AMINÉ Wed 12/27 & Thurs 12/28 Roseland Republic Records

SUPER PICK

AMINÉ
Before he’d even released a proper album, and before hardly anyone in Portland knew more than one of his songs, Aminé played his first-ever concert one year ago at the sold-out Roseland Theater. It was an imperfect coming out, as he didn’t yet have enough material to fill a one-hour set. But that was to be expected, and fans were forgiving enough to again sell out his next show at the Crystal Ballroom. Since then, Aminé has been included in XXL magazine’s coveted “Freshman Class,” cozied up to Malia Obama at Lollapalooza, and, most importantly, dropped his major label debut, Good for You. Now the prodigal son is returning home for a two-night run at the Roseland—exactly one year after that first show—equipped with the material and swagger of a bona fide star. While Portland would’ve rooted for Aminé no matter what, Good for You actually slaps, and that makes his success even more exciting. He’s called Los Angeles home for the past year, so it’s too soon to know whether he’ll forget his hometown someday, but so far his hometown hasn’t forgotten him—tickets for both nights have sold out. But if you’re going, please do yourself and everyone else a favor: When Aminé performs “Caroline,” and he comes to that word (you know which one), heed the advice he gave the audience at his NPR Tiny Desk Concert: “If you ain’t Black, don’t say it.” SANTI ELIJAH HOLLEY


WEDNESDAY 12/27

ASH STREET’S FAREWELL TO INDIE ROCK: KING GHIDORA, J. GRAVES, ANOTHER NEIGHBOR DISAPPEARED, THE HOONS, THE BIBLE BELTS, PINK TORNADO, AUX.78
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Read our story on the Ash Street Saloon.

AMINÉ
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Read our Aminé super pick.


THURSDAY 12/28

ASH STREET’S FAREWELL TO HIP-HOP: THE CHICHARONES, RAISE THE BRIDGES, COOL NUTZ, MANIAC LOK, DJ FATBOY, KINETIC, SIRENS ECHO, MIC CRENSHAW, DESTRO, CHASE AND THE DRAGON
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Read our story on the Ash Street Saloon.

AMINÉ
(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Read our Aminé super pick.

X, LP3 AND THE TRAGEDY
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) Few punk bands have influenced the genre more than X. The group’s dynamism was thrust onto the Southern California scene by way of blistering live shows and the chemistry between John Doe and Exene Cervenka. X’s 1980 debut, Los Angeles, is a touchstone of American rock ’n’ roll, featuring tunes like “Your Phone’s Off the Hook, But You’re Not,” “Johnny Hit and Run Paulene,” plus a cover of the Doors’ classic “Soul Kitchen” (a nod to the record’s producer, Doors organist Ray Manzarek). Since the band began to perform live again, they’ve established a new generation of fans, and have branched out from the lightning-fast three-chord attack of their early days. They even performed an entirely acoustic set at Pickathon 2014, though Doe admitted to the Mercury at the time that he wasn’t sure why anyone would want to see X unplugged. Regardless, they’re back, they’re plugged-in, and they’re poised to set that bouncy Crystal Ballroom floor to new levels of springiness. RYAN J. PRADO


FRIDAY 12/29

ASH STREET’S FAREWELL TO PUNK ROCK: GREEN JELLY, DEAD FRIENDS, CLITERATI, GOD BLESS AMERICA, 48 THRILLS, KNOX HARRINGTON, HEADLESS PEZ
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Read our story on the Ash Street Saloon.

HELVETIA, DEATHLIST, FLOATING ROOM
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Helvetia has a nervous take on pop music that brings to mind the heyday of the Elephant 6 Collective—but those will not be the bygone sounds brought back to life tonight. Helvetia mastermind Jason Albertini played with lo-fi slowcore pioneers Duster at the turn of the century. Now, 17 years after San Jose’s underappreciated dreamweavers released their last LP, Albertini will lead Helvetia through a set of his former band’s songs. Duster weren’t exactly unknown—their two LPs, Stratosphere and Contemporary Movement, were released by Up Records during that label’s peak—but they remain something of a special secret. Their work is a landmark that hasn’t been trod on by too many visitors, a monument that’s retained its immaculate beauty. Duster co-founder Dove Amber will join Albertini for the evening, which means two-thirds of the original band is in on this. Not quite a proper reunion, but close enough for now. CHRIS STAMM


SATURDAY 12/30

ASH STREET’S FAREWELL TO ROCK ’N’ ROLL: THE OBLIVION SEEKERS, THE VILES, THE WEAKLINGS, MUDDY RIVER NIGHTMARE BAND, THE RANSOM, LAST REGIMENT OF THE SYNCOPATED DRUMMERS
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Read our story on the Ash Street Saloon.

