Thursday, July 3
Lust & Marriage
[THEATER] Yes, this is a solo show about coming to terms with polyamory. But it’s miraculously neither preachy nor squirm-inducing, thanks to performer Eleanor O’Brien. She’s vivacious and engaging, and she recounts memories—of acting out sex scenes as a child, of ill-fated college entanglements, of finding love on the Burning Man playa—with verve, zip and humor. CoHo Theater, 2257 NW Raleigh St., 220-2646. 7:30 pm. $15.
[COMEDY] Back during the Bridgetown Comedy Festival in May, Ian Karmel gave WW shit for pointing out that he was from Beaverton. He wrote to clarify that hewas born in Sellwood, raised in Beaverton (though he did spend a lot of time at his dad’s in Portland after his parents divorced when was 10), spent one year in Ashland, moved to Portland at age 19 and decamped to Los Angeles at age 28. Anyway, the Chelsea Lately writer is back in town for a three-night stand. Helium Comedy Club, 1510 SE 9th Ave., 888-643-8669. 8 pm Thursday; 7:15 pm Friday; and 7:30 and 10 pm Saturday, July 3-5. $15-$29.
Barra Brown Quintet
[FOLK JAZZ] In jazz circles, “accessibility” can be a dirty word, often signaling repetitive grooves and saccharine soprano sax hooks. But Portland drummer-composer Barra Brown’s music is the right kind of accessible—it’s no wonder the band has earned a spot at this year’s PDX Pop Now Festival. Marrying folk melodies with a symphonic scope, Brown’s compositions are sweeping sonic journeys with ample room to feature his ace quintet. And his bandmates are accomplished in their own right: horn virtuosi Thomas Barber and Nicole Glover, indie-pop whiz Adam Brock and versatile bassman Arcellus Sykes. This is one of Portland’s most promising bands, in any genre. TREE PALMEDO. Camellia Lounge, 510 NW 11th Ave., 221-2130. 8 pm Thursday, July 3. $6.
The Notwist, Jel
[BEATS] The Notwist, a four-piece group out of Germany, emerged in 1989 as a metal band but has since morphed into an interesting mix of Postal Service-esque sensitivity that’s occasionally punctuated by deep and dark electronic beats. The group released its ninth full-length album, Close to the Glass, earlier this year, and it moves from catchy, synthesized blips to sparse, mellow indie rock, all led by Markus Acher’s disconnected but oddly comforting vocals. The album opener, “Signals,” is a cerebral glitch, fluctuating with mechanical keyboard pulses and an uncomfortable, foreboding repetitiveness. But then there’s “Kong,” a track so immersed in bright strums of guitar, a one-two skip beat and fluttery chimes it could be right out of your favorite high-school film soundtrack. The formula is hard to predict, and while sometimes its experiments are downright dissonant, most of the time the Notwist is just straight-up cool. KAITIE TODD. Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell St., 284-8686. 9 pm. $18 advance, $20 day of show. 21+.
Sharon Van Etten
[MUSIC] Van Etten has always had a startling voice, but new album Are We There is the first time her songs feel, well, grounded. It’s a record about distance, sure, but also about the body—how it loves, how it moves, and how it breaks down when we least expect it. There’s a distinct R&B groove, with an increased emphasis on rhythm and bass instead of guitar. Van Etten says many of these songs, including the bouncy first single, “Taking Chances,” and the slow-boiling “You Know Me Well,” started in the back of her tour van, written on an omnichord, with the drum patterns often coming before the melody. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., with Jana Hunter, 9 pm. $18. 21+.
Friday, July 4
Fourth of July
[FREEEDDOOOMM!] Grill something. Set fire to something. Get buzzed on something. Get up on the roof of something. Watch the show.
Waterfront Blues Festival
[BLUES-PLUS] No Robert Plant this year, but with Gregg Allman occupying the top spot, the Waterfront Blues Festival is still one of the few festivals you can take the parents to without having to explain why everyone is sucking on pacifiers and giving each other deep head massages. Just prepare yourself for the moment when someone passes pop a doob, which’ll likely happen around minute 17 of “Whipping Post.” Other major names include the perpetually underrated Los Lobos, the sort of underrated Boz Scaggs and James Brown saxophonist Maceo Parker, who’s as awesome as advertised. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, SW Naito Parkway, 823-2223. $50-$1,250. See waterfrontbluesfest.com for complete schedule. Through July 6.
