Feb. 1

by: COURTESY OF CODY CHESTNUTT - Shades of Marvin Gaye can be heard in Cody ChestnuTT's voice, and he keeps it real at Star Theater Feb. 1.

Roasting on a soul fire

In a just world, Cody ChestnuTT would be a gigantic star, given he’s basically about as Marvin Gaye as you can get these days. Deftly combining funk, soul, gospel, rock, hip hop and blues, ChestnuTT is gifted with one of the most beautiful tenor voices out there. If you’re unfamiliar with him, the closest he’s come to breakout fame was when The Roots changed up his tune “The Seed” off his 2000 album “The Headphone Masterpiece,” remaking it as “The Seed 2.0.” At long last, ChestnuTT has released a second album, “Landing On A Hundred,” a Southern soul disc he made with a 10-piece band in Memphis-based Royal Studios, the sonic birthplace of the likes of Al Green, Buddy Guy and Ike & Tina Turner. ChestnuTT is a reminder that keepin’ it real doesn’t always have to mean writing in-yer-face lyrics and beating your fans over the head with a sonic club, it can also mean taking a deeper look inside yourself and revealing how who you’ve sinned against and what you’ve been saved for.

Cody ChestnuTT, Radiation City, 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, Star Theater, 13 N.W. Sixth Ave. $18. 21 and older. Info: 503-225-0047,

Feb. 2

Drancin’ ‘n’ dinkin’

If there are two things Portlanders are good at, it’s brewing beer and playing music. That’s where the Second Annual Malt Ball comes in, as local breweries pour out their libations and local bands pour out their emotions. This year’s ball features the Caleb Klauder Country Band, Old Light, Hausu, Marty Marquis, Blood Beach, Street Nights, Radiation City, Sons of Huns, And And And, Gaytheist, Wooden Indian Burial Ground and Divers. Should be the place to be seen and burped this week.

Second Annual Malt Ball, 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, Wonder Ballroom, 128 N.E. Russell St. $15-$50. 21 and older. Info: 503-284-8686,

Feb. 5

Fraggle of your imagination

In their most recent YouTube video, “Do It Anway” Ben Folds Five gallops through a western-flavored white-boy gospel rocker featuring a nice buzzy bass solo as well as an appearance from the Fraggles, stars of The Jim Henson show “Fraggle Rock.” While it’s not clear exactly why Ben Folds Five and the Fraggles go together in the video (which was made to honor the Fraggles’ 30th anniversary), the piano-driven band does exhibit the same bittersweet approach to life Henson often hinted at in his shows. The trio, which broke big in the 1990s, is out on the road promoting its latest album “The Sound of the Life of the Mind.” Also on board for this tour is Nataly Dawn, a California-based singer-songwriter who also performs with the duo Pomplamoose, which got Internet fame via covers of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” and Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.” Her latest track “Please Don’t Scream” is a jaunty rockabilly tune with a great just-about-right arrangement.

Ben Folds Five, Nataly Dawn, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, Roseland Theater, 8 N.W. Sixth Ave. All ages. $35, $55. Info: 503-224-8499,

Feb. 8

Sunshine in the rain

Gunga Galunga, a new Portland collective indie jazz ensemble, will celebrate its debut release, “Unlicensed Nuclear Accelerator,” at this show. The group features Tom Barber on trumpet, Willie Matheis on tenor sax, Dan Duval on guitar, Jon Shaw on bass and Tom “Euge” Goicoechea on drums. The album is a debut both for the ensemble and for the label, PJCE Records, the newest branch of the agency Portland Jazz Composers’ Ensemble ( The album’s opening cut “Rainy Day, Sunny Heart,” composed by Barber, brings to mind those upbeat jazz numbers you always heard as theme songs to 1970s TV shows and groovy movies. Tenor sax man Willie Matheis wrote the excellent “Starbird,” which features some very nice sophisticated drumming by Goicoechea.

Gunga Galunga, 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, The Elixir Lab at Al Forno Ferruzza, 2738 N.E. Alberta St. $5. Info: 503-253-6766.

'Round town

Harmonica master and sophomoric comedian Rick Estrin and his Nightcats will jam the blues, surf, rock, rockabilly and soul music at 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, in Duff’s Garage, 1635 S.E. Seventh Ave., $15. Info: 503-234-2337,

Husband-wife duo Samsel and the Skirt write wonderful folk-pop music and are one of our area’s hidden musical treasures, but hopefully not for long. You can check them out at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, in Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N. Mississippi St. Free. All ages. Info: 503- 288-3231,

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