This Week in the Mercury

Film Shorts

Film

Film Shorts

In Which We Hit It and Quit It


I Love Television™

Columns

I Love Television™

Damned by the Bell



Friday, September 23, 2011

Tonight in Music: James Blake, Club 21 Reopening, Hey Lover, Merle Haggard & Kris Kristofferson, & More

Posted by Ezra Ace Caraeff on Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 10:28 AM


JAMES BLAKE, TEENGIRL FANTASY
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) James Blake might be quiet in sound, but his deeply personal and evolved take on restrained dubstep packs a mighty wallop. The Londoner's wounded vocoder-assisted croon draws comparisons to his pal Justin Vernon (Bon Iver, duh), and his deeply focused live show will send your heart aflutter. EZRA ACE CARAEFF


GRAND REOPENING: SONS OF HUNS, THE LORDY LORDS, ADVISORY, THE NO TOMORROW BOYS
(Club 21, 2035 NE Glisan) Beloved local dive bar Club 21 just got a facelift, courtesy of new owners (who also own Gold Dust Meridian). An expanded patio is chief among the Club's new assets, but don't worry—the iconic "Steaks" sign isn't going anywhere. Celebrate the bar's reopening tonight alongside bar regulars and a handful of local bands. ALISON HALLETT


HEY LOVER, PELICAN OSSMAN
(Kenton Club, 2025 N Kilpatrick) Read our article on Hey Lover.


KRIS KRISTOFFERSON, MERLE HAGGARD
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) On the heels of Willie Nelson's low-key summertime show at Edgefield, two more of country's outlaws ride into Portland. These guys are getting old—Haggard's 74, Kristofferson's 75—but what's remarkable is how these septuagenarians' once-revolutionary music still feels... well, revolutionary. In the mainstream, country's never felt more watery—despite the lessons offered, decades ago, by Haggard, Kristofferson, Nelson, Cash, and Jennings—but here these guys are, still playing in an era of Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney. The average age at this show is gonna be somewhere around 50, I bet, and I also bet it'll be hard to shake the sense that Haggard and Kristofferson are just trotting themselves out one last time before they're too weak to do so. So: drawbacks. But also: The music's still good. Country gets better as it ages—as it wears down, as it grows ragged and frayed. And these two old dudes are, still, some of the best the genre has to offer. ERIK HENRIKSEN


THE CUTE LEPERS, SOMETHING FIERCE, THE ANXIETIES, BLUE RIBBON BOYS, THE CRY
(Plan B, 1305 SE 8th) A wise woman once uttered the adage, "Age ain't nothin' but a number," and many modern bands are living proof of this with staunch allegiance to the sounds and aesthetics of bygone eras. The Cry is a young¬†Portland group adept at performing highly stylized pop-punk ditties with emphasis on '60s-era¬†vocal harmonies, shades of '90s power pop, and near-constant references to someone named "Baby." Their sound dovetails perfectly with Seattle's the Cute Lepers, who are similarly dedicated to throwback sounds, predominantly of the British ilk—from the orchestration of the Beatles to Johnny Rotten's sneer—as well as hints of ska (via a prominent saxophone). They also steadily nod to the American agit-pop tradition with lyrical content critical of the status quo (for example, "You Don't Have to Belong to the Religious Right"), which isn't as interesting as the catchy music that drowns it out. MARANDA BISH


DENVER, LUZ ELENA MENDOZA, RAYMOND BYRON
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) You know Denver, even if you don't really know Denver. You know their parade of notable players (members of Blitzen Trapper, Alela Diane's Wild Divine, and more), you know their go-to outfit (pearl snaps), and you definitely know their preferred libation (heroic pours of whiskey). But what you might not know is that Denver now have a full-length to call their own. Their 11-song self-titled debut offers few surprises (Where's the reggaeton?), but it does establish the half-dozen Denverites as the finest sad-bastard roots rock act of the Pacific Northwest. There is a hint of fuck-you-let's-fight outlaw country here, but Denver isn't the type to smash a bottle over your skull—that's a waste of perfectly good booze. Instead they do their best work wallowing under the weight of it all. Numbers like "Keep Your Eye Out" and the "Ridin' Alone (San Antone)" might just sap you of the will to live, but they sure as hell sound great doing so. EAC

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Comments are closed.

Tip for End Hits?
Email them here.

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC

115 SW Ash St. Suite 600
Portland, OR 97204

Contact Info | Privacy Policy | Production Guidelines | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy