Friday, July 30, 2010

Holy Shit: Gorillaz Tour Hits the NW

This is big, like really really big. You probably have a better chance of seeing another Blur reunion than catching Damon Albarn with the Gorillaz live again. This could be their last album and tour. In the past, they have rarely played more than a handful of shows, so this is the exception. It is a bit expensive bringing 40 people on tour with you.

Their newest album, Plastic Beach, is pretty darn great. I'm drilling my brain trying to think of a show hitting the NW bigger than this, but the only acts I can think of are U2 (who they replaced as the headliner at Glastonbury), reunion bands who are not yet reunited (Talking Heads, Led Zeppelin), and maybe that one dude who doesn't like playing live music anymore (David Bowie). Okay, if you are over 40, you can name another fourteen or so almost dead guys who are bigger than this.

On the "Least Biggest Surprise" meter, another huge act is skipping Portland because the arenas here suck ass. Time for another road trip.

Key Arena, Seattle
Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010
$48.50 to $89

Rogers Arena, Vancouver (BC)
Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010
$65 to $106 (CA)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Shows: Cowboy Junkies, Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan, Kimya Dawson, Apocalyptica

Cowboy Junkies

Aladdin Theater, Portland
Wednesday, October 6th, 2010


Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan

If your opinion of Mark Lanegan ranges anywhere from "indifferent" to "dislike," call your doctor and arrange to have your taste buds tested. There is a decent chance you have none left.

Doug Fir, Portland
Wednesday, October 27th, 2010


Kimya Dawson

King Buzzo's solo project.

Wonder Ballroom, Portland
Saturday, August 21st, 2010



What happens when three cellists tell their parents to fuck off and create a metal band? Orchestras are for pussies anyway.

Roseland, Portland
Sunday, September 12th, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

New Shows: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, EOTO, Surfer Blood/The Drums

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

Music that old folks and youngsters alike can rock along to, listening to this crew sounds all too familiar. It's mostly the 60's free love sound that appeals to the oldsters, and probably not Ima Robot, since Edward Sharpe is the same guy. I know, it's odd.

It is nearly impossible to listen to the song "Home" more than twice without getting it stuck to your brain, ala "Hit Me Baby One More Time." During the Sasquatch! Music Festival this year, more people at the campground were singing or playing "Home" than MGMT's "Kids!"

You also might recognize another song of theirs from the Ford Fiesta commercials. I'm not going to say this band will blow you away live (yet), but this will be a fist pumping good old time. Just be sure to practice which beat you should be raising your hand. They'll help you out.

Wonder Ballroom, Portland
Thursday, September 2nd, 2010



String Cheese Incident fans unite. This spin off electronic jam band duo should keep the crowd moving. I really hope they play my favorite songs.

Alright, that was a joke, they don't actually play songs.

Wonder Ballroom, Portland
Friday, October 1st, 2010


Surfer Blood/The Drums

If you miss your chance to catch Surfer Blood at the MusicFestNW Nike Showcase, here's your next chance. Their recent album Astro Coast will be seen on many best of year end lists. This will be their fourth appearance in the NW this year, a bit odd for a band from Florida.

Wonder Ballroom, Portland
Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

New Shows: O.A.R., Neon Indian, Felice Brothers


Hippies unite. Are you ready for a three hour show consisting of four songs? Deodorant optional.

Roseland Theater, Portland
Thursday, October 7th, 2010
$27.50 - $37.50


Neon Indian

Wonder Ballroom, Portland
Tuesday, Septemeber 28th, 2010


Felice Brothers

These guys are a blast. Their lead singer's voice is often compared to Bob Dylan, but it's more the style rather than the actual sound. If anything, his raspy voice is as unique as it comes. Expect several slower tempo songs featuring the lead singer and minimal backing instrumentation, but when they get going, don't expect to be standing still. They feature an accordion and a fiddle when they really get down.

It's a tough call choosing between this show and the second night of the Black Keys. That should tell you how fun they are live.

