(EJs) I caught up with Karrin Ellertson, Mercury critic and art aficionado, and asked her what she thought about local drone rock heroes Rick Bain and the Genius Position. "Rick Bain needs to do more rock and roll moves. The rest of the band, they're with it. They've got their super guitar stance and rock kicks. That dude needs to do more stuff," says Ellertson. And how can they improve their sound? Ellertson postulates, "Maybe they should get a girl. Yeah, they need a girl to rock out onstage with them, to balance out the rock star boy vibes. They played with some other band, too, that were really good. Something like 'Fucking Gentlemen,' or 'Gentlemen Motherfuckers.' You know who I'm talking about? I've always been drunk when I've seen Rick Bain, though." Yes, you heard it here first, ladies and gentlemen. Not a single person in all of Portland has been alcohol or drug free during a Rick Bain show. I thought Karrin, being militantly devoid of contaminants (sXe), was our last hope, but apparently, I was wrong. Signing off: This has been JULIANNE SHEPHERD reporting for the Portland Mercury. Good night. (See My, What a Busy Week page 12)



(Berbati's Pan) Man. This is one of the saddest stories ever. See, Sally's cat got diabetes, and she has to give the poor meowzah a shot of insulin every day. Did you even know cats could get diabetes? Well, they can, and treatment is incredibly expensive, so some of our humanitarian friends have gathered together to play music and raise money so Sally can afford to keep her cat alive. You are heartless if you don't go; you know that, don't you? BUT, if you happen to be one of those demented Harmony Korine cat-haters, let me remind you of Boycrazy's sublime harmonies, the smooth pop savvy of Steward (from the UK's lovely Boyracer--Sarah Records purists, giddyup!), Girlboy Girl (voted one of 1997's most promising new acts by the Indiepop List), and John Callahan (the World's Most Eligible Bachelor) playing country music. Of course, if you truly hate meowzahs (for shame!), you probably wouldn't like any of this music, anyway. JS


(Crystal Ballroom) Run DMC's first album of new work since 1993's mediocre Down With the King may prove to be one big headache, both for fans and the band itself. First there is the issue of DMC's voice, which, as you may have seen on Behind the Music recently, has changed significantly. The formerly amped-alto shouter sounds more like Barry White nowadays. Plus, rumor has it that DMC's not enthused about being a tough guy rapper anymore, so it seems Run is keeping the band alive (w/ DJ Jam Master Jay) as he dominates their upcoming album, Crown Royal (Profile). Label folks have kept the album from coming out on time; apparently, they don't want it competing with Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock. Give me a break! Portland's own veterans of the mic, 5 Fingers of Funk, also break it down old school. KEVIN SAMPSELL



(Mad Hatter) Friends are great and all, but too often, relationships can be like guzzling a 40-oz of barbecue sauce; exciting at first, tedious during, nauseating at the end. Amy Annelle and I have a perfect relationship. She tells me about the intimate corners of her life, plays her music for me, and I listen with vigor and affection. She's carried me through a month of post-breakup melancholy, and, unlike real-life friends, is never ambivalent or selfish or judgmental. Annelle has the brilliance to invoke tears with a whisper and a handful of meditative strums, and can be so hushed that even the slightest rustle of clothing can be heard while she plays to her usual rapt audience. Her newest project, The Places, is Annelle at a songwriting thunderstorm; "No Mystery," which makes me cry no matter how happy I think I am, is one of the most gorgeous songs in creation. And, unlike other friends, she'll never leave or lie or forget to send in the rent check. CHANTELLE HYLTON


(Robot Steakhouse) Okay, if you REALLY hate cats that much, you can still see some of the same great bands that played Puss Aid last night. This time, super Oakland pop boppers (and Magic Marker recording artists) Lunchbox join in the fun with their smattering of ooh-bop harmonies, occasional electronic fuzz, and a keyboardist who looks stunningly like Elvis Costello. Don't forget your pom-pom socks and messenger baggies! JS


