- Portland Tribune - Features
Neo-folk artist Joanna Newsom has been capturing hearts and imaginations while racking up mounds of press and praise for her unique brand of harp-based compositions.
Newsom's material manages to sound utterly timeless - both classical and thoroughly modern - as she channels influences that range from bluegrass and Appalachian folk to Celtic and beyond.
She's traveling with a full backing band this time out in support of her just-released sophomore album, 'Ys,' which was arranged by legendary musician Van Dyke Parks and mixed by experimental maestro Jim O'Rourke.
8 p.m. SUNDAY, Dec. 3, Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave., 503-233-1994, $17.50, all ages
Here's an early holiday present for music lovers. Dick Dale, 'The King of Surf Guitar,' makes his only Oregon appearance on the stage of Music Millennium's Northwest location.
In addition to being a free performance, it's also open to fans from every generation - which is appropriate, since he's bringing his 14-year-old 'guitar prodigy' son along on tour. He's on the road promoting an expanded edition of his legendary 1962 debut, 'Surfers' Choice,' so expect classics like 'Let's Go Trippin' ' and 'Surf Beat.'
6 p.m. SATURDAY, Dec. 2, Music Millennium, 801 N.W. 23rd Ave., 503-248-0163, free, all ages
It's nice to see musicians who have a real connection with their community.
Local country artist Travis Rush's small-town background (he grew up in Gold Beach) seems to have given him more than just fodder for a solid album of songs about the trials and tribulations of everyday living - it instilled a good old-fashioned sense of generosity and interconnectedness.
That sense inspired him to donate a portion of each ticket to tonight's show to throw a holiday party for Oregon's foster kids.
It's his last area performance for the year, so get there early since it's a seated affair.
8 p.m. FRIDAY, Dec. 1, Roseland Theater, 8 N.W. Sixth Ave., 503-224-2038, $12, all ages
Today, P.M. Dawn's exquisite hybridization of musical genres is easy to take for granted. But when they hit the scene in 1990, they were revolutionary.
By deftly blending hip-hop, R and B, rock and even new wave influences (like the Spandau Ballet sample in 'Set Adrift on Memory Bliss'), the duo crafted their own blissed-out version of soul music and helped pioneer a musical demilitarized zone.
They're back in action and in control of their own career, which is good news - the planet can desperately use their boundary-free world and vision of peace, love and understanding.
9:30 p.m. FRIDAY, Dec. 1, Holocene, 1001 S.E. Morrison St., 503-239-7639, $12
You'd be excused for thinking that Wolfmother was an obscure band from the late '60s/early '70s. These Australian rockers breathe new life into the term 'power trio' with an uncanny knack for channeling the heavy riffage of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Blue Cheer and songs with titles like 'White Unicorn' and 'Woman.'
While the results may not be original, they are guaranteed to induce world-class head-banging action and huge grins in audiences everywhere.
9 p.m. SATURDAY, Dec. 2, Roseland Theater, 8 N.W. Sixth Ave., 503-224-2038, $22.50, all ages
Panic! at the Disco
It's hard to believe the members of Panic! at the Disco are as young and green as they are.
Signed on the strength of a demo to Decaydance (the label imprint run by Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz), the band was barely out of high school and had never played a show together at the time.
Contrast that with the confidence and maturity of their 2005 debut, 'A Fever You Can't Sweat Out,' and it's no wonder that this Vegas quartet has been winning over fans young and old since the record came out.
There's an exuberance and originality to their take on emotive punk-pop that's often missing in that genre, not to mention a great sense of adventure.
This is a band you'll be hearing about for quite some time.
7 p.m. FRIDAY, Dec. 1, Memorial Coliseum, 1 Center Court, 503-235-8771, $30, all ages