THE GREATER MIDWEST Backspace, 2/15

WEDNESDAY 2/13

MARILYN MANSON, BUTCHER BABIES
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week! and read our article on Marilyn Manson.

CABINET OF WONDERS: A BENEFIT FOR THE CHILDREN'S CANCER ASSOCIATION'S MY MUSIC RX: JOHN WESLEY HARDING AND AN INSANE LINEUP OF GUESTS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) In these divisive times, there may be just one thing you and I and my grandpa can all agree on: cancer fucking sucks. At any time, but especially when a kid has it. Right? That's reason enough for this benefit version of Cabinet of Wonders, John Wesley Harding's celebrated series of variety shows. The lineups always tend toward the impeccable, and this one is no exception. The novelist Monica Drake will appear, as will recent Portland transplant K.D. Lang. Ben Gibbard, who has just released the first Postal Service song in 10 years, will be the only guest besides Harding (and comedian Eugene Mirman) who has to travel to get there. Questions remain: Will Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey play together or separately? Will Carrie Brownstein rock the roll or the humorous observations? Can we expect a Colin Meloy-Laura Veirs collaboration? Find out and fight cancer. REBECCA WILSON

TOMAHAWK, RETOX
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Tomahawk is the semi-supergroup that keeps on giving. For a dozen years or so, this Mike Patton-led band of journeymen has put out four records, which serve as catchalls for the eccentric vocalist's avant-rock barking. Some of the results have been good, some not so good. It seems impossible to really fuck up, though, when you've got Jesus Lizard guitarist Duane Denison and former Helmet/current Battles drummer John Stanier by your side. Then again, supergroups are notoriously not very super. Still, Tomahawk is weird enough and rocking enough to satiate those who love the aforementioned bands. Although their latest Oddfellows LP—Tomahawk's first in six years—takes on more twists and turns than ever before, it's not a complete brain scrambler. But you'll know right away that it's a Mike Patton Joint. MARK LORE

BRUXA, TEXTBEAK, NIGHTMARE FORTRESS, RXCH WXTCH
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Among the recent explosion of darkwave bands, Seattle's Nightmare Fortress (Alicia Amiri, Blair Field, Cassidy Gonzales, and Colin Roper) stand out in their ability to forge an original and memorable sound. Amiri's powerful voice drips silky warmth over driving distorted guitars, synthesizers, and industrialized beats, creating a darkly sensual atmosphere. Each song on their latest release, Until the Air Runs Out, is stylistic and haunting, calling up memories of foggy streets and long-lost horror films. Another ingenious addition to the Sweating Tapes label, the band retains a danceable quality while still seeming like they are conjuring up spells in a wild alchemical experiment. CHRISTINA BROUSSARD

UUVVWWZ, WHAT MADE MILWAUKEE FAMOUS, AINA HAINA
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Nebraska-based UUVVWWZ's second album, The Trusted Language, came out last week. At just eight songs and 35 minutes, it takes nearly as long to listen to the album as it does to say the band's name ("double u, double vee, double double-u, zee"). It's just as angular and aggressively blues-punk as their 2009 self-titled LP, except that this one seems to be missing some of the experimentation and fun of the first. Maybe that's just another way of saying that Double U are more focused now, that they've come into their own. Teal Gardner sings with unhinged energy, but she never forgets to carefully enunciate. Maybe it's telling that their greatest emotional resonance lives more in their jagged guitars, Gardner's aggressive vocals, and their punk-blues songs than in the lyrics themselves. Opening are next-gen dad band What Made Milwaukee Famous and Portland's very own power-rock duo Aina Haina. RW

THURSDAY 2/14

ROCK 'N' ROLL PROM: MONARQUES, PONY VILLAGE, THE CRY, DJ COOKY PARKER, DJ HANUKKAH MIRACLE
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

