This Week in the Mercury


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tonight in Music: Sunday Sesh Fest, The Lumineers/Dr. Dog, Islands

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Sun, Sep 22, 2013 at 10:07 AM


SUNDAY SESH FEST: MINDEN, GRAPEFRUIT, NO KIND OF RIDER
(Rontoms, 600 E Burnside) Rontoms' delightful patio is one of Portland's best-loved places to spend a warm evening. And the bar's free Sunday Sessions are probably the best live music deals in town. Tonight's stacked Sunday Sesh Fest is the last outdoor patio show of the year—and stick around for the super secret guests. DIRK VANDERHART


THE LUMINEERS, DR. DOG, NATHANIEL RATELIFF
(Memorial Coliseum, 300 N Winning Way) In little over a year, the Lumineers have gone from wide-eyed, hard-working, smiley-strummy blog darlings to being simply everywhere. You've seen them on TV; you've joked about their name around the office; you've overheard "Ho Hey" leaking from the SUV stuck next to you in traffic. This is where I'm supposed to tell you that the Colorado folkers are hackneyed and trite, that all banjos signify artistic death, that their self-titled debut album is a beached whale in the vast ocean of cool underground snob-rock. Well, fuck that. This paper said nice things about the Lumineers before they got big, and there's no reason we're gonna change our tune now that they're headlining arenas. Plus, you get Philly's Dr. Dog in the bargain, who are perched on top of another fine album, B-Room (out October 1). If anybody's up to the challenge of making the enormous glass-and-concrete prison of Memorial Coliseum sound halfway decent, it's these guys. NED LANNAMANN


ISLANDS, BEAR MOUNTAIN
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) No matter what he does, Islands' frontman/principal songwriter Nick Thorburn will likely always have his output unfairly held up against the 2003 demented indie-pop classic he made with the Unicorns, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? And while it may be impossible to equal the freewheeling lo-fi weirdness of that album, his work with Islands is a slicker, more polished, and more mature-sounding take on the Unicorns' quirky formula—one that still contains much underlying lyrical angst and emotion. Islands' just-released latest album, Ski Mask, is deceptively bright and shimmery in some parts—see lead single "Becoming the Gunship"—but at its core it's "a record about being angry." The beautifully dark balance struck here sounds like exactly what Islands have been striving for since their 2006 album, Return to the Sea. MIKE RAMOS

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