PDX Pop Now! 2009 – Friday through Sunday @ Rotture (320 SE 2nd Ave)
Did you have anything on your agenda this weekend that didn’t involve spending all day at a club in inner Southeast Portland watching band after amazing band perform at no cost to you and yours? If so, I would suggest canceling it immediately. Friday evening marks the start of the sixth PDX Pop Now festival. This three day, all ages (and, yes, FREE) event takes over Roturre, filling two stages with nothing but local talent. Plenty of genres get their due so if you approach this with ears and mind open, you are sure to walk away with a dozen new favorite bands. The highlights are too numerous to mention, so I suggest you dip into the schedule posted on the PDX Pop website and make your plans accordingly.
Patti Smith Tribute – Saturday @ Slabtown (1033 NW 6th)
If there’s anything that could drag you away from the PDX Pop Fest on Saturday night, it will most likely be this benefit show for Siren Nation Women’s Music And Art Festival. An impressive array of female voices will take on the songs and legacy of the punk-era poet Patti Smith, including the rumbling rock of Swallows and Anne Adams’ wispy folk-pop.
Dark Lingo – Sunday @ Valentines (232 SW Ankeny)
This Pennsylvania-based duo (pictured) follows in the long line of brilliant bass/drums only groups that kick out sludgy, uncompromising rock. What lets this group stand out is a firm foundation rooted in deep grooves and some voodoo boogie that tempers their evil intentions. It’s the kind of beautifully ugly noise that should make the perfect loud, sweaty end to your weekend.
Sonic Youth – Tuesday @ Roseland Theater (8 NW 6th Ave)
There are very few bands that have sustained a 30-year career and still sound as vibrant and necessary as Sonic Youth still does. I wrote a somewhat middling review of their most recent album The Eternal on this site, but it is a record that I have since warmed up to considerably. I still may not put it with their best work, but the songs have grown more urgent and intense upon subsequent listens, stretching the limits of what a guitar can do ever further. Whether you are sold on the album or not, you should easily agree that they are still a potent live band and never to be missed.