DRE C, SOOPAH EYPE
(Funhouse Lounge, 2432 SE 11th) Tonight marks the release of Portland emcee Dre C's new EP, the aptly titled Underrated but Dedicated. It's been almost a year since he dropped his DJ Noize-hosted mixtape, Hello My Name Is, and the resulting effort is well worth the wait. Dre joins his peers in the younger generation of hiphop that reject the excesses of materialistic braggadocio, instead aspiring to achieve artistic and intellectual riches while deftly avoiding preachy platitudes. Standout track "Just Be You" features local rapper Mic Capes in a keep-it-real anthem that manages to celebrate knowledge of self without any of the didactic baggage that can often entail. Underground rapper Soopah Eype kicks tonight off with his unique blend of gleeful eccentricity and lyrical skills. His brand-new release, Vol. 5 Public Defender, seamlessly namedrops David Bowie and Cat Stevens alongside Dana Dane and Malcolm X. RYAN FEIGH

FRIDAY 2/15

BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY, RCG, KAUSE N EFFECT, MDOT, CHRIS B, GONDI, VICIOUS DEMENTED
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) See My, What a Busy Week!

THE SONICS, PIERCED ARROWS, THE PYNNACLES
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE César E. Chávez) Read our article on the Sonics.

111TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: WOW AND FLUTTER, SOUVENIR DRIVER, TALKATIVE, BUZZYSHYFACE, MIKE COYKENDALL, AUTOPILOT IS FOR LOVERS, BEVELERS
(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) Kelly's Olympian is in the business of delivering great music at a great price—you can often catch a good, free show at their venue for the whopping sum of zero dollars. This Friday and Saturday they celebrate their anniversary with a slew of performances from local bands. A couple honorable mentions for tonight: Souvenir Driver, who write epically charged pop ballads that blur the line between Smashing Pumpkins and the Pixies, and Talkative, the joy-folk, psych-rock crooners who'll remind you that "experimental" is a good thing. Check back tomorrow for celebratory shows from Portland favorites And And And, the Morals, and Fanno Creek. RACHEL MILBAUER Also see My, What a Busy Week!

PORTLAND JAZZ FESTIVAL: AFRO-CUBAN ALL STARS, ALFREDO RODRIGUEZ
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) While the corporate entities have got their fingers all over this year's jazz festival—the correct title, I believe, is the US Bank Portland Jazz Festival Presented by Alaska Airlines—its 10th year sees a solid lineup that should appeal to most jazz diehards, if not casual dabblers. This year kicks off with a show from the Afro-Cuban All Stars, who found international prominence in the wake of Buena Vista Social Club's enormous popularity. The fest also hosts Blue Cranes, fusion drummer Jack DeJohnette, and a performance by all-female super-trio ACS (that's pianist Geri Allen, drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, and Portland-born Grammy-snatching bassist Esperanza Spalding). But the most intriguing performances look to be tributes: the Jazz Message's homage to the incredible, overlooked Art Blakey, and the music of Fellini film composer Nino Rota performed by New York downtown extrapolators Sex Mob. See pdxjazz.com for more info, including dates and venues. NED LANNAMANN

SYSTEM AND STATION, DINOSAUR HEART
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) System and Station have been doing it longer, and better, than just about any band in Portland. Their latest, self-titled full-length is their 10th studio recording, marking their 15th year together. System and Station is yet another impressively played and written collection of high-voltage rock, as we have come to expect from the Portland-via-Boise band. And while System and Station certainly offer some aural fireworks, for the most part they are content to function as a fully integrated team of immaculate craftsmen, letting the songs lead the way. There are tangled guitar showdowns in the vein of Built to Spill, manic pop crackups à la Modest Mouse, and in "Saturday Night Friends" even a bluesy stomp that will unquestionably please the Black Keys' bafflingly large fanbase. The real question is why System and Station still isn't one of the biggest bands in the Northwest; as they've proven time and again, they're absolutely one of the most consistent. This weekend's dual record-release shows tackle opposite ends of town, with tonight's show in North Portland rock temple the Kenton Club, and tomorrow night's at SE Foster neighborhood dive O'Malley's. NL

