June 2, 4
With the opening chord of his 1958 hit 'Rumble,' Link Wray anticipated everything from surf rock to heavy metal. The Insanitizers, one of Portland/Vancouver's - and our planet's - leading surf guitar bands, will open the Link Wray Tribute Night with some of the late great strummer's lesser known pieces, as well as a number of their own. Later this week, The Insanitizers take the stage again when they present 'Surfin' the Stars,' where they'll play their signature tunes including 'Dance Like a Robot' and 'Headspin.' Start waxin' up those boards, baby.
The Insanitizers, Jon Koonce, Splashdowns, 9 p.m. Thursday, June 2, Duff's Garage, 1635 S.E. Seventh Ave. Info: 503-234-BEER, duffsgarage.com. The Insanitizers, Serviceable Villains, 9 p.m. Saturday, June 4, Twilight Café, 1420 S.E. Powell Blvd. $3. Info: 503-232-3576, myspace.com/thetwilightcafeandbar.
Have you been sitting around your house lately wondering just where you can get your fix of chamber-freak-pop-folk Americana Eastern European siren songs? Wonder no more, Portlanders, this show promises all that and more. Cellist Ashia Grzesik, a member of Vagabond Opera and the Portland Cello Project, specializes in music ranging from parlor to European avant-garde. Meanwhile, oh-so-lovely crooner-vocal-climber Shenandoah Davis, who has also worked with the Cello Project as well as the Seattle Rock Orchestra, will fit right in with artsy folkies Strangled Darlings. We'll cut to the chase - if you think Tom Waits is the bee's knees, you'll love this show.
Ashia Grzesik, Shenandoah Davis, Strangled Darlings with bellydance by Nagasita, 9 p.m. Friday, June 3, The Secret Society Ballroom, 116 N.E. Russell St. $10 in advance, $5 to $20 sliding scale at door. All ages. Info: 503-493-3600, thesecretsocietylounge.com.
Can you hear my heart beat?
'I wish I was that flask of whiskey/in your pocket,' sings guitarist James Redding on 'Okay, Liza,' one of several great y'all-ternative songs by country rockers Union Pulse. Now, really, how can you hate a guy who would even think up a line like that? Originating in Milwaukee, Wis., Union Pulse now features bassist Phil Cowan, drummer David Zimmerman, and guitarist Erik Severson, and has been burning up and down the country's roads spreading the gospel of great lyrics and simple yet intelligent song structures for the past decade or so. This band is a real treat, and come highly recommended by divorcees, drunkards, sinners and saints alike. Portland's The Dirty Words rounds out this fine bill.
Union Pulse, The Dirty Words, 8 p.m. Saturday, June 4, Slim's Lounge, 8635 N. Lombard St. $5. Info: 503-286-3854, unionpulseonline.com.
Mulligan's stew, Baker's jam
Seattle trumpeter Chad McCullough, Idaho baritone saxophonist Brent Jensen, Portland pianist Andrew Oliver and bassist Dave Captien, and New York drummer/vocalist Tyson Stubelek, will present a new interpretation of the music of trumpeter Chet Baker and saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. These thoroughly competent jazz cats will perform both instrumentals as well as vocal interpretations of some of the standards that Baker made famous.
'Chet Baker/Gerry Mulligan Revisited,' 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, Tony Starlight's, 3728 N.E. Sandy Blvd. $7. All ages till 9:30 p.m. Info: 503-517-8184, tonystarlight.com.
Given the bloodstained headlines that never seem to stop emanating from the region, you can forget that there's another world in the Middle East that just like ours, where people go to market, work day jobs, and celebrate weddings. Enter Omar Souleyman, who combines Syrian, Iraqi and Kurdish styles in his highly danceable version of Dabke, or folk dance music that sounds to Western ears like a medium-to-high-pitched frantic storyteller tripping to drums and synthesizers. His homeland may be in turmoil right now, but Souleyman is a reminder that underneath it all, most people really long not so much to live a political life as they wish to gather with those they love freely and feel ecstatic about it from time to time.
Omar Souleyman, DJ Global Ruckus, 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, Dante's, 1 S.W. Third Ave. $15. Info: 503-203-7764, danteslive.com.