ADRIAN ORANGE The Artistry 12/23

THURSDAY 12/21

NUX VOMICA, ORDER OF THE VULTURE, DETERRORFORMED, WARCORPSE

(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Locals (via Baltimore) Nux Vomica bring the metal in heavy, dark doses, dropping big, delicately picked Metallica intros (that sound more like ancient-ass folk music), sudden lurching changes, and anthemic guitar riffin' over drums and bass as thick as bulletproof glass. How thick is bulletproof glass, you ask? I have no idea. But these dudes rock it THICK. If you like your metal moody, dark, and almost indierocky at some points (a couple riffs sound like Slint and Tristeza!) check these players out. Also, make sure to get there early for Order of the Vulture's grindy, speedy, thrashy death metal. Oh, and if you miss PDX's killer Warcorpse, I'm totally taking away your Hardcore Scene Hero/Stalwart badge—and you know you'll be lost without that shit! Some fool snatched mine three days ago and I've been an absolute wreck without it. Take it from someone who knows. GRANT MORRIS

A NIGHT OF IMPROVISED MUSIC W/JP JENKINS, LUKE WYLAND, SHANE RONET, BRIAN EUBANKS, MARK KAYLOR

(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) The holiday season can be daunting—not enough money in your wallet, frenzied shoppers in the ever-growing retail wonderland, and no touring bands willing to cross the Siskiyou Mountains to play their hearts out for us over a mug of spiced cider. This is a reminder: We live in Portland. Some amazing music and performances are taking place right beneath your icy little noses in our very own waterlogged basements and venues. Tonight, JP Jenkins of Ghosting, Mark Kaylor of Haiku Ambulance, and a few other multi-talented musicians will be gathering together for an improvisational free-sound freak out. These sessions can be unlike any rehearsed set that you have heard because of the willingness of the artists to take chances and get loose. Ignore the ice storm and warm your hands by the fire of creative energy—guitars, saxophones, and the intention of creating something beautifully new. SALINA NUÑEZ

MENACER, SKULLSPLITTER, 2 MINUTE HATE, WORLD OF LIES

(Dante's, 1 SW 3rd) Portland is a town that loves metal, but has very few excellent metal bands to offer all those hungry fans. Enter Menacer, the great white hope of thrashers throughout Multnomah County. Buoyed by the dedicated fanbase that these ex-members of Fall of the Bastards earned the hard way, Menacer is bringing the '80s into the '00s, and drawing crowds. Fast, melodic, crushing, these guys reference the best of Kreator, Slayer, and Nuclear Assault. Their equally bludgeoning friends Skullsplitter are set to split a 7" sometime early next year. Musically, there's not a profound difference between the two bands (hey which side am I playing?), but Skullsplitter's vocalist recalls excellent political crust like Nausea. 2 Minute Hate think they're drawing their name from the George Orwell novel 1984, because they probably don't realize there have been at least 15 bands with this name already. I guess that makes it a classic. NATHAN CARSON

THE MUSIC POPULATION ORCHESTRA, BUOY LA RUE

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Centuries worth of great music provide the melodic backbone for everything we hear today. Yet the great majority of us seem unwilling to break out of our self-imposed, 70-year cultural bubble. The Music Population Orchestra, led by Swedish born Brede Rorstad, is breathing fresh air into an archaic tradition by taking chamber music back from the wealthy and geriatric and repackaging it for us normal schmucks. Usually performing in bars and galleries, the MPO isn't just trying to energize a new audience—they're trying to energize music itself, by enlisting the work of baby-faced composers and integrating elements like drum kits, laptops, and other high fangled gadgets. JOSH BLANCHARD

ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA W/DWEEZIL ZAPPA, STEVE VAI, TERRY BOZIO, NAPOLEON MURPHY BROCK

(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See Music, pg. 19

WOW & FLUTTER, ALASKUS, THE AX

(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) See Music, pg. 21

PHASE ONE: WORDS + MUSIC W/ANYBODY, ROBERT LOUIS MEDINA, DAVIS HOOKER, CYNTHIA NELSON

(Someday Lounge, 125 SW 5th) Tonight at the Garett Strickland-curated Phase One lit-meets-music/music-meets-lit blowout, there will be readings and musical performances by renaissance men/women Robert Louis Medina, Cynthia Nelson, and Davis Hooker. Also, Strickland, a sometimes Mercury contributor, will be rocking some exquisite corpse action. Says Garett, "I had thought it would be fun to do an 'exquisite corpse' with the audience, which is a method invented by the Surrealists in which words are assembled collectively into a story or a piece of poetry. The piece would be passed around throughout the duration of the show and performed over music at the end of the night. I also started thinking of other variations on exquisite corpse that would make nice interludes between performers. Somewhere between a skit and a parlor game, I guess. It might be cheesy or it might be profound. Who knows? Regardless, I think it's going to be fun." ADAM GNADE

