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Eugene Weekly : Music : 06.22.06

Northwest Punk Frenzy

MxPx revives the spirit of the '90s.


Take one part Minor Threat, two parts the Descendants, throw it somewhere in the Pacific Northwest and add a smidge of religion. Mix well. Apart from getting a very confused teenager with the sudden urge to worship Jesus while pushing people and rebelling against the world, you end up with MxPx.

MxPx, Floater, Stroke 9, I Can Lick Any SOB In The House, Harvey Danger. 3:30 pm, Saturday, 6/24. Secret House Vineyard, $18.

The Bremerton, Wash., trio has circled the globe for over 12 years, becoming a huge influence on today's modern pop/punk movement. Rarely stopping to take a break since their inception, the band headed back into the studio in 2004 to record songs for Panic, released last year.

"We've matured a lot as players and musicians, and also working with producers recently," says drummer Yuri Ruley. "That tightened us up as a band and also improved how we looked at songs."

Not only affected by old-school speed punk and hardcore, singer/bassist Mike Herrera also cites Elvis Costello as a major influence for the band's recent work. Panic also involves many more changes in guitar chord structure from guitarist Tom Wisniewski, and Herrera has added changes onto his vocal style and lyrical structure.

One of the biggest songs on Panic, "Heard That Sound," features Herrera singing with his typical semi-disgusted tone of voice that sounds like a lower, non-nasal Johnny Rotten, with hints of new wave that channel Costello.

Ruley's drumming also remains as steady as always, and he is extremely proud of his recent accomplishments. "From the time that I first started until now," he says, "I think my playing has gotten more solid and at the same time more simplified. Part of that was to make things easier, but also to not play over the song. My biggest drum influences are Bill Stevenson from the Descendants, Dave Grohl and even Ringo Starr. Those guys know how play along with a song so well."



Into Africa

Christian concert to fund relief efforts in Mozambique.


Like much of sub-Saharan Africa, Mozambique is a country beset with troubles. AIDS has decimated the population, poverty abounds and nutritional food and clean water are almost luxury items. If current trends remain steady, babies born in Mozambique today can expect to live about 40 years.

In late July a relief team from the First Baptist Church of Eugene will travel to Mozambique in an attempt to change, if only a little, those current trends. To help fund the mission, the church is sponsoring a benefit concert on June 23

"When people talk about disease in Africa, the first thing they probably think about is AIDS and HIV," said concert organizer David Evarts. "But many people are dying from diseases that are relatively easy to treat in America. Kids are dying from something as simple as diseases caused by a vitamin deficiency."

Evarts said that money raised from the concert will be used to buy medical supplies, which the team will take with them. Money is also needed to buy building materials once the team is in the country. Evarts' wife, Barbara, said, "Africa is a place where, if you can use your hands, there is always work to do."

The concert features a line up of three local Christian bands. Anna Gilbert is a singer in her early 20s whose self-released debut CD God Sees is currently voted number one on the Indieheaven.com charts. She has a sweet voice and a knack for inspirational ballads.

Calling Simon is an acoustic band from Eugene whose members see their musical mission as preparing their audience to hear a gospel message. Feel Good Remedy tempers their evangelical message with electric blues, rap and other pop influences. — John Ginn

Benefit for Mozambique. 7 pm, Friday, 6/23. First Baptist Church, $5 don.



Sound and Vision

TBA06 performers bring their show to Eugene.


In his popular book, The Rise of the Creative Class, Carnegie Mellon University professor Richard Florida noted how the most creative students and graduates were migrating from intolerant or insufficiently hip places like CMU's home of Pittsburgh to cool places like, well, here. Not long ago, three CMU art students, inspired by "Google, old comics, kicky fabrics and bent environments" (according to one of them, Cassandra C. Jones) and impressed by each other's work, began teaming up to create multimedia installations at downtown Pittsburgh galleries, featuring props, music and their diverse animation styles.

Slow Dance Recyttal

The trio was eventually booked to perform at Portland's world famous Time Based Art festival and Seattle's On the Boards series, and Jones says their first trip to the Northwest, which included hikes in the forest when they weren't in front of their computer screens, provided new inspiration. Since then, as Prof. Florida predicted, all three members of the ensemble/experience, which calls itself Slow Dance Recyttal, have decamped to the West Coast, two of them to Portland.

Pittsburgh's loss is our gain, because the trio is bringing their giant gemstone-like props, Flash animation, motion graphics, found photos and music to DIVA on June 23. The elements combine to tell a story, with projected animations on a set consisting of giant glowing inflatable gems and accompanied by live clarinet, bass and pre-recorded electronic sounds (some reminiscent of early '80s synth pop), about a shape shifting character to "uncover the melodic structures within his multiplistic universe." Sounds like a trip worth taking.

SDR is part of a triple bill that also includes Cartune Xprez, a curated program of short experimental animations from artists throughout North America, and Hooliganship, another instrumental synth-pop duo that accompanies "freak-out animations" and instructional videos with retro electronic melodies for what it calls a sensory overload multimedia party. Some of it's trippy, some silly, some wild, but overall, the evening promises to be a dazzling convergence of sound and vision.

Eugene is lucky to have a local outlet for such happenings. On June 28, DIVA hosts another in a series of avant improvisers performing up and down the West Coast. Emily Hay and Marcos Fernandes employ flute, piccolo, reed instruments from various cultures, vocalizations (whoops, yelps, squeaks and other wordless scatting) and electronics to create strange, haunting, fragmentary textures — some of them almost ambient, others veering within wailing distance of free jazz. This is an experience for adventurous listeners of all sorts and may also have some video accompaniment.

