Travis Greenwood

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    Silver Jews Celebrate Rosh Hashana in Portland

    A notorious hermit, lyrical jester, and reluctant performer, Silver Jews frontman David Berman seemed quite relaxed and confident onstage last night at Portland's historic Wonder Ballroom, sporting a casual get-up of a simple blue tee, denim blue jeans, square spectacles, and an oversized belt buckle that appropriately read, "Joos." Before a raucous and enthusiastic audience of indie diehards, Berman captained his backing band (composed of four members, including his wife Cassie on bass) through an hour-long set that drew equally from all periods of the band's extended discography. But, as many have noted, you don't really listen to the music with the Jews -- it's all about the words. Bent, spun, punned, and transformed into metaphors, Berman's lyrics are truly cryptic. The band kicked off their show shortly after 10:30 P.M.

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    A Place to Bury Strangers Invade Portland

    Like a menacing wave, Brooklyn noisemakers A Place to Bury Strangers washed into Portland's Doug Fir Lounge Saturday night and won over a small but devoted audience of goths and post-punkers with an impressive combination of mangled, industrial-grade sounds and visually arresting, black-and-white video clips projected against the club's backdrop. Taking the stage shortly after 11:00 P.M., lead Stranger Oliver Ackermann offered words of praise for the evening's opening act, Portland's own goth-pop outfit the Prids. From there, APTBS finessed their way through a pair of early cuts before finding stride in "To Fix the Gash in Your Head," an ear-rattling joint culled -- as much of the set was -- from the group's 2007 eponymous debut.

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    A Wild Weekend at Portland's Music Fest NW

    Friday: Built to Spill (The Wonder Ballroom)Portland has a special affection for Built to Spill (and vice versa), so it's no surprise the group's performance drew a crowd that extended down the block. Playing their jammy 1997 classic Perfect From Now On in its entirely, the beefed-up Boise-based outfit featured six members, twice the lineup from a decade ago when the album was recorded. Captained by ringleader Doug Martsch, this crack team played spot-on, nostalgia-inducing renditions of their most emotionally moving songs. And the enthusiastic audience repeatedly serenaded their heroes with extended ovations almost as long as some of Martsch's epic guitar solos.

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    Old 97's Rock SPIN's Music Fest NW Kick-Off Party

    "We want to thank SPIN. We've been on the cover six times, but we've never been part of a showcase," joshed Adam Selzer, lead singer/guitarist for Portland's Norfolk & Western. The Hush Records-affiliated quintet -- reduced to a four-piece due to a viola mishap earlier in the week -- came out roaring last night before an adoring crowd at SPIN's Music Fest NW kick-off party at the sweltering Berbati's Pan, a popular restaurant-cum-nightclub located in the heart of downtown. Alternating between pretty, radio-friendly pop songs and contemplative, mid-tempo ballads, Selzer and company ratcheted up the rock factor, a decision lapped up by an at-capacity audience eager for more. Up next was Langhorne Slim, a folksy trio that cribs heavily from the No Depression playbook.

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    Portland's Rock Elite Attend Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks' 'Gardenia' Video Premiere

    Portland, OR's indie rock upper crust -- including members of Spoon, Sleater-Kinney, the Thermals, Quasi, and many more -- packed the air-conditioned confines of Valentine's Saturday night (Aug. 16), swilling drinks and boogying at the downtown haunt frequented by the city's creative underclass. The occasion? None other than the world premiere of the video for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks' "Gardenia," a number off the band's most recent long-player, Real Emotional Trash. DJ Magic Beans, or Maggie Vail of now-defunct riot-girl punkers the Bangs, got the festivities underway, streaming through three decades of soul, dub, punk, and post-punk vinyl, before eventually giving way to the video's director, Daniel Woods, a.k.a. Dantronix.

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    Liars: No Pain, No Gain

    "I really appreciate you guys being here. It's an honor to play for you," Liars' towering lead singer Angus Andrew generously remarked last night (Jan. 28) at Portland's historic Wonder Ballroom. Clad in a tan thrift-store suit, the Aussie-born frontman -- who has previously garnered some well-deserved notoriety for his intense, wild-child stage persona and imposing bird-like figure -- was somewhat hampered by a recent bout of back spasms, thus confined to a plush velvet chair for much of the group's hour-long performance. But as the band rummaged through new Liars tunes like "Cycle Time," "Plaster Casts of Everything" and the aptly titled fan fave "Freak Out," which blended electro-acoustic elements, gloomy atmospherics, tribal beats, zombie chants, and gauzy, droning interludes to good effect, Andrew didn't sit idle for too long.

  • Chase Pagan Pursues the Rock'n'Roll Muse

    Far from his native Arkansas, the shaggy, bearded balladeer Chase Pagan won over a small but appreciative cross-section of Portland indie kids -- skaters and strippers, bartenders and baristas -- during an impassioned, if rather succinct, 30-minute set at Portland's cavernous Hawthorne Theater last evening (Sept. 24). Composed largely of tracks drawn from his forthcoming debut long-player, the arch and faintly vaudevillian Oh, Musica!, the show was highlighted by a pair of mid-tempo numbers, "Waltzing in the Sky" and "Push My Buttons," that deftly showcased Pagan's flair for the dramatic and prodigious musical talents. By the end of his mini performance, it was evident that Pagan is a study in contrasts, his dueling personas occupying two sides of the same coin.

  • Au Revoir Simone's 'Bird of Music' Takes Flight

    "We're so excited to be here," proclaimed Annie Hart, vocalist and keyboardist for the Brooklyn-based pop rockers Au Revoir Simone, early in her group's set at Holocene last evening (Aug. 23), Portland's premiere nightclub for all things indie and electro. The audience, an enthusiastic and stylish mix of music nerds and sweater-clad coolies, immediately returned the affection with a sustained roar of drunken and not-so-drunken approval.

  • Eisley: The Family That Plays Together, Stays Together

    "We're kinda nervous. We've never done an acoustic tour, not that we're supposed to tell you that," remarked Chauntelle DuPree, guitarist for the unswervingly polite and sweet-as-pie pop-rock quintet Eisley. The Texas-based sibling act (three sisters, one brother, and a cousin for good measure) descended on Portland's historic Wonder Ballroom last night (July 24), the second show in a series of intimate and strictly acoustic performances that will take the band up and down the West Coast before turning east towards NYC and points beyond.

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