LAURA GIBSON, BREATHE OWL BREATHE, MIKE MIDLO
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Read our article on Laura Gibson.
SLABTOWN BENDER: THE TRASHIES, TOP TEN, UNNATURAL HELPERS, STAN MCMAHON, DENIZENZ, TACOCAT, & MORE
(Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th) It's time to have the funnest blackout you'll never remember with the annual Slabtown Bender. Drink 'em up and dance 'em down at this weekend-long series of shows, tonight with the Trashies, TacocaT, and Unnatural Helpers. Plus Saturday and Sunday you can start out the festivities with free matinees. Hydrate, folks, hydrate—this is for the long haul. COURTNEY FERGUSON
SUPERFRESH: WAMPIRE, STRATEGY, TRUCKASAURUS, JONNYX AND THE GROADIES, LITANIC MASK, VICE DEVICE, LIGHT HOUSE, DJ MAXX BASS
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) When people talk about Superfresh, Portland's best all-ages dance night ever, they talk a lot about, well, dancing. No surprise there. Portland's dance scene has historically been on the receiving end of a lot of hype, especially this year, and the lineup for these fests has been stacked with so much on-radar talent that it's obvious how Superfresh earned its reputation as such a banger. But what people don't always talk about is how left-field some of curator Manny Reyes' selections are. Acts like Light House, $kull$, Toning, Litanic Mask, Vice Device—all amazing experimental shit that you can probably get down to, but the kind of stuff you don't have to hit the dance floor to enjoy. And if you're anything like me, meaning you don't usually venture further into dancing than shaking your hair and occasionally tilting your knees, you're probably okay with that. But if there was ever a time to let your guard down and blow everyone away with your unfulfilled dance-floor potential, this would be it. Superfresh: for wallflowers and dancers alike. CC
LEWI LONGMIRE BAND, MERIDIAN
(LaurelThirst Public House, 2958 NE Glisan) In 2007, Jackstraw guitarist Darrin Craig was recuperating from an injury, and began writing the songs that eventually led to The Great Escape, the debut album from Meridian. With a lineup that now includes Lewi Longmire, Chris Beck, Celilo's Sloan Martin, and Woodbrain's David Lipkind, Meridian shies away from the plucky bluegrass of Craig's other outfit. Rather, Meridian proudly flaunts booze-soaked country balladry in all its glory—downbeat tunes that wallow in the depths of bummerdom, given heart-aching credence by Craig's ragged voice. If you've ever found solace in the dejected twang of a country lament, you know what a beautiful thing it can be—and Meridian's excellent The Great Escape offers plenty of the good kind of hurt. NED LANNAMANN
THE BUILDERS AND THE BUTCHERS,
QUIET LIFE, TURBO PERFECTO
(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) Tonight marks a new era for the Hawthorne Theatre. The Southeast club has always been something of a mixed blessing on Portland's live music scene, ever since it took over the generous room that used to be Conan's Pub. The all-ages venue was a boon to underage showgoers, hosting the kind of punk-pop and metal shows that often couldn't be found elsewhere in town. But seeing a show there also held its own frustrations—like the barricade that bisected the front of the room from the back, the sickeningly green proscenium arch, the thuddy sound, the tiny bathrooms. Mike Thrasher, one of the most prolific and consistent promoters in Portland, bought out his co-owner and now solely runs the space, which has undergone renovations and significant improvements in lighting and sound. Holding down the grand reopening tonight are the Builders and the Butchers, who've gone from busking on the street to headlining big rooms, and will no doubt ring in the refurbished space with an abundance of energy. NL
THE SEXBOTS, DROPA, STEREOVISION
(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) Micah Tamblyn is the main man behind Dropa, which releases its second album, Glass House, tonight. An impressive self-recorded and released effort, Glass House is a big, broad, stadium-sized record colored with dark synths, moody melodies, and gigantic drums from Matthew Higgins. There's a blackly glammy sound running through Dropa's electrorock, which finds direct inspiration in the early '80s English sounds of Factory Records, Depeche Mode, and Soft Cell—although warmer moments abound on Glass House as well, as on the acoustic strums that bed "Release" and the layered backing vocals on the dreamily stargazing "Feeling Hope." Still, Dropa are capable of achieving a massive scope with their music, and allowing the melodies to shine through all the flashy production trappings—plus, if you've been jonesing for some gated reverb, now you know where to turn. NL
IN THE COOKY JAR: DJ COOKY PARKER,
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The roving dance party begins tonight: DJ Cooky Parker used to hold down first Fridays at the Woods with his soul dance night, which quickly became an institution. Now that the Woods has gone off to that great showspace in the sky, Cooky is "dating" various rooms around town, bringing In the Cooky Jar to a different spot each month. Tonight it's at the Doug Fir with guest DJ Beyonda. Future months will see Cooky bringing his collection of 45s to places like the Spare Room, the Eagles Lodge, the Star Theater, and the new Garageland space next to East End. NL
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