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HOT SNAKES, BEEHIVE & THE BARRACUDAS, LAST OF THE JUANITAS
(Graceland) See preview, page 35.
MUDHONEY, NEBULA, DJ LARRYWOOD
(Showbox) In a benefit for the Showbox's Jonna McCurry [It's My Party, Aug 22] , the venue is bringing some of Sub Pop's finest rock to the stage (if only they could get Zen Guerrilla and the Catheters too... but hey, I'm not complaining). Everett True said everything I could say about Mudhoney--only better--in The Stranger a couple weeks ago, and the band's past couple shows have been memorable mixes of old stuff and excellent new material from Since We've Become Translucent. Nebula, who are playing a couple shows this week, continue evolving with more of a '70s groove as they go along, and 2001's Charged is one of their best drive-through-the-desert-at-100-mph records yet. Even though Hot Snakes are gonna be my choice for shows this evening, I know I'll be cursing myself for missing this great pairing for a good cause. JENNIFER MAERZ
(Chateau Ste. Michelle) Many years ago, when I was in the habit of meeting women at the Re-bar and spending the night with them at their apartments, I discovered that despite their many differences, they all owned a copy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude and the Gipsy Kings' The Best of the Gipsy Kings. I never owned a copy of The Best..., but knew all of its songs by heart--because not one of my 2:15 am lovers could resist playing it while making out. And so frequently my time in their apartments was arranged in this way: song after song of Gipsy Kings at night, and a few lines of Marquez in the morning (the only reading material that was near their bed). The Gipsy Kings, who come from "the south of France," are passionate, have lots of hair, play big guitars, and sing like a pack of wild horses. Only the promise of sex made it possible for me to bear the make-out moments that were invariably accompanied by the Kings' horrible music. CHARLES MUDEDE
HOT HOT HEAT, PLEASURE FOREVER, COBRA HIGH, THREE INCHES OF BLOOD
(Graceland) See Stranger Suggests, page 25.
PLAN B CD RELEASE, DJS WP2K
(Chop Suey) See preview, page 37.
THE CULOTTES, THE DIMES
(Solstice Café) Portland's the Culottes make bittersweet pop that's melancholy and introspective in that responsible-person way. With the sparest amount of guitar, keyboards, and drums, the emotions in the music mainly come across through the breathy, rainy alto vocals of Iris Porter, whose matter-of-fact lyricisms have the feel of zine-like revelations. (It's no irony that Porter makes some of the best, most painstaking letterpressed zines around, including Don't Be a Jerk. She also runs the Tin Can Sound lo-fi record label, and is compiling a public scrapbook on do-it-yourself culture in Portland entitled DIYinPDX.) If you need a fix of clever, not-too-sweet but totally charming pop music, the Culottes are aces. JULIANNE SHEPHERD
AUGUST SPIES, LIQUOR BOX, THE HOLLOW POINTS
(Industrial Café) You may know that August Spies was executed for protesting, striking, and speaking at the Haymarket Riot in 1886 (the violent protest that later made it possible for you to only work eight hours instead of, like, 12). But did you know it's pronounced "spees"? August Spies, the political punks (can I get a crusty one time?), clearly named for August SPEES (rhymes with "tweeze"), feature ex-members of the highly regarded Agitpop and Stink, and will provide loads of edutainment with the energetic, hardcore-influenced yet melodic guitars on songs like "Bombs Away," "Do You Want a War," and, simply, "Violence." JULIANNE SHEPHERD
BRIAN KENNY FRESNO
(Mr. Spot's Chai House) Modestly self-described as "the most entertaining act in rock," one-man band Brian Kenny Fresno is that rare combination of progressive rock virtuoso, standup comedian, and outspoken chamber of commerce member. His chosen instrument is that geekiest of prog-rock devices, the Warr guitar, a 12-stringed guitar/bass hybrid that plays in stereo and encourages fingertapping. But rather than dry instrumental workouts, he specializes in what he likes to call modern-day folk songs, with an emphasis on all things Fresno-related. Past set lists have included a version of Charlie Parker's "Now's the Time" (with lyrics added about going to 7-Eleven to buy Slurpees and pornography), and a song involving a car alarm, in which he duplicates that annoyingly familiar series of alarm sirens and buzzers on his instrument. That he avoids descending into some unpalatably "zany" novelty shtick says something about his charm as an entertainer. WILLIAM YORK