The classical calendar tends to defer to the Oregon Bach Festival this month, but on Saturday, June 24, a group of fine local musicians will perform a diverse program of classical chamber music in a benefit for Habitat for Humanity at the Newman Center (near the UO campus and Bachfest offices, in fact). The concert features a diverse array of music for piano and strings, highlighted by Dmitri Shostakovich's tuneful Piano Quintet. Ranging from passionate to playful to pensive, it's a 20th century neoclassical masterpiece.

The well-stocked show also includes one of Mozart's finest chamber works, his Piano Quartet in G Minor, a late trio by Mendelssohn and a duet by the 20th century Swiss composer Arthur Honegger. The ensemble, which so far lacks a name, comprises fiddlers Sophie Therrell and Dan Athearn, violist Michelle Davidson, cellist Jeff Defty and Genevieve Mason on piano — all good musicians playing great music for a good cause.   



Old Timey Newcomer

Rita Hosking

Rita Hosking has one of those perfectly imperfect voices necessary to do folk music right. An overtrained or flawless vibrato can ruin a good tune about broken lives or crossing over or prison wardens who are happiest when the jailhouse is full. But Hosking keeps it beautifully raw and real in the pitchy tradition of Emmylou Harris or Lucinda Williams. Musically, her bluegrass-tinged performances hearken back to the best of American music without mimicking the greats. Close harmonies and strong backup provided by her band, Cousin Jack, round out a sound rooted firmly in traditional music but distinct to an artist with a particular lyrical love for the mountains and the lives they envelop.

Hosking's career is unfolding to critical acclaim, and she is already working on the follow up to her debut album, Are You Ready. She's a favorite at folk and bluegrass festivals around the country, and you can tap your toes and feel the mountain breeze 9:30 pm June 23 at Sam Bond's where Hosking plays with local Laura Kemp and singer/songwriter Steven Pile. $6. — Adrienne van der Valk


Country Boy Makes Good

With his tousled curly locks, faded jeans, flannel work shirt, pleasant singing voice and gently rugged bad-boy demeanor, country singer Dierks Bentley is certainly in the mode of the Modern Country Star — MCS. It's that carefully groomed image of being just a regular guy, hi-ho.

Dierks Bentley

When he sings, he wistfully tinges his delivery with that MCS trademark panther growl/rumble. Ooo, how masculine yet surprisingly sensitive he must be, the ladies say to themselves, wondering if they could be the ones to tame his heartbreaking ways. To their girlfriends they confide, while fanning themselves, "He'd probably just end up breaking my heart, you know, but oh, honey!"

But I digress. To say that Bentley delivers a solid country concert and musical experience for an audience looking for exactly that is both a pointless critique and a strange recommendation at the same time. For curmudgeons like me, it can be a bit perplexing that his audience doesn't seem to notice or care that, well, he's covering rather familiar ground, but perhaps I'm at fault here. I'll just never get it.

Whether he's singing about his "shotgun mama" riding beside him in "Cab of My Truck" from his new CD Modern Day Drifter, or the superior pleasures of domestic beer (so long as it's cold), his songs visit thematic landscapes that to me are as alien as the red rocks of Mars.

Dierks Bentley boot scoots into town at 7 pm Friday, June 23 at Secret House Winery, $25 adv./ $30 dos. — John Ginn



Bring Your Own Psychedelic Liqueur

Absynth Quintet

The Absynth Quintet certainly isn't averse to classic bluegrass comparisons, they just want to make it clear their musical range doesn't stop at the Kentucky border. Mixing it up somewhere along the spectrum of acoustic-improvisational-gypsy-jazz, their sound is plucky and tight à la David Grisman, but adds a dash of Eastern European exoticism that puts you in a smoky, understated hash bar kind of mood. Hailing from Humboldt County, Calif., the band is picking and strumming their way up and down the West Coast, leaving a warm buzz in its wake.

The Absynth Quintet's debut album, Flying Baby Swing, is pleasant and unobtrusive enough to serve as background music for an afternoon potluck, but to relegate them to acoustic "easy listening" status would be a disservice to artists and listeners alike. Tracks like "Playa Requeson" feature mandolin player Chris "Bird" Jowaisas evoking straight-up jazz trumpet with a stringed instrument typically played with lightening-fast percussive fury. The subtle interplay of various harmonic layers is also deserving of a close and contemplative listen; the quintet is so polished that their sound, as one fan put it, can seem like it is coming from one instrument. Lucky they're coming to a small, string-friendly bar near you where their old and new world qualities can be appreciated over a glass of red wine (they don't serve absinthe).

Absynth Quintet plays 9:30 pm June 24 at Sam Bond's 6/24. $5 — Adrienne van der Valk


Mosey On Down

It's Saturday. The falafels are a-frying and the tie-dyes are swirling in the sun. You bask in that comforting Saturday Market familiarity until … you hear something you've never heard before. It's jazzy and jammy and has a Latin flair. You see four men grooving on their respective instruments … you've seen them before, but not together. It's Stone Mosey, a fresh quartet of Eugene's musical all-stars combining their talents and bringing their improvisational stage show to a local venue near you.

Stone Mosey is Steve Arriola from SILAS, Jeremiah Harris from Los Mex Pistols del Norte, Chad Krebs of Douce Ambiance and Michael Goetz from the Quick and Easy Boys. The project began last summer when the four met in a music class at LCC. Arriola was hosting a weekly jam that eventually evolved into Stone Mosey, a "band that doesn't have any songs" but always seems to spin something special out of thin air.

Stone Mosey brings its raw talent to the Saturday Market 3:30 pm, June 24. FREE. — Adrienne van der Valk