SCRIMSHANDER, FANNO CREEK, DESERT DAYS
(Someday Lounge, 125 NW 5th) The first time I saw Fanno Creek, I was struck by the intense chemistry and energy of the performance. The three-piece is fronted by Quinn Mulligan and Evan Hailstone, whose complementary vocals and guitar are backed by drummer Dane Brist (who you can sometimes spot bursting into song from behind the kit). Their music is upbeat, folk-soaked, and instantly infectious. A song can start off in quiet melodies, but quickly transition into a raucous, declarative chorus that gets the room jumping happily. Their lyrics touch on heartache, being broke, and the daily grind, in an eloquent and relatable flow. From their fingerpicking verses to their sweet harmonies, Fanno Creek have got something special going on. RACHEL MILBAUER Also, read our article on Scrimshander.
SALLIE FORD AND THE SOUND OUTSIDE, SONS OF HUNS
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) Read our article on Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside.
MIKAL CRONIN, BIG EYES, JOLLAPIN JASPER
(Dante's, 350 W Burnside) The city by the bay is still brimming with great rock 'n' roll, to the point where I'm actually starting to become a little suspicious. Mikal Cronin—aside from his work with Ty Segall on a number of singles, and the recently reissued Reverse Shark Attack LP—put out a terrific garage-pop record of his own in 2011. Ya know... just another songwriting wunderkind from the Bay Area. Cronin's latest single, "Shout It Out"—the first off his forthcoming album for Merge, titled MCII—cuts out the garage grime for some downright tidy power pop. It feels as FM ready as if it were 1978. Think Dwight Twilley with a little more fuzz. MARK LORE
PORTLAND A GO-GO!: THE SATIN CHAPS, BANG GIRL GROUP REVIEW, BROWNISH BLACK, THE MOON SPINNERS, THE PYNNACLES, DJ DREW GROOVE, DJ CECILIA
(Secret Society, 116 NE Russell) Dust off your best fringe dress for Portland a Go-Go, the danciest night of dancing. It's '60s-inspired tunes from Portland's favorite go-go makers, the Satin Chaps, and a whole host of girl group songs from San Francisco's the Bang Girl Group Revue. I sure hope you've been brushing up on your Watusi or at least your Mashed Potato. COURTNEY FERGUSON
STEPHEN HOUGH, OREGON SYMPHONY
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Chief cultural blogger for the Telegraph of London. Prodigious recorder of more than 50 albums. MacArthur genius. Theologian. Poet. Queer activist. Composer. The guy wears a lot of (size 60) hats, but first and foremost: Stephen Hough plays piano and will forever and ever reign at the high altar of my personal pianoforte pantheon. Our very own Oregon Symphony is thankfully hosting Mr. Hough on his latest visit to Portland—this time 'round for a pair of concerts featuring the sometimes romantic, sometimes explosive, always kick-ass Piano Concerto No. 2 composed by Franz Liszt. If Hough's last appearance with the symphony was any indication, the pride of the Wirral Peninsula will be fueled by dark chocolate and British puddings, with his virtuosic wonders on full display as he gives all 88 keys the proverbial what-for. Look, I realize the social calendar of most Mercury readers has been full for weeks now, but c'mon... Fuck the cat show. Fuck the unicycle convention. Fuck the locally sourced paleo potluck. Globally adored virtuosos like Stephen Hough don't come to town every week, you know. Did I mention a Beethoven symphony is also on the program? Bring a change of shorts (you'll need 'em) and I'll see you at the Schnitz, goddammit. ANGRY SYMPHONY GUY
CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN, CASEY NEILL AND THE NORWAY RATS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) I should've known it was bad after seeing that Cracker is playing on a '90s band cruise out of Miami in October, featuring such luminaries as Smash Mouth! Sugar Ray! Spin Doctors! Collective Soul! Vomit in your mouth! I'd rather be on that Carnival boat full of sewage and incontinent old people. But I always held out hope that Cracker was just a strange anomaly for vocalist David Lowery, who had a truly excellent band in the '80s, Camper Van Beethoven. But they're a hot pile now, too. Just check out a few songs from their new album La Costa Perdida for proof. It's full of cringes like a terrible seven-minute Beach Boys ripoff about Northern California girls. There's also ample echoes of the Beatles' druggy era, and let's face it, it's no compliment to say your stuff sounds like the bad bits of Magical Mystery Tour. If those were Camper Van Beethoven's biggest missteps all could be forgiven. But alas, there is ska. Might I suggest putting 1988's near-perfect Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart on never-ending shuffle and avoiding this shitshow. COURTNEY FERGUSON
(Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) If Soulive and Dr. John took some tequila shots and jammed, their sound could be described as "Galactic." With Galactic's ever-evolving song structure and party atmosphere, the New Orleans band produces a funkiness that could make even Ann Romney's butt twitch. Originally an eight-piece, this sextet has been providing the proverbial funk for nearly 20 years. Their most recent album, Carnivale Electros, feels like you're parading through the streets of New Orleans with a hurricane in one hand and a tit in the other. A departure from their usual funky jam sets, Electros plays more like an electric samba during Rio's Carnivale, but remains faithful to the sound of a funeral march at Mardi Gras. Whichever musical role they act, your legs and hips won't be able to ignore the tight horns, powerful syncopation, and true New Orleans soul that Galactic always delivers. ROSE FINN
ULTRA GOAT, CONTEMPT, STEELHYMEN
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) In the wake of the departure of bass player Andrew Lincoln, the minimalist-doom metal of Portland project Steelhymen has arrived at another transitory point in their brief yet promising existence. Originally forming around a decidedly female take on hard rock (thus, perhaps, the name), the duo of Becca VandeWalle on guitar and Lauren Vidal on drums carved out an essential, urgent sound before expanding to include Lincoln and additional gentleman Chris Conway on guitar and vocals. As evidenced on their recently released album 0 || 0/0, Steel Hymen's music achieves a harsh expansiveness that blurs the gender spectrum, and in the act of finding a new bass player, the band stands poised to further approach new sonic territory. MARANDA BISH
GEEKLESQUE GETS WEIRD: A TRIBUTE TO "WEIRD AL" YANKOVIC
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) There may not be a more deserving lightning rod for the geek-leaning generation than "Weird Al" Yankovic. And what better way to pay tribute to the maestro of the skewed lampoon than with a bunch of sexy burlesque dancers from San Francisco and Portland dressed up in classic Yankovic ensembles, performing scintillatingly nerdy numbers? Featuring Portland's Angelique DeVil, Babs Jamboree, Sophie Maltease, and more, along with the Bay's Pickles Kintaro, Mistress Marla Spankx, and Lady Satan, Geeklesque Gets Weird is poised to ring in its third year with powerfully sardonic sass. The prospect of watching a trained burlesque dancer attempt sultriness while crooning "Fat" (crossing fingers!) is more than reason enough to check this out. RYAN J. PRADO
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