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High Notes: The Best Live Music in Portland This Week

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


The Aislers Set

The Aislers Set Photo Credit: Slumberland Records

Whether your musical tastes run to expansive pop (Aislers Set), irresistible funky grooves (New Mastersounds) or samurai-flavored hip-hop, courtesy of Wu-Tang Clan founder GZA, concertgoers have much to consider in this week’s calendar. 

The Aislers Set

Sept 23 @ 8:30pm

This is indeed a special occasion. Influential SF pop band the Aislers Set released three albums between 1998 and 2003—and that’s it. Since that time they’ve played a few reunion shows but this is their first actual tour in a very long time. Like Big Star before them, their three albums, Terrible Things Happen, The Last Match, and Learning to Write Backwards, represent a remarkable body of work; each song a treasure worth repeated listening. In her own humble way, singer and chief songwriter Amy Linton pitches her tent in the same sonic campground as ambitious folks like Phil Spector (minus the murderous instincts) and Brian Wilson, but was thankfully tempered with a sensible punk upbringing. 
$15. Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison. 

New Mastersounds

Sept 24-25 @ 9pm

Despite hailing from Leeds, England, New Mastersounds are a totally legit funk-soul combo loaded with enough greasy grooves to fry a chicken. Led by guitarist and producer Eddie Roberts, New Mastersounds are touring the States on the back of their ninth record, Therapy, which includes a fresh collection of piping-hot R&B, including the tune “Monday Meters,” a tribute to legendary New Orleans instrumental outfit the Meters, who were obviously a big influence on this English quartet. The band occasionally collaborates with assorted vocalists, but for the most part this will be two evenings dedicated to heated jams and stone-cold instrumental prowess. Try not to embarrass yourself on the dance floor. 
$19. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St. 

Eyelids, Wild Bells, Paradise

Sept 27 @ 9pm

Good news, everyone! Here’s your chance to catch three first-tier local bands, featuring some of Portland’s most pedigreed players, and it’s all free, free, free! Paradise, led by husband-and-wife team Steve Denekas and Tamar Berk, specializes in gritty ’60s garage-rock fueled by a hot reserve of punk defiance. Wild Bells is the latest group from guitarist and singer Pete Ficht, a veteran of such notable local outfits as Joy Pop Turbo, State Flowers, and King Black Acid. Wild Bells have a potent pop sound held aloft by jingle-jangle guitars and sturdy vocal harmonies. Eyelids boast a lineup that includes past and present members of the Decemberists, Guided By Voices, Sunset Valley, and Minus 5. The music springs from the band members’ collective love of Paisley Underground sound and the brainy college rock of R.E.M. and its many acolytes.


GZA Photo Credit: Babygrande Records.

Free, Secret Society Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside


Sept [email protected] 6pm

Founding Wu-Tang Clan member GZA serving up highlights from his acknowledged classic concept album Liquid Swords is certainly one of the highlights of this weekend’s Project Pabst music festival—which also includes sets by Modest Mouse, Tears for Fears, and Rocket From the Crypt. Thoroughly marinated in GZA’s devotion to martial arts and samurai films, Liquid Swords was originally released in 1995 and is rightfully worshipped by fans and smart-aleck critics alike as an epic of hip-hop scope and lyrical might. 
$35-60. South Waterfront’s Zidell Yards, 3030 SW Moody Ave. projectpabst.com

Nik Turner’s Hawkwind, Witch Mountain

Sept 28 @ 9pm

You’ve got to give some props to a guy fronting a band at the tender age of 74. Nik Turner has sung and played sax with pioneering English space-rock band Hawkwind off and on since its inception in 1969. His current group, despite the name, is not to be confused with the original Hawkwind, which continues to perform under the direction of band founder Dave Brock. Turner’s current stage show is a reimagining of Hawkwind’s famous Space Ritual tour from 1972, a psychedelic sci-fest of extra-dimensional proportions. Arrive early for an opening set by Portland’s own band of doom, Witch Mountain, who just released Mobile of Angels, their final album with singer Uta Plotkin. 
$25-27. Star Theater, 13 NW Sixth Ave.  

John Chandler has been writing about rock and/or roll for 25 years

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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