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Friday, January 6, 2012

Tonight in Music: Palabra, RiverCity Music Festival, Archeology & More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Jan 6, 2012 at 12:26 PM


PALABRA, 1939 ENSEMBLE, DJ SAM HUMANS, ANIMAL STITCHES

(Langano Lounge, 1435 SE Hawthorne) If you miss Palabra's show tonight, then you miss Palabra forever. The instrumental trio, made up of Johan Wagner, Zachary Evans, and the insanely prolific Papi Fimbres, recorded a one-sided 12-inch, and after they play this record release show, they'll evaporate and be gone forever, like drops of water disappearing in the morning sun. It's fitting, then, that the one-sided record (bearing the unforgettable title When Cats Go to Outer Space) is similarly ephemeral, a quick tangle of seven short tracks flowing in and out of each other that's all over before you know it. Palabra runs the gamut from the carnival parade beat of opener "Now Look Who's Wearing Bells and Whistles/El Hombre Chaotico" to the effective climax of the fluid, loose-limbed "Browar," a relaxed piece based on pulsing electric piano and tripped-out flute. Palabra recognizes the irrefutable importance of music being experienced in the moment, now, and here is your chance. NED LANNAMANN


RIVERCITY MUSIC FESTIVAL

(Red Lion on the River, 909 N Hayden Island) Americana-, bluegrass-, and roots rock-deprived throngs seeking out a folky fix ought to look no further than the respite of the seventh annual RiverCity Music Festival. With an eye on substance over style (think a wintertime, indoor Pickathon), this weekend's lineup features world-famous guit-pickers like Tommy Emmanuel, regional bluegrass wunderkinds Northern Departure, and mandolin prodigy Sierra Hull, who performs with her group Highway 111, fresh off the success of her sophomore album Daybreak. Ray Wylie Hubbard, Peter Rowan Band, and the time-capsule country of Dale Watson deftly fill in the void left by American ex-pat Jesse Winchester's cancellation, and round out a potent three days of riverside revelry. Capped by a Saturday night square dance, workshops maestro'ed by the masters, and the free, kids-only (ages seven to 17) Chick Rose School of Bluegrass program, this is one hoedown you don't want to miss. RYAN J. PRADO


ARCHEOLOGY, TANGO ALPHA TANGO, ADAM SHEARER

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) When it comes to spelling, I am a right-wing conservative. Fun, alternate denotations of words fill me with a knee-jerk skepticism, which I am hard pressed to overcome—one of my many character flaws. But, even without that second A, I just can't write off Archeology. Partly it's because they sound a lot like the Indiana Jones version of actual archaeology: dusty, sunny, and clearly more exciting than it is in real life. But mostly it's because they are heartfelt and sincere, with arrangements specifically designed to make my heart swell. Those harmonies, especially live, expunge all thoughts of missing letters from my mind. This show isn't all campfires and sunbeams: Where Archeology are pure-hearted Americana, Tango Alpha Tango are aggressively, wonderfully glam. Lock up your daughters: These guys are seedy and seductive in the best possible way. REBECCA WILSON


BRIDGETOWN SEXTET

(Tony Starlight's, 3728 NE Sandy) If these first gray days of 2012 find you feeling in need of a jumpstart, the Bridgetown Sextet's hot-cha-cha brand of flapper-era jazz might be what the doctor ordered. Granted, their kind of fetishistic retro-gazing is always a dicey proposition, running the risk of being precious, irrelevant, or, usually, both. But the Bridgetown Sextet pulls off their time-travel whimsy by emphasizing musical chops rather than mutton chops. Their tunes are the work of fantastic players, boasting excellent stride piano from both Scott Kennedy and Andrew Oliver (who also each do double duty on drums), strict tempo from guitarist Doug Sammons and bassist Eric Gruber, and just the right shade of sassafras from John Moak on trombone and David Evans on clarinet and sax. Their new album, The New Old Fashioned, ably captures this combustible energy, but their kind of music is best experienced live, so put on your glad rags, skiddy up, and flush the floor. NL

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