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by: COURTESY OF CRACKERJACK HIGHWAY, San Francisco’s Crackerjack Highway, touring for a debut self-titled release, will play Mississippi Pizza on March 27.

March 26

Grace under fingers

Portland's David Brothers combines blues, jazz, Latin and classical riffs in his absolutely beautiful acoustic guitar playing. Heck, this cat can even play some yeehaw country music, y'all! The best part of his upcoming homecoming show - free admission. Well, not the best part, but he's a world-class player, so now you've got zero excuse to miss him.

David Brothers, 9 p.m. Friday, March 26, Mock Crest Tavern, 3435 N. Lombard St. Free. Info: 503-283-5014, www.mockcrest.com.

March 27

High-caliber rug-cutters

They've played with everyone under the sun, from Shawn Colvin and Soulive, to Lisa Loeb and Kool and the Gang, and it shows in their eclectic style. Crackerjack Highway is an aggressive, funky, rockin' fusion soul band from San Francisco that could appeal to anyone from aging hippies to hip high schoolers. Playing with the freedom afforded jazz musicians, but not weighed down with the pretensions such musicians sometimes bring to their performance, Crackerjack Highway is playing some intricate stuff but make it all sound easy, the mark of a truly great band. They'll share the stage with folk rockers Andrew Field and Friends.

Crackerjack Highway, Andrew Field and Friends 9 p.m., Saturday, March 27, Mississippi Pub and Pizza, 3552 N. Mississippi Ave. $5. Info: www.mississippipizza.com, 503-288-3231.

Slanted 'n' enchanted

Let's face it, the modern world is a bit of a drag, what with all the wars, earthquakes and shallow celebrities. However, there are some great things about the modern world. Take Portland's The Slants, who combine the energy of punk, the accessibility of pop, the postmodern sound of electronic music and the showmanship of glam to routinely set off fiery musical explosions in high schools, bars, clubs and anime conventions. Now they're about to release 'Pageantry,' the third release by these fiercely proud Asian Americans who have created one of America's best dance bands around. They'll share the stage with edgy power-pop-rockers Kleveland as well as hip-hopper Mic Crenshaw.

The Slants, Kleveland, Mic Crenshaw, 9 p.m. Saturday, March 27, Dante's, 1 S.W. Third Ave. $7 advance, $8 at the door. Info: 503-226-6630, myspace.com/ dantesportland.

March 29

No reason to be scared

They call it 'molten core,' 'dark rock' and 'angular rock,' but whatever it is, New Zealand's hard-driving Kerretta plays it very well, performing musically challenging yet meaty-enough-for-the-head-bangers' anthems and other instrumental pieces. They're sort of a soundtrack for those video games you're not quite sure your kid should be playing, but you nonetheless figure are better for his mind than, say, glue-sniffing or posting questionable comments on MySpace or angry status updates on Facebook. Kerretta brings the pot to boil on stage with Portland's own bombastic organ-harvesting rockers Microtia as well as the space-exploring and eerily compelling hard-yet-soft rockers Minnow.

Microtia, Kerretta, Minnow, 8 p.m. Monday, March 29, Satyricon, 125 N.W. Sixth Ave, $7. All ages. Info: 503-243-2380, myspace.com/satyriconpdx.

April 1

Kim day sung

Jazz at its best is a melodic conversation, and The Tracy Kim Trio definitely knows how to speak the language, its members gracefully exchanging phrases with each other as you the listener are allowed to overhear it all. This rapturous gypsy jazz groups swings, wings and dings the hearer with aurally fragrant chord progressions and gentle yet insistent swing. The trio consists of Tracy Kim on lead guitar, Dax Smith on upright bass, and Joseph Kim on rhythm guitar.

Tracy Kim Trio, 8 to 11 p.m. Thursday, April 1, Andina's Bar Mestizo, 1314 N.W. Glisan St. Free. Info: 503-228-9535, www.andinarestaurant.com.