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High Notes: The Best Live Music in Portland This Week, July 7-12

Tuesday, July 07, 2015


Elvis Costello by Chad Batka

Melting in front of a fan in your underwear is indeed a tried-and-true method for beating the heat, but boredom is bound to set in eventually. Abandon the hammock and get thee to the nearest bar or club for cooling tunes by Van Halen and Elvis Costello, among others. Next question: Why aren’t these two acts playing together? 

Van Halen

July 7 @ 7:30

With every instrument occupied by a member of the Van Halen clan (Eddie and Valerie Bertinelli’s son Wolfgang is on bass), there is no good reason why this multi-generational pop-metal dynasty shouldn’t flourish well into the 21st century (and beyond). The tricky part has always been the man in front holding the microphone. Since original rock peacock David Lee Roth has returned to the fold, all is well, because no one in his or her right mind wants to hear any of the formulaic crap VH recorded with Sammy Hagar or (shudder) Gary Cherone. Please, nothing more recent than 1984, fellas. 

$40-175. Amphitheater Northwest, 17200 NE Delfel Rd, Richfield, WA. 

Elvis Costello

July 8 @ 8pm

Declan McManus takes a break from the current Steely Dan tour where he and the Imposters are enlisted as the opening act. Hopefully a night off will inspire a freewheeling safari through some deep cuts stretching all the way back to “Miracle Man” or “Blame It On Cain.” Amusing anecdotes should be an integral part of the evening since Elvis has his autobiography ‘Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink’ due out in October, and this is a prime opportunity to stretch his storytelling muscles.   

$39.50-79.50. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway. 

Ancient River

July 9 @ 9pm

The musical idiom of psychedelia isn’t known for its clarity, but Florida duo Ancient River are more methodical than most, preferring the art of subtle suggestion to the hammer-drop approach that seems de rigueur these days. On Ancient River’s most recent album, ‘Keeper of the Dawn,’ vocals are little more than whispered chants blowing by on a stiff breeze, while songs like “New Rising” and “Desolation Song” build slowly before evolving into fascinating little blooms with a minimum of fuzz and frenzy.

$8. Dante’s, 350 W Burnside St. Sandy Blvd. 

Portland Cello Project by Tarina Westlund


July 10 @ 9pm

With Richmond Fontaine on hiatus, prolific songwriter and Oregon Book Award-winning author Willy Vlautin has been keeping busy with the Delines, a crew of country heartbreakers fronted by singer Amy Boone. Vlautin plays guitar and sings backup, with Boone applying her pearly pipes to his vivid blue-collar lyricism on songs like  “I Won’t Slip Up” and “Calling In.” Last year’s album ‘Colfax’ is an excellent introduction to this very special band.  

$10. Secret Society, 116 NE Russell St. 

Portland Cello Project

July 10-11 @ 9pm

The stage is going to be mighty crowded as the players unfold chairs and resin their bows for another installment of the annual Portland Cello Project two-night dance party. Expect a roster of indie-rock royalty to sit in with the PCP, whose repertoire reportedly tops 900 songs! Everything from Tchaikovsky to Taylor Swift has been cunningly cello-ized, but there’s more here than quirky covers. Bracing original compositions such as “Denmark” and “Robin Hood Changes His Oil” are sufficiently intriguing to warrant spirited cries of “Author! Author!” 

$16-18. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St. 

John Chandler has been writing about rock and/or roll for 25 years with The Rocket, Portland Tribune, Portland Monthly, Magnet, Dagger, No Depression, and Puncture. He also writes about beer, booze, and bars for Portland's BarFly website and plays in a couple goofy bands when the mood strikes him. He can most often be found at the wheel of horrificflicks.com, a review website dedicated to horror movies.


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