- Portland Tribune - Features
Folkie Ben Taylor, son of James Taylor and Carly Simon, has a bit more of an edge and rasp than Dad and Mom, but definitely inherited their instinct for a well-honed tune. Meanwhile, multi-instrumentalist Katie Herzig's pop, folk and country flavored songs have been all over such shows as 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'One Tree Hill,' and she's gifted with a voice equally at home in a (nice) bar as well as an upscale lounge, not to mention inside your mind after your last breakup. Finally, melodic roots rocker Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, whose granddad is Pete Seeger, is a fine banjo player, guitarist and harmonica player who's recorded in Spanish and English and definitely knows how to get down and dirty from time to time. All in all, if you like your music classy but a bit sassy, this show's for you.
Ben Taylor, Katie Herzig, Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, 9 p.m. Thursday, July 15, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St. $16 advance, $19 day of show. Info: 503-231-WOOD, www.dougfirlounge.com.
Don't cap this well
One of the more interesting things to come out of Idaho in the past two decades, Built to Spill, better known as Doug Martsch and his revolving lineup, sort of sounds like Neil Young's little brother rifling through all his big brother's records looking for inspiration that's just a bit off-center from Neil's. So what Martsch writes winds up being left of left-of-center bringing him almost round to right again. One of indie rock's more important influences, Martsch, however, has never allowed himself to become mired in a hipper-than-thou swamp, but aggressively mixes everything from cheesy pop, progressive rock, jangle guitars, blues musings and Lawd knows what else into his mix. Portland's lyrically sharp melodic alterna-rock veterans, Quasi, who echo early '70s English rock at times, but are as eclectic as any self-respecting indie rocker would want to be, promise to be a perfect sonic compliment to Mr. Martsch.
Built to Spill, Quasi, 9 p.m. Friday, July 16, Wonder Ballroom, 28 N.E. Russell St. $20 advance, $23 day of show. Info: 503-284-8686, www.wonderballroom.com.
Stax of souls
One listen to Portland's The Madison Concrete and you're transported right back to the mid-1960s when such Stax artists as Otis Redding, Sam and Dave and Booker T and the MGs were tearing up the charts. This band ain't afraid to hit you in the gut with rockin' soul music that only a total square would disdain. Meanwhile, another hometown group, The Satin Chaps, sound like the 'Laugh-In' band taking a totally cool break between skits, catchy organ lines cruisin' over groovy beats. Finally, a third homegrown band, garage soulsters Brownish Black remind the listener of the halcyon days of yore when the British invasion Animals absorbed American R and B, then sweat it back out their pores over crazed listeners in the former colonies.
The Madison Concrete, The Satin Chaps, Brownish Black, 9 p.m. Saturday, July 17, Slabtown, 1033 N.W. 16th Ave. $5. Info: 503-223-0099, www.myspace.com/slabtownbar.
Can't you boys play a nice song?
At one time, these bands would have been every parent's nightmare, screaming, wailing and producing bloodthirsty metal-meets-mayhem rock 'n' roll. However, a number of parents these days actually grew up listening to music like this, so these guys might actually, dare we say it - evoke nostalgia for our collective headbanging past? WHICH TOTALLY RAWKS!! Anyway, if you're tired of bands that care about your ears, or, for that matter, your neck muscles, check out Pride Subject, Ditch Digger and White Orange. Monterey, Calif.'s Subject will appeal to the speed freaks, and Portland's Digger will lift the hearts of happy-go-lucky roustabouts while fellow hometown heroes Orange will move the souls of sensitive post-grunge types. However, make no mistake, there will be carnage.
Pride Subject, Ditch Digger, White Orange, 9:30 p.m. Sunday, July 18, Ash St. Saloon, 225 S.W. Ash St. $5. Info: 503-226-0430, www.ashstreetsaloon.com.
Be not afraid
Every young pop singer has to make a decision - hold tongue firmly in cheek and keep an ironic distance from your audience or open your mouth and heart wide and hope the public loves you for your vulnerability. Alex Band chose the latter road, and that has made all the difference for him - not to mention a heckuva lot of bank as well, since he was the platinum-coated frontman for The Calling, which produced such hits as 2001's 'Wherever You Will Go,' the No. 1 adult pop single of the last decade. Some folks love this 'radio ready' ballad rock, others despise it to its very core. No matter where you stand, however, it's clear Band means it, can belt out with the best of them, and would probably make a fairly agreeable son-in-law.
Alex Band, 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 21, Berbati's Pan, 231 S.W. Ankeny St. $15 in advance, $18 day of show. All ages. Info: 503-226-2122, www.berbati.com.