COLIN MELOY, LAURA VEIRS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Colin Meloy, Man of Steel, Man of Song: A One-Act Play by Adam Z. Gnade. Setting: rainy, dark, freezing SE Portland night. Me, walking through a door, to roommate and friend on ratty butterscotch couch watching Smallville rerun: "Dontchu think Colin Meloy from the Decemberists looks like Clark Kent?" Roommate: "Clark Kent from this show?" Friend: "From the movies, dude?" Me: "No, no, just, like the archetypal Clark Kent, the glasses, the wavy black hair, the square jaw, and mild-mannered expression. Clark Kent American icon, Clark Kent." Roommate: "I guess. Maybe." Friend: "Dude, I dunno, that's random." Me: "Whatever." Epilogue: Indie folk super-starlet and Sufjan Stevens tour-mate Laura Veirs plays Lois to Meloy's Clark tonight. Make sure to show up early for her set. ADAM GNADE See Music, pg. 15.
(Saucebox, 214 SW Broadway) Blue-hot minimal-techno producer Troy Pierce peddles icewater-in-veins cuts that surreptitiously lure you onto the dancefloor and make you feel funny (in a good way) once you get there. Pierce was born in Indiana and drew inspiration from Midwestern techno and house DJ/producers like Hawtin, Jeff Mills, Derrick Carter, and D-Wynn. Now based in Berlin, Pierce infuses techno with a sly, subtly creepy lubricity that fits well in sets populated by artists on the Perlon, Orac, Boogizm, Telegraph, and Circus Company imprints. DAVE SEGAL
BENEFIT FOR P:EAR
(Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N Mississippi) p:ear is a Portland-based program that helps homeless (and in-transition) youths pull their shit together and build up self-worth and accountability with the dual positive incandescence of art and education. Without sounding too much like an OPB pledge drive, your five bucks from tonight's door goes to help kids in need and pays for the rock, punk, and folk sounds of Jimmy Exodus and the Coming Apocalypse, Jean Garcia, Art Voyd, Jen Agosta (with ex-Need member Radio Sloan), Swallows, the Surly Millys, and Sarah Dougher. AG
DIAMOND NIGHTS, THE KINGDOM, THE JACUZZI BROS., DJ HAUL
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Dear Diamond Nights, your website loads so slow I almost didn't stick with it to check you out. But I'm glad I did because your stuff is pretty decent. It reminds me of Sweet ("Ballroom Blitz") or maybe Sparks—without being all epic and overboard and Queen-ish like Sparks can get. It's American-sounding '70s rock, strung up like Christmas lights with a nice falsetto, chuggy Thin Lizzy-ish guitar, radio catchiness without being gross: not bad at all. AG See Music, pg. 17.
NARWHAL, RUBY STARFRUT, CREEPING MEATBALL
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Portland's Narwhal is a stoney, hazy, psychedelic pop band that's kinda like Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti without the beatbox drums and stuck-in-the-bedroom claustrophobia. It's warbling, upbeat sunniness that's half '70s AM radio heard from under the sheets 'n' covers (with a giggling, uninhibited, free-lovin' friend), half Animal Collective capricious fantasy adventure fest. I talked to band member Zac Stanely and he told me they just recorded some new stuff at Mississippi Studios and will be self-releasing it sometime in February. They also have some new members. "Narwhal does have two new members, both from the Portland band Rollerball," says Stanley. "Amanda Mason Wiles, who plays saxophone, and Shane Deleon on the trumpet. So yeah, now we have a totally legitimate horn section. That brings us up to seven people now. The last time we played at Holocene they didn't even have enough mics for our little circus world." AG
POINT JUNCTURE, WA, MODERNSTATE, COBRA
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) With the spilling, lush, verdant, epic abundance of good live music Portland's got, it is a battle most days to make your stuff stand above the rest. And that kinda savage and surly competition breeds some interesting stuff—such as Modernstate and PJW's trip this Friday. Following sets by each band, the two groups will take the stage together for a performance of Cobra, an improv game that avant-garde-ist John Zorn invented. Check out www.artofcobra.com for the rules. AG
DIAMOND NIGHTS, DJ NIGHTSCHOOL, DJ JD SAMSON
(Dunes, 1909 MLK) Continuing the Gossip's colossal omnipresence in Portland (and in the Mercury) this week, Gossip guitarist Nathan (AKA DJ Nightschool) is spinning records along with Le Tigre's JD Samson, whose DJ name is totally palindromic. Also playing is Diamond Nights, fresh off their Mercury Low Dough show at Dante's on Thursday. Go to both! Go to everything! AG
INXS, MARTY CASEY AND LOVEHAMMERS
(Chinook Winds Casino, 1777 NE 144th, Lincoln City) I watched VH1 for the first time in forever last night and saw an INXS video at, like, 4 am. I felt like I was being RAPED. It was fucking VILE. Was like suddenly all the members of 98 Degrees reunited, aged 30 years, put on shiny clothes from Lloyd Center Mall, ate a buncha E, and made a "sexy" video. I'm still shaking like a kitten right now. AG See Music, pg. 17.
