Here's a show for rock fans who like it smart and sharp, but not so smart that your brain explodes before your body is able to dance. Born in Portland and all growed up in New York City, Paper or Plastic laces its slightly jazz-flavored indie rock (not the twee kind, the RAWK kind) with humor and grace. Meanwhile, New Wave folksters Hutson mix up intelligent pop lyrics with catchy riffs and rootsy chord progressions and go down mostly easy like a bittersweet home brew. Last up is AM Exchange, an eclectic indie rock band that draws on everyone from Carole King and Billy Corgan to Kurt Cobain and Liam Gallagher for inspiration.
Paper or Plastic, Hutson, AM Exchange, 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6, Doug Fir, 830 E. Burnside St. $6. Info: 503-231-WOOD, dougfirlounge.com.
Jan. 7, 8, 9 and 15
This month is heaven for all you bluegrass lovers. First up is The River City Music Festival, featuring more than a dozen bluegrass, acoustic and Americana performers, including The Time Jumpers, Guy Clark, Peter Rowan, Dave Alvin and the Steep Canyon Rangers. The family friendly festival also features jam sessions and workshops.
The Eastside Bluegrass Series concert is always a sure bet for you pickin' 'n' grinnin' types. This month's installment features Patch Road with Athena Patterson and Ira Schroeder, Sophie & Chick, and Fadin' By 9. Each show always starts with an informal jam in the lobby at 5:30 p.m. Yeeeehaw!
River City Music Festival, 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7, through 10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 9, Red Lion On The River, 909 N. Hayden Island Drive. Tickets range from $12 to $130. Info: 503-282-0877, rivercitybluegrass.com.
Twice the Price
For almost a decade now, twin sisters Jenni and Amanda Price have been playing everywhere from festivals to house parties as Acoustic Minds. The harmonizing siblings draw on country, folk, jazz, soul, r 'n' b, funk, reggae, rock and pop to create easy-on-the-ears intelligent music that appeals to the lover, platonic and/or erotic, in its audience's hearts. Along with Josh Lorenzen on bass, Aaron Altemose on piano, and Chris Matthews on drums, the ladies are set to release an 18-song live collection and plan to tour Europe this spring, so catch 'em while they're here at home.
Acoustic Minds, 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8, Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 N.E. Alberta St. Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at the door, tickets for children under 13 are $5. Parent or guardian must accompany minors. Info: 503-719-6055, albertarosetheatre.com.
Vancouver, B.C., band Petunia & The Vipers play rockabilly and western swing flavored with a variety of styles. Don't be fooled by their moniker, by the way, there's no chicks in this outfit. Petunia is a red-blooded Canadian man who yodels and plays kazoo when not strumming his gee-tar. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Ames, who is indeed one boss chick with a nice alto voice, will share the bill with her band the Southern California sounding Countrypolitans, who mix country, rock and pop into clean melodies and addictive tempos.
Petunia & The Vipers, Elizabeth Ames & The Countrypolitans, 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13, Duff's Garage, 1635 S.E. Seventh Ave. Info: 503-234-BEER, duffsgarage.com.
Happy New Year's, again!
In Russia, the Orthodox Church's adherence to the ancient Julian calendar along with use of the Gregorian calendar resulted in people celebrating two New Year's - Jan. 1 and the old one on Jan. 14. You can find out what the rest of Europe lost when it switched calendars as the Russian-Balkan-Gypsy dance band, Chervona, hosts a traditional celebration. The band is completely insane in the best of ways and features vocals, guitars, a horn section, violin and Slavic-punk-meets-traditional-Russian music. Russian folk singer Natasha Hauge and Russian DJ Zhenya will also entertain the crowd. Oh yes, there will be vodka.
Chernova, Natasha Hauge, DJ Zhenya, 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, Secret Society Ballroom, 116 N.E. Russell St. $10. 21 and older. Info: 503-493-3600, thesecretsocietylounge.com.