Ono? Oh yes!
Along with his model girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl, Sean Ono Lennon (son of John and Yoko) has been forging his own sound in The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. To his credit, Lennon, who sounds a wee bit like his dad, but not to the extent his half-brother Julian does, is not afraid to push the boundaries of his folk-inflected music, as evidenced by the whimsical and word-playful 'Acoustic Sessions,' an album he and Muhl recorded in their New York City apartment. The couple fit well together, actually, given they both have easy-on-the-ear voices that would please fans of Simon and Garfunkel, not to mention Cat Stevens and Sinead O'Connor.
The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, Laura Gibson, 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28, The Woods, 6637 Milwaukie Ave. $15. Info: 503-890-0408, thewoodsportland.com.
They got all growed up in windy Chicago, but Riviera has relocated to rainy Portland where their Americana folk rock is just what the doctor ordered whenever our various rivers overflow. The band features Derek Phillips on guitar, vocals, harmonica and piano; Mick Radichel on guitar and vocals; Jeff Porter on pedal steel, dobro, mandolin and guitar; Robert Finn on bass; and Paul DeMichele on drums. Riviera plows in the same fields cut by Wilco, the Jayhawks and other y'all-ternative types, and boasts a rich, full sound that will ease your mind even as she tells you it's not you, it's her.
Riviera, Lloyd Mitchel Canyon, Jeff Porter, 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28, Alberta Street Public House, 1036 N.E. Alberta Street, Info: 503-284-7665, myspace.com/albertastreetpub.
Feb. 2, 9
Hang on a minute
Portland's Bre Gregg has called Montana and New York home, but her heart wanders everywhere, encompassing the worlds of jazz and blues, not to mention classical music. Gifted with a not-too-thick, not-too-thin alto, she truly uses her voice like an instrument, something a lot of singers claim to do but few do with complete control. Listening to her is like hearing a classy horn player who realizes it's not what you're saying but how you say it that makes people really want to put down their salad forks and listen.
Bre Gregg, 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2 and Feb. 9, Heathman Restaurant & Bar, 1001 S.W. Broadway. Free. Info: 503-790-7752, heathmanrestaurantandbar.com.
Meat Beat Manifesto has influenced every electronica act that has ever chewed on its Nine Inch Nails, and is still pumping out its throbbing dance tracks and leftist political stances more than two decades in the business. Fronted by Jack Dangers, the Brit-born group has put out a dozen albums exploring the sonic possibilities of synth-rap, hip-hop, industrial, jazz fusion and dub.
Meat Beat Manifesto, Not Breathing, Natasha Kemeto, 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, Peter's Room Under Roseland Theater, 8 N.W. Sixth Ave. $17 in advance, $20 day of show. 21 and over. Info: 503-221-0288.
Feb. 4, 5, 6
One of the best things about living in Portland is the annual Bender, which features six gazillion rock 'n' roll bands that play everything from punk to pop, garage to roots, old school to New Wave and back again. This year's lineup includes The Paul Collins Beat and Pure Country Gold on Feb. 4; Pat Todd & the Rankoutsiders, Liquorball and Hank IV on Feb. 5; and Holly Golightly, The Courtney Crusher Band and The Night Beats on Feb. 6. There's also free rock 'n' roll matinee shows on weekend day afternoons, so even if you're broke, you can still cut the rug to some of city's rawest, rockingest sounds. This show is exactly what we're fighting for in Afghanistan, according to the Taliban who reportedly hate music, not to mention kite-flying.
Bender, 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 4, Saturday, Feb. 5, and Sunday, Feb. 6. Free matinee shows 1 p.m. Saturday, Sunday. Slabtown, 1033 N.W. 16th Ave. Admission to evening shows is $14 each night; $30 wristbands allow access to all shows. Info: slabtownbar.net, 503-223-0099.