Doug Fir, Portland
Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Shows: Blonde Redhead, Built To Spill, Gaslight Anthem

Blonde Redhead

Roseland Theater, Portland
Saturday, November 20th, 2010


Built To Spill

If you've missed Built To Spill live the last few times through town, you probably live under a rock, have been in a coma, don't own a computer, or are married. They recently played their fourth local show in the last eleven months, now they are playing again in November. It's nice to see they have finally graduated to a larger venue.

Crystal Ballroom, Portland
Saturday, November 13th, 2010


Gaslight Anthem

Crystal Ballroom, Portland
Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Album Review: The National, High Violet

NOTICE: This review is ridiculous. I must have been drunk. You have been warned.

Statement made: The National can do no wrong.

I already knew this entering my first couple listens to High Violet, so I spent part of the time focusing on snippets of music that could be thought of as annoying. This proved to be very difficult. Matt Berninger's voice is one of the most soothing, and likable in music today, and his backing band is about as non offensive as you can get. How can they possibly make a terrible album?

Attempting to answer this question seemed more interesting than writing a traditional review. Digging deep to find anything annoying on High Violet, I turned to the concept of repetition. At the end of,"Afraid of Everyone", Matt repeats the word "soul" 32 times in 21 seconds. If he increases the count to 198, stretched out over four minutes, this would be our first annoying song. Just to drill the repetition in the ground, the word "do" is repeated 43 times in five minutes on "Lemonworld." Multiply that amount by six, shorten the song by 51 seconds, and there is our second annoying song.

Now that we have two annoying songs, we need to throw in a couple off the wall songs, mixed with some offensive tunes, then we're nearing a potentially terrible album.

Mock song list, The National: Fifth Reich, due in early 2012.

1. Bomb California
2. Guess Who Farted?
3. Hide the Duke
4. Soul Soul Soul Soul
5. Fifth Reich
6. Do Do Do Do Do Do Do Do Do Do
7. The Pope is My Eskimo Brother
8. Flip Flop
9. Bitches Ain't Shit
10. Is Your Mother Single?
11. Guess Who Farted Resolve

Mock Review

While the idea of band members switching instruments is not new, "Flip Flop" misses the most, and proves that Matt Berninger is indeed human. To be frank, he is a terrible drummer. I've heard it's because he keeps one drum stick clinched in both hands close to his face with his eyes closed. It's tough to keep a beat with one stick.

"Hide the Duke," showcases Matt breaking into his girlfriend's apartment hoping to catch her cheating, and his thought process when he finds out she is not home.

The most riveting song on the album is a story about lifelong enemies who become friends due to unusual circumstances. The moral of "The Pope Is My Eskimo Brother" is how petty differences can create misunderstandings, which can be overcome by a tight bond.

Then there is song number two, "Guess Who Farted?" The National really take a risk with this track, but I don't think they needed twelve minutes to get their point across. The Resolve concluding the album ends up being one of the most interesting song in the their catalog, and displays this song is more than just hot air. Who would have thought that the booming uncorked symphony wouldn't belong to the dreamy baritone of Matt Berninger, but the drummer Bryan Devendorf, who showed his diverse musical ability. Even more surprising was how the twins production was completely opposite, and makes me wonder if one might be a vegetarian?

Overall, 5th Reich is probably the National's weakest effort to date, but hey, it's the National.

Ranking: 6.1

Back to reality, it's impressive High Violet holds up compared to Alligator and Boxer. Everyone's favorite "Runaway" is a bit too repetitive to classify as one of their best, while "England" and "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" stand out as brilliant. Even though I haven't a clue what "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" actually means, I still can't help but sing along each time I hear it.

A bit on the sad side though is that High Violet marks the second straight album without Matt screaming. This means we may never get another "Abel" or "Available." The band also seems to have matured past the point of using curse words (fucking bullshit), which means we may never get another "Karen" or "Mr. November."