IOMMI STUBBS, CRAG DWELLER, THE GNASH
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Iommi Stubbs is sort of the precursor-slash-intermediary for local doom band Witch Mountain's two incarnations. Those who followed metal before metal got hip know what this means. Prior to the formation of Witch Mountain in 1997, and before their rebirth in 2009, guitarist Rob Wrong served up choice riffs and punk 'tude in Iommi Stubbs. The band released a handful of 7-inches and played with some punk-rawk greats of yore, including Chokebore, Steel Pole Bathtub, and NoMeansNo. With Witch Mountain 2.0 slooooowly but surely taking over the world, this rare one-off is worth checking out. ML

THE RESOLECTRICS, STEELHEAD, JEFFREY MARTIN AND ANNA TIVEL
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Sloan Martin called it a day with longtime local band Celilo and went down to Los Angeles to hang with his brothers for a spell. There, he came up with the songs that make up the debut EP from his new Portland-based band, Steelhead. Tonight sees the release of Blue Sun, and it jettisons some of the overtly Americana sounds of Celilo in favor of a more contemporary, urban, noir-ish vibe. The smog of LA hangs heavy over Blue Sun, finding room for a slicker, smokier sound that's a good fit for Martin. Over the years, Celilo—through circumstance and chance—became a haunted band, most notably when drummer Kipp Crawford was killed in a bike-auto collision in 2009. Steelhead, and Blue Sun, is the sound of Martin putting his ghosts in the rearview mirror. But what makes the EP so compelling are the shadows those ghosts still manage to cast, even all the way down to sunny Los Angeles. Blue Sun is the sound of wishing to become numb and, thankfully, failing. NL

THE RUBY SUNS, PAINTED PALMS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) By all reports, the Ruby Suns' new one is a breakup album, but the cryptically titled Christopher is more notable in that it sees Ruby mainman Ryan McPhun wholeheartedly embracing the synth-y, '80s-gazing glow-pop that's all the rage nowadays. Some truly gaudy synthwork graced 2010's experimental Fight Softly as well, but that felt more like a collection of willfully weird experiments than the familiar pop pastiches that make up Christopher. Granted, there's some interesting stuff buried under the rote house beats and warbly vocal overdubs—and at least one masterwork in the heartfelt and devastatingly gorgeous "Dramatikk"—but for the most part it feels like McPhun is following trends rather than either leading them or, better yet, ignoring them. Considering how miraculously inventive and unique the 2008 Ruby Suns' Sea Lion still sounds today, that's a letdown. NL

THE GROWLERS, THE NIGHT BEATS, GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) The sandy, salty party hits of the Growlers are rickety and melty at the same time—a 24-hour retro beach circus of psychedelic enchantment, sung by a being that is equal parts surfer and skeleton. Some of their songs are raucous and wild, while others (the newer ones, off their most recent album Hung at Heart) are more thoughtful and, dare I say it, romantic. On top of that, the unpredictable live shows these vagabond party-punks put on make for an excellent post-Valentine's Day date option. EMILY NOKES

THE GREATER MIDWEST, TIGER HOUSE, THE HAGUE
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) The most captivating thing about Consumer Confidence, the debut album from the Greater Midwest, is how elegant the Portland band makes their fucked-up, ragged sentiments sound. Tracks like "I Do a Great Impersonation of Myself" and "Clean Sheets Are Important" sound almost stately in their poise and grace—but these are songs about refusing to grow up, about getting wasted and playing rock 'n' roll, about working that shitty job because every other option seems even shittier, about cutting and running when a relationship starts getting too real. The quartet finds a spacious and inviting sound that's perhaps halfway between the National and the Cure, and singer Shawn Pike sounds like he can't decide if he's about to break down or freeze up completely. Consumer Confidence isn't always a comfortable listen, but it's a deep and rewarding one, and the Greater Midwest celebrates its release with an all-ages show tonight. Make no mistake, though; this is the furthest thing from a kids' album. NL

