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Masked men, guilty pleasures
Gregorio El Grande, guitarist for Los Straitjackets, says wearing a Mexican wrestling mask when playing has its advantages. It doesn't get hot 'and my hair has never looked better!'
He also enjoys the anonymity.
'The drunk girl at the front of the stage has no idea who I am after we play.'
Gregorio has temporarily replaced Danny Amis on guitar as he battles cancer, and will join Los Straitjackets, who primarily play too-much-fun-to-be-legal garage-surf rock instrumentals. The band opens for Dave Alvin, formerly of The Blasters, and one of the leading lights in the Americana movement, a master songwriter who combines blues, folk, rhythm 'n' blues, rockabilly, country and garage rock 'n' roll with great lyrics.
Dave Alvin and The Guilty Ones, Los Straitjackets, 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave. $25. 21 and older. Info: www.aladdin-theater.com, 503-234-9694.
This band is cirrus
Dreamy, semi-classical, eco-friendly experimental indie rockers Cloud Cult are one of the warmest, finest acts out there, having creating beautiful, melodic and intelligent - yet not too brainy - sounds since the mid-1990s. Led by singer-songwriter Craig Minowa, the Minnesota group has released eight studio albums, including the recent 'Light Chasers,' which features the catchy, computer-meets-humanity flavored single 'The Exploding People' as well as the shimmering Cure-like 'Running With The Wolves.' For their show here, the group will incorporate film synchronized with their music.
Cloud Cult, 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, Mission Theater, 1624 N.W. Glisan St. $15. 21 and older. Info: 503-223-4547, www.mcmenamins.com.
Salem's Chapters End features Vanessa Powers' alto-soprano voice gliding over ribbons of heavy metal sound provided by Travis Boles and Carsten Kilde on guitars, Sebastian King on bass and Amadeus Morant on drums. It's like hearing a young music teacher leading a group of at-risk teenage boys in an after-school jam designed to keep them out of trouble. Secretly, however, the jam really allows the teacher to let out the ghosts which bedevil her when she's compelled to hear yet another student audition for glee club by singing 'Memory' from 'Cats.'
Chapters End, Taper, 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 S.E. 39th Ave. $8 in advance, $10 day of show. All ages. Info: 503-233-7100, www.hawthornetheater.com.
If you were to discover the aural essence of Sugar, the Ramones, the Replacements, and, oh well, any noisy garagey punky band since 1977, you'd hear a teenager jumping up and down on his or her bed, scaring the family cat into a closet as their headphones fill their ears with blasts of pure rock 'n' roll I'M ALIVENESS! That's the essence of Vancouver, B.C.'s Japandroids, made up of Brian King on guitar and vocals and David Prowse on drums and vocals. Distortion almost never sounded prettier.
Japandroids, Bass Drum of Death, 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, Bunk Bar, 1028 S.E. Water Ave. $10. Info: 503-894-9708, www.bunkbar.com.
He was born in Louisiana's Cajun country, but now calls Portland home, and we're the luckier for it. He's Steve Kerin, who sings a bit like a hungover, raspier Elvis Costello, plays funky, bluesy, rocky piano like Dr. John, Professor Longhair or any of a host of other New Orleans ivory-ticklers. Kerin's resume includes a stint jamming with 'Big Daddy' Harry Hypolite, former guitarist for Zydeco great Clifton Chenier, as well as songwriter David Egan. Kerin will be mating ebony and ivory with his band Atomic Gumbo.
Steve Kerin's Atomic Gumbo, 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2, Duff's Garage, 1635 S.E. Seventh Ave. $7. 21 and older. Info: 503-234-2337, www.duffsgarage.com.