MÖTLEY CRÜE, ALICE COOPER
(Sleep Country Amphitheater, 17200 NE Delfel, Ridgefield, WA) There is absolutely no denying the fact that Alice Cooper's heyday is long-since past. And now that Mr. Vincent Damon Furnier is a graying, golfing, sports-bar-and-grill-owning, born-again Christian residing in the retirement community of Phoenix, Arizona, his godfather-of-shock-rock title and twisted, vaudevillian live act may be tough to get behind. Yet despite all the missteps of his career, and the lifestyle he has adopted in his twilight years, there is one blaring fact: Alice Cooper is 66 years old, and has been producing music for nearly half a century. And he's still at it. Show me one act that's been able to keep its musical output from becoming a watered-down shadow of their former genius, and I will show you a map to the fountain of youth. ARIS WALES Also, read our article on Mötley Crüe.
CLASS M PLANETS
(LaurelThirst Public House, 2958 NE Glisan) Deerpath, the new vinyl album from Class M Planets, comes in a formidable package: a full-color gatefold with sumptuous storybook artwork by Cary Porter, evoking the work of British artist Peter Cross (who illustrated Trouble for Trumpets and did the wonderful cover art for all those Anthony Phillips solo albums). The actual music contained within is substantially more modest. Class M Planets—the "tweak folk" project of songwriter Adam Goldman, who's also launching his (hopefully ironically named) Totallypunk label with the release—sounds like murmuring, introspective, acoustic sketches whose charms are located in their low-key, homespun qualities. It's a welcome counterpart to Goldman's other band, Thebrotheregg, whose prog/psych/pop hybrid has long been a Portland mainstay. NED LANNAMANN
ANDREW JACKSON JIHAD, HARD GIRLS, DOGBRETH
(Alhambra Theatre, 4811 SE Hawthorne) Folk-punk duo Andrew Jackson Jihad returns to Portland on the heels of a new record entitled Christmas Island, and predictably, it's great. The group's signature John Darnielle/They Might Be Giants-hybrid songwriting style is pretty much intact from 2011's acclaimed Knife Man, but Christmas Island marks a decided sonic difference: The prissy, crystalline production values that adorned even the more rambunctious cuts on Knife Man have been exchanged for a welcome, underlying scuzziness reminiscent of Elephant 6 bands like the Olivia Tremor Control or classic-era Elf Power. Most importantly, AJJ resident lyricist Sean Bonnette still has a knack for penning evocative and nerdy surrealisms like: "I saw the Children of God as they walked on slovenly by/The USB ports in their arms are bleeding." They're joined by California band Hard Girls, whose latest album A Thousand Surfaces, released on Asian Man Records back in June, is one of the best melodic punk records of the year so far. Particularly good is opening cut "The Quark," which embodies everything great about the so-called "'90s revival" in just under three minutes of tempestuous, tightly-wound, fist-pumping glory. MORGAN TROPER
ALVARIUS B, THE WHITE SHARK
(Turn! Turn! Turn!, 8 NE Killingsworth) Like his younger brother Richard, Alan Bishop's musical career has taken a thrilling number of twist and turns. The brothers Bishop first came to the world's attention via their work in Sun City Girls, a group that spent more than 25 years daring listeners to keep up with their attempts to rewrite the code of jazz, rock, and world music. After the trio came to a quiet end with the passing of drummer Charles Gocher in 2007, Alan Bishop put his attention toward capturing the sounds of Asian, African, and South American artists via his label Sublime Frequencies, and recording acid-tongued blues and folk under the name Alvarius B. His most recent effort, If You Don't Like It... Don't!—a Record Store Day release in collaboration with Richard—crystallizes his approach, with steely, slashing acoustic guitar work that feels almost threatening in its power and fury. ROBERT HAM
MAN OR ASTRO-MAN?, WE MISS THE EARTH, WRAY
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) When Man or Astro-man? sparked back to life in 2010, it was unclear where the sci-fi/surf-rock band's latest mission would take them. Hailing from Auburn, Alabama, the group was as prolific as anyone throughout the '90s, a period which saw them release 10 albums and use their Devo-meets-the Trashmen blend of weirdo rock to transform stages into launch pads on a near nightly basis. Aside from an appearance at the Touch and Go Records 25th-anniversary show in 2006, contact with the band went dark at the beginning of the 21st century. Just getting to see the crew break out their trademark space suits, flaming theremins, and giant Tesla coil one last time would have been fantastic enough, but the band's second journey shows no sign of stopping. Tonight, Man or Astroman?'s rock-solid 2013 return transmission, Defcon 5...4...3...2...1, paves the way for the group's latest touchdown in Portland. CHIPP TERWILLIGER
SPELLCASTER, NIGHT DEMON, IRON KINGDOM
(The Lovecraft, 421 SE Grand) It's a marvelous thing to watch the talent and fire of youth evolve into legit professionalism. For a band that started out in their teens, Portland's Spellcaster now storm stages and write tunes like seasoned veterans. Their recent self-released, self-titled full-length is brimming with well-crafted slabs of heavy-metal magic. Each track is chock full of chill-inducing guitar harmonies, soaring vibrato-laden vocals, and tight, fist-pumping rhythms that define powerful. Spellcaster have proven they are no longer a green heavy-metal act with grand musical aspirations. They are now a steely force that will no doubt reach international heights within the next three years. Mark my words. AW
CLINTON STREET FAIR: THE BUILDERS AND THE BUTCHERS, PARADISE, EYELIDS, BLESST CHEST, DJ MAXX BASS
(SE Clinton & 26th) One of Southeast Portland's favorite haunts is the Division/Clinton neighborhood, who really know how to party! For proof, check out the Division/Clinton Street Fair, which not only boasts a parade, yummy chow, vendors, and a beer garden, but also awesome music provided by Paradise, Eyelids, Blesst Chest, and (woot!) the Builders and the Butchers. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY
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