DRATS!!!, BAD ASSETS, ROLLERBALL
(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) The deranged dementos of Drats!!! have been together for 10 years, and tonight's show not only celebrates that milestone, but ushers the Portland six-piece's latest EP, Minor Label Interest, into a world that's probably not ready for it. Flaunting a truly eclectic approach to rock 'n' roll, there is no sound or technique Drats!!! are too bashful to attempt—or can't pull off, for that matter. On Minor Label Interest, heavy, metallic rock butts up against funk-prog precision and '80s-movie-soundtrack pop; a theatrical sensibility and an absolutely ruthless punk aggression cap things off. Driven in large part by the over-the-top, one-of-a-kind vocals of bassist Chairman (also of Nasalrod), Drats!!! very literally sound like nothing else, and are all the more vital for it. Happy anniversary, weirdos. NL

AIR SUPPLY
(Spirit Mountain Casino, 27100 Salmon River Hwy, Grand Ronde) Air Supply made the softest, gentlest rock the world has ever known, soundtracking department stores and dentists' offices the world over. It was impossible, from the years 1981 to 1984, to visit a public place and avoid hearing the dulcet voice of Russell Hitchcock singing immortal lite-FM classics like "All Out of Love" or "The One That You Love"—or, best of all, the epic "Making Love Out of Nothing at All." If ABBA was too raunchy and emotionally complicated for you, and those punks in Little River Band rocked far too loud for your sensitive eardrums, Air Supply was your jam. Apparently, the Australian duo has been active all this time, for which they deserve medals and riches and sainthoods. This is solid-gold adult contemporary; if you're too young to remember it, you were probably conceived to it. Either way, Air Supply is a part of you. NL

SATURDAY 2/16

HOT 8 BRASS BAND, MANIMALHOUSE
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

111TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION: AND AND AND, THE WE SHARED MILK, OLD AGE, FANNO CREEK, PONY VILLAGE, THE MORALS, DONOVAN BREAKWATER, BEYOND VERONICA
(Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington) See My, What a Busy Week!, and Friday's listing.

SYSTEM AND STATION, BEACH PARTY
(O'Malley's Saloon, 6535 SE Foster) See Friday's listing.

TERROR, BANE, BACKTRACK, CODE ORANGE KIDS, YOUNG TURKS
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) A friend of mine was so impressed by a Code Orange Kids set that he called me immediately after it had ended just to rave about them. I guess I came off as disinterested, but realistically I was half-asleep. "I know you don't really like hardcore," I remember him saying condescendingly, "but you should really check them out regardless. There are aspects of it you might be able to appreciate." Connoisseurs of the genre, like my friend, tend to believe that anyone who doesn't live and breathe hardcore must just dismiss it all as machismo-fueled prattle. And it's true: I am sensitive. Moreover, hardcore is artistically irrelevant. But the reason I'm skeptical is because most of it just plain sucks. Code Orange Kids essentially fall into the "extremely stupid" category, but there actually are aspects of it I appreciate—specifically, the subtle Ritchie Blackmore appropriation and the fact that this youthful fury is being generated by real youth (the members are all technically—not just emotionally—teenagers). MORGAN TROPER

BUKE AND GASE, AHLEUCHATISTAS, INCREDIBLE YACHT CONTROL
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The first time I saw Buke and Gase, I made the serious mistake of writing them off as a novelty instrument act, one that was mysteriously opening for Mission of Burma. As I recall, Mission of Burma went through some motions and played some music. They didn't seem to care, and neither did I—because by then, Buke and Gase had made the show and stolen my heart. Their strange instruments ("buke" = baritone ukulele; "gase" = guitar-bass thingy) are homemade, but there's nothing silly about them. As challenging as they are enjoyable, Buke and Gase ride the line between arm's-length intellectualism and dynamic chamber punk, with Arone Dyer's stunning voice to keep things tethered halfway to the earth. This is a band that's agile and constantly innovating, evidenced by the fact that their fantastic new album General Dome sounds nothing like the first. RW

