With the exception of U2, few bands have been able to sustain the continued level of success or push themselves artistically the way Pearl Jam has. The band has a connection with its fans that is downright enviable, and if early tracks from the new album, 'Backspace,' are any indication, it's an immediately catching and impressive addition to the band's canon. More impressive is the band's dedication to delivering a compelling and constantly shifting live show - there's a reason they have a loyal traveling following that is starting to rival the Grateful Dead's.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, Amphitheater At Clark County, 17200 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield, Wash., 360-816-7000, $29.50 - $66, all ages
Alice In Chains
Under most circumstances, resurrecting or continuing your band after your distinctive lead singer has passed away would be a very bad idea. Fortunately, members of the reanimated Alice In Chains not only don't embarrass themselves, they invite congratulations. With the addition of William DuVall, this veteran band proves it is a still potent force to be reckoned with. In fact, the band's recent appearance with Nine Inch Nails on the Soundwave Festival seemed like a reclamation of the king of hard rock royalty. Its dexterity mixing brutal hard rock with intimate acoustic moments is hard to surpass. Its new album, 'Black Gives Way To Blue,' will be released at the end of the month and is definitely worth checking out.
8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, Roseland Theater, 10 N.W. Sixth Ave., 503-224-2038, $25, all ages
Average White Band
The Aladdin Theater may be a seated venue, but odds are good that there's going to be plenty of dancing for the Average White Band. These veterans have been delighting and inspiring crowds for decades with their extremely popular take on funky soul. They may bill themselves as the Average White Band, but millions of people would disagree with that adjective - as will the folks who attend the Sept. 30 groove-fest.
8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie St., 503-234-9694, $25, minors accompanied by a parent
Works Progress Administration (W.A.P.)
Each of the members of Works Progress Administration (W.A.P.) would be worth seeing on their own - the core of the band is Toad The Wet Sprocket singer Glen Phillips, Nickel Creek's Sean Watkins, and Lyle Lovett alumni Luke Bulla. They're joined on the road by Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker's legendary Benmont Tench and ex-Soul Coughing bassist extraordinaire Sebastian Steinberg. Founded on a sense of musical community and camaraderie, the music is tasteful and immediate; a perfect blend of pop and Americana seasoned with just the right bit of twang.
9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St., 503-231-9663, $20
Former Sunset Valley frontman Herman Jolly has resurfaced in a new, Seattle-based combo, Little Pieces. The band - a continuation of Jolly's eccentric-but-accessible pop aesthetic - is celebrating the release of a great new EP, the appropriately strange titled 'Vampires Fill Their Waterbeds With Blood.' Jolly's got a knack for always assembling the right cast of characters to fill out his whimsically grounded flights of folly. The new band and EP is just the right blend of hooks, muscle and out-there imagination.
9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi Ave., 503-288-3895, $8
Every band has some good stories, although maybe not as good as those from The Ravishers (the four-person band lived together for a while in one studio apartment, and got free drinks on a flight back from New York because they were mistaken for members of The Strokes.) However, not every band can come up with a debut EP as excellent as The Ravishers' 'Singles For Singles.' Six songs of slightly sinister-sounding, resounding good alt-pop is something to celebrate - and the band is doing exactly that at its record release show Sept. 24.
9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St., 503-231-9663, free