Up & Coming 


THURSDAY 8/17

BANTAM ROOSTER, THE GIMMICKS, THE REAL PILLS

(EJ's) There's a drag race. It's garage-a-billy band Bantam Rooster in one car, a totally hot black Thunderbird with chrome detailing, and Jon Spencer in the other, driving some sort of aqua Ford or some such nonsense. Natalie Wood's there, her eyeliner swiped on in cattails, with a scarf signaling when to go. Bantam Rooster wins the race by a mile and a cloud of gravel-dust. They favor music over fashion, and because they are only TWO PEOPLE and have a bigger sound than Spencer ever did at any coliseum for any gig opening for the Beastie Boys. Portland's The Pills recently had to change their name to The Real Pills because a Boston band called The Pills already existed. I actually saw The Boston Pills two years ago in Cambridge, MA, and I was flabbergasted that a band could be so shamelessly ripping off Loverboy. (What the fuck--LOVERBOY?! That takes irony to revolting lows.) The Portland Pills, The Real Pills, a long-running, tight garage band, put the Boston Pills to shame. JULIANNE SHEPHERD

33.3, THRENODY ENSEMBLE, STRATEGY

(Robot Steakhouse) I recently discovered that if you play Madonna's "Get into the Groove" on 33.3 rpm, it sounds exactly like Depeche Mode! And if you play Ciccone Youth's "Get into the Groovy" on 33.3 rpm, it sounds like Nosferatu or another of those Cleopatra Records drum-machine-goth bands. If you put 33.3 on 33.3 rpm, it would sound a bit like the score to an experimental movie, the cello slowed down and glimpsing tears in the atmosphere--maybe like something Angelo Badalamenti would have done for a David Lynch film before he got all predictable. Keep it on 45 for a more tangible experience. Threnody Ensemble includes Eric Hoversten (from one of the best San Francisco bands of the past decade, A Minor Forest), and is super-jazz through a skeptic's eyes. Portland's Strategy is an excellent one-man romp in the world of ambiance. JS

THE YO-YO'S, LOPEZ

(Satyricon) I previously wrote a review where I erroneously labeled a band "anthem rock." After much name-calling and several informational sessions, my wonderful/asshole friends convinced me that what I had heard was not anthem rock and in fact I was a complete idiot. Well folks, I'm on track now (thank god), and I can safely say that the Yo-Yo's are anthem rockers. For instance, their song "Out of My Mind" sounds much like Kiss' "I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night." The song "Too Lazy to Bleed" (isn't that the cheesiest?) is much the same. The music ain't bad, but it would be far more respectable had it been born in the '80s and not now, when butt rock is over and we are merely left to cherish the classics. Pardon me while I shed a quick tear. I will classify these tunes as "Kid Rock is having a BBQ" music or "good for slamming into each other" music or "hair band music without the hair." You know what I mean, right? KATIE SHIMER

TOM GRANT BAND

(Oregon Zoo) Smooth jazz, according to the All Music Guide, is "unobtrusive, slick, and highly polished, where the overall sound matters more than the individual parts." Does this appeal to you? If so, then the Tom Grant Band should be right up your alley. If the definition above sounds abhorrent, and possibly even nauseating, then you should avoid the Zoo that night at all costs. The music Tom Grant plays relates to jazz about as much as Air Supply does to rock 'n' roll. If you think Air Supply's relationship with the idiom which spawned them is hunky-dory, then you'll dig the contemporary stylings of Mr. Grant. If you like smooth jazz, and wonder why I'm so down on it, do yourself a favor--go to the nearest record store and buy Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus by Charles Mingus. Recorded well over 30 years ago, it is more vibrant and challenging than anything in the smooth jazz vein...ever. But if the terms "vibrant" and "challenging" give you the willies, well, then go and have fun. MURRAY CIZON

SOUL KITCHEN STARRING BLACK ANGEL, DJ AQUAMAN, TAHOE JACKSON

(Dante's) Mmmm. Mmmm. Can you smell the funk? Music, that is. Come join the rotating ensemble of musicians that bring you the wholesome helping of soul groove that will make you move. Now, there are restraining orders sent down from the State of Oregon preventing me from dancing (long story, don't ask), but that shouldn't keep you from shakin' that thang. Or simply enjoy the vocal gymnastics of JR Pella and Tahoe Jackson. JR was the front-man for local funk/rock outfit Drunk at Abi's oh-so-long-ago, a band that criminally never got anywhere. If you remember seeing them at the X-Ray, drop by the table and we can talk about how much better the pizza used to be at Rocco's before they got firebombed, and which denture cream holds the longest. IAN SMITH



