(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) The agile, earthy Tuareg blues of Tinariwen have sent the sounds of the Sahara Desert all around the globe. The group's last album, the exquisite Tassili, displayed a stripped-down, acoustic-oriented sound, but one no less rhythmic—and tonight their soulful, desert-wind tunes mesmerize a Portland crowd. NED LANNAMANN

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) It's no mystery that Europe has it all figured out when it comes to metal. Bands like Italy's Rhapsody of Fire clean up playing giant festivals and arenas across the pond, and why shouldn't they? Their concept albums feature sweeping compositions, opera singers, and full orchestras coupled with galloping shred, making them untouchable power-metal kings. Of course, their classical melodies and affinity for wizards, dragons, and other Tolkienry also make them as cheesy as a two-ton wheel of Gorgonzola, but that's beside the point. ROF's musicianship is still unparalleled. Which brings us to the depressing part: Rhapsody of Fire's US tour will no doubt be a bust because most American audiences can't handle such richness in their metal, which means ROF will probably never be back. It behooves you to seize this opportunity. The unicorns and forest nymphs will thank you. ARIS WALES

(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) Joe Preston is a heavy dude, a guy whose name has been associated with some of noise's most notorious mob bosses—Melvins, Earth, Sunn O))), High on Fire—and, of course, his own monolithic one-man show Thrones. Needless to say, Preston's busy schedule has kept his Thrones output sporadic at best, limited to a paper trail of 7-inches and singles over the past decade. Performances have been few and far between as well—even more reason to catch this one. And while you can expect mounds of noise being flung about, make no mistake that it will also be moody and cinematic. Call it noise for smart people. MARK LORE

(Valentine's, 232 SW Ankeny) It's been a couple of years since Portland's Pony Village released their excellent self-titled EP, but the five-piece, anchored by vocalist/guitarist Ryan Barber, has continued to carve out a respectable following. Mining an early Death Cab fetish, smart but slightly dark pop tunes mark the bulk of Pony Village's debut, wrestling crisp guitars, pianos, and a solid rhythm section around Barber's nasal, fragile croons. The band has a new 7-inch record in the works with an early October release scheduled via San Francisco indie label 20 Sided Records. Rounded out by a killer local lineup with Fanno Creek and Pine Language, this exhibition promises to represent a formidable slice of the local indie-pop pie. RYAN J. PRADO