One small complaint is that they only have one rock song on High Violet, and it's one of the worst songs on the album. "Terrible Love" is their only attempt at making an up tempo high energy song, as there is literally no heavy guitars after this opening track.

The National is never going to make an album near the quality of 5th Reich, nor does it appear they will ever make an album as good as Alligator. Their next album will still be great, and will end up near the top of every 2012 top albums of the year list, just like High Violet will be near the top of the same lists this year. It's the fucking National after all, they can do no wrong.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Shows: Guided By Voices, Modern English, Vaselines

Guided By Voices (with Times New Viking)

This reunion is being called "the classic 93-96 lineup." Bee Thousand is easily their best album, and just so happens to fall within that time frame, so expect to hear all your favorites off this spectacular album. That's the good news.

The bad news? You are old.

Crystal Ballroom, Portland
Thursday, October 7th, 2010


Modern English

How much is it worth to sit through 70 minutes of unlistenable music, just to see "I Melt With You" live? Is $20 too much? I need to work on my Molly Ringwald/Courtney Cox dance moves.

Aladdin Theater, Portland
Thursday, September 9th, 2010


Vaselines (with the Dum Dum Girls)

Wonder Ballroom, Portland
Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Shows: Ghostland Observatory, Tech N9ne, Melvins

Ghostland Observatory

LASERS! SMOKE! LASERS! That's about all you need to know. Their music is not anything to write home about, and many find Aaron Behrens' voice a bit too high pitched for their taste, but their mix of electronics and rock make for a jumping good time live.

Crystal Ballroom, Portland
Thursday, November 11th, 2010


Tech N9ne

Roseland, Portland
Saturday, October 2nd, 2010



King Buzzo's hair, what can you say about it? It's like a cross between Kimya Dawson, Sideshow Bob, and Scary Spice, with a bit of Jay Leno mixed in. The Melvins influenced many of your favorite 90s alternative rock bands, and are still putting out decent (weird) music while touring relentlessly. I know they use to put on a fun show, but I've not seen them live in over ten years. That should probably change.

Roseland, Portland
Friday, September 24th

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sold Out: Portland

Neil Young @ Arlene Schintzer, Monday, July 19th, 2010.
Dead Weather @ Crystal Ballroom, Saturday, July 24th, 2010.
Silversun Pickups @ Crystal Ballroom, Thursday, July 29th, 2010.
Ray Lamontagne & David Gray @ Edgefield, Saturday, September 11th, 2010
Willie Nelson @ Edgefield, Saturday, September 18th, 2010.
Black Keys @ Crystal Ballroom, Monday, October 4th, 2010.
Black Keys @ Crystal Ballroom, Tuesday, October 5th, 2010.

I don't care if anyone who has appeared on American Idol is also sold out. Neither should you.

Flaming Lips Tour Hits the Northwest

Flaming Lips (with Ariel Pink's Haunted Grafitti)

Whether you like their music or not, the Flaming Lips are one of the most entertaining live acts out there. Inflatable super heroes, dancing teletubbies, confetti, streamers, beach balls, kung fu movies, naked women, and human hamster balls are just a few of the gimmicks you can expect.

Even if you don't particularly like concerts, a Flaming Lips live show is something everyone should experience before death. You don't even have to be on drugs to appreciate it, although I've heard it doesn't hurt. As an added bonus, we are a couple years away from the next election, so you won't have to put up with a three minute political speech after every other song.

Unfortunately, they are skipping Portland on this tour, and the Eugene Chamber of Commerce thanks them for it. Gas up the old hog, and start saving up for a sketchy motel, because it's time for a road trip.

Paramount Theater, Seattle
Monday, September 27th, 2010

Malkin Bowl, Vancouver (BC)
Sunday, September 26th, 2010
$58.25 (CA)

McDonald Theater, Eugene
Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

New Shows: Belle & Sebastian, Cyndi Lauper

Belle & Sebastian

Replace those tears of loneliness and self-doubt with tears of joy, and break out your best sweater, because it's been way too long since you've had a chance to see your favorite band. Word is they will be giving away mascara and eyeliner at the show, so save your spare change for cheap drugs instead.

