Stand back, or move forward, as almost 200 groups descend on Musicfest Northwest

Slowly but surely, the Musicfest Northwest showcase is emerging as an event of substance.

Rising from the ashes of North by Northwest, the Portland festival Ñ which in its second year features 17 venues and 180 bands Ñ raises funds for First Octave, a program that brings music education to the Portland Public Schools system. Last year, sponsors were able to write a $13,500 check to First Octave.

There also will be a day of music- industry panel discussions and mentoring sessions on topics such as the distribution and marketing of small-label releases.

Though the lineup of bands isn't particularly exotic Ñ most of the artists are veteran Portlanders with a smattering of regional acts Ñ there certainly are some shows worth your time and effort.

Luther Russell

Whether he's whipping through some rockin' folk music by himself or backed by his intrepid band for a set of fables and myths from downtown America, Russell is a sure thing.

9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, Paris Theater

Amoree Lovell

The dynamic Lovell covers a lot of ground while giving her piano a good thrashing. She's probably the finest goth-pop-jazz chanteuse in this or any other neighborhood.

10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, Bitter End


These local rappers Ñ the initials stand for Gangsters on the Move Ñ fashion furious rhymes about dodging bullets and ornery cops while the music mounts into a menacing funk groove. Parental advisory in effect.

10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, Crystal Ballroom

Casey Neill Band

Neill and his hot-picking pals have that high-lonesome sound down, but songs such as 'Once Upon a When' have a comfy, '70s Cali-folk feel that should ease those knots of tension from your scapula just like a tequila sunrise.

11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, Roseland Grill

Q-Burns Abstract Message

It doesn't matter if he's billed as a DJ, producer, engineer or pop star Ñ young Michael Donaldson (aka Q-Burns Abstract Message) is somewhere near the tippy top of the techno-dance music mountain. Even Britney Spears has enlisted his skills in making her product shiny and shakable.

Midnight Friday, Sept. 13, Ash Street


Badger King

The boyfriend-girlfriend duo offers whimsical, left-field hooks and an unstoppable buoyant pop sensibility.

9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, Paris Theater

Wow & Flutter

OK, Wow & Flutter isn't going to rock your socks off, but the band's patient forays into sound and structural dynamics could be a healing balm from all the rock 'n' roll chaos. Consider the band a well-frosted cocktail.

10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, Cobalt Lounge

Richmond Fontaine

As the fest winds down, RF's Willy Vlautin will sing sad songs about hard-luck guys and the women who tolerate them, while the band cranks from lounge tempo to white-lightning fury.

11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, Dante's

The High and the Mighty

If it's a reckless basement-party environment you're looking for, step into the darkness with the High and the Mighty, an anything-goes band of aging punkers who will play just about anything if you yell it out loud enough.

Midnight Saturday, Sept. 14, Satyricon

Watsonville Patio

Mod-rock quartet Watsonville Patio is a fairly recent arrival on the Portland radar screen, but it's making up for lost time. The band is sporting an impressive new EP called 'Faster Please,' and singer Janice Grube has fire, fury and a beguiling presence.

1 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, Fez Ballroom

Oh, by the way É

Local pop-punk outfit Third Man Out is made up of four exuberant lads from four area high schools who would no doubt be thrilled with an appreciative crowd at their show, 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at Meow Meow.

Rubberneckers at the fest may feel a bit of a breeze on Saturday night, Sept. 14. Singer Kaitlyn ni Donovan will need to dash around the block between shows. She has a solo set at Ash Street Saloon at 9 p.m. and then a gig with her cosmo-pop band the High Violets at the Paris Theater at 10.

Contact John Chandler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..