GARY WAR, SUN ANGLE, STREET NIGHTS, PURPLE PILGRIMS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Bid a (hopefully temporary) adieu to Street Nights; guitarist Dan Wilson is departing the West Coast for New York City. Wilson's been responsible for some of the finest fretwork in town, as anyone who's seen Street Nights—or the Joggers, or Hookers—can attest. Tonight's sorta-farewell show puts all three bands in flux (Hookers play their farewell tomorrow, at DJ Cooky Parker's In the Crematorium dance party at Holocene) but Street Nights have a full-length recorded and will, with luck, carry on in some fashion. With each jam, frontman Jake Morris (drummer for the Jicks) steps out from behind the drum kit to sing Golden Earring-worthy fist pumpers of pure FM gold, as the rest of Street Nights deliver the kind of butt-kicking rock that inspires airbrushed paintings on the sides of vans. Get your kicks in now, and here's hoping for many more nights of Street Nights in the future. NED LANNAMANN
DARK DARK DARK, EMILY WELLS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Dark Dark Dark's name is fitting. The Minneapolis band plays the type of moody pop made for gray winter days—if there is a light, it's only a candle flicker. Their latest LP, Who Needs Who, is filled with sparse arrangements, held together by the voice of Nona Marie Invie, who lays out dear-diary lyrics without any reservations. The specter of Fleetwood Mac looms as Invie sings of the aftermath of her relationship with bandmember Marshall LaCount. It's pretty raw stuff. Maybe they should add another "Dark" to their name. Also on the bill is Emily Wells, who's collaborated with the Portland Cello Project, and who for the past few years has been mixing classical music with elements of hiphop to equally moody effect. Add another "dark" to tonight's performance. MARK LORE
NNEKA, FLY MOON ROYALTY
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) On Soul Is Heavy, Nneka's eclectic fourth album, there is a song called "God Knows Why," done in collaboration with Black Thought from the Roots. It is a deep cut, but it is by far my favorite on this very good album. The song expresses the same skepticism and bitterness with religion and politics found throughout, but on this one, Nneka raps. Her singing voice has a lot of charm—she sounds a little like Erykah Badu—but her Nigerian accent only comes through when she speaks, forcing attention to her angry, cerebral lyrics. Add to that the dark, frantic production, with a menacing piano and vinyl crackle, and it's a showstopper. Soul Is Heavy is Nneka's fourth album but only her second with an official US release. It fuses Jamaican reggae, soul revival, and Nigerian funk with the producerly electronic flourishes that position the album perfectly in 2012. REBECCA WILSON
TOADIES, HELMET, UME
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) The easy critique to make about both Toadies and Helmet is also probably the dumbest: that their '90s heyday is currently being co-opted by kids born in that decade, leading to renewed interest in packaged reunion-type tours. Problem is, neither band ever really went anywhere. Helmet's Page Hamilton remains a consistent contributor to film soundtracks, as well as flying the (lineup-shaky) Helmet flag on world tours year in and out. The band's angular alt-metal chug went on to influence a lot of bands who became terrible third-wave '90s rockers, of which Toadies is not one. While Toadies did have a significant hiatus (2001-2005), their new album Play.Rock.Music is an understated punky bust-up, belching forth smart guitar interplay and Todd Lewis' typically brazen vocals. Along with Ume opening (do yourself a favor and arrive early), this is a night of generational bridging not to avoid. RYAN J. PRADO
Tip for End Hits?
Email them here.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!