Arlene Schnizter, Portland
Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
$39.50 - $45


Cyndi Lauper

[laughs]. Did you know she is almost 60? I am no longer feeling old.

Oregon Zoo Amphitheater, Portland
Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Shows: Black Crowes, Cloud Cult, Dead Confederate/Alberta Cross

The Black Crowes

"Pass me a bottle, Mr. Jones." The Black Crowes have sold over 20 million records chalked full of gimmicky rock n' roll songs with an occasional catchy tune. The lead singer has made his own noise outside of the studio dating well known Hollywood actresses. Wait, that was the Counting Crows. Let me try this again.

"She says she talks to Angels." The Black Crowes have sold over 20 million records chalked full of gimmicky rock n' roll songs with an occasional catchy tune. The lead singer has made his own noise outside of the studio dating well known Hollywood actresses. Wait a second?

Similarities aside, the Black Crowes first album, Shake Your Money Maker, is still a good listen. They named this tour, "Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys," because this is definitely a group you don't want to meet alone in a dark alley. They sued country star Gretchen Wilson after all.

Arlene Schnitzer, Portland
Friday, December 3rd, 2010


Cloud Cult

They paint during their live performances. That's interesting, right?

Wonder Ballroom, Portland
Friday, September 17th, 2010


Dead Confederate/Alberta Cross

I don't get why Alberta Cross is opening for Dead Confederate for $13? AC's 2007 debut EP, Thief and Heartbreaker, has five songs that could have made my top 20 for the year, and they sound great live. Their lead singer even looks and acts like a rock star (even if he sounds a bit like a choir girl). They latched onto the Dave Matthews Band fall tour, opening for Dave and Ben Harper, so it's obvious some people like them (even if I would prefer Dave Matthews and Ben Harper not like me). One would think that break would vault them to popularity. It still remains to be seen.

Doug Fir, Portland
Monday, Septemeber 6th, 2010

Archive: Live Reviews

Alice In Chains
- October 9th, 2010 at Memorial Coliseum, Portland


Bob Dylan/John Mellencamp - August 28th, 2010 at Edgefield, Troutdale
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears - April 10th, 2011 at Dante's, Portland
Black Keys - October 4th & 5th, 2010 at the Crystal Ballroom, Portland
Black Keys - December 7th, 2010 at the Crystal Ballroom, Portland
Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77 - November 3rd, 2010 at the Roseland, Portland

Deftones - October 9th, 2010 at Memorial Coliseum, Portland

Dr. Dog - April 23rd, 2010 at the Wonder Ballroom, Portland

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - September 2nd, 2010 at the Wonder Ballroom, Portland

Guided By Voices - October 7th, 2010 at the Crystal Ballroom, Portland
GWAR - November 26th, 2010 at the Roseland, Portland

The Hold Steady - August 18th, 2010 at the Crystal Ballroom, Portland

Interpol - January 29th, 2011 at the Roseland, Portland

Low Anthem - March 28th, 2010 at the Doug Fir, Portland

Mastodon - October 9th, 2011 at Memorial Coliseum, Portland
Monotonix - October 14th, 2010 at Mississippi Studios, Portland
MusicFestNW 2010 - September 8th-12th, Portland

Of Montreal/Janelle Monae - October 28th, 2010 at the Roseland, Portland

Passion Pit/Mayer Hawthorne - April 12th, 2010 at the Roseland, Portland
Pavement/Quasi - September 3rd, 2010 at Edgefield, Troutdale
Phantogram - May 3rd, 2010 at the Doug Fir, Portland
Portugal. The Man/Builders & The Butchers - June 26th, 2010 at the Roseland, Portland

The Quick & Easy Boys - November 24th, 2010 at the Doug Fir, Portland

Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - September 24th, 2010 at Dante's, Portland

Sasquatch 2010 - May 29th-31st, The Gorge
She & Him - October 22nd, 2010 at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland

Tallest Man on Earth - May 11th, 2010 at the Mission Theater, Portland

Ween - January 26th, 2011 at the Crystal Ballroom, Portland

Wolf Parade - July 27th, 2010 at the Crystal Ballroom, Portland

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Shows: Bob Dylan, Chicago, Heart, Johnny Winter

Bob Dylan (w/John Cougar, or whatever he calls himself these days), two shows

Bob Dylan is still alive! I can't wait for my 15th last chance to see him. Come on, dude is old, and can barely talk, let alone sing. I still can't wait.

