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High Notes: The Best Live Music in Portland This Week, March 10 - 15

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


This week, we welcome a trio of highly acclaimed groups from the Bay Area (Machine Head, Flamin’ Groovies, and the Dodos), along with a buzz band from across the pond (Wolf Alice). And though their sound is indeed out of this world, Cambrian Explosion is made up of ordinary Portlanders just like you—more or less. 

Machine Head

Mar 11 @ 8pm

Can we get a hearty devil-horn salute for Oakland metal crew Machine Head, who are fast approaching a quarter century of epic thrash and carnage? Riding high on the glowing reviews for their latest album ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds,’ Machine Head continues to add depth and texture to their precision jackhammer aggression. This tour is billed as “An Evening With Machine Head.” There will be no opening bands—just wall-to-wall warfare from the headliner.   

$20-25. Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th Ave. 

Machine Head Courtesy of Nuclear Blast

Wolf Alice

Mar 11 @ 8pm

Don’t waste too much time trying to figure out this London group’s guitar lineage. Wolf Alice sounds like vintage Seattle on the crushing grunge workout “Moaning Lisa Smile,” but more atmospheric tracks like “Bros” and “Storms” indicate the prevailing influence of artful English noisemakers like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. In any case, Wolf Alice, led by enchanting singer Ellie Rowsell, seems to be a band poised on the brink of a breakthrough here in the states. Surely you’ll want to be a part of that? 

$10-12. Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water Ave. 

Flamin’ Groovies

Mar 12 @ 9pm

File this one under “rare opportunities.” If your merely adequate knowledge of rock ’n’ roll has earned you nothing but scorn from the cool kids, then run, don’t walk to bask in the glow of these Bay Area icons, currently rolling through their sixth decade of inspirational whap-a-dang. The Groovies’ evolution from turbo-charged garage-rock torchbearers (1971’s essential ‘Teenage Head’ album) to power-pop potentates (the equally vital ‘Shake Some Action,’ 1976) is required study for any pilgrim seeking the most sacred sounds. Their combustible version of Freddy Cannon’s “Tallahassee Lassie” alone is worth the price of admission.   

$18. Dante’s, 350 W Burnside St. Sandy Blvd. 

The Dodos By Chloe Aftel

The Dodos

Mar 13 @ 9pm

“This record is about accepting what is natural for you, or even a part of you.” In describing the Dodos’ latest album ‘Individ,’ singer and guitarist Meric Long acknowledges ownership of the uncanny musical elements that have propelled the San Francisco duo through a consistently rewarding 10-year career. Long’s thoughtful guitar crop circles sprouting all over Logan Kroeber’s hyper-kinetic percussive patterns, is at the beating heart of the Dodos, as evidenced on sparkling new songs like “Bubble” and “Retriever.”

$15. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St. 

Cambrian Explosion

Mar 14 @ 9pm

Admittedly, there aren’t a ton of local groups that dare to explore the shimmering solar systems pioneered by the likes of heavy tripping progs like Gong and Hawkwind. But Cambrian Explosion handles tricky time and tonal shifts with remarkable finesse, keeping their sturdy craft on course to a relatively safe, joyful landing, instead of burning up in reentry or getting sucked into vile black holes of tepid abstraction. Here is an example of a band that bravely reaches for the stars—and usually finds them. 

$8. Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington 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'sBarFly 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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