AMBER PACIFIC, PARAMORE, THE LASHES, KILL YOUR EX
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Call it "tween-mo." With the confounding success of label alumnus Fall Out Boy, Florida-based indie Fueled By Ramen watched the mainstream come to them in 2005, and now they're ready to meet it halfway. Reflective in bands like October Fall, a smart piano-rock band that proudly sound like Train, but even more so with Paramore, a bunch of teenagers from Tennessee who have taken emo's occasional tendency to borrow from less-credible chart-toppers and reversed the ratio, yesterday's laughable pop stars have now become earnest touchstones to a whole new generation of artists. On All We Know is Falling, Paramore's excellent debut, pint-sized singer Hayley Williams wails out in front of her band's micro-arena riffs, forgoing credibility for songs that sound encouragingly like Avril Lavigne's gazillion-selling Under My Skin. And, live, her fearlessness is even more captivating. TREVOR KELLEY
JD SAMSON'S LESBIAN UTOPIA, SHOW ME THE PINK, SWAN ISLAND
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week! Pg. 13.
SWORDS, LACKTHEREOF, TOM HEINL
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Yes, Tom Heinl is indeed a very funny dude in a very funny fake beard who writes very funny songs about IHOP and his crapped-out Ford Pinto. But you know what's even funnier? His 13-year-old son William's kickass homepage (www.efn.org/~nhagerty/wmindex.html). Will has posted a letter that he wrote to CBS in an attempt to have Oprah cancelled ("She will jerk her head forward, then back, but her hair can't keep up."); words that he finds stupid ("Phat—woohoo I'm obese"); and the most awesome Super Mario-based animation ever. Ask for Tom Heinl. Demand little William. CHAS BOWIE See My, What a Busy Week! pg 13.
INXS, MARTY CASEY AND LOVEHAMMERS
(Chinook Winds Casino, 1777 NE 144th, Lincoln City) See Music, pg. 17.
HUNGRY MOB FEATURING I-PRO, SUCKAPUNCH, ROCKET ONE, SOUL PLASMA, MANIC D, CLOCKWERK, ANTI-CRUNK, DJ SPARK
(Berbati's, 10 SW 3rd) The future of Berbati's still seems sort of murky (is it converting to all rental, turning into a cowboy bar, or an Ibiza-style discotheque? Who knows!), but the one thing we know is that it's still hosting a night of homegrown hiphop talent. If the beats and rhymes are as phat as the lineup is long, it's gonna be an awesome, lengthy night. SCOTT MOORE
PLANNED PARENTHOOD BENEFIT
(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) It's the 33rd anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. Why not celebrate? Planned Parenthood's throwing a benefit party at Dante's tonight, with a trio of loud rock get-up-and-dance bands: Kleveland, a trashy powerpop trio fronted by Stephanie Smith; the Jolenes, punky gals who sound like they can kick your ass (with Mercury intern Christine S. Blystone); and Seattle's Black Horse, a blues-rock guitar duo accompanied by a drum machine. AMY JENNIGES
NILE, HYPOCRISY, SOILENT GREEN, RAGING SPEEDHORN, DECAPITATED, WITH PASSION
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Nile has advanced the art of death metal in the 21st century primarily by marrying Middle-Eastern scales and Lovecraft-inspired lyrics to their blast beats and guitar nebulae. Otherwise, they are, and will always be, a few steps behind Morbid Angel (like everyone else). Hypocrisy (the band) play main support on this one, featuring mainman Peter Tägtgren of Abyss Studios fame. Though his band has churned out hookless heavy albums for 15 years, he's been thoroughly influential, producing many of your favorite arctic black metal albums. Make sure to hit him up at the merch table and ask him why he hates bass so much. NATHAN CARSON
(Dunes, 1909 MLK) The TunaHelpers are three ladies from Austin who have a lot more chops than their silly name would imply. I was expecting something much more brash and sloppy. Instead, their newest album on Web of Mimicry records is an eclectic and highly composed affair. Cellos, synths, shoegazing guitars, crisp drums, and a smattering of bells waft through this work. All of these sounds intertwine beneath wavering angelic vocal harmonies that recall the lighter moments of Two Ton Boa and Bonfire Madigan, without ever approaching the darkness or angst of either. Lyrics conjure images of kittens and witches, mittens and cauldrons, and other cutesy fantasies. Seems like these girls went to music school in a Tim Burton film and came out with painted faces and flowing gowns. Apparently the live show includes two-headed puppets. Yay puppets! NC
ORDER OF THE GASH, CHEVRON, WE QUIT, FEROCIOUS EAGLE