(Satyricon) The early '90s shoegazer movement was most notable for its dedication to sound. Perfectionists like Kevin Shields (he of My Bloody Valentine) would spend an infinite amount of time and money in the studio trying to craft the most precise sonic structure imaginable (and, like most perfectionists, found that his brain far exceeded his ability). So, it's interesting when a band like Drive comes along. The Eugene-based quartet is like a garage band version of shoegazing. They have the swirly guitars, the soft trade-off between male and female vocals (so popular in indie today), and a more textured musical depth than most guitar bands, while at the same time sounding a bit dirtier than your average noise-obsessed Spacemen 3 offshoot. The real mystery prize of the evening, though, is opener Sylous, the former front man of Swayed (Portland's now-defunct London Suede cover band). Shorn of that band's big riffs, Cockney accent, and high-register pout, it'll be interesting to see this singer-songwriter debut his own voice. JAMIE S. RICH


(Berbati's Pan) I don't know how they do it, but Imogene somehow manages to consistently stay under the hipster radar. While uninspired outfits like Papillion seem to rise to buzz-worthy levels based on their connections to the right crowds and the cognoscenti's ingrained belief that anything sung in French is cool (wake up! it's not!), a truly gifted band like Imogene remain an unheralded delight. There is a lot to Imogene that is easy to love: Kevin Friedman's Morricone-inflected guitar, Jennifer Folker's deep vocals and crazygirl stage presence, the groovy rhythm section. And seeing these two bands side by side will be the greatest object lesson in the difference between those who try to be cool and those who simply are. JSR



(Roseland) Let's clear something up. Travis doesn't sound like Radiohead. Though that seems to be the assumption of misguided critics from The Rocket to Entertainment Weekly, it's like saying Bladerunner is the same as Touch of Evil just because they both have rogue cops working in an unjust system. Travis is more about the tunes, man, and their live shows are a joyous celebration of the power of music. Those who saw their opening gig for Oasis a few months back were witnesses to magic. Somewhere around their moving ballad "Turn," Travis was able to turn the audience around to their side of the kilt. By the closing cover of Britney Spears' "Baby...One More Time," the Scottish lads had the Portland Britpop elite nibbling at their fingertips. When was the last time you saw an opening band get a standing ovation? Now imagine what it'll be like to hear a full set. JSR


(Ohm) Once, when I was a boy, cheek of tan and fleet of foot, I returned home from time abroad to visit my friends. We went to see Jollymon (they were known then by a different name) at the Paradigm (um, same thing) and what a time we had! The pit and the' shrooms and Patrick lost his shoe and Oh! It was something to behold. I've really no idea of their music. Ska? But, a decade ago, they gave an old man memories he'll cherish forever. And the American Girls? They're not girls, for one. And they may be American--though hardly in the way Skynyrd or Kid Rock, say, are American--but generally belong to the global brotherhood of snotty liberal arts majors. And they sound kinda like a poppy Morphine, had Morphine' s front man OD'd on Dayquil and lingered for years, post-trauma, detailing niggling qualities of everyday life with torturous exactitude. Except less fun. Actually, much less fun--I'd pay good money to see the undead! JAY HORTON


Medicine Hat) If you don't know, or can't figure it out by their initials (GBV), Giant Bug Village is Portland's own Guided by Voices cover band. Formed of several members of Postal Blowfish (a brain-trust of GBV uberfans who communicate via internet mailing list), Giant Bug Village will play both the hits and some of the most obscure Robert Pollard tunes you probably have never heard. I mean, going to see a band that is covering the tunes of another band that is still kicking and touring is a pretty geeky thing to do. But it's Guided by Voices, and these boys really do love playing, and Mr. Pollard doesn't pump out the albums like he used to. And admit it, you're a geek. IAN SMITH


(Crystal Ballroom) I grew up in a country music household. While the mid-'80s and early '90s were a time of clueless, watered-down country suitable for radio friendly mass-consumption, I could tell the difference between the bad stuff and the classics simply by my old man's affinity for it. After a couple of bad marriages, major career shifts, and a life fraught with pitfalls, my pop found solace in the world-weary, craggy voices of old guys like Merle Haggard in much the same way I found adolescent escape through The Smiths. He sang about love gone wrong and the type of guy who got left behind by the forward rush of rock 'n' roll. Despite selling albums by the truckload, Haggard was able to maintain the regular guy persona that a hard-working construction man like my dad could identify with, before sensitive fakers like Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder turned being regular into just another commodity. And while I actually dig the neo-country swing The Countrypolitans peddle so well, you have to wonder if opening for someone like Haggard is such a good idea. If you eat Velveeta before some real good cheddar, it's likely you'll notice how unlike cheese the Velveeta really tastes. JSR