Black Death, Hirax, Wehrmacht, Cryptic Slaughter, Witchhaven, Spellcaster, Cemetary Lust, Dead Conspiracy, Long Knife, Deathblow, DJ Dennis Dread
[BOMBS BURSTING IN AIR] For East End’s Fourth of July holiday, promoters drew up a list of dream targets least likely to headline the daylong festival, which fences off Southeast Ash Street from Grand to MLK for a succession of hardest-rawk bands. But, in what we can only assume to be an Independence Day miracle, pioneering African-American metal act Black Death agreed to a temporary resurrection for the band’s first performance since the ’80s and only appearance outside the city limits of frontman Siki Spacek’s Cleveland hometown. Orange County’s own multiracial, thrash-crossover legends Hirax are also making the trip. Members of Wehrmacht will join survivors of Cryptic Slaughter on the makeshift stage, and a half-dozen other local combos are scheduled alongside this hotly anticipated event. Meatless hot dogs grilled by vegan collective Snackrilege? A hardcore craft fair’s worth of merch tables stretching past the horizon? Celebrants succumbing to heat prostration inside the makeshift cage before ever removing their head-to-toe black leather ensemble? Oh, but ain’t that America? JAY HORTON. East End, 203 SE Grand Ave., 232-0056. 3 pm. $10. 21+.
Saturday, July 5
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
[MUSIC] Rock ’n’ roll’s poet laureate of death, violence and moral degradation makes a rare Portland appearance, sleazing up the city’s classiest concert hall. The Schnitz is going to need a good power washing after this. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, 248-4335. 8 pm. $37-$76. All ages.
Rogue Brewing Garage Sale
[BEER] At the Rogue Public House in the Pearl and at the Green Dragon (as well as other Rogue locations around the state), Rogue Ales will hold its annual Independence Day garage sale, which always means good deals over the course of the weekend. Except that “weekend” has been interpreted to last about six days. They aren’t allowed to publicize specific beer discounts—curse you, OLCC!—but expect super-low prices on kegs, cases and merchandise. Rogue Ales Public House, 1339 NW Flanders St., 222-5910.
[DANCE] Pairing contemporary dance with live classical music from Chamber Music Northwest, BodyVox’s annual In Motion show enriches the company’s familiar numbers with engaging sound. But the favorite parts of this popular show are often the musicians—especially when they tote their instruments through the audience, as they did last year, making movement theater of their own. This year, BodyVox co-artistic directors Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland debut a new work, one that’s accompanied by virtuoso string instrumentalists Edgar Meyer and Mike Marshall. The company also performs Leave the Light On, last performed in full in 2005, but performed in an excerpt last year. Its bluegrassy score, composed by Meyer, backs several dancers through courtly, ruffly romance. By the time you read this, the show is probably sold out. Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave., 725-3307. 8 pm Friday-Saturday, July 4-5; 4 pm Sunday, July 6. $30-$55.
Comedy Dance Party
[COMEDY DANCE PARTY] Saturday’s event won’t be your average standup show. Co-hosted by local comedians Kyle Mizono, Carson Creecy and Dylan Reiff (who will double as DJ), it’s a go-with-the-flow, giant question mark of an evening. Here that means a DJ’d standup showcase that incorporates music, dancing and unscripted sketches. Mizono will be joined by several local comics, who’ve each handpicked music to accompany their sets.
[NOISE RAP] Some records are considered “challenging.” Others issue challenges. CLPPNG, the almost self-titled new album by L.A. noise-rap crew Clipping, begins by practically daring the listener to continue. For its first minute and six seconds, the only “music” is a piercingly high-pitched ringing sound—like amplified tinnitus, or a hearing test designed by Josef Mengele—over which rapper Daveed Diggs sprays rhymes like shrapnel from a nail bomb. For fans of last year’s Midcity mixtape, extreme rapping and noise delivered with alienating harshness is what they were hoping to get from the group’s Sub Pop debut. But Clipping’s got a challenge for them, too. Coming five songs after the ear-punishing “Intro,” “Tonight”—with its Future-istic synth horns, nods to Ludacris and Auto-Tuned chorus about prowling for a hookup at last call—almost wouldn’t seem out of place on mainstream radio. It’s the trio’s most polarizing song yet. And considering they also have a track constructed entirely from a beeping alarm clock, that’s saying something. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., with Copy, Open Mike Eagle, and Signor Benedick the Moor, on Saturday, July 5. 9 pm. $10 advance, $12 day of show. 21+.
Phox, Trails and Ways, Joseph
[SOULFUL INDIE] Sometimes, it’s hard not to miss Feist when she doesn’t have an album out. Finally, a salve for our aching hearts hath arrived with Phox, a six-piece out Wisconsin. The band doesn’t quite have the famous songstress’s grown-up pop sensibilities, but Monica Martin’s confident and amazingly flexible croon makes up for it. On the surface, Phox plays cute and happy and banjo-filled. But there’s a sadness lurking below, an ache of painful heartbreak lending a subtly dark tinge to the jaunty piano and airy whistles. Take “Evil,” for instance: unsettlingly adorable, with its light piano, group “whoas” and fluttery trumpet solo, it is punctuated with lyrics about finding your partner cheating on you with your best friend. Still, the album strolls sweetly along, offering tunes that drip with loss and charm, brightness and pain. KAITIE TODD. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., 288-3895. 9 pm. $10 advance, $12 day of show. 21+.
