Janks a lot
Los Angeles roots rockers The Janks sound like a less whiny Neil Young backed by a bluegrass band whose members escaped the mountain country and made their way into the city sometime back. Band members Zack Zmed on vocals, guitar and keys, Garth Herberg on guitar and keys, and Dylan Zmed on vocals, guitar, keys and percussion, would go down well with the indie roots Pickathon crowd and by all accounts put on a compelling show.
Harlowe and The Great North Woods, The Janks, Jo Schornikow, Scott Rudd, 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, Kelly's Olympian, 426 S.W. Washington St. $5. Info: 503-228-3669, www.kellysolympian.com.
From gods' mount to your garage
If you had performed with as many blues legends, from Big Walter Horton to B.B. King, as Portland keyboardist DK Stewart, you would either no longer have a liver, died of secondhand smoke or become one hotshot piano-pounder.
Fortunately for us, it's the third fate that has befallen Stewart (though we've never actually examined his liver) and he's here to release his latest CD 'Live from Olympia.' The boogie woogie king will be backed by former Curtis Salgado Stilettos and Paul deLay Band bassist Dean Muller, longtime deLay guitarist Peter Dammann and drummer Cory Burden as well as the Soul Survivor Horns, featuring British saxophone legend Chris Mercer and all-star trumpeter Joe McCarthy.
DK Stewart Sextet, 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, Duff's Garage, 1635 S.E. Seventh Ave. $10. Info: 503-234-2337, www.duffsgarage.com.
There will be skankage
OK all you ska punksters, this show's for you. Huntington Beach, Calif.'s Reel Big Fish leads the way, still fronted by sole founding member Aaron Barrett, pumping out horn-heavy, slightly metallic ska music designed to make you laugh when you're not sweating your two-tones off. Also in the 'Man-our-lips-are-sore-from-playing-our-horns-really-fast-all-night' school of ska is New Jersey's Streetlight Manifesto, who draw on rock, Latin, klezmer, folk, world, funk, jazz and classical music as well. Up next is Lionize, who like to throw in some pretty heavy rock with their reggae and are a little dreamier than Fish and Manifesto. Finally, indie pop punk rockers Rodeo Ruby Love fills out the bill, ensuring this somewhat eclectic show hits all the right notes with a goodtime crowd.
Reel Big Fish, Streetlight Manifesto, Lionize, Rodeo Ruby Love, 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, Wonder Ballroom, 128 N.E. Russell St. $22 in advance, $25 day of show. All ages. Info: www.wonderballroom.com, 503-493-0371.
Things other than Madonna
Alternative before alternative was mainstream, Dinosaur Jr. combined elements of classic rock, hard rock, folk rock, distortion and melody to create some of the most compelling underground music of the 1980s. They'll be playing their album 'Bug' in its entirety, ironic given that guitarist J. Mascis once called it his least favorite Dinosaur Jr. album. As long as we're on a 1980s kick, let's reunite epic noisy punksters Scratch Acid, complete with wailing vocals, crashing drums and all around mayhem. Meanwhile, as any self-respecting Portland scenester knows, Pierced Arrows includes proto-grungesters and Dead Moon alumni Fred and Toody Cole as well as Kelly Halliburton on drums. The strangest part of this show? Apparently Henry Rollins will interview Dinosaur Jr. on stage. Hopefully, he won't challenge them to a push-ups contest.
Dinosaur Jr., Scratch Acid, Pierced Arrows, Henry Rollins, 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 16, Crystal Ballroom, 332 W. Burnside St. $25 in advance, $30 day of show. All ages. Info: 503-225-0047, www.mcmenamins.com.
Carolina on his mind
Hailing from one of the Carolinas (he won't say which one, maybe a law problem or something), Will West has apparently played with just about every roots musician in Portland and is gifted with a pleasant down-to-earth baritone that floats nicely over his upbeat acoustic guitar-playing roots, folk and country music. He's joined by Tanner Cundy, left-handed guitarist and keys player. The duo offer up relaxing rootsy music designed to make you forget Fareless Square will soon be a thing of the past, not to mention pretty much anything made in America. Besides roots music, of course.
Will West and Tanner Cundy, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 22, White Eagle Saloon, 836 N. Russell St. Free. All ages. Info: 503-282-6810, www.mcmenamins.com.