This Week in the Mercury


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Tonight in Music: The Malt Ball! And Some Other Stuff

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Sat, Feb 2, 2013 at 9:44 AM


THE MALT BALL: RADIATION CITY, SONS OF HUNS, AND AND AND, GAYTHEIST, WOODEN INDIAN BURIAL GROUND, DIVERS, THE CALEB KLAUDER COUNTRY BAND, OLD LIGHT, HAUSU, MARTY MARQUIS, MINDEN, STREET NIGHTS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) The second annual Malt Ball is upon us, and what a glorious time it is: a daylong, beer-drenched, ear-shattering smorgasbord of all the great music and beer this town has to offer. With beer from 26 brewers and music from a dozen bands, this is the stuff we typically only see in our deepest, most cherished dreams. NED LANNAMANN Read our feature story on the Malt Ball.


BLACK PRAIRIE, HOUNDSTOOTH
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Black Prairie and Houndstooth have both been around for a couple of years at this point, and ever since BP added lyrics to their initially instrumental lineup, both bands are fronted by ladies. That's where the similarities end. Black Prairie has always excelled at sounding timeless, but now that Annalisa Tornfelt has taken up singing duties on their second LP, A Tear in the Eye Is a Wound in the Heart, they also sound consoling and absolutely sure of themselves. If Black Prairie is the avuncular neighbor from whom you seek advice, Houndstooth is your older sister's effortlessly fashionable best friend. Katie Bernstein's laidback voice lands atop surf rock that's just lo-fi and spontaneous enough to make these veteran musicians sound like they all one day stumbled by accident into the same garage. REBECCA WILSON


YOB, ROLLING THROUGH THE UNIVERSE, USNEA
(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) The new self-titled LP from Portland funeral doomers Usnea consists of four tracks clocking in between 10 and 17 minutes apiece. That is to say, they keep it slogging through the sludge with the dexterity of a brachiosaurus. But they're dynamic, too. "Brazen Bull of Phalaris" is a long, strange trip through dark and uncharted terrain—occasionally breathtaking, and for the most part frightening. Surely a mythical beast lurks nearby. Either that, or this is the sound of the worst acid trip imaginable. The band opens for YOB, the Oregon band that gave countless doom bands the tools to go slow or go home. Earplugs and diapers recommended. MARK LORE


PENELOPE: SHARA WORDEN, FEAR NO MUSIC
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) The famed fidelity of Homer's Penelope doesn't stop at the literary level. It's made its way into the equally trustworthy songwriting prowess of composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, whose song cycle Penelope is a spellbinding orchestral storybook based on The Odyssey. Performed with the distinctly acrobatic vocals of My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden, Penelope is an audacious, sweeping soundscape, punctuated by contemporary slants on the classic epic, specifically on gorgeous tracks like "This Is What You're Like." Accompanying Worden for tonight's special event is Portland's own Fear No Music, one of the city's more ambitious musical ensembles. This will likely be totally amazing. RYAN J. PRADO

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