Sunday, July 6
Rediscovering Lacquer: 12 Artists Reinvent a Timeless Tradition
[ART] Traditional Japanese lacquering techniques get a thoroughly contemporary reimagining in this opulent group show. Foremost among the highlights are Koichiro Kimura’s Pop Art-influenced tea containers, goblets and plates, with their luminous gold and silver leaf, fluorescent colors, polka dots and glamorously reflective surfaces. In these artists’ practices, there are no rigid lines between functionality, decoration and artistic authorship. Beauty is beauty, whether an object is utilitarian or not. Deftly curated by Duneghen Park, this exhibition offers a refreshing take on a medium that continues to evolve with the times. Through July 6. Portland Japanese Garden, 611 SW Kingston Ave., 223-1321.
Oregon Bach Festival
[CLASSICAL] J.S. Bach’s two surviving Passions (based on the gospels of St. John and St. Mark) are the pinnacles of choral-orchestral music—but he probably wrote three more, now lost. The libretto for Bach’s St. Mark Passion has survived, sparking several attempts to reconstruct it using some of the composer’s other music (as Bach himself did in other works), the latest being Wednesday’s world premiere by OBF music director Matthew Halls and Swiss musicologist Dominik Sackmann. Scored for a chamber-sized period instrument ensemble, chorus and vocal soloists, their new version includes some Halls-composed passages in Bach’s style as well as other Bach music that seems to fit. Sunday’s concert teams the great Venezuelan-American pianist Gabriela Montero with the Eugene Ballet in music by Bach, the fiery French Baroque composer Jean-Féry Rebel and jazz-influenced 20th-century French composer Darius Milhaud. On Monday, the 84 young singers of the OBF’s Stangeland Family Youth Choral Academy sing music by Mozart and the world premiere of a new Magnificat by New Zealand-born composer David Childs. Tuesday’s recital with music by Mozart, Mendelssohn and more features one of the great living organists, Paul Jacobs. BRETT CAMPBELL. Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, 248-4335. Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 147 NW 19th Ave.: 7:30 pm Wednesday and Tuesday, July 2 and 8; 5:30 pm Monday, July 7. Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, 248-4335: 3 pm Sunday, July 6. $10-$49.
[DREAMING ALONE MUSIC] With round librarian glasses and perpetually tousled hair, Taryn Blake Miller cuts an unassuming presence: If you ran into her on the street, you’d imagine she works behind the counter of a used bookstore, not playing intensely personal shows in basements and hole-in-the-wall clubs. But as the songs she writes under the moniker Your Friend slowly unfurl, they reveal an artist of uniquely restrained power. Her voice contains shades of Sharon Van Etten’s, seemingly blurring into dreamy strums of guitar and sparse instrumentation. Jekyll/Hyde, the Kansas-based songwriter’s Domino Records debut, manages to achieve a stunning level of intimacy while remaining wholly enigmatic. MATTHEW SINGER. Valentines, 232 SW Ankeny St., 248-1600. Call venue for ticket information.
[RETURN OF THE QUEEN] Prison changes a person. Just ask Lauryn Hill: Her latest single, “Consumerism,” completed while doing time for tax evasion, is the most urgent thing she’s released in years. The former Fugee dishes out social critique at a blistering pace, taking on every “ism” she can think of, over tribal flutes and drums that skitter frantically like a tweaked-out Fela Kuti. It’s preachy, and far from the laid-back strumming and spartan beats of Hill’s classic era. But it’s a welcome dose of energy from an artist who’s been dormant too long. Fingers crossed for a revved-up live rendition of “Lost Ones.” TREE PALMEDO. Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St., 225-0047. 8 pm. $55 advance, $60 day of show. 21+.
Bearcubbin’, Gallons, Yeah Great Fine
[LOOP DIGGERS] With the help of a looping mothership known as the Gibson Echoplex, Portland’s Bearcubbin’ builds towering math-rock monuments via off-tempo rhythms, percussive guitar, effects-pedal tinkering and ferocious drum work. Save a few vocal bursts and samples, it’s all instrumental. The bands share the jazz-minded abstraction of Battles, but Bearcubbin’ feels less rigid and more animated. Guitarist-keyboardist Chris Scott masterminded the band in 2009, after stepping in to play with drummer Mike Byrne’s previous outfit, Moses, Smell the Roses. (Byrne briefly manned the kit for the Smashing Pumpkins the same year.) Unsurprisingly, Bearcubbin’s meter is crisp and its sound highly percussive. Girls With Fun Haircuts, the band’s second full-length, is rich with stop-start pacing, layered guitars and zany effects. While there’s plenty of noise, there’s always a core progression the listener can grasp when shit gets weird. MARK STOCK. Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St., 239-7639. 8:30 pm. $6. 21+.