(Novo) A quick jaunt to a Faster Pussycat BBS reveals that not only are they in the midst of a massive U.S. club tour (107 dates through the summer), but they're managing to stir up more controversy than they did in their heyday. A product of the mid-'80s L.A. glam scene, FP were harder and heavier than most of their brothers in hair, and they epitomized the sleazed-out update on Aerosmith that ruled the Hollywood strip. The controversy this time out is in reaction to the patent-leather, SS-inspired uniforms the band is sporting on stage. With makeup, tattoos, and the occasional skirt, the band's fetish/fascist look has fans confused whether its members are truly anti-Semites or just glam fashion victims. Some fans have gone so far as to suggest that the Pussycat is making a grand statement on the fascistic attack on civil rights in this nation since 9/11. Maybe. But my guess is they just want to give people a bit of a poke in the eye while rocking their asses. DAN PAULUS
SPEARHEAD, URBAN AVE 31
(Showbox) After Public Enemy's Chuck D there was Michael Franti. Chuck D challenged what Sonic Youth once called "male, white corporate oppression," but from a very pro-black or black-nationalist position. What essentially mattered for Chuck D were more jobs and freedoms for Brothers. With the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, and later with Spearhead, Franti extended this agenda to a wider spectrum that included women, teenagers, and poor whites. Chuck D focused on race and economics, whereas Franti focuses on class and economics. Though Franti has made decent political hiphop with Spearhead, his peak occurred with the now forgotten Beatnigs. CHARLES MUDEDE
FUXX AND THE RUMORS, THE EPOXIES
(Sit & Spin) Never heard of Fuxx and the Rumors? You have, I promise, but things are not as they seem at Sit & Spin for the next couple nights, when bands with names like Fuxx (Friday night), the Piss Tubes (Saturday), and the Neighborhood Killers (Sunday) start looking and sounding awfully familiar to anyone who's paid attention to Northwest garage/punk/ pop. These bands are using clever plays on words to disguise their real identities, but it doesn't take too much detective work to figure out who the real acts are. Fuxx have a bubbly, soulful female singer who's not afraid to show a lot of skin. "The Piss Tubes" are a more visual description of the band's real name, and the Killers' preferred moniker is an action involving light switches (or G spots). Who needs pricey, crowded Bumbershoot when small venues put on great local shows like these? JENNIFER MAERZ
THE PISS TUBES, POPULAR SHAPES, GUESTS
(Sit & Spin) See Friday.
NO. 2, SHADOW MORTONS, THE MINDERS
(Chop Suey) I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: It's really, really okay to like Heatmiser co-songwriter Neil Gust's No. 2, and I promise it won't do any disrespect to your Elliott Smith devotion. Both wrote great songs for their former outfit before Smith became an unwilling superstar, and in my opinion, both Mic City Sons and especially Cop and Speeder showcased Gust's apt songwriting abilities, his being the gay-themed anger that made Smith's heterosexual melancholy all the more resonant. (And I still stand by the opinion that Gust's "Why Did I Decide to Stay?" off Cop and Speeder is hands-down the best walk-of-shame song ever written.) No. 2's new album, What Does Good Luck Bring?, is their most accomplished yet, and far more rock oriented than their poppier debut, No Memory. The Minders, and Portland garage and girl-group cover band Shadow Mortons, featuring Rebecca Gates (the Spinanes), Joanna Bolme (Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks), and Janet Weiss (Quasi, Sleater-Kinney), round out the bill. KATHLEEN WILSON
(Liquid Lounge) What more praise can I heap on Aveo than I have already? Killer rhythm section and a singer whose range is nothing short of impressive, shifting effortlessly from vibrato to sweet, sorrowful croon in a heartbeat. And he can play the hell out of a 12-string, too. If you like the Morrissey, you can't help but love Aveo's William Wilson. It's the God's honest truth, and I'm the hopelessly lapsed Catholic who's here to tell you about it. KATHLEEN WILSON
NEBULA, ARGONAUT, THE BRONZE
(Hell's Kitchen) From the minute "Payload" started rattling my speakers, through the tail end of album-closer "Loose V. Tight," I fell in love with the new EP from local heavy rockers the Bronze. Recorded by Jack Endino, the eponymous disc is free and clear of lame, badass motherfucker gimmickry. There's no fakery here, just beefy metal in a dense, sludgy groove that keeps the vocals light next to the abundance of solid stoner rock jams. While the Bronze lineup has changed in recent months (drummer Scott Jemigan left and has since been replaced by Sludgeplow's Scott Driscoll), the band rolls on, full speed ahead. With Nebula on the bill as well, this is definitely the night to load up on the mind-altering substances and ride along with some 20-ton rock. JENNIFER MAERZ
QUIX*O*TIC, GET HUSTLE, FITNESS
(Double Trouble) See Stranger Suggests, page 25.