Edgefield, Troutdale
Saturday, August 28th, 2010 & Sunday, August 29th, 2010



Alright, so they had that dude Peter Cetera, who preferred singing sensitive songs while practicing karate with children, but this band rocked hard on at least two of their self-titled albums. I don't think Peter still plays with the band, so they are probably worth seeing.

Edgefield, Troutdale
Tuesday, August 24th, 2010



Heart used to be a couple vixens playing good ole rock'n roll. I don't envision too many old fuckers getting their Heart-on these days.

Cry Your Self To Sleep Country, Vancouver (WA)
Friday, September 24th, 2010


Johnny Winter

Yes, he is related to that albino dude, Edgar Winter, who played one of the most famous non orchestral rock instrumentals of all time, "Freinkenstein." Johnny though is an amazing blues guitar player. Wait, they are both albino?

Aladdin Theater, Portland
Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Holy Shit: Of Montreal Coming to Portland in Late October

Of Montreal (w/Janelle Monae)

Yesssssss! It will be two years since Of Montreal has performed in Portland, which was roughly the week after I first started listening to this band. In other words, I've never seen them live, but they easily crack my top 10 for bands I've never seen. I am far from obsessed, but I've heard too many good things about their live shows.

Expect a lot of tight pants and men wearing make-up. Just warning the frat boys.

Roseland Theater, Portland
Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

New Shows: Ratatat, Scissor Sisters, Cracker, Gary Numan


Crystal Ballroom, Portland
Thursday, September 16th, 2010


Scissor Sisters

Their 2004 hit "Take Your Momma" is about getting someone's momma drunk on cheap champagne, and doing who knows what next. I've never sung the song to a toddler (even though it is a pretty fun song), but last time I sang it to a college buddy, I never heard from him again. They also made news making a disco version of a Pink Floyd song, which might be more tasteless than this paragraph.

And in case you didn't know, their name is based on a sexual position performed between two women. Use your imagination.

Roseland Theater, Portland
Tuesday, September 13th



"Being with you girl, is like being low, hey hey hey, it's like being stoned." Now that you have that song stuck in your head, you might as well check out the video for "Low," which features one of the best choreographed boxing matches since Rocky vs. Drago.

Aladdin Theater, Portland
Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Neumo's, Seattle
Thursday, August 19th

WOW Hall, Eugene
Friday, August 20th, 2010


Gary Numan

Roseland Theater, Portland
Monday, November 1st, 2010

Neumo's, Seattle
Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

MusicFestNW Schedule Announced

Full preview coming soon, but for now, here is the preliminary schedule and lineup.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Live Review: Portugal. The Man/The Builders and the Butchers

Roseland Theater, Portland, OR
Saturday, June 26th, 2010

Nice to start the reviews off with a couple Portland transplants from Alaska. I spent some time in my youth in Alaska, so I might be considered a Portland transplant from Alaska as well. This review is basically like me writing about my oldest friends. Well, not really, but anyway...

Let me first say the microphone sounded like unintentional distortion for each act, which is a fancy way of saying it sucked ass. I couldn't understand most lyrics by either band, so a set list was nearly impossible to create. I'll delve more into this later.

