(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) Sparks are the most prolific band that you might not have heard of. With a career spanning four decades, 22 albums, and countless genres, with musicians from Morrissey to Björk calling them a major influence, and with their most recent albums being just as relevant and cutting edge as their younger contemporaries, the time to discover Sparks is now. This current tour, titled "Two Hands One Mouth," puts the Mael brothers—vocalist Russell and pianist Ron—front and center without an accompanying band. This has resulted in their first-ever live album and a rare tour in the US. You may think this tour will offer a kind of "Unplugged" version of their songs, but this is far from the case. The show is full of the frenzied energy so indicative of Sparks, with song choices spanning their entire career, made even more beautiful by the piano-and-vocal-only renditions. ELIZABETH MOLLO Read our Q&A with Sparks' Russell Mael.
THE MEN, CCR HEADCLEANER, THE PROTONS
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The Men's latest album New Moon is less of a rock 'n' roll blitz than its predecessors. Since the release of 2012's excellent Open Your Heart, the Brooklyn quartet has softened its jagged rawk into more of a sepia-toned twang. Some of this might have something to do with the departure of bassist Chris Hansell after the recording of Open Your Heart. But, rest assured, it still sounds like the Men, and they're still one of the best rock units out there. After seeing them live last year I felt like I was 18 again—minus the zits and the insecurities and the mullet. MARK LORE
(Dig a Pony, 736 SE Grand) You could be a sad sack, moping outside the Prince show, hoping to hear something from the sidewalk. Or you could get yourself some goddamned Pussy Control. DJs Nathan Detroit and Freaky Outty work up a black sweat in the name of the Purple One without necessitating you sell an organ to enjoy it. BOBBY ROBERTS
DR. LONNIE SMITH, NICOLE BERKE
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) This legend of the Hammond B-3 organ has been composing music since he was a young'un in the '50s. His music defies genre—though he is credited for being a father of "acid jazz." Smith's style, above all, is free-flowing and hypnotizing; momentous compositions segue into one another seamlessly, with their steamy energy sustaining them. This is Smith's fourth Soul'd Out; he's become an anchor of the festival as well as one of its indisputable highlights. RACHEL MILBAUER
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