THE NEIGHBORHOOD KILLERS, THE LIGHTS
(Sit & Spin) See Friday.
NEBULA, POST STARDOM DEPRESSION, ALARMBELL, THE BRONZE
(Crocodile) If the mention of "Canada" and "music" in the same breath conjures up unwanted images of Rush and Celine Dion, Alarmbell could be the perfect antidote. Ryan Dahle's former band, Limblifter, was an underrated pop machine fueled by great melodies and musicianship and that killer Canadian wit (what DO they put in the water up there?). Now he's back with a new band that features members of the Black Halos and Spitfires and puts the "rock" back into the pop/rock equation. If you held your breath through Super Deluxe sets waiting for those moments when the band changed from sensitive, harmonizing popsters to near-arena rockers, there's a darned good chance you'll fall in love with Alarmbell. And if nothing else, one exposure to Alarmbell's arsenal of catchy, rockin' numbers is guaranteed to neutralize the endless Geddy Lee loop the next time someone mentions the Great White North. BARBARA MITCHELL
THE HELIO SEQUENCE, THE MODEL ROCKETS, DAMIEN JURADO, KULTUR SHOCK
(Sky Church) Earlier this year, the smoothest rapper in the history of hiphop, Ishmael Butler--who was in Digable Planets and is now in Cherry Wine--would spot me at the # 7 bus stop near Columbia City and offer me a ride to Capitol Hill, where I work. During the drive, he'd play Portland's Helio Sequence, a band that impressed him immensely. Helio Sequence's music has the blur and exhaustion of rock with lots of glittering electronic effects. It's smart and ethereal, and I think this is the reason why Butler liked it. As a person, Butler is less real than ethereal, and the music he made with Digable Planets was ethereal hiphop, and the name of his current band, Cherry Wine, is utterly ethereal. In a word, Cherry Wine and Helio Sequence should cut a record. CHARLES MUDEDE
Stupid Bumbershoot has ruined everything.
THE ENEMIES, S.T.R.E.E.T.S., WARSCARS
(2nd Avenue Pizza) Oakland's the Enemies are a venomous-sounding band. There's a savagery that pumps through their vocals like bitter poison coursing through punk's bloodstream. Every time I hear it I want more. After seeing the Enemies play live around the Bay Area, I can vouch for the sheer ferocity of their shows--and their new Lookout! release, Seize the Day, only re-lights the quick fuse on a band with a temper as short as its songs (the band's split with Pitch Black on Lookout! is also highly recommended). Featuring Neurosis bassist Dave Edwardson, the Enemies play Dead Kennedys-influenced punk--but imagine the DKs telling their foes to back off and fuck off after a week without sleep. Along with bands like Bottles & Skulls, the Enemies are one of the many reasons to be thankful that the Bay Area's only a short van ride away. JENNIFER MAERZ
JESSE DAYTON, THE BASTARD SONS OF JOHNNY CASH, COWBOY NATION
(Tractor) There's a long list of reasons to catch the raw, sharply hooky honky-tonk of Texas native Jesse Dayton: Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings' warm endorsement of his talent, his old-fashioned commitment to showmanship and good manners, or his overall wicked handsomeness. All valid points, but Dayton's most alluring trait is his ability to surround himself with musicians of unparalleled talent. When I saw him a few years ago with his old band, the Road Kings, pedal-steel player Bryan Thomas demonstrated so much technical dexterity and unhinged passion for his instrument that I thought my head was going to explode from the excitement of it all. Unfortunately, it appears that Thomas isn't part of the new lineup, but Dayton had the good sense to retain drummer Eric Tucker (also known for his work with Tom Waits) and add bassist (upright and electric) Charlie Sanders, a lifelong player who's done time with everyone from Marilyn Manson to Willie Nelson. HANNAH LEVIN
(Paramount) So it appears that Coldplay aren't breaking up after all, despite more than a year of threats and intimations to the contrary. Why the drama, fellas? Was it your sincere horror at becoming multiplatinum, international icons and Grammy conquerors? Could it be a lengthy publicity stunt to hype A Rush of Blood to the Head and preserve your ever-slippery anointment as Britain's Biggest Band for at least another few months? Or was it just a self-administered kick in your complacent pop-star asses? Regardless, all of the band's gloomy prophecies have birthed a predictably poignant new album that's genuinely majestic and moving in some spots and fairly contrived in others. Despite frontman Chris Martin's overreaching earnestness and incessant Buckley-isms, he's still a compelling singer and lyricist, and live, Coldplay are quite capable of generating a few moments of melancholy splendor. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG