Eugene Weekly : Music : 3.12.09

Welcome to the Captain’s Quarters

Plenty of bands claim to specialize in pirate rock these days. Generally, the accepted definition of such music involves romanticizing the bloodthirsty, raping-and-pillaging thieves who once ruled the high seas. Those combinations of sea chantey and profane punk rock grit usually result in something that would frighten the bairns. But Captain Bogg & Salty, a bona fide pirate band, take the cartoonization of pirates literally with their cleaned-up, kid-friendly show, complete with plenty of pirate lingo and ornate costumes. See, Captain Bogg & Salty is more than just a band; it’s a children’s theater group that regularly performs in schools. That said, even adults will find the mixture of music and wholesome sketch comedy entertaining. The song “Scurvy,” a punk rock jam warning of the dangers of vitamin C deficiency on those long sojourns on the water, is particularly entertaining; it sounds like an oi! punk song, with a chorus that helpfully offers up a simple solution to scurvy: eat a lime! Captain Bogg & Salty probably aren’t going to become your new favorite band, but unlike so much in children’s entertainment, Captain Bogg & Salty manage to be both G-rated and witty, thereby avoiding the cheeseball pitfalls that can make children’s theater hard to bear for anyone who’s past puberty. Captain Bogg & Salty play at 2 pm Saturday, March 14, at the WOW Hall. $5 adv., $7 door (under 13), $10 adv., $14 door (over 13). — Sara Brickner


You Will Be Lifted

I could make fun of the fact that Sarah Palin once governed members of Portugal. The Man (at least those