Unlike, say, a certain rapper from Detroit whose name reminds one of a popular chocolate candy, Oakland's MC Larsembraces the fact he looks like he could've been a drama club student in some white-bred suburban high school. And that's his strength - since he's not a gangsta or even a gangsta poseur, his raps, which address everything from the 'iGeneration' to nostalgia for the ska-punk scene of the 1990s, come off as joyful embraces of life lived by a funny wiseguy who loves hip-hop but is pretty sure he won't ever be profiled in the pages of The Source.
MC Lars, mc chris, Mega Ran, Adam WarRock, 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, Hawthorne Theater, 3862 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd. $13 in advance, $15 day of show. 21 and older. Info: 503-233-7100, www.hawthornetheater.com.
Multi-instrumentalist Charlotte Formichella's and singer-guitarist Lynn Scharf are Driftwood Fire, on tour to promote their debut album 'How To Untangle A Heartache.' The folksy balladeers combine country, blues, pop and rock in songs that cover such topics as Shakespeare, the Civil War and the 'salty sea.' Scharf has a nice, understated approach to her singing that invites listeners in rather than overwhelms them, and Formichella is a competent accompanist.
Driftwood Fire, Ladytown, 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N. Mississippi Ave. Info: 503-288-3231, www.mississippipizza.com.
OK, so this gig's a little out of the way for you Portlanders, but the station it benefits, KZME, is well worth the drive. Go to KZME's website and you'll see all kinds of local bands, from White Orange to Priory, being promoted by the noncommercial radio station, which also supports local arts and culture. Americana trio The Lansings and the funky New Orleans sounding Transcendental Brass Band will be filling the bar with sound, so fill KZME's coffers and keep alive local friendly radio.
KZME fundraiser, 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, Skyway Bar and Grill, 71545 E. Highway 26, Zig Zag. $5 donation. Info: 503-667-8848, ext. 335, www.kzme.fm.
Sing along now
The Vacant Lots sound like a cross between the Stone Roses, Bo Diddley, the Stooges and every moment you've spent during a band's third set when they turn the tremolo and reverb to the max and get spacey while you stop worrying about whether that's a cell phone buzzing in your pocket or you're just having a good time. Hailing from Burlington, Vt., this Velvet Undergroundish duo consists of singer-guitarist Jared Artaud and minimalist drummer Frank Zammiello. They like poetry, droning, film projections and hypnotic sounds and would probably make an excellent noise in your head the next time you're pretending to intently listen to your boss or significant other.
The Vacant Lots, Tomorrow's Tulips, The Shivas, 9 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi Ave. $8 in advance, $10 at the door. Info: 503-288-3895, www.mississippistudios.com
Just plain folks
The last time England's folksy, bluesy Gomez made their way here, they played an almost flawless show, seamlessly moving from one gorgeous pop melody to another, putting on an upbeat act that was both low-key in approach but intense in feeling. They're a throwback to a time when rock 'n' roll bands were all about emotion as opposed to being cool, but they've got just enough alternative feel to keep them from being categorized as retro. For their Greg Allman-like single 'See the World' or the bouncy 'Airstream Driver,' they should be immortalized in the feel-good rock 'n' roll hall of fame. However, with the release of this year's lush 'Whatever's On Your Mind' it's clear they're not resting on their hemp fabric laurels and are set on building an audience for years to come.
Gomez, Kopecky Family Band, Greylag, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, Wonder Ballroom, 128 N.E. Russell St. $20 in advance, $22 day of show. Info: 503-284-8686, www.wonderballroom.com.