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by: © 2009 ELLENOTE PHOTOGRAPHY, 
Check out the anime-friendly Slants at the Doug Fir Lounge on Jan. 2 with Massive Moth, Reverse Dotty & The Candy Cane Shivs.

Dec. 31

Pantin' fer St. Paddy's

Contrary to popular belief, it's possible to hear Irish music - and lots of it - outside of March and that great harbinger of spring, St. Patrick's Day. For example, you can have a rather boisterous New Year's Eve tonight by jiggin', reelin' and hornpipin' with The Chancers. Like pretty much any Celtic music, the tunes The Chancers play can't help but lively up your step.

The Chancers, 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31, Mock Crest Tavern, 3435 N. Lombard St. Free. Info: myspace.com/thechancerspdx, www.mockcrest.com, 503-283-5014.

Jan. 1

Grateful dreads

Portland's Rue de Bac plays reggae, jazz and blues acoustically in that dreamy bonfire-by-the-beach way West Coast groups do better than anyone else in America. This easy-on-the-ear trio offers a mellow but upbeat feel for your hung-over head New Year's Day, and they're playing at Slim's, one of St. John's friendliest bars.

Rue de Bac Friday, 9:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 1, Slims, 8635 North Lombard St., Portland. Free. Info: 503-286-3854, www.myspace.com/slimspdx, myspacec.com/ruedebac.

Jan. 2

Beijing bling

By last count, The Slants, Portland's own 'Chinatown Dance Rock' band has more than 9,000 Myspace friends. That may be because this synth-driven group of stylish clubber-dubbers is pure fun - even as they welcome you to 'Doomtown.' If you've ever been to a thumping, light-show-enhanced dance club in Hong Kong, Beijing or Bangkok and dug it, you probably should put your tie on slightly askew and check out the anime-friendly Slants. Not to mention these boys actually turned down a HUGE recording deal because they have integrity, unlike you Mr. Scenester Fancy Knickers!

The Slants, Massive Moth, Reverse Dotty and The Candy Cane Shivs, 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, Doug Fir Lounge, 530 E. Burnside St. $5. Info: 503-231-WOOD, www.dougfirlounge.com, www.myspace.com/theslants, www.myspace.com/massivemothsalem, myspace.com/reversedotty.

Uppity undercurrents

It'll be a folk-rock hootenanny, no doubt, this Saturday when Casey Neill and The Norway Rats, Sassparilla Jug Band and Blue Horns all take the stage. The Rats, made up of some Portland's best folkies, apparently abandoned ship somewhere in the North Sea long after leaving Oslo, swam their way to Dublin or maybe Glasgow where they got drunk in a pub and began singing shanties and ballads. Meanwhile, Sassparilla may be the only rollickin' country blues band whose members actually look vaguely threatening holding bottled water rather than beer. The folky, garagey Blue Horns kinda sound like Johnny Rotten if his stage moniker had been Johnny Happy instead - still a punk, but willing to play nice as long as you don't get near him when's he's singing.

Casey Neill and The Norway Rats, Sassparilla Jug Band, Blue Horns, 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi St. $10. Info: 503-288-3895, www.mississippistudios.com, myspace.com/caseyneill, myspace.com/sassparillajugband, myspace.com/bluehornsband.

Jan. 4

Swing shift

No day of the week seem less apt to swing than Monday. However, that will change next Monday when Duff's Garage hosts the 17-piece Lily Wilde Orchestra. The Wilde woman sings everything from great swing era hits to less familiar tunes, all designed to get you off your duff at the Duff.

Lily Wilde Orchestra, 8-11 p.m. Monday, Jan. 4, Duff's Garage, 1635 S.E. Seventh Ave. $5. Info: 503-234-2337, www.duffsgarage.com, www.lilywilde.com.

Jan. 11

Surfin' for salvation

Of the now very-crowded, and far-too-often maudlin and cheeleaderish Christian rock genre, Switchfoot long ago left the pack behind, evolving into a compelling alternative act, forging a lyrically interesting path based on faith as an argument with existence as much as it is an affirmation of it. Oh yeah, they totally shred on guitars as well.

Swtichfoot, Paper Tongues, Gorilla Zoe, 8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 11, Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside St. $22 advance, $25 day of show. All ages. Info: 503-225-0047, www.switchfoot.com, www.myspace.com/paper tongues.