THURSDAY 8/18

NANCI GRIFFITH

(Oregon Garden) Here's the plan. Hit the web at www2.bitstream.net/~acs/music/ng/. Download the guitar chords and tablature to "Love at the Five and Dime." Learn it. Find yourself a nice cheap acoustic, one that you won't mind losing if security busts you. Now, hire a large coat, sneak in the guitar undercover, wait until the opportune moment and start singing along: "Rita was 16 years, hazel eyes and chestnut hair/She really made the Woolworth counter shine..." So what if Nanci doesn't play it? You can later. EVERETT TRUE

NASH KATO, PEDRO LUZ, BIG TIME POP, DIZZYFISH

(Berbati's Pan) In some ways, Nash Kato's former band, Urge Overkill, walked that fine line between clever and stupid. When everyone else was trying to strip away all trappings of rock stardom, Urge Overkill poured the image on thick. Thankfully, they also had the talent--and the songs--to back it up. Kato has finally emerged from the ashes of his former band with a fine album called Debutante that picks up where Urge Overkill left off, happily updating '70s glam-pop and proving that a glamorous image doesn't have to mean there's no "there" there. BARBARA MITCHELL

ENON, BRIGHT LIGHTS, DENNIS DRISCOLL, JEN TURRELL, BELTLINE

(Medicine Hat) Consisting of ex-members of Braniac and Skeleton Key, Enon's patchwork of super-wave and art pop is metallic and juicy. Four quirky singer-songwriters, Bright Lights, Dennis Driscoll, Jen Turrell, and beltline, will prep the audience with their songs about such subjects as clouds, dessert, and the ever-popular "love." JS

JIMMY PAGE & THE BLACK CROWES

(Gorge) See CD Review page 15.

JILL COHN

(Borders Books & Music) Out of all the solo musicians who've ever had the horrible luck to actually play the stage at Saturday Market, Jill Cohn is one of the best, especially when it's drizzly outside and you're emotional and drinking coffee and seriously regretting not bringing a scarf along. Without the presence of melancholy atmosphere, however, her estrogenic piano and sweet voice just might end up being cloying and over-dramatic (but still better than Jewel). JS


SATURDAY 8/19

MOUNTAIN CON, NIVEN

(Tonic Lounge) Mountain Con promises to be a good old-fashioned show-off. The newly-recorded, Seattle purveyors of Johnny-come-lately eclecticism (think a twangier variation on Beck) will deftly deflect attention from their lack of originality through good looks and decent hooks. BM

MAN OF THE YEAR CD RELEASE PARTY

(Dante's) My pal Brad has a fantasy Portland show line-up: Laurel Canyon would open, then 31 Knots would play, and the Swords Project would headline. I agree with him; that would be an amazing show (especially if Kaleid played, too), but very textural. What about the rock? In that case, Tennis would have to be the openers, The Disappearer would play in the middle (to throw in some angst between the joy), and Man of the Year would end the show in a super-slick, all-out, swaying-lighter-warranting brouhaha, and they'd look really, really good doing it. So can someone arrange these shows, please? (See My, What a Busy Week page 13) JS

AL C AND BLACK DUCK, DJ CHILL, BIG DAN

(Meow Meow) PDX underground hip-hoppers take on the Meow Meow. Here's a piece of advice for success when doing the hip-hop wave: 1. With your arm, follow the direction of the rest of the crowd (for cohesion). 2. Try not to wear vintage dresses that may be sullied by perspiration. 3. If you consume an Otter Pop or two beforehand, your dance will be much more energetic, resulting in a better show, as the audience/performer relationship is highly symbiotic. Good luck, and remember your manners! JS

JAMES LOW CD RELEASE PARTY

(Laurelthirst) What made Bob Dylan such a godsend to the music scene of the late '60s is that he filled in a gap somewhere between feel-good folk music and Neanderthal rock lyrics of the day. In more recent decades, though, that niche has been stuffed past capacity with aching heart college boys and urban cowboys without the spurs to be stand-up rock stars. James Low is a smidge above that riff-raff. He is comfortable with his guitar and has a talented group of friends who help him get by. And, thankfully, Low's rich voice overpowers his lame lyrics and clichè narratives. PHIL BUSSE

