THE MOUNTAIN GOATS, MIDTOWN DICKENS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Over a lengthening and ever-impressive career, John Darnielle has proved himself one of today's absolutely vital songwriters, and his shape-shifting band the Mountain Goats has released one of its finest records to date: the splendid All Eternals Deck. Goats fans won't dare miss this show. NED LANNAMANN
BLOW PONY: LESLIE HALL, CJ AND THE DOLLS, JEAU BREEDLOVE, LITTLE TOMMY BANG BANG, & MORE
(Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Bears. Dares. Queers. Queens. Kinksters. Twinksters. Cute dykes. Crazy dykes. Coquettes. The Sprockettes. Feys, lays, regular ol' gays. All that plus balls-to-the-wall dance music, tonight at the Pride installment of monthly night-out Blow Pony. SARAH MIRK
BELL X1, JARROD GORBEL
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) One won't ever accuse Bell X1 of being trailblazers. The Irish band makes a neatly sanitized, Grey's Anatomy-approved version of Radiohead's skyscraping pop engineering. And there's plenty of arena-sized emoting to boot, which brings to mind U2, another peace-proselytizing Irish band that shares its name with war aircraft. (Up next: a band named Enola Gay.) This is not to say Bell X1 makes unpleasant sounding music; quite the opposite. Their new album Bloodless Coup is swirling and moody in completely appealing ways, as dramatic melodies sway under the weight of their own gravity. Since the size of US audiences have not quite caught up to the massive following Bell X1 has in their homeland, seeing a band that makes music on this grand a scale play a tiny club should be a fully exhilarating experience. It's unlikely you'll have the chance to get this close to Bell X1 again. NL
GRANT HART, CHEAP MEATS, DRUNK LADIES
(East End, 203 SE Grand) Grant Hart has secured a spot in the rock pantheon for his excellent, impassioned drumming, singing, and songwriting in punk-pop-sike juggernaut Hüsker Dü. After dropping classic albums like Zen Arcade, New Day Rising, and Candy Apple Grey, Hüsker Dü split in 1987, partially due to Hart's struggle with heroin addiction. Nevertheless, he went on to release the strong 1989 solo debut LP Intolerance and later formed the solid Nova Mob. In whatever configuration he toils, Hart is a magnificent crafter of melodies, imbuing his songs with familiar folk and soul tropes that wallop you into whole-hearted empathy, thanks largely to his huskily modulated Midwestern vocalese. (Check out "2541," one of the most slyly affecting songs ever.) Post-Hüsker, Hart hasn't been very prolific, but he's issued enough gems to make this appearance an intriguing prospect, even at this late date. DAVE SEGAL
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