FRIDAY 12/22

NA, THE VONNEGUTS

(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) When was the last time you went to a totally rockin' basement/house show? It's been almost a year for me, and it's not because Portland is lacking houses or basements, that's for sure. It's probably because basements in this town are rife with MOLD and MOLD is where I draw the line. The Vonneguts have seen their share of moldy rooms packed with sweaty, heavily hoodied kids, bouncing and bopping their heads until someone drops a mic stand and all hell breaks loose. Another scenario: The neighbors are trying to sleep, and threaten to call the cops so the show moves into a living room and goes lo-fi. Dance floor opens up and everybody gets up to get down. The Vonneguts have toured the country, sleeping on floors, and have perfected their catchy basement dance party sound to bring to us tonight. And here's the kicker—there is NO MOLD at Valentine's. As a matter of fact, I would even go so far as to say that there is NO BASEMENT at Valentine's. This is what I call a perfect opportunity to get hot and shake the frostbite off of your toes with absolutely NO exposure to a MOLDY BASEMENT. SN

SHINY TOY GUNS, AREA 51

(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Here's the first real tragedy of Shiny Toy Guns: Somewhere in an upper-level office of some damn corporate record label some greasy A&R hack is twirling his handlebar moustache and smirking widely, knowing that all his talk about "leveraging" the "new media market" to "secure previously unrealized profit points"—AKA using MySpace to sell records—will now be taken seriously, landing him a promotion instead of the kick in the nards he deserves. The second tragedy of Shiny Toy Guns is that they are not only embarrassingly terrible, but a cynical, calculated effort to turn teenage insecurity into money. I could be wrong, but that's the only way to view their debut CD, We Are Pilots, which cherry picks from the worst emo and electronic acts of the last few years—plus at least one song that's a direct rip from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Third tragedy: They're from Los Angeles, which hasn't produced a listenable band since X. Fourth: If their list of MySpace friends is any testament, they've got a bajillion teenage fans, all of whom have a sub-5th grade level of literacy. Apparently, this "grassroots marketing" is what caught the eye of Universal Records. I fear for the future of our country. SCOTT MOORE

AMELIA, LOCH LOMOND, MIKE COYKENDALL

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) See Music, pg. 19

BOOMBOX FRIDAY W/EATS TAPES, ATOLE, BROKENWINDOW, DJ P. DISCO

(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) See My, What a Busy Week, pg. 17

REVERB PARTY W/THE HIGH VIOLETS, THE UPSIDEDOWN, SATURNA

(Kenton Club, 2025 Kilpatrick) In an extended essay that chronicled the rise and demise of England's famed shoegazer phenomenon, the music journalist Corey DuBrowa made the following observation in a 2002 issue of Magnet: "More than a decade beyond the... scene's initial impact, the sounds and somewhat single-minded vision pursued by these groups are rising again in England, America and elsewhere—as evidenced by... the emergence of new artists that have clearly studied these records before forming their own bands." Tonight, three current-day Portland-based examples of this trend will perform at the Kenton Club as part of Reverb Record's Holiday Party (a local imprint not to be confused with the record store of the same name located on SE Hawthorne). Saturna, featuring waves of distorted guitars and echo-y vocals, recalls early albums by the Jesus & Mary Chain. The trio has been making waves in the blogosphere with its 2006 debut EP All Night. Likewise, The Upsidedown apply a thick layer of decadent, drugged-down shoeglaze to the basic rock 'n' roll template. On the band's 2004 disc, Trust Electricity, the quintet shifts effortlessly between gliding, up-tempo pop songs (reminiscent of their pals in the Dandy Warhols) and more psychedelic moments that experiment with droning guitars and atmospheric swirls of keyboard and percussion. Headlining this evening's bill are the High Violets, a buzzing threesome that has developed a strong local following over the last three years on the strength of a pair of catchy, My Bloody Valentine-flavored albums. On record and stage, the band scratches the shoegazer itch with heavy doses of pretty, cooing female vocals, blissful melodies, in-the-red feedback and, where appropriate, eardrum-shredding guitar squall. TRAVIS GREENWOOD

A JACKSON FAMILY CHRISTMAS W/SISSYBOY

(Someday Lounge, 125 SW 5th) A Jackson Family Christmas is the first show in what will hopefully prove a long and fruitful fraternity between local gender-outlaw punk performance ensemble Sissyboy and the nascently zeitgeistian Someday Lounge. Loosely narrative, wailingly entertaining, and drillingly inappropriate, Sissyboy's work operates from a place of sheer ecstatic fun, but also seeks to corrode and disassemble drag performance mores. Perhaps no better content could be imagined than what they have chosen here—the stunning cultural fast burn of perhaps the greatest performing family in pop music history: the multifarious and (in at least one case) brilliant offspring of ol' devil-eyed Joe. SAM MICKENS

