Somewhat easy listening
If Cyndi Lauper hadn't acted so ditzy and Ani DiFranco joked a lot more, either woman might've been Autry, a Portland punk-meets-the Roaring '20s singer-songwriter who's so clearly out of her mind she just might be the sanest of us all. Not to mention she's got a heckuva set of pipes and could hold her own against a lot of blues shouters if she so chose.
Autry is one of three compelling acts to take the stage at Ash St. Saloon. Indie Rock trio Donovan Breakwater play driving semi-pop tunes marked by studied vocal diction and in-your-heart guitar. Meanwhile, the incredibly creative Wall Hits, who combine comedy, music and animation, are apparently bidding farewell at this show! Great guys, what's the problem, is the claymation-set-to-live-rock field, like, too crowded?
Autry, Donovan Breakwater, The Wall Hits, 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7, Ash St. Saloon, 225 S.W. Ash St. $5. Info: 503-226-0430, www.ashstreetsaloon.com, myspace.com/autrysmusic, my space.com/donovanbreak water, myspace.com/thewall hits.
Jan. 8, 9
English as a third language
A rainy evening in Portland rarely brings thoughts of sunny South America to mind. But it's possible to escape the perpetual rain of our winters here, if only in your imagination, by listening to Sambafeat, a Portland group whose repertoire spans from 1960s Brazilian bossa nova to reworked Latin American standards, incorporating jazz and modern music as well.
Meanwhile, Toshi Onizuka, a Japan native and Beaverton resident, plays flamenco-flavored jazz-fusion music. He's a percussionist in his heart - part of his sound is made on the surface of his guitar - who loves the emotional and rhythmic appeal of flamenco. Onizuka calls it 'flamenco-prov,' noting he uses a pick, which might deter some fans of traditional flamenco, but probably only make his sound more attractive to the rest of us.
Sambafeat, 8-11 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8; Toshi Onizuka, 8-11 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, Andina's Bar Mestizo, 1314 N.W. Glisan St. Free. Info: www.andinarestaurant.com, 503-228-9535, www.sambafeat.com, www.toshionizuka.com.
Rum Rebellion play a rough, rowdy mix of Irish, punk and folk and use acoustic and electric instruments. And they're named for a briefly successful takeover of Australia's government in 1808. OK, we're definitely interested. What about Hammered Grunts? Thrash punkers who definitely would have been shooting both the Rum Rebels as well as the Australian government troops in the midst of battle. How about manic thrashmen Puke • Rally? Well they've written an anthem called 'White Trash Amerikkka' sarcastically calling on members of said nation to 'unite, unite.' Why - because our beleaguered Australian neighbors need you? No, because the melodic, yet growling punksters The 86ers are threatening to end the whole bloody rebellion in an explosion of overdriven guitar bombs and vocal missiles!
Helping mess things up even further will be Seattle punksters Dreadful Children, who sound a wee bit like Queen guitarist Brian May if he had played skater punk riffs in one of those high school rebellion B-movies that crop up from time to time.
Rum Rebellion, Hammered Grunts, Puke • Rally, The 86ers, Dreadful Children, 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, Satyricon, 125 N.W. Sixth Ave. $7. All ages. Info: myspace.com/satyriconpdx, myspace.com/pdxrumrebellion, myspace.com/hammeredgruntsnew, myspace.com/pukenrallysucks, myspace.com/thereal86ers, myspace.com/dreadfulchildren.
Dreamers 'n' screamers
Born in Middle America but calling Portland home for sometime now, Quixotic is one of the more talented live hip hop bands in town, throwing everything from blues and Latin to rock and classical influences at you as Nate Larsen speaks the truth as he sees it. Bastard Patriots, to put it lightly, don't like the current states of education, incarceration, foreign occupations and a host of other societal ills. Lead wordsmith Jon the Baptist, much like the prophet for whom he's named, is not afraid to stick his metaphorical neck out verbally.
Quixotic, Bastard Patriots, 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, Slabtown, 1033 N.W. 16th Ave. $6 advance. Info: 503-223-0099, www.slabtownbar.net, myspace.com/quixoticgrooves, myspace.com/bastardpatriots.