Rooney uses catchy vocal hooks, simple direct harmonies and the chunky yet melodic guitar riffs that have always marked the best power pop. Also on stage is Black Gold, who definitely have the gift for the gorgeous rock-flavored melody, as evidenced by their hit anthem 'Shine,' sort of Coldplay meets The Four Seasons. Rounding out this 'Best of the Highly Accessible' evening is The Young Veins, who sound a little like the Monkees had they been snatched off the TV set back in 1966 and dropped in the middle of a high school dance now. It's unclear how three such clearly joyous, tuneful young rock 'n' roll outfits could exist in this depressing war-torn, oil-slicked era, but you'll be secretly glad they do.
Rooney, Black Gold, The Young Veins, 9 p.m. Thursday, June 24, Wonder Ballroom, 128 N.E. Russell St. $14 in advance, $15 day of show. Info: 503-284-8686, wonderballroom.com.
One of Portland's longest running modern rock acts, Floater definitely plays all the way to the back of the room, its power trio sound combining hard rock, psychedelia, reggae, pop, a touch of funk, punk and metal, and even a little jazz. Lead vocalist and bassist/keyboardist Robert Wynia, drummer Peter Cornett and guitarist David Amador have released their latest 12-song CD 'Wake' and will share the stage with hard-driving rockers Kleveland fronted by the wonderfully insane Stephanie Smith.
Floater, Kleveland, 9 p.m. Friday, June 25, Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside. $16 in advance, $18 day of show. All ages. Info: 503-225-0047, www.mcmenamins.com.
Another Portland trio, Western Aerial plays stripped down rock 'n' roll akin to such groups as AC/DC, Foo Fighters and Jet, with a bit of punk and metal attitude thrown into the mix. Like the smartest barroom rockers, Geoff Metts on vocals/guitar, Jimmy Richards on bass/vocals, and Anthony Tripp on drums keep it simple, letting the vocals take front and center over crunchy guitar riffs and floor-tom happy drums. It's workingman's rock, kind of like Billy Squire if he didn't sound like he was auditioning for Queen. You can get all you need off their latest CD 'Try to Keep Up.'
Western Aerial, Marv Ellis, Merrill and DJ Sexarkana, 8 p.m. Saturday, June 26, Dante's, 1 S.W. Third Ave. $10. Info: (503) 226-6630, myspace.com/dantesportland.
Cleaning out his closet
Progressive rapper Chris Palko, better known as Cage, has earned a massive following over the last decade by clearly enunciating his pain over finely honed backing tracks that eschew clutter for clarity. It's helped him lyrically that his family life wasn't exactly hunky-dory, and that he had his fair share of cop run-ins, as well as being a test case for Prozac. You know, the usual path to musical fame and fortune. Also on stage is Portland's own indie hip hopper Serge Severe, a downright soulful cat, as well as guttural hardcore band Hate Your Guts. An added bonus is Gen.Erik of Portland's Animal Farm, a solid, engaging hip hop outfit that knows how to bring it live, as well as indie hip hop artist Timmy Wiggins.
Cage, Serge Severe, Hate Your Guts, Gen.Erik, Timmy Wiggins, 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 29, Hawthorne Theatre (lounge), 1507 S.E. 39th Ave. $12 advance, $14 day of show. 21 and over. Info: 503-233-7100, hawthornetheater.com.
The heat is on
One of the nation's best bands ever, New Orleans' The Radiators remind you of why it's great to be an American in the first place - few countries have produced such diverse and irresistible party music. Since 1978, The Radiators have played rock, blues, country, rockabilly, and everything in between, swampy and hard driving at the same time. Fans of Little Feat, the Allman Brothers, and hell, every halfway decent bar band in the world, will pretty much be there. Portland's own swampy bluesy rockers Otis Heat open.
The Radiators, Otis Heat, 9 p.m. Thursday, July 1, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St. $18 in advance, $20 day of show. Info: 503-231-WOOD, dougfirlounge.com.