SATURDAY 12/23

DANCING WITH THE STARS W/ CHERYL BURKE, DREW LACHEY, EDYTA SLIWINSKA, KARINA SMIRNOFF, KYM JOHNSON, LISA RINNA, LOUIS VAN AMSTEL, MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY, JOEY LAWRENCE, JOEY MCINTYRE, WILLA FORD

(Rose Garden, One Center Court) I understood The Surreal Life—shove a bunch of screwed up, kind-of-famous folks into a house, then get your jollies watching them drink, fuck, and fight to their hearts' content. But Dancing With The Stars? Why does anyone want to genuinely root for a bunch of washed-up celebs who faded from the spotlight because no one cared about them anyway? Here's my solution: Mix the two ideas. I don't want to watch smiley Emmett Smith shaking hands with maybe-gay Mario Lopez after a sweaty tango... I need Newt Gingrich and Anna Nicole Smith scrapping on the dance floor over an expired bottle of Percocet and still winning the waltz category. I want Babyshambles front man Pete Dougherty smoking crack with a decidedly panty-lacking Britney Spears before the show, overdosing during the mamba, and spraying bile and stomach chunks on his leggy dance instructor. That's the kind of B-list celebrity entertainment I crave! But if for some reason watching that "Whoa!" schmuck from Blossom wearing a dashiki and doing the rumba floats your boat, the whole sorry lot of them are coming to the Rose Garden, sequins and failure intact. NOAH SANDERS

ADRIAN ORANGE

(The Artistery, 4315 SE Division) In a universe filled to its brimming with singer/songwriters, it can be difficult to harvest the wheat from the chaff.  Not to mention the times that we've all taken a hand at it, picked up an old guitar, and in our most emotive moments written some sort of song lamenting love, loss, or the woe of ill-fitting tennis shoes. If I had a nickel for every time. Then, there are artists who blow all of that self-deprecating bullshit out of the water by seamlessly creating one powerful verse after another, as if they had some sort of visionary stockpile full to overflowing.  Adrian Orange is that artist. As local label Marriage Records visionary, the brains and brawn of what we once knew as Thanksgiving, and all around nice guy, Adrian Orange defies all comparisons to the singer/songwriter "type." In the hearty, solid baritone of the title track on his solo album, Bitches Is Lord, he calls out, "Let's stop lying/let's stand up and save the world/or least push our love" with a fiercely humble honesty that moved me to tears. In the vein of truth, Adrian Orange is able to write songs that move you to hang on to his every word and quickly catch your breath, unable to stop listening. We've had our eye on this one for a while now and it's a privilege to keep watching. SN

SUNDAY 12/24

THE SILVER GATE

(Someday Lounge, 125 SW 5th ) The Silver Gate is a free weekly series that asserts itself as a "jazz club for the 21st century." Every Sunday, a core group of seasoned improvisers and a bevy of guests are allowed to do what they do best: dive headlong into hours of no-rules, uninterrupted music. Someday Lounge's verbose ringmaster, Noah Mickens, obviously fancies himself a bit of a Willy Wonka—He'll also be slipping "silver tickets" to select musicians. What's the prize? Well, to be able to get up on stage and jam mercilessly, of course! Anyone who's ever attended or participated in events like these knows that they tend to be a mixed bag, with moments of spontaneous beauty often swallowed up by gruesome skronkery. Three words for tonight's instrumentalists: less is more! JB

MONDAY 12/25

THRONES, SUBARACHNOID SPACE, DJ NATE C, DJ JOE PRESTON

(Tube, 18 NW 3rd) See Music, pg. 21

TUESDAY 12/26

Call in sick! Take another day off. You know you need it. CoughLAZYcough!

WEDNESDAY 12/27

JOHNNY BERTRAM

(Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N Mississippi) You know how whenever you hear a Jack Johnson song, you kind of start moving your head and generally "grooving," even though you feel like a total tool while doing so? I suggest Johnny Bertram as a guilt-free alternative. Dude knows how to craft a pop song, with honey-sweet vox and nimble acoustic guitar action, but instead of singing about, say, Curious George, he sings about drugs, poor people, and revolution. Bertram's a Portlander who relocated to Jackson, Mississippi, and you can hear the South creeping in to his indierock aesthetic—a little sweatier, a little sexier. Peep his Sam Beam-style beard if you get a chance. JOEL HARTSE

MIKAH SYKES, OZ STREET FOSSILS, TYPHOON

(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Folk dude Mikah Sykes fits somewhere between Iron and Wine and early Bright Eyes. There's also some tremulous Sufjan Stevens instrumentation, guitar that feels a bit like Joanna Newsom's harp, and some kiddie-ish Daniel Johnston vocals. Not to get all reference crazy up in your grill, but sometimes when the shoe fits you've got to go jogging and get some exercise. (I don't understand what I'm talking about either.) Oz St. Fossils is straight up New Weird America old-timey. Straight-UP. This show will folk you up good and you'll love it. GM