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Friday, November 11, 2011

Tonight in Music: M83, UMO + Gauntlet Hair, John Wesley Harding & More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Nov 11, 2011 at 12:56 PM


M83, ACTIVE CHILD

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read our article on M83.


UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA, GAUNTLET HAIR

(Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water) To be sure, Unknown Mortal Orchestra's relatively meteoric rise shall not go without (continued) mention. In less than a year they've ridden a wave of guitar stabs, crispy break-beats, and funky, falsetto hooks from secretive solo project to prolifically touring power-trio. Since February UMO have been criss-crossing the country like Mitt Romney. This time they return to Northwest soil in what feels like an odd, or possibly premature, victory lap with back to-back nights at Bunk Bar. Perhaps less familiar but equally intriguing are Gauntlet Hair, a duo from Denver who share more than a label (Dead Oceans) in common with Portland's beloved Nurses. Like our boys, Gauntlet Hair shimmer in a wash of reverb, funhouse mirrors, and bright technicolor globs. But where Nurses stack intricate hooks like wood for winter, Gauntlet Hair prefers to thrash a bit more in the pile, snapping sticks, thumping stumps, and shouting out. If they're as active and full as the recently released, self-titled record suggests, these back-to-back nights might make sense after all. ANDREW R TONRY


JOHN WESLEY HARDING AND THE KING CHARLES TRIO, THE MINUS 5

(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Like a day at the carnival that ends with your dog getting hit by a car, John Wesley Harding's The Sound of His Own Voice seems cheery enough at first. But beneath each song's surface of sunny, jangly pop is a story of nostalgia and heartbreak—a coming to terms with a lifetime of sad shit. Harding lives in Pennsylvania, but he jacked Portland's best and brightest for this, his 12th LP. The album features four-fifths of the Decemberists and half of the Minus 5, who are also opening. Scott McCaughey produced the album, and provides sprightly harmonies for sad lyrics, along with Rosanne Cash, John Roderick, and Laura Veirs. REBECCA WILSON


SPINAL TAP NIGHT: SHARK SANDWICH, BILL DANT & THE TRAILER TRASHERS, THE OH MY MYS

(Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy) It's 11/11/11... so let's turn it up to 11 with two awesome tributes to "Mr. 11" himself, Nigel Tufnel of This Is Spinal Tap. Not only will Cort and Fatboy host a special screening of Tap at the Bagdad, the Tonic Lounge is featuring Tap covers from "Shark Sandwich" (ordinarily Bowie tribute outfit "The Band Who Fell to Earth"). Play "Lick My Love Pump!" WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY


HERBIE HANCOCK & THE OREGON SYMPHONY

(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Those of a certain age best remember Herbie Hancock as the man behind "Rockit," his funky, synth-heavy 1983 hit with the equally phunky Godley & Creme-directed video. Of course, Hancock has a lot of music under his belt, from his beginnings working under Miles Davis in the '60s to his endless experimental jazz and neo-funk records in the '70s and '80s. Simply put: He's a bad, bad man. Tonight Hancock takes on Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with the Oregon Symphony. And while it's a safe bet you won't be getting any left-field avant-funk at this performance, you will get a first-hand look (if you're willing to shell out the dough) at a musician who's earned having his name preceded by the word "legend." MARK LORE


BIG BLACK CLOUD, THE BUK BUK BIGUPS, BLOOD BEACH, SEX CHURCH

(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) The man behind the Buk Buk Bigups has been disseminating a 30-second promo for this show online, featuring the iconic date (11-11-11) and the names of the bands in neon block letters. It has the aesthetic of a commercial from the '70s and its abbreviated but essential content is like that of a text message from the touring performer himself. Using throwback methods both cheeky and tributary via the most up-to-date tools and methods is precisely Aaron Zeff's steez, and his show tonight is sure to follow the same zigzags—also found on his debut LP from Weird Forest, which is Quintron-esque in its playful, screwed electric stylings. MARANDA BISH


BLOCKHEAD, DJ CAM, GLADKILL, RIGHTEOUS TRASH, KEYS VS. JOE NASTY

(Refuge, 116 SE Yamhill) Frenchman Laurent Daumail, better known as DJ Cam, traffics in the kind of hiphop-jazz mÉlange that seemed destined to take over airwaves at one point in the late '90s. He's since made a career out of low-key, lounge-y beats that seem suited for trendy hotel lobbies and high-end shoe stores. DJ Cam's latest, Seven, is a glossy record that flirts with exotica, adult contemporary, and dub, and the end result is jet-set lifestyle music that's as sleek as a baby seal, if substantially less cuddly. DJ Cam plays his first-ever Oregon date tonight with Ninja Tune's DJ Blockhead. NED LANNAMANN


BASSEKOU KOUYATE & NGONI BA, DUSU MALI BAND

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) To the untrained eye, it appears that Malian maestro Bassekou Kouyate is spiritedly picking at some sort of elongated winter squash that has been bedecked with unthinkably taut strings, prepared to snap at the slightest pluck. This instrument is called an ngoni, and it's one of the banjo's African ancestors. It's clear, though, that our clumsy, American version can't quite accommodate the sort of delicate fury that is emitted from this rather emotive, haplessly shrill acoustic instrument, especially when at the mercy of Kouyate's skilled hands. He and his band, Ngoni Ba—which features the clarion vocals of Kouyate's wife and other various and incredibly gifted family members—released their second album, I Speak Fula, with Seattle's Sub Pop late in 2009 and have since been trudging from continent to continent, spreading their exhilarating African music. It doesn't matter that you (presumably) do not speak Fula; anyone with a soul is hopelessly susceptible to the bare fuses of Kouyate's live performance, regardless of their linguistic prohibitions. RAQUEL NASSER

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