(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) This might seem like an odd comparison—and I don't like making music comparisons anyhow—but We Quit sounds like John Doe and Exene from X fronting Lightning Bolt. The big, grinding, jagged bass (it might be guitar; it's hard to tell) leading the frantic drums are totally LB-ish, while the guy and girl singing and shouting above the music are totally John Doe and Exene-ish—with a little Blatz maybe. Check out their stuff at www.myspace.com/wequit. It's pretty damn good. AG See, My, What a Busy Week!, pg. 13
NOUS NON PLUS, VAGENIUS
(Berbati's, 10 SW 3rd) Made up of a Frenchy and a buncha Yanks, Nous Non Plus play spunky (what a gross word) French-sung glam punk. It's a little like Stereo Total or the scene in National Lampoon's European Vacation where Chevy Chase and the family are in the art museum on fast-motion. And it's a total gimmick, a joke: hoaky, kitchy, but it's good. And that's my problem with it; I don't wanna traffic in flimsy hipster "art projects" like this, but their new record (self-titled) is catchy, exciting, and never dull or hackneyed or too obvious. It's like ABBA if ABBA were Frogs, punk, and not dating each other. Like Stereo Total, it loses its effect when they sing in English, but the dude who does the English-sung lyrics is so fucking sleazy I wanna hang out with him and hit the town in search of greasy kicks. I dunno... why am I apologizing and second-guessing and disclaimering—why front, why fight the urge to gush—I LOVE this shit. Ever see the 1970 Richard Strick film version of Tropic of Cancer, the one with Rip Torn as Henry Miller? This's kinda the music version. Greasy. Greeeasy. AG
31KNOTS, WET CONFETTI
(Food Hole, 20 NW 3rd) Word is this's 31Knots' last local show for a while, which is sad BUT great considering this is at the super-intimate, lost-cost, kids-allowed, Food Hole. 31Knots has always struck me as a band that should be playing bigger venues, for bigger crowds, bigger cover charges, and I think that's thanks—in part—to their very big sound, the crushing, swelling bigness of epic prog smartened up by a collective no-BS post-punk brain. The riffs are preternaturally good. The singing's tight like a taut bowstring. The rhythm section sounds like a drum circle. The fact that they do small shows like this is totally commendable. AG
LIGHTHEADED, GIANT PANDA, LUMINOUS FOG
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Once More With Feeling, pg 27.
THE GOSSIP—FREE IN-STORE
(Jackpot, 203 SW 9th) See It's Who You Know, pg. 25.
WOOD BROTHERS, RECOMBINANT COMBO
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Lately a lot of people in my close circle of friends have been using the phrase "bone-inducing" to describe something so good it gives them a figurative or metaphorical erection. This got me thinking about the Wood Brothers, and to whom their music might be "wood-inducing to," if you will. After some thought, I was gonna go with older, middle age-ish, NPR listeners who used to be crazy rock 'n' rollers, but now have decent (and respectable) jobs and are into jazz, folk, and blues—of which the Wood Brothers make decent soufflé with. But then I kinda sorta forgot what I was doing, forgot what I was listening to and damnit if their song "One More Day" didn't sound a little like Devendra Banhart. Their stuff's not (overly) hip (or hippie) like Devendra, but I could see his fans and the aforementioned ex-crazy rock 'n' rollers getting wood off this. That's a pretty well-rounded audience. With a fanbase like that you could near take over the world. Albeit the very white, liberal world. AG
THE GOSSIP, SWAN ISLAND, LOVERS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Portland-via-Boston-via-Athens singer/songwriter Carolyn Berk has established some pretty respectable company in the quiet months she's spent in our fair city—this being the second show that Lovers, the band Berk is essentially synonymous with, have opened for hometown heroes the Gossip in less than a year. So what's an oppressively somber singer/songwriter doing warming up for the typically sweat-and-serotonin-drenched Gossip People? One explanation could be that it's the collective will of Portland's powerful (sinister?) lesbian underground—a force that seems to nullify any and all stylistic boundaries that happen to stand in its way. Or, perhaps more realistically, it's that Berk's criminally underappreciated talents are just strong enough to win over the punks as much as they do the sniveling indie kids. Either way, you'd be stupid to miss it. ZAC PENNINGTON