swimmers forego any clichéd musical mannerisms and instead rely upon spunky experimental tangents, collaged-up garage jams, and great, literate lyrics about water treatment plants, lighthouses, and Hot Pockets—all of which are featured on the band's five-song EP, We Swam as for Behavior Our Behavior. JP
THE ESSEX GREEN, IRVING, PARKS & RECREATION
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Based around the songwriting talents of Sasha Bell, Jeff Baron, and Chris Ziter, Brooklyn, NY's the Essex Green craft indiepop delicacies that sound like an updated Mamas and the Papas with a little Shins thrown in to make them shiny and new sounding. The band's new CD, Cannibal Sea, is accessible and friendly. It's not necessarily something you'd hear on The O.C., but it's close. If The O.C. were to suddenly, say, have a dream sequence episode set in 1967, Essex Green songs like "Snakes in the Grass" and "This Isn't Farmlife" would definitely work. Los Angeles popsters Irving are far more O.C. geared and even offer a free ringtone on their MySpace page. Their music is sort of like the Cure as made for well-adjusted, upper middle class teens. JP