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High Notes: The Best Live Music in Portland This Week, June 16-21

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Steel Pulse courtesy of RAS Records

I’m certainly not trying to monopolize anyone’s free time, but you can’t possibly spend every moment at the beach, the gorge, or pinching produce at the farmer’s market. Please make some time for those brave performing artists who’ve probably spent far too many sunny days stationed in the basement honing their skills, instead of throwing the Frisbee for Fido. They’re heroes and we owe them. 

Rhett Miller, Annalisa Tornfelt

June 16 @ 8pm

The lead singer for alt-country faves the Old 97’s recorded his most recent solo album, ‘The Traveler,’ right here in the Rose City with our own Black Prairie serving as his artful accompanists. It’s a fertile collaboration, as oscillating happy/sad strum-alongs like “Most in the Summertime” and “Escape Velocity” are given rollicking arrangements punctuated by Annalisa Tornfelt’s dexterous violin and sympathetic backing vocals. Tornfelt, who recently released her excellent debut album ‘The Number 8,’ opens the show and will undoubtedly play a handful of songs with the headliner. 

$15-17. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave. 

Steel Pulse

June 17 @ 8pm

Legal recreational marijuana is still a few weeks away, but you can probably get a waiver for the Steel Pulse show. One of the top reggae bands to come from jolly ol’ England, Steel Pulse has been rallying against racism and class warfare for 40 years on hits like “Ku Klux Klan, “Your House,” and last year’s single, “Put Your Hoodies On (4 Trayvon).” On “Global Warming” and “Earth Crisis” they add environmental vigilance to their list of causes—all of which can be danced to. Love and justice, ya’ll. 

$25-38.50. Roseland Theater, 8 NW Sixth Ave. 

Paul Collins Beat

June 17 @ 9pm

He’s been covered by Green Day, had a song on the ‘Caddyshack’ soundtrack, and was once a member of revered Los Angeles power-pop trio the Nerves, which also featured Peter Case of the Plimsouls. Singer and guitarist Paul Collins has been a firm believer in the redemptive power of rock ’n’ roll since the ’70s, and shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. Last year’s ‘Feel the Noise’ album is chockfull of jangly delights such as “All Eyes to See” and “Don’t Know How to Treat a Lady,” that prove there’s no expiration date on quality rock. 

$10. Dante’s, 350 W Burnside St. Sandy Blvd. 

Mimicking Birds

June 18 @ 9pm

Somewhere during the layoff between 2010’s self-titled debut album and last year’s ‘Eons,’ Mimicking Birds’ prime mover Nate Lacy (who calls Portland home) seems to have received a confidence booster shot, kicking his whispery, bedroom-folk tunes up a notch into beauteous band fodder, without sacrificing any of their intimate power. On newer material like “Owl Hoots” and “Wormholes” the colors Lacy’s added to his palette, a splash of guitar here, percolating percussion there, help to clarify and add purpose to his meandering spirit. 

$12-14. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St. 

Agalloch courtesy of Profound Lore Records


June 20 @ 9pm

Even with the occasional cello sawing through the swirling textures, veteran Portland crew Agalloch revels in the darkness, eschewing endless helicopter guitar solos for a haunting, pastoral aesthetic that aligns them more with European neofolk and black metal, than with the grueling thrash tempos favored by their Yankee countrymen. Wintery collages like “Black Lake Nidstang,” “Falling Snow,” and “Fire Above, Ice Below” demonstrate an atmospheric orchestral sensibility that rumbles and grows like an impending storm. 

$12. Star Theater, 13 NW Sixth Ave. 

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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