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Friday, January 28, 2011

Tonight in Music: The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, The Thermals, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and more

Posted by Colleen Smyth on Fri, Jan 28, 2011 at 11:05 AM


THE THERMALS, GUIDANCE COUNSELOR, WAMPIRE

(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) The Thermals continue to employ the ol' work-hard/play-hard philosophy by performing shows at a furious clip and pulling from what seems like an endless bag of three-minute power pop ditties (all while maintaining their girlish figures and boyish good looks). They're a rock 'n' roll machine, in the truest sense. And whether vocalist/guitarist Hutch Harris is lashing out at Bible-thumping neocons or former lovers, it's always couched in a pristine pop melody. While their last two releases have shown a slightly more cuddly side to the trio, live the Thermals are just as hyperactive as they've ever been. Which is why everyone and their mothers go to Thermals shows. That, and they're a fucking blast. Tonight's your chance to give 'em a hot and sweaty sendoff before they head across the pond for a month. MARK LORE


THE GHOST OF A SABER TOOTH TIGER, LAURA GIBSON

(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) Read our article about the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger.

Craig Marquardo's band Idle Poet at the 2009 PMAs.

PORTLAND MUSIC AWARDS

(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) I could start on the cover and finish on the back page of this very paper and I'd still not have enough room to make my case against the Portland Music Awards. Here's the heavily abridged version: If you care about Portland music in any form, do not set foot inside the Crystal Ballroom tonight. The Portland Music Awards are an absolute con—there are Nigerian email schemes more trustworthy—masterminded by the clownish voice of failed rag Music Spectator, Craig Marquardo. One-time headliners Smash Mouth (not local) seemed to have vanished from the bill, meaning that even the worst band on the planet was embarrassed to be a part of this atrocity. While some musicians are blinded by the gilded veneer of a possible award for their talents—it's true, being a musician can be tough—the Portland Music Awards are not the answer. Do it because you love it, not for the opportunity to take home a useless trophy from some bullshit award show with zero credibility.
EZRA ACE CARAEFF


GRACE POTTER AND THE NOCTURNALS, CHAMBERLIN

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 SE Russell) One doesn't really expect Vermont to be a hotbed of musical creativity. The austere and inventive folk reinterpretations of Sam Amidon and Mountain Man aside, the home state of Phish has spawned schools of noodly Phish wannabes, and little else. This theory applies to the Starbucks-groove of fellow Green Mountain Staters Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, a group of classic-rock retreads who look fantastic and sound totally familiar and uninteresting. (Lenny Kravitz fans probably love 'em.) After a few years twirling around the granola-jam circuit, Potter and the Nocturnals have mussed up their hair and glammed up their sound for a shot at the rock 'n' roll brass ring with 2010's self-titled record. At this point I wouldn't bet against them. For something a little more lasting, though, look to openers (and fellow Vermonters) Chamberlin, whose Bitter Blood is a heartfelt, skyscraping, lite-rock effort that's deep in maple-water sincerity and generally sounds fine.
NED LANNAMANN

A complete listing of this week's shows can be viewed here.


DERBY, RAVISHERS, CURTAINS FOR YOU

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) As far as I'm concerned, Derby won the National Championship. As the entire state of Oregon watched the Ducks football team forget how to make sure Michael Dyer touched the ground, the local popsters in Derby had their music heard by roughly 27 million football fans via a Ford SUV commercial that licensed their bouncy tune "If Ever There's a Reason" (from 2008's Posters Fade). Tonight the band will be debuting their Madeline EP, a two-song 7-inch accompanied by a digital EP with two additional songs. It's a strong release—Nick Fairley strong—with four songs that build on the momentum of the upbeat A-side single, "Don't Believe in You." Free Ford SUVs for the first 200 people in attendance. EZRA ACE CARAEFF


WHISKEY PARTY & SONGWRITER SHOWCASE: EZZA ROSE, NATE CLARK, MEGAN SPEAR, DUSTIN RUTH, JAMES MCFARLAND, SHAWN LAWSON FREEMAN, ED THANHOUSER

(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) Whiskey and acoustic music go together like Tango and Cash. It's fitting, then, that Someday Lounge is pouring $3 shots tonight from a handsome selection of whiskeys, while giving you the chance to listen to plucked efforts from a batch of Portland's most songwriterly folks. Like whiskey itself, there's room in these songs for giddy celebration and forlorn sadness, often at the same time. There's the unaffected, Western-town hymns of Ezza Rose, fresh off an opening slot for the legendary Loudon Wainwright III. Driven by her subtle but breathtaking voice, Rose's upcoming sophomore album is among 2011's most anticipated local releases. There's also Nate Clark, whose On the Stairs project just kicked off the year with the sterling, soul-flecked A Muted Dawn record. And there's plenty more, too—something for almost everyone, in fact. Almost everyone: Chardonnay drinkers, tonight is not your night. NED LANNAMANN


DR. DEMENTO

(Reed College, 3203 SE Woodstock)I know it sounds dorky as all hell, but the Dr. Demento Reed College lectures are an absolute blast. The maestro of wacky music, Dr. Demento (Barry Hansen) is a Reed alum, and his four-night stand focuses on various musical subgenres—from country music to songs about drugs—including tonight's punk-themed show. Music nerds, and just nerds in general: The doctor will see you now. EZRA ACE CARAEFF

A complete listing of this week's shows can be viewed here.

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