Know direction home
Alan Charing sounds like he'd be more at home in Austin than Portland from what he's offered up on his new album 'Stitch.' Boasting a voice that's just a wee Dylanesque, but with a bit more oomph and melody, Charing has created an intelligent roots rock record that's just shy of what's called Americana these days, more like something Tom Petty has put out as he's gotten older, wiser and more reflective. For the uninitiated, Charing - who got help from members of Richmond Fontaine, UHF, The Winebirds and Laura Gibson's band on this outing - is best known in these parts for his last band A.C. Cotton. Also on the bill, psychedelic pop rockers UHF as well as southern-flavored rockers The HyDrive.
Alan Charing, UHF, The HyDrive, 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 30, Ash St. Saloon, 225 S.W. Ash St. $5. Info: 503-226-043
Africa times two
The Kora Band and Loveness Wesa and The Bantus Band will showcase a variety of styles from Africa on this double bill. The Kora Band, led by Portland pianist Andrew Oliver, blends jazz elements with West African kora, a traditional 21-string harp of the Mandinka people. Meanwhile, Wesa, of Zimbabwe, has performed her original Afro-pop all over the world and sang backup Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited. Clearly, the most danceable show this week.
The Kora Band, Loveness Wesa and the Bantus Band, 9 p.m. Saturday, July 31, The Goodfoot, 2845 S.E. Stark St. $10. Info: 503- 239-9292, www.thegoodfoot.com.
July 30-Aug. 1
No cover, no plugs
The PDX Unplugged Summer Fest 2010 is pretty much impossible to resist for two reasons - it's completely free and it features 100 performers and bands, including, OK, we're out of breath now.
PDX Unplugged Summer Fest 2010, 5 p.m. Friday, July 30; 3 p.m. Saturday, July 31; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 1, Hawthorne Theater, 1507 S.E. 39th Ave. Free, 21 and older. Info: 503-233-7100, www.hawthornetheater.com.
You've heard them on the Showtime series 'Californication'! You've seen them performing in the indie slasher flick 'Punch'! Now you can scoot your boots and down your whisky while they pick, grin, twang and pluck right in front of y'all! Seattle's Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, a.k.a. B.A.R, dress the part, cowboy hats and black outfits, and actually sound pretty good, too. Fans of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and all things Western and wild take note.
Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 5, Berbati's Pan, 231 S.W. Ankeny St. $5. Info: 503-248-4579, www.berbati.com.
Til' the fat lady slams
Portland's The Prids are a tight, do-it-yourself group of sonic youth who echo such post-punk bands as My Bloody Valentine and The Cure, consistently create disciplined, strong songs with a cultic appeal and also put on energetic shows that grab hold of the listeners' ears and don't let go. They'll be joined on stage by San Francisco's Mister Loveless, a romantic indie rock semi-pop band that has a nice knack for understated melody. Kinda gothy, kinda beautiful Magick Daggers is one of the indie scene's more adventurous outfits, combining surreal soundscapes with an old-fashioned sense of vocal stylings, from torch singing to out and out shrieking. They seem like they'd make nice captors should you be caught in their initially foreboding castle.
The Prids, Mister Loveless, Magick Daggers, 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi St. $8. Info: 503-288-389, www.mississippistudios.com.