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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tonight in Music: Secret Drum Band, St. Even, PALS Fundraiser & More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Sun, Jan 12, 2014 at 9:38 AM


HYLAEUS PARTY: THE SECRET DRUM BAND, DUBAIS, MARISA ANDERSON, ALLAN WILSON
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) The collaborative spirit of Portland is embodied in tonight's Secret Drum Band show: Lisa Schonberg (formerly of Explode into Colors) has assembled a new lineup for her percussion ensemble that includes members of Sun Angle and Unwound. They'll perform songs based on Schonberg's new book, created with artist Aidan Koch, about bees. Drums, books, art, bees. Got all that? ALISON HALLETT


MARIA TAYLOR, ST. EVEN, PJ BOND
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Party Damage Records has seen fit to give St. Even's spectacularly great second, self-titled album a widespread digital release, following its super-limited physical issue on Gorbie International (which was accompanied by a harrowing memoir by Alan Hefter, father of Steve Hefter—that's St. Even to you). St. Even was one of the best local releases of 2013, and with Party Damage's re-release, it's poised to be one of the best of 2014, too, with 14 sharp, sturdy, at times ingenious compositions boasting gorgeous arrangements by co-conspirator Jake Kelly. So many of these songs are already unkillable classics in my book: the subtly twisted "A Light Goes on in My Car," the gracious "Home Is Where You Hang Your Head," the curvaceous "Worth the Wading," and the wrenching, album-closing "Forest Fire." If Hefter plays even one of those songs tonight, it's worth going. NED LANNAMANN


PALS FEST FUNDRAISER: FANNO CREEK, TIGER HOUSE, TALKATIVE
(Firkin Tavern, 1937 SE 11th) PALS Clubhouse is a near and dear house venue to local music enthusiasts. It's wedged inconspicuously next to the train tracks in Southeast Portland, with shows curated by musicians and fans alike, who create a genre-bending array of lineups that usually end in early-morning bonfires, dance parties, and fuzzy bike rides home. On top of their gracious open-door policy, the PALS family hosts PALS Fest, a celebration and sampling of some of the best music Portland has to offer. A huge amount of work goes into planning this event, which will be hosted at numerous venues over the course of a week this summer. The fact that these shows are always free is the cherry on the pie, and is all the more reason for you to go out tonight for a good cause—your pals making great music. RACHEL MILBAUER


BEN DARWISH
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) Portland keyboardist/composer Ben Darwish holds down the fort this week at Al's Den, performing nightly with a variety of special guests dropping by (including a secret guest band on Saturday, January 18). One of Portland's most adventurous musicians, Darwish will play jazz, pop, funk, and R&B (sometimes all at once), plus material from his recent multimedia project, The Lonely Night. NL


OREGON SYMPHONY, EMANUEL AX: BACH AND STRAUSS
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) There's a shit-ton of reasons to be stoked about this particular show: Beethoven's Symphony No. 8 on the program; Emanuel Ax at the piano; Carlos Kalmar atop the podium. I could certainly devote all these words to any of those supreme joys, but here's a little secret: It doesn't matter what the fuck is on the program, or who the hell happens to be at the piano, or atop the goddamned podium. Why? Because after witnessing every classical concert the Oregon Symphony's performed the past three seasons, the one constant that can always be counted on is the band itself, in all its 76-piece glory. In this town, where any inked yahoo with a washboard can call himself a "musician" when he's not whipping up a mocha soy latte, it's utterly inspiring to behold these crazy, brave masters of music on the Schnitzer stage, who week in and week out guarantee blown minds and broken hearts. Resolve to start the new year off right by witnessing brilliance for once in your worthless life. ANGRY SYMPHONY GUY


ANDY MCKEE, CRIS LUCAS
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) I have a pretty high tolerance for musical stupidity—Load is (by far) my favorite Metallica album and I am an unabashed (pre-Poodle Hat) Weird Al fan—but I find Andy McKee and all of his Candy Rat Records compatriots completely, unbearably, peerlessly idiotic. First off, I hate that thing that twinkly, "technical" acoustic guitarists do where they tap their fingernails on the body of the instrument and act like this is somehow a viable musical technique. It isn't, and it sounds like shit. Secondly, this is ultimately very cerebral, calculated music masquerading as sensitive and impassioned (song titles include "Drifting," "Ebon Coast," and "Song for My Father"—ew). Lastly is McKee's self-righteous opposition to drugs, and here I quote: "I too have never touched weed, pills, blow, or needles. I'm always insulted when people find that hard to believe. 'How can you write such insane music straight?!?' Frick! Some of us are just creative using only the chemicals already present in our bodies." Pfft! See ya after class, nerd! MORGAN TROPER


THE KNOW'S NINTH ANNIVERSARY: GRAVES AT SEA, HELLSHOCK, THE SIEGE FIRE
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Tonight the Know celebrates its ninth birthday and it's doing it as few others would: with a slate of gnarly, scrawling doom metal. But the point isn't so much the bands, which, in turn, is precisely the point. For nearly a decade, the Know has offered a stage to musicians who don't always have one. That might mean players of caustic punk, metal, and noise, or simply those without fans or credentials—to put it another way: the hungry and/or the awful. (I know. I've been parts of both, and we took that tiny stage.) And if Portland continues its buzzing, quirky growth and indeed wants to maintain its reputation as fertile ground for artists of all stripes, venues like the Know become ever more important (RIP, the Artistery). In a land where gourmet food carts, bullshit sake bars, and new condominium developments sprout overnight, we must keep our eyes—and our hearts—on the stalwarts of the ground floor: the places bands go to learn something, to play for no one. Where the beer is cheap and the soundman nonexistent. Where mettle is tested without the help of a hip, new, shiny veneer. A place, for good or ill—but always without prejudice—to just get down to it. Even if that shitty next-door neighbor with the over-sensitive ears makes sure things end early. Cheers to the Know, and here's to 99 more. ANDREW R TONRY

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