Nothing Ventured, nothing twanged
Only a handful of bands are really seminal - Buddy Holly and The Crickets inspired everyone from The Beatles to Linda Ronstadt, The Doors laid the groundwork for everyone from Iggy Pop to Nine Inch Nails, and the Ramones, unwittingly, perhaps, inspired Brits and Yanks alike to destroy classic rock with punk. Tacoma's The Ventures are one of rock 'n' roll's seminal bands, inspiring every guitarist since about 1961 or so to use effects like flanging and fuzz, and they did it all without singing a word, in the process becoming the most commercially successful instrumental band of all time. In some ways, they were even more influential than Chuck Berry on generations of rock 'n' rollers, given their penchant for aural experimentation.
The Ventures, 8 p.m. Thursday, May 12, Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside St. $25 in advance, $30 day of show, $50 VIP. Info: 503-225-0047, mcmenamins.com.
If you went to college you might remember that sensitive, pretty, wispy gal who played guitar and sang in the dormitory stairwell so as to get that slight echo that gave her voice a little more oomph. Kina Grannis IS that gal, and has graduated from stairwells to stages all over the country, playing folk-influenced pop rock that owes a debt to everyone from Cyndi Lauper and Lisa Loeb to Jewel and any girl who's ever told you to just shut up and kiss her. She's the kind of singer who hits the spot just right whether you're feeling up or down, as she creates intelligent music best suited for young folks just discovering love and older divorcees who are really beginning to miss it.
Kina Grannis, 8 p.m. Friday, May 13, Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave. $12 in advance, $15 day of show. All ages. Info: 502-234-9694, aladdintheater.com.
High 'n' wet
Portland's Water Tower Bucket Boys are Josh Rabie on fiddle, guitar, and harmonica, Cory Goldman on banjo, guitar, and dobro, and Kenny Feinstein on guitar, mandolin and harmonica. They started out busking in the streets of Portland about five years ago. Although the band has incorporated Cajun, blues, country, swing and gospel into its music, it all comes back to bluegrass.
Water Tower Bucket Boys, Squirrel Butter, 9:30 p.m. Friday, May 13, Laurelthirst Public House, 2958 N.E. Glisan St. $5. Info: 503-232-1504, laurelthirst.com.
Rust in pieces
Old metal bands never die; their lead singers either become somewhat pitiable pop culture figures, ala Ozzy, or just keep getting cooler, ala Lemmy. Either way, you kids might not realize it, but metal at one time was almost fun and even sounded a little rootsy, although Black Sabbath and company admittedly planted the seeds of that now tried-and-true devil-meets-pseudo-classical-musicianship-metal formula. Portland-bred War Pigs plan to pay tribute to Sabbath, along with Ace of Spades, featuring Matt McCourt of legendary local metal band Wild Dogs, paying homage to Motorhead, and Portland's Thunderstruck worshiping at the altar of AC/DC.
War Pigs, Ace of Spades, Thunderstruck, 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 13, Roseland Theater, 10 N.W. Sixth Ave. $10. 21 and older. Info: 503-224-8499, roselandpdx.com.
According to St. John
It's a testament to just how many bands call Portland home that Slim's, an incredibly fun bar in St. John's, can feature a dozen bands on one bill, and they're all from the same neighborhood. That's right, in honor of St. John's Parade and Bizarre Day you can check out My Autumn's Done Come, Dye Hippie Dye, Rok Choy, 21 Horses, Blue Iris, Catfight, Threadbear, Irie Idea, Audrey McLain, Right On John, Lustful Monks and Hawkins Wright.
Dozen bands, Slim's, 8635 N. Lombard St. 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Free, 21 and older. Info: 503-286-3854.