(LIVE DUB FROM PDX) More and more, I'm beginning to believe that Portland is a better city than Seattle. One of the many reasons for this change (or changing) of mind is a collective of Portland artists and promoters who operate under the official label BSI Records, which has as its main band Systemwide. I agree with the dub music they produce and promote, and also their poetic leftist politics. Systemwide's mutated reggae is not for happy hippies, but for those who live for the bodiless exultation of dub-space. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000, 9 pm, $7.) CHARLES MUDEDE

The Walkmen

(MUSIC) Comprising former members of Jonathan Fire*Eater and the Recoys, the Walkmen are an example of hybridism in perfect form. Singer Hamilton Leithauser is charismatic enough in voice and form that he can pull off the button-down-shirt-tucked-into-pants-with-a-belt look without seeming contrived, and the silver spoon backgrounds of the Walkmen are shruggingly informative of music that is influenced as much by Brian Eno as it is the Pixies. You'd be mistaken to write these guys off as garage revivalists--they're much more inventive and expressive than that. (Graceland, 109 Eastlake Ave E, 262-0482, 9:30 pm, $10.) KATHLEEN WILSON


(RESTAURANT) Lush Life (R.I.P.) may be in restaurant heaven, but owner Donna Moodie has bounced back quickly with Marjorie, which opened for business last week. Chef de cuisine Tyler Boring, fresh from a recent cooking/research stint in Thailand, promises innovative international cuisine and a late-night bar menu "inspired by international street foods." If the little bites served at Marjorie's crowded opening party were an indication of things to come--delicious cold poached mussels topped with herb salad and Meyer lemon, warm olive biscotti, banana-rum salsa with crispy plantain chips, roasted fingerlings with shaved truffles, Vietnamese summer rolls with tofu, cilantro, and mint--then I can't wait to try Boring's full-sized entrées at this intimate, colorful bistro. See you at dinner. (Marjorie, 2331 Second Ave, 441-9842.) MIN LIAO

'Duck Soup'

(BRILLIANCE) The Marx Brothers are as central to my understanding of the universe as the Beatles, J. D. Salinger, and divorce. They are the firmament of verbal and physical comedy, of high wit and low brow, the one thing I can always go back to and be assured of a life-affirming laugh. You know the scene at the end of Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters, when Mickey is saved from suicide by stumbling into a screening of Duck Soup? That, demon, is what I'm screamin'. Hail Freedonia! (Fri-Sun Jan 24-26 and Tues-Thurs Jan 28-30 at the Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 50th St, 523-3935, $7/$4.50 members.) SEAN NELSON

Matt Briggs, Gregory Hischak

(READING) Farm Pulp impresario and powerhouse playwright Hischak teams with local author (Misplaced Alice, The Remains of River Names) Briggs for an evening that promises both "dinnerware replacement" and "tigers in lifeboats." Whatever that means, one thing is for sure, both writers are talented and will not fail to entertain their audience. (Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, 728-0933, 7 pm, free.) CHARLES MUDEDE

The Velvet Teen

(MUSIC) Listen, the singer has a voice like a goddamned angel. This band is topflight. Their Chris Walla-produced record, Out of the Fierce Parade, is as good as fey-style indie rock gets. People say it's emo, because people don't know what the hell they're talking about. The Velvet Teen is soaring majesty in the process of transcendence. Haters can suck it. (Paradox Theater, 5510 University Way NE, 524-7677, 8 pm, all ages, $10.) SEAN NELSON

Broadcast Oblivion

(MUSIC) If you're a fan of former-Albuquerque-then-Seattle band Scared of Chaka (and who in his or her punk-pop-loving mind isn't?), then you may already know that singer Cisco, AKA Dave Hernandez, is now fronting the alarmingly winsome Broadcast Oblivion. Hernandez writes songs that sound simply sing-along-infectious until he throws in the twist that differentiates his pop tunecraft from lesser musicians. And what a treat it is to hear a powerhouse drummer like Coady Willis (Murder City Devils/Dead Low Tide) showing off his heretofore unheard buoyant abilities. Drew Church falls in lockstep on bass, making Broadcast Oblivion 2003's first pop obsession. (Crocodile Cafe, 2200 Second Ave, 441-5611, 9:30 pm, $5.) KATHLEEN WILSON