March 3

Happier than thou

Yonkers’ Richard Andrew, better known as Outasight, mixes pop, rock and rap into a chic audio cocktail, and had a platinum hit single with “Nights Like These,” a synth-boppin’ dance song. He’s been relentlessly performing and promoting his debut album of the same name over the past year and just released his latest single, “I’ll Drink To That,” which smartly arranges Celtic rock and dance styles, and sounds even more upbeat than “Nights Like These.” He’s sort of a throwback to people who believe in the American Dream of working long hours at miserable jobs until you get that one break (which he actually did), so even if you no longer believe in that dream he’s the type of performer who can make you wish you did.

The Ready Set, Outasight, Plug In Stereo, Goldhouse, Master Shortie, 6 p.m. Sunday, March 3, Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 S.E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., $15 in advance, $18 day of show. All ages. Info: 503-233-7100,

March 4

by: COURTESY OF MERRI CYR - Erin McKeown has produced eight albums and four EPs, and does about 200 shows each year, and she brings her musical message to Portland March 4.

Wow ‘em with kindness

Despite her penchant for left-friendly songs, eclectic singer-songwriter Erin McKeown even has room in heart for members of the Tea Party. Take, for example, her song “The Jailer,” off her latest album “Manifestra.” “The Jailer” was inspired by a trip along the Mexican border, where she saw the wall erected to keep undocumented immigrants from crossing.

Likening it to “a scar across the desert,” McKeown’s lyrics ponder what trying to control this mass movement of people is doing to the American soul. It’s a somewhat subtle, poetic denunciation of how we treat desperate people who lack the proper papers. You’d think it would give the anti-illegal-immigration crowd fits, but McKeown says some right-leaning folks who may not agree with her have nonetheless told her they like the tune.

“I certainly don’t feel obligated to come at it from all sides, but I do feel that dialogue is important,” she says. “It’s not like a strident call, it’s more like a beautiful painting that someone looks at and, when you get up close to it, you may see written in the painting ‘Hey, this doesn’t work.’ ”

McKeown certainly works, having released eight albums and four EPs, and performing an average of 200 nights a year. She has even written a song via text message with her friend, the liberal TV commentator Rachel Maddow. When she’s not playing, she’s involved in such activism as keeping musicians abreast of how legislation affects their careers. She has spent more than a dozen years honing her lyrical style and fine elegant guitar work, which she says is inspired by such players as The Edge and Dave Matthews.

“My own style has always been an attempt to put the band into one instrument,” she says, noting she eschews flashy solos in favor of runs and patterns that serve the song.

Erin McKeown, 6 p.m. Monday, March 4, Music Millennium, 3158 E. Burnside St. Free. All ages. Info: 503-231-8926,

Rhett Miller, Erin McKeown, 8 p.m. Monday, March 4, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi St. $13 in advance, $15 day of show. Info: 503-288-3895,

Wait! There’s more!

Speaking of Music Millennium, the record store is planning a Community Day/Songwriters Circle the same day McKeown appears, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, March 4, with Robin Washburn, John Gavin and Rob Shaffer to commemorate the store’s anniversary month. The store will serve up free refreshments and special one-day deals. The three singers have played in bands far and wide, from Maryland to Florida, and should put on an enjoyable show at 7 p.m., following McKeown’s performance.

March 8

Industrial evolution

For three decades, industrial music pioneers KMFDM have been waging war against musical complacency by creating percussive metallic music with in-your-face lyrics, and if their latest release “KUNST” (German for “art”) is any indication, they’re still upset with the rest of us. KMFDM’s latest work tackles such topics as the Pussy Riot fiasco in Russia as well as, well, what’ve you got? What’s scary is how danceable they are — in fact, you have to wonder if they actually are helping keep us down in the very mire from which they seek to free us by hypnotizing us with their irresistible beats. SO IN OTHER WORDS, THEY’RE REALLY A DECEPTIVE TOOL OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER! That’s so cool.

KMFDM, Legion Within, 9 p.m. Friday, March 8, Star Theater, 13 N.W. Sixth Ave. $21. 21 and older. Info: 503-248-4700,

March 9

Socially conscious salsa

The School of Piano Technology For The Blind, aka “Piano Hospital,” in Vancouver, Wash., will host its Second Annual Benefit Concert to raise funds to help pay the costs of training blind students and the visually impaired, older than high school, to become piano tuners and technicians. Students come from 15 countries, and there have been 300 graduates since the school ( was founded in 1949. The concert will feature salsa music from Ramsey Embick’s nine-piece orchestra Ramsey Y Los Montunos. The Gemini School of Salsa Dancing, featuring award-winning performers such as Javier and Holly, also will be on hand to do dance demonstrations.

School of Piano Technology For The Blind Benefit Concert, 8 p.m. Saturday, March 9, Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie St. $50, $35 and $25. Info: 503-234-9694,

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