BLACK MARBLE, BELLICOSE MINDS, DEAD CULT, SHADOW HOUSE
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Black Marble's musical backbone is exacting synth, with vocals that convey something dark and dreamy. Imagine, if you will (oh, you will), a man with an exceptionally low but beautiful voice. It's very dark, and for some reason he's inside of an old toy store, drunk. Rows and rows of windup toys make persistent beats in unison—little bears, dolls, and soldiers click and ting, playing their instruments with factory precision. As the melancholic crooner slowly weaves through the toy displays, his voice echoes around the room, creating a blissful numbness. Now snap out of it! EN

ILLMACULATE, ONLYONE, V. DEWAYNE, 9DM, BIGG K, COOL NUTZ
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Paying homage to the greatest cinematic triumph of the 21st century—that immortal masterpiece, Tron: Legacy—the sequel to Lawz Spoken's 2010 collaboration with OnlyOne, Chron, is aptly titled Chron Legacy. Only this one is billed to "Illmaculate & Lawz Spoken, co-starring OnlyOne" (OnlyOne in this case presumably being Hologram Jeff Bridges). Tonight's the release show for Chron Legacy, and it will see Illmaculate and OnlyOne performing conventional sets, although one can hope they'll also take some time for some of the battle raps that made them names in the Portland hiphop community. Lawz Spoken—AKA Mstr Cntrl, which I assume is meant to be said aloud as "Mister Cantrell"—is not on the bill tonight, which means we shall have to impatiently wait until his return in Chron 3: Live Free or Chron Harder. NL

SUNDAY 2/17

BLACK MARBLE, LIGHTHOUSE, VICE DEVICE
(East End, 203 SE Grand) See Saturday's listing.

RED FANG, FEDERATION X, DOG SHREDDER
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See My, What a Busy Week!

COHEED AND CAMBRIA, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, RUSSIAN CIRCLES
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Coheed and Cambria suck. A lot. Do I have to elaborate? They're an only-slightly more palatable Dream Theater. The Second Stage Turbine Blade is basically just Rush's Hemispheres on 45 rpm. Compositional helmsman Claudio Sanchez's entire demeanor is as ridiculous and overblown as the title I just gave him (his hair is pretty cool, though). Anybody—with the exception of Peter Gabriel, circa 1974—who utilizes the concept-album medium to tell a story is absolutely full of shit. Like their similarly lame conspecifics Fall of Troy, at the height of their popularity Coheed and Cambria appealed equally to prog fanatics and scene-mall dwellers, two insufferable human sub-groups. Wait, did I already make the Dream Theater comparison? MT

MONDAY 2/18

EELS, NICOLE ATKINS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) See My, What a Busy Week!

TUESDAY 2/19

SALLIE FORD AND THE SOUND OUTSIDE
(Music Millennium, 3158 E Burnside) See My, What a Busy Week!

A VOLCANO, MYTHOLOGICAL HORSES, YOUNG DAD
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) Once in a while, a power duo comes along that can shred on guitar and slay on drums hard enough to melt your face. Johnny Brooke and Jesse Chambers write thrashing, in-your-face songs that allow space to appreciate both the intricacies and rawness of metal. Their newest EP, Palaver, is a heavy and dynamic dose of hard rock at its best, but for a true taste of their music, it's best to see them live. Brooke's charismatic vocals and guitar, combined with expansive, booming drums by Chambers, make for an epic, head-banging sound. Catch them tonight before they explode off onto a West Coast mini-tour down to San Francisco. RM

MOUSE ON MARS, MATMOS, HORSE LORDS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Mouse on Mars haven't toured the US in six years, which is reason enough to see the German duo tonight. But they've also got a pair of relatively new releases to show off—last year's Parastrophics full-length, and the even more recent "mini-album" Wow. With their much-imitated skill in turning abstract or flat-out weird noises into compelling, often danceable beats, Mouse on Mars have always been able to transform their interior-sounding, brain-scratching electronic scribbles into a dynamic, exciting live show. Meanwhile, The Marriage of True Minds, the new album from mad scientists (and Björk collaborators) Matmos, comes out today on Thrill Jockey. When you add in the Baltimore duo's clicks and scrapes, this becomes a stacked bill of music that will do unpredictable things to the head and body. NL