HIGH VIOLETS, KALEID, BERING SEA, TURBINADO

(Medicine Hat) Shhhhhh. There's something going on. Think of it like that plastic bag being kicked around in the wind in American Beauty. It's that obvious, but yet that hidden from view. No one is noticing it's there, but it's happening all the time--snatches of loveliness, a shadow movement that's been lifted by the breeze and built from dandelion seeds. Call it psychedelic or shoegazing, it doesn't matter, because it's pure. Want to know what I'm talking about? Then this night is just for you: three bands, all part of the new regime (only openers Turbinado throw it off with their coyly manufactured lo-fi). Kaleid are gems! Such restrained noise is always applauded. So mellow, so jangly, so dated and yet so now. Bering Sea sound like a cousin to the sister of Low--which is fine indeed. Slow washes of sound, a beautiful female voice, the sound of one drum clapping. Finally, the true wearers of the crown, headliners High Violets, take the divine scraping of metal and wrap the hum of an amp around it for propulsive pop of a heavenly order. Go out and see them, but keep it to yourself. If word gets out to the mainstream, we're dead. JAMIE S. RICH

THE CULT

(Pine Street Theater) I spoke to Ian Astbury the other night. Here is some of what he said to me: "The Cult have always been the outsiders. Even in the late '80s or early '90s when we were supposed to be a big rock band, we never reached the heights of Guns N' Roses or Metallica, because I never would do the things they did. I never took the opportunities when they came along, Now we've figured that maybe we should. Let's use the commercial vehicle, ride it for all it's worth. If someone wants to use 'She Sells Sanctuary' in a car commercial, that's brilliant. It means millions of people get to hear it. And if someone wants to use it in a coffee commercial as well, that's just weird." ET



SUNDAY 8/20

Tonight, your best bet is a $4.99 mini-jug of Carlo Rossi Paisano ("A Light Chianti") and The Practice. Unless, of course, you are a gooey, PVC fetishist, in which case, you should go to Berbati's for Fetish Night.



MONDAY 8/21

WILLIE NELSON

(Spirit Mountain) I don't like country music and I'm straight as an arrow. That said, Willie Nelson turns my knees to butter. His voice is calm and uncompromising--neither sad nor exalted with emotion. His guitar playing is slow and, at times, fumbling. He is old and gaunt, but one word and one chord from Willie Nelson and I'm in heaven. 64 years old and his voice only continues to deepen with resonance, like a beautiful leather jacket that just softens and gains style with age. PB

ZEBRAHEAD, WHEATUS

(Crystal Ballroom) Zebrahead is Orange County, CA speak for "Offspring-311 hybrid." I'm sure Mendel didn't have them in mind when he was doing his famous experiments with peas and orchids, but science always evolves (or devolves, in this case) with time. I suppose it could be worse...they could be splicing the genes of plastic toys and tomatoes or something; now that would be a real monstrosity. JS



TUESDAY 8/22

GUSTAVO LOCO, SPIGOT, DAY RATE CESSNA

(Berbati's Pan) Gather for this night of old and new school PDX "roots rock," with Gustavo Loco. A proper definition of "roots rock" is totally subjective. JS



WEDNESDAY 8/23

THE REPTILES, THIRD ESTATE, BROTHER HEATHEN

(Medicine Hat) The Reptiles totally belong on the soundtrack for Some Kind of Wonderful. They have a very '80s sound. It's cheesy, but not like Air Supply or Bon Jovi or Damn Yankees. The Reptiles are '80s movie soundtrack cheesy, with a sound that would have fit as filler in between Flesh for Lulu, Jesus and Mary Chain, and Stephen "I am a God" "Tin Tin" Duffy. I don't think The Reptiles mean to sound like that, really, as they are completely devoid of fashion shtick, but it's good for them, because the kids are really lovin' that shit these days. I would recommend them just because they seem to use keyboards that no one has touched since 1987, and I'm not talking vintage Yamaha DX-7 ("the preferred keyboard of Brian Eno")--I'm talking pre-MIDI, Casio pro here, baby. JS


GOING TO SEATTLE?

Thurs 8/17: Aveo, Welcome, The Heroic Trio (Showbox); Stanley Turrentine (Jazz Alley); Damien Jurado, Rose Thomas, Shannon Stephens (Tractor Tavern)

Fri 8/18: Zeke, The Catheters, The Briefs (Mural Amphitheater); Mountain Con, Deathray, King Black Acid (Crocodile); Ray Vega, Don Lamphere (Tula's); Zeke (Graceland)

Sat 8/19: 764-HERO, Love as Laughter (Sit & Spin); WATER starring Deiselboy, Charlotte the Baronness, Huggie, more (info: www.audiorise.com, 206.748.1724)

Sun 8/20: Thomas Mapfuno & the Blacks Unlimited (Showbox)

For more info, check out www.thestranger.com

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