How the Institutional Racism of Yesterday Still Reverberates Today
STUDIO 69: STRENGTH, SEX LIFE, SOFT METALS, DJ NEW MOON PONCHO, DJ ACIDWASH
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) Get out there and move! There's no better time than tonight, and no hotter place than Holocene's Studio 69 dance party, with a batch of Portland's floor-bumpingest bands, like the disco strut of Strength, the tropical bounce of Sex Life, and the cool Italo groove of Soft Metals. Move it! NED LANNAMANN
NU SENSAE, WHITE LUNG, ARCTIC FLOWERS, FAST WEAPONS
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) With a few painfully mediocre exceptions (cough, Bryan Adams, cough), Vancouver, BC, churns out nothing but quality music. The most recent Canucks to export are Nu Sensae, the raucous duo of Andrea Lukic and Daniel Pitout (formerly of Hunx and His Punx). Recently the pair delivered a three-song 7-inch single via Portland imprint Fast Weapons (the label run by Nathan Howdeshell from Gossip) that could pry the Mötley Crüe mirror right out of the hands of a young Kathleen Hanna. Respectful riot grrrl tendencies aside, Nu Sensae's rumbling low end and raw, unabashed sound make this pair more exciting than just about any other piece of wax destined for your turntable. EZRA ACE CARAEFF
TANGO ALPHA TANGO, HELLO MORNING, NO KIND OF RIDER, VIOLET ISLE
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) While it's likely none of tonight's crop of talented, up-and-coming bands could fill up the Crystal Ballroom on their own, together they form a snapshot of what's going on in the Portland music scene away from the bright lights of some of this town's more familiar names. Each of these bands deserves a broader audience. No Kind of Rider puts on a great live show, while Tango Alpha Tango has a masterful grip on a huge array of musical styles. Tango's latest release, a self-titled EP that has the scope of a full-length, is an incredibly impressive piece of work that shows the band's ease in laying down thick slabs of heavy rock alongside addictive radio-pop gems and laidback folky numbers. Tango Alpha Tango is a band that seems capable of just about anything.
JIMMY EAT WORLD, KINCH
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Jimmy Eat World was probably the least emo emo band of the late '90s. They were never too emo, never too aggro, never bought into some goofy image—just four normal-looking dudes from Arizona who wrote songs that ranged from really good power pop to middle-of-the-road pap. And they're still with us. The band released Invented last year, almost a decade after Bleed American and the song "The Middle" (which I'll go ahead and say has one of the bitchin'est guitar solos ever) dunked them into the mainstream. Now you have to wonder: Who listens to JEW in 2011? Teens? Normal-looking people in their late 20s with kids of their own? Finding out might be worth the price of admission alone. MARK LORE
BUFFALO TOM, THE HEAVENLY STATES
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) Buffalo Tom will always hold a prime spot in my internal jukebox for two songs: 1988's "Sunflower Suit" and 1992's "Mineral." The former captures the Boston band at the peak of their anthemic, Hüsker Dü-ish powers; the latter enshrines them at the apex of their tear-smeared-ballad form. Besides these towering achievements, Buffalo Tom have proceeded to make a lot of middling-to-good melodic alt rock off and on over the last 23 years. As their eighth album, Skins, proves, they are solid craftsmen of the unspectacularly pretty song, specializing in a kind of business-casual rock that neither dazzles nor appalls—except, of course, with the classic "Sunflower Suit" and "Mineral." Christ, are those songs special... DAVE SEGAL
DEVIN THE DUDE, THE COUGHEE BROTHAZ, MIKEY VEGAZ
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) The last times I saw Devin the Dude, I was crossing the street to the venue when I first smelled weed. It was pouring out the door, pungent, even in the open air. Inside, the cloud grew thicker. I bellied up for a drink but the bartender was beside herself. "Oh my god," she giggled. "I don't usually smoke pot. I have no idea what I'm doing." Indeed, the hot box had her fully twisted. And I'll be damned if the show wasn't better for it. Everyone just melted into the Houston rapper's slinky, laidback, '90s-inspired drawl. Rather than just a mood, sound, or style, Devin's shows become a state of mind—a collective consciousness that's loose, carefree, and content. And while the weed surely helps, the Dude himself deserves credit. He’s been touring constantly, always hitting Portland, and unlike a lot of emcees, live he’s got his shit screwed down tight. Don’t let the bloodshot eyes fool you—Devin the Dude is a funky old pro. ANDREW R TONRY
YEAH GREAT FINE, YARN OWL, FUTURE HISTORIANS
(The Woods, 6637 SE Milwaukie) Since releasing their eponymous debut album last fall, Yeah Great Fine have continued their steady takeover of hearts and minds. With roots as college music majors and stints as members of the Grown Children—the backing band of local troubadour and label head Jared Mees—this quintet has hit the ground running. The 11-song Yeah Great Fine instantly won fans for the band's orchestrated, precise compositions, packed with upbeat rhythms and soaring vocals that evoke the early energy of Vampire Weekend and express a Menomena-like penchant for avant-pop. Their show this evening is touted as a "classy" event, in juxtaposition to a 4/20 celebration show they played last month, wherein YGF was delighted to hop on a bill alongside hiphop act the Chicharones—a tribute to the breadth of the local music scene of which they are so thoroughly a part. MARANDA BISH
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