Aug. 2

Helmet laws

On his latest tour with his futuristic, gospel-blues-meets-percussive-techno band, former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart will wear a helmet fitted with electrodes to monitor his brain waves.

“I’m dancing with the brain now,” he says, noting the cap “re-imagines” his brain waves into sound that will be incorporated into music on stage.

It’s all part of Hart’s ongoing exploration of the vibrations that make up the universe. On his last tour, Hart entertained audiences by translating quasar pulses and other phenomena into sound — this time, he’s literally taking listeners on a journey to the center of his mind.

“The brain is rhythm central,” he says. “You’ve got to practice with it like anything.”

Hart’s band soon will release one of the best-arranged, coherent albums of the year, “Superorganism.”

The record contains one soulful rhythmically hypnotic song after another and features some great calm-before-the-storm lyrics penned by longtime Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. For example, “Don’t Let Your God Down” is an Arabic-meets-Delta-blues meditation on the various competing belief systems tearing America apart. Vocalist Crystal Monee Hall lists the various subcultures, from angry whites and blacks to despairing poor folks and indifferent rich ones, that make up “one nation under God.” It’s moving, somewhat disturbing stuff that sums up all those uncomfortable feelings you have after watching the latest edition of the evening blues.

In addition to Hall, The Mickey Hart Band consists of percussionist Sikiru Adepoju, singer and multi-instrumentalist Joe Bagale, drummer Greg Schutte, guitarist Gawain Matthews, bassist Reed Mathis (who also will jam with opener Tea Leaf Trio), and keyboardist/sound engineer Jonah Sharp.

Mickey Hart Band, Tea Leaf Trio, 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, Roseland Theater, 8 N.W. Sixth Ave. $25. 21 and older. Info: 503-224-8499,

Aug. 3

Precision pop

One power-pop band that takes some chances is Breaking Laces, which has created a buzz with its humorous “Mr. Curry is a Cop” as of late. But the band also can write a pretty song, as it does with the signs-of-maturity-coming ballad “Graduation March.” The group also explores some interesting sonic territory on the Beck-influenced techno-funk-meets-punk “I Used to Be a Boy Scout.”

The Dangerous Summer, Tommy & The High Pilots, Rare Monk, Breaking Laces, For The Life Of Me, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, Backspace Cafe, 115 N.W. Fifth Ave. $12 in advance, $14 at the door. All ages. Info: 503-248-2900,

Aug. 5

Circular logic

Veteran Portland singer-songwriters Cal Scott and Richard Moore will welcome Matty Charles, Gary Furlow and Avery Hill to their bimonthly songwriters circle. Charles combines a world-weary baritone with wit, while Furlow is a low-talking storyteller. Meanwhile, Hill has been likened to Joni Mitchell.

Songwriter Circle, 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5, O’Connor’s Vault, 7850 S.W. Capital Highway. $12 in advance from; $15 at the door.

Info: 503-484-8196, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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