First up, The Builders and the Butchers. I have described Ryan Solee's voice in the past as strange. His throaty squall which follows many of his verses stand out on the albums, but were not recognizable live due to the sound issues. What was recognizable was the energy these folksters exhibit. This was a thoroughly enjoyable show, partially because of the dual drummers, which I find as fascinating as scantily dressed chicks crowd surfing (where did my shirt go?). I kept thinking, "Did I just hear a double bass? Double bass doesn't belong in folk rock?" It was one of the reasons I couldn't stop jumping up and down.

A quick word on the guitar face. That ginger displayed a crazy good one. A good guitar face is very entertaining. A bad guitar face is even more entertaining.

One minor complaint leading to a "the more you know" moment. When Ryan Solee throws various percussion noise makers in the crowd, they are meant to be played along with the band, not pocketed for mantel display. It's ok, you can shake it, no one is going to steel if from your hand.

You'll get your next chance to see these guys at MusicFestNW. They are schedule to play at 1:00am by the way, late Friday (or technically Saturday).

The Builders and the Butchers
Berbati's Pan
Friday, September 10th, 2010
$15 (or free with MusicFestNW wristband)

Onto the headliner. This show was so different than their Sasquatch set last month, which focused on hits from the most recent album people know, the Satanic Satanist, along with a couple other upbeat songs and a David Bowie cover (yes, they have a newer album, but very few had heard it by Memorial Day). That's a good recipe to draw in new fans.

This set however was meant more for those who have been with the band throughout, with equal material from their entire catalogue, but only a couple Satanic Satanist tracks. This would have been a great set list to track, so I apologize. Saturday shows invite way too many hours during the day which may or may not involve drinking high alcohol content organic beer at a beer festival. I'll just say I wasn't in the best shape to be writing, thinking, or recognizing names of songs, and since I already mentioned the terrible mic sound, I was fighting a losing battle. The crowd was more than willing to help with the lyrics on a couple songs, such as "Created" and "People Say," which stood out as highlights because of the sing alongs.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the smoke and lasers! I loved their energy and musicianship at Sasquatch, but I would never guess they have a laser show similar to Ghostland Observatory? It was nowhere near the intensity of Ghostland's lasers, since they only used the effect every other song or so, and the lasers only shot from three different directions, but holy shit, lasers. Come on, you know you love them.

After listening to the album version of the song "Colors" with an acoustic guitar, layered choir-like vocals, and a violin, this band would rank high on the list of bands "least likely to break out a smoke and laser show." Sure Joanna Newsom, and Bobby McFerrin would surprise me more, but it shows Portugal. The Man is not just here to make enjoyable music, they are here to entertain the fuck out of you. Your window of catching this band in a smaller venue is running out.

They recently confirmed they will be opening for Primus in Portland (and Seattle) in September. Who knows if they'll bring their smoke and laser show to the pristine Schnitz opera house.

Primus (with Portugal. the Man & Split Lip Rayfield)
Arlene Schnitzer, Portland
Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

New Shows: Hot Tuna, Matisyahu, Helmet, Wavves/Cool Kids

Hot Tuna

What, you've never heard of Hot Tuna? Alright, close your eyes, and picture Jefferson Airplane performing their classic hit, "White Rabbit." Actually, I guess you'll need someone reading the rest of the paragraph since your eyes are closed, but anyway, details. Now, delete Grace Slick's chilling vocals from your image. Now delete the drummer and extras, so that only the bassist and guitar player remain. Are you still with me? Now, add 33 years, and a couple extras no one has ever heard of, and bam, Hot Tuna. Sounds thrilling, I know. If you missed out on Black Keys tickets, here is your consolation.

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010
Aladdin Theater, Portland



Matisyahu, or Matt as I like to call him, is a Jewish Reggae/Hip Hop act who has spent part of his early adult life residing in Oregon. What else can I say about Matt, he has a really large beard. You should too. You have one month until the show, go.

Thursday, August 5th, 2010
Crystal Ballroom, Portland



Monday, September 13th, 2010
Dante's, Portland - MusicFestNW Afterparty


Wavves/Cool Kids

Saturday, August 14th, 2010
Berbati's Pan, Portland