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Friday, March 14, 2014

Tonight in Music: Wildfang One-Year Anniversary, Hillstomp, Spirit Lake & More

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 11:21 AM


WILDFANG ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY: HURRY UP, THE GHOST EASE, DJ HERO WORSHIP
(White Owl Social Club, 1305 SE 8th) Fans of the tomboy look are celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Wildfang juggernaut, but beyond their world of retail are other charms. Specifically, local bands Hurry Up and the Ghost Ease, which the store has cherry picked to do the honors at their b-day bash for girls, boys, and beyond. MARJORIE SKINNER


HILLSTOMP, OTIS HEAT, THE GIT RIGHTS
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) During the decade or so that blues-punk duo Hillstomp have been worshipping at the altar of R.L. Burnside, they've managed to expand very little, despite deft musicianship from Henry Kammerer's skillful gee-tar and John Johnson's trashcan percussion. Their brand-new album, Portland, Ore, might be the moment all that changes. Although the duo still breaks into white lightning nouveau-blues on tunes like "Santa Fe Line," the emphasis is not on the player, but the game, with ear-catching, pensive epics like "The Cuckoo" offering more hallucinatory fare. Kammerer's banjo performance on "Undertow" is a feel-good change of pace in spite of the song's tale of a man's last thoughts before drowning. Kammerer and Johnson are still extremely capable of the bullhorn-vocaled, backporch blues-rock that made them such a formidable talent, and songs like "Henry Oh My Henry" are exemplary. This will not be the least bit boring. RYAN J. PRADO


SPIRIT LAKE, MELVILLE, OLD AGE
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) On their second album, The Biggening, Spirit Lake don't shy away from the oil-slick muscle rock that characterized their earlier stuff—tried-and-tattered, bruised-and-battered biker rock in the vein of Blue Cheer (the strain of acid and the band). But The Biggening might be the Portland band's Led Zeppelin III, as there are some mellower digressions and even a few acoustic guitars here and there. Starting with the peaceful, easy feelin' of "Santa Ana Winds" and continuing through the early-morning comedown of "I Want a Love" and "The Town That I Died In," Spirit Lake lets their bluster blow soft, aiming for gentle ripples rather than whitecaps. The overtly country influences are a good fit for the band, but they're still at their best with bluesy, bong-ready blowouts like the swaggering title track. NED LANNAMANN


CON BRO CHILL
(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) It's Monday morning and I'm watching Con Bro Chill videos, trying to identify all the different pieces of pop-culture detritus floating by. The Portland band's visual aesthetic is part LMFAO's dayglo Spandex style complete with Bedazzled codpieces, part OK Go fake-mustache dance-off, and part Saturday Night Live winky-winky snicker-fest, all garishly maxed out to cover every square inch of your preferred viral-video screen. The music is a mishmash of sugary synthpop, throbbing EDM, and Andrew WK's punch-the-air party-rock. Mix in some Gaga-like fan engagement (Con Bro Chill has its own "Neon Army"), a Kickstarter with an "Awesome Sauce" pledge level, and a pro lacrosse player for a frontman, and you've got Con Bro Chill. It's like the most annoying parts of the internet from 2007 came back to life in musical form. (Postscript: I just visited CBC's Facebook page. Their influences? "'80s dance music, Freddy Mercury, LMFAO, Andrew WK's attitude, Blink 182, OK Go's videos." One thing Con Bro Chill doesn't do is mystery. Also... it's spelled "Freddie.") BEN SALMON


JO DEE MESSINA
(Ponderosa Lounge, 10350 N Vancouver) Though she's hit number one on the country charts and has a couple of platinum albums under her belt, Jo Dee Messina is facing the future without the assistance of any Nashville power players. The Massachusetts native's new album, Me, was funded via Kickstarter and is being released on her own label, Dreambound. It's as good an allegory as you're likely to find for the country music industry's tendency to push aside older established female artists in place of pretty young things. Hopefully, the world will embrace the sass and brass of Messina's latest album, filled as it is with bold proclamations of independence ("I'm Not Dead Yet") and clear-eyed views of modern romance ("Love on a Maybe"). ROBERT HAM


THE PYNNACLES, VACILLATORS
(The Foggy Notion, 3416 N Lombard) Featuring members of Satan's Pilgrims, Big Elf, Paradise, and Crackerbash, the Pynnacles' lineup boasts one of the most stacked résumés in town. Indeed, the entire group has played key roles in Portland's rich music history; I've heard numerous tales of frontman Sean Croghan and the energy of his live performances, with some accounts that would give Bill Brasky a run for his money. Even with all the history surrounding the Pynnacles, the band's ability to mesh together on stage and deliver their authentic, commanding take on classic '60s garage rock took me by surprise when I saw it in person. Tonight's show serves as a benefit for the Peninsula School K-8 Library, giving you all the more reason to pack the Foggy Notion and dance the night away. CHIPP TERWILLIGER


THE PROTONS, KING GHIDORA
(Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash) Following their 7-inch released last year, instrumental space-surf-garage band the Protons have a full-length at the ready, and Out of Phase is an atmospheric cruise on an interstellar wave. There are traditional surf numbers, complete with plenty of watery reverb and tremolo-bar guitar swoops; there are go-go monster mashes and space-cowboy dance parties; and there's even a wonky math-rock extendo-jam ("The Explanatory Gap"). With tunes bearing titles like "Attack of the Cybermen," "My Robot Is Drunk!" and "Be Prepared for a Fantastic Adventure into the Future," it's clear that the Protons' "sci-fried" take on surfy garage rock is out of this world. NL

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