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Live Music!

by: Courtesy of Brian Lee 
There are two opportunities to see metal-grunge-rockers White Orange perform this week, with shows Sept. 17 at Ash St. Saloon and Sept. 18 at Music Millennium.

Sept. 15

Made in organ

One of the coolest ongoing musical projects in town is Filmusik, which pairs live performers with cryptic flicks to create original aural-visual experiences. As part of Filmusik's 'Organ Grinders' series of silent movies, Jazz West Multiverse will perform a score for the 1927 film 'Underworld,' which tells the tale of gangster kingpin Bull Weed who helps his former lawyer kick the bottle. However, things get sticky when our newly sober attorney falls for Weed's main dame. String bassist Jimi Jazz Prescott, a founding member of G Love and Special Sauce, and percussionist James West will be among the performers.

Jazz West Multiverse's 'Underworld,' 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, 4122 N.E. Sandy Blvd. $10. Info: 503-877-4808, www.filmusik.com.

Serpent time

Oooh! Oooh! Reno's Cobra Skulls is coming to town, and if you like your punk rock with lyrics that actually make sense in a world of Social Distortion, show sincere passion and are backed by excellent instrumentation, you must attend this show. 'Doomsday Parade,' the title cut off their latest album 'Bringing the War Home,' with its global unity cry sounds all the more poignant given how far from such a goal you realize humanity is. Yet, taking a page from The Clash and all of Eddie Cochran's other leftwing rock 'n' roll stepchildren, Cobra Skulls refuses to let today's headlines keep them from writing tomorrow's dreams.

Cobra Skulls, Ninjas with Syringes, Lost City, Angry Lions, 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, Backspace, 115 N.W. Fifth Ave. $10. All ages. Info: 503-248-2900, www.backspace.bz.

Sept. 17, 18

Orange you glad they're playing?

Somewhere between Soundgarden and Sabbath lies a field where Portland's White Orange sprouted. Combining metal, grunge, stoner rock and psychedelia, this riff-happy band can surprise the listener, especially when it belts out a tune like 'Middle of the Riddle,' which is almost pop in its sensibility. They like their rock sludgy and primal, and kind of punkish in their approach to chord progressions, but clearly aspire to create thinking man's metal and will celebrate a self-titled album release at this show. Fans of Kyuss, Hawkwind, Smashing Pumpkins and, well, fuzz should enjoy the noises made by Dustin Hill, Ryan McIntire, Dean Carroll and Adam Pike.

White Orange, Ancient Warlocks, Brokaw, 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, Ash St. Saloon, 225 S.W. Ash St. $3. Info: 503-226-0430, ashstreetsaloon.com. 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, Music Millennium, 3158 E. Burnside St. Free. All ages. Info: 503-231-8926, www.musicmillennium.tuneportals.com.

Sept. 21

All the sage

Providence, R.I., indie-hip-hopper Sage Francis eschews sensationalism for seriousness and the dubious notion of 'street cred' for heartfelt reflection. Since the mid-1990s, he's written challenging rhymes questioning everything from the foundations of the American Dream to the goal of his own existence. He's a hero to anyone who knows a self-examined life is the only one worth rapping about. Brooklyn's Metermaids, a hip-hop duo on Francis' label Strange Famous, and emotional hip-hop artist Sadistik, who's collaborated with Portland's Emancipator, share the bill.

Sage Francis, Metermaids, Sadistik, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, Roseland Theater, 8 N.W. Sixth Ave. $18 in advance, $23 at door. All ages. Info: 503-224-8499, www.roselandpdx.com.

Sept. 23

Help them make it through the night

You'd have to be pretty much completely asleep the last few decades or so not to know who Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard are. Kristofferson always looked like a damn pot-smokin' hippie but wrote songs that every mainstream country and rock singer worth his or her salt have tried to cover, from 'Me and Bobby McGee' to 'Sunday Morning Coming Down.' Meanwhile, Haggard has moved from an icon of right-wing America with such songs as 'Okie from Muskogee' to a left-wing darling for such tunes as 'America First' with it's 'let's get out of Iraq' theme. Truth be told, both men simply capture what life is like for most of us who will never have a seat at the powers-that-be table, and that's what makes them both so compelling.

Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 S.W. Broadway. $53.50 and $74.50 in advance, $59 and $80 day of show. Info: www.pcpa.com.