It's impossible to categorize Eugene's Eleven Eyes. Like Critters Buggin, the sextet mixes free-form jazz with modern grooves, creating a dizzying and intoxicating blend of music that will tickle your brain while it moves your tush.
Percussion, horns, keyboards, samples, bass, guitar and various embellishments collide rather cosmically, making for a genuinely unique auditory experience that should be experienced in the flesh.
8 p.m. FRIDAY, Dec. 21, Jimmy Mak's, 221 N.W. 10th Ave., 503-295-6542, $10
Big Easy transplant Devin Phillips and his New Orleans Straight Ahead colleagues recently returned from a State Department-sponsored tour of Africa, which should mean tonight's show is full of great stories and plenty of inspiration.
The youthful Phillips already has made a name for himself for the soul and skill of his sax playing - a perfect combination of emotion and precision that gained depth after Hurricane Katrina and is likely to grow further after his recent excursions.
8 p.m. SATURDAY, Dec. 22, Jimmy Mak's, 221 N.W. 10th Ave., 503-295-6542, $15
Everybody Say Ho!!!
Tonight's show is one giant, hip-hop flavored holiday party, with 20 performers sharing the stage - including the Lifesavas' DJ Rev Shinez and Braille, a local hip-hop artist who's toured extensively with the late, great James Brown.
The Grinch and Santa Claus (who's rumored to be performing a version of 'Super Freak') will be making appearances, and Frosty the Snowman and Rudolf are set to face off in a battle of the MCs.
And as if a healthy dose of good-natured holiday spirits and great music weren't enough, they'll be handing out gift bags to those who attend.
9 p.m. SATURDAY, Dec. 22, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St., 503-231-9663, $10
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
With a new album slated for a spring release, indie hero Stephen Malkmus (ex-Pavement) and his Jicks should be plenty busy next year - but this hometown holiday hoedown is one of only two currently scheduled shows.
Spirits are likely to be high, and new material from the forthcoming 'Real Emotional Trash' album might even get test-driven.
Sharing the bill is Blitzen Trapper, one of Portland's next batch of indie hopefuls who recently signed to Sub Pop.
9 p.m. FRIDAY, Dec. 21, Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside St., 503-231-9663, $15
Local singer-songwriter Bryan Free has been lending his considerable talents to Crosstide's Brit pop-inspired beauty, but he hasn't put his own music on the back burner - he recently completed a new album that should be ready early next year.
Free's got a knack for crafting haunting electro-pop that works perfectly with his breathy voice. He's also a master with dynamics, building songs from quiet passages into crashing crescendos. The result should appeal to fans of bands like Coldplay and Climber.
Free's Crosstide bandmates appear on his forthcoming album, making it likely that they'll also be making an appearance at tonight's show.
9 p.m. SATURDAY, Dec. 22, Tonic Lounge, 3100 N.E. Sandy Blvd., 503-704-8481, $7