EXPLODE INTO COLORS, SÁVILA, DJ DANIELA KARINA
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) 2017 flew by in a blur of terrible headlines, so what better way to explode into the New Year than with Explode into Colors? The reunited Portland band is taking over Mississippi Studios for two nights with two different but equally excellent opening acts. The percussive art-rock trio will play old and new material and reveal some surprise special guests, but a great deal of the fun comes from the rhythmic grooves of DJ Daniela Karina (who occasionally contributes to the Mercury) and the psychedelic cumbia-meets-R&B vibes of Sávila on the first night. Explode into Colors’ New Year’s Eve show will feature the neo-soul of Blossom and the powerfully fabulous collaboration of Maarquii and Jvnitor. CERVANTE POPE

STRFKR, MINDEN
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) This year Portland’s STRFKR threw open the doors to their back catalog with a trio of releases: Vault Vol. 1, 2, and 3. Not so much albums as collections of song fragments, the series features incomplete thoughts and run-on sentences that date back to the indie rock band’s earliest days. Most are under two minutes and some are just 30-second bursts, making the Vault releases tough to consume as cohesive works. Still, there’s unexpected range, danceable grooves, and plenty of brilliance, as well as false starts that feel like crumpled-up paper tossed in the wastebasket. There’s bravery in an artist allowing their audience to see this kind of personal workbook, blemishes and all, as STRFKR bandleader Joshua Hodges has done. Come celebrate over a two-night run with fellow locals Reptaliens and Minden. WILLIAM KENNEDY


SUNDAY 12/31

ASH STREET’S FAREWELL TO METAL: DITCH DIGGER, SUSTAINER, SHELTER RED, BEWITCHER, OTHRYS, DWARFGIANT, VEIO
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Read our story on the Ash Street Saloon.

EXPLODE INTO COLORS, MAARQUII + JVNITOR, BLOSSOM
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) See Saturday’s preview.

STRFKR, REPTALIENS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) See Saturday’s preview.

RITCHIE YOUNG
(Al’s Den, 303 SW 12th) The arrival of a new year is an excellent time for reflection and rebirth. Listening to the sublime music of Ritchie Young is a cleansing, healing experience, so he seems like the ideal artist to take on a residency at Al’s Den that spans the turning of the calendar’s page. Young is a veteran of the local scene, best known for his work as the leader of symphonic pop collective Loch Lomond, a band with dozens of lovely and delicate songs in its catalog. The latest, “Legs and Antlers,” came out earlier this month, and finds Young beefing up both his vocal melody and the music behind it. Perhaps 2018 will bring a Loch Lomond dance-pop album? Fingers crossed! In the meantime, wander down to Al’s to hear Young perform selections from his bottomless bag of beautiful tunes. BEN SALMON

NEW YEAR’S EVE BATTLE OF THE DECADES II
(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) You can’t keep a good party down. The second annual New Year’s Eve Battle of the Decades is back with another who’s-who roster of Portland musicians featuring members of Blitzen Trapper, Sleater-Kinney, the Jicks, Quasi, the Pynnacles, Hurry Up, the Thermals, Blesst Chest, Grails, Modern Kin, the Consortium, Hungry Ghost, Rosewood, Slang, Two Ton Boa, and DJ Jen O. They’ll form four teams and cover tunes from four decades—the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s—in a steel cage match free-for-all. Come ready to ballyhoo your decade of preference and poo-poo the decade that totally sucks the worst (spoiler alert: it’s the ’00s, which isn’t being represented here, so you’re good). Dress up and get ready to be happy as fuck that we get to bid good riddance to this pit of a year. I predict covers will include tributes to the late Tom Petty, Fats Domino, and Chuck Berry, but really anything this amazing group of people decides to play will be fantastic. Goodbye, 2017. See you in hell. RJP

CALEB KLAUDER’S RHINESTONE COWBOY BASH: THE CALEB KLAUDER COUNTRY BAND, WESTERN CENTURIES
(Spare Room, 4830 NE 42nd) We’re a long, long way from Nashville, but that doesn’t mean folks who want to ring in 2018 with a little twang have to travel. In fact, the Spare Room will host two of the very best country combos in the Pacific Northwest this New Year’s Eve. First up is Seattle’s Western Centuries, a Swiss Army knife of a band that can effortlessly bounce between traditional country, rough-edged roots rock, Bakersfield-style twang-pop, and everything in between. No joke y’all, they’re the real deal. Closing the night will be local country fave Caleb Klauder, frontman of his own high-energy, bluegrass-influenced band of string-bending wizards. After a tough 2017, this is the bill to take you into the New Year with a smile on your face, sweat on your brow, and a spring in your two-step. BS


MONDAY 1/1

RITCHIE YOUNG
(Al’s Den, 303 SW 12th) See Sunday’s preview.


TUESDAY 1/2

RITCHIE YOUNG
(Al’s Den, 303 SW 12th) See Sunday’s preview.