(Portland Meadows) The arbiters of cool wouldn't touch this show with a 10-pound bag from the bins at Goodwill, perhaps with good reason. The formulaic angst of Sevendust, the contrived goth-metal of Coal Chamber and the insane schlep rock of Slipknot are three VERY good reasons. But I have a confession to make. I know I shouldn't admit this in a family newspaper, but I've actually rocked out to Stone Temple Pilots. Sure I was alone in my car at the time and they just came on over the radio, but...Ok, ok, I did actually tape a couple songs. Anyway, it will be worth the price of admission just to see if Weiland shows up handcuffed to his parole officer or not. Word on the street (oops, I mean radio) is that Slayer is replacing Primus in the RockFest lineup; it's yet another reason to dash out of the tattoo tent with a half-finished "Laughing Devil" inked to your bicep. TED THIEMAN



(Ohm) The first time I ever saw Crash Worship, the infamous travelling tribal orchestra, they presented a Dionysian feast of drummers (12 of them!), wine, fire-breathers, lettuce-throwers, grape-feeders, lady-carrying gladiators, and, of course, live sex acts! In retrospect, I'm not exactly sure how the hell they got away with performing in a public venue without being arrested, but hey, it was roarin' 1992, and back then, anything went. The reason I offer this vignette is that Izanami (who "invokes the primordial Fyre") seems to be offering the same sort of shtick, only updated for now--or at least 1998-ish--and without sex acts. They are performance artists, who supposedly channel myth through music and dance, storytelling, theater, multi-media, etc. If it's executed well, this sort of tribal theater has the potential to be fabulous and indulgent. Like all performance art, however, it might teeter on the edge between over-the-top and just plain hokey. You decide. JS



(Snake & Weasel) Isn't it about time we toned it down a notch or two? You know, stopped drinkin' and smokin,' went to bed early (alone, for a change), took a break from all this crazy rock music, tried life in the middle lane, maybe visited our neighborhood church? I know, you wouldn't be able to last very long listening to smooth jazz and soft rock without wanting to break something, so I've got a band for you. They're called the Misty River Band, and they're just cute as pie. A mother and daughter and two other well-groomed young women make up this well-rehearsed bluegrass/country/folk quartet, and boy, are they...wholesome. And they're taking Portland and Vancouver by joyful storm-diddly-orm, playing sold-out shows and tickling family fancy. CH



(Snake and Weasel)What the devil is that crazy sax blower Rob Scheps up to now? First he waltzes into Portland like he owns the joint, playing gigs all over creation and promoting the beejeesus out of them. Then, he invites his hotty-totty New York friends to come and play with him, and every time I see him, it's "Oh, yeah, I'm playing this joint tonight and I've got this hot gig tomorrow and you should really come out for the show on the 20th, because it's gonna be wild!" And now, after getting all these people excited and acting like Portland is some sort of jazz city, he's gonna play LATIN jazz?! The nerve of some people, disrupting our cozy town with all this music nonsense. And he won't even leave the poor KIDS in peace, always trying to get them to play with him, talkin' 'bout how the kids are the ones who'll carry on the great jazz tradition, yadda yadda yadda. Can't he see they're happy family-picnicing during the summer, and don't need to be bothered with all of his "reviving the young jazz community" applesauce? CH


(Satyricon) Sludge is the name of the game for all of these folks, and bless' em for it. Jucifer comes at ya with only two members, so of course they're gonna play really loud to prove that they can. It's all B-movie cult trash, pink wig and all, but Amber Valentine has a convincing shriek (as well as a penchant for writing songs about obsessions with Tabitha Soren). That fact alone not only had the power to keep me laughing for five minutes straight, but gained my undying respect as well. Portland's Heavy Johnson Trio is refreshing in the fact that their name sums them up. In this world of bands with ever-so-clever, yet super-obscure monikers, HJ3 live up to their title and serve up big slabs of bass-heavy tunes. Ok, so they have more than 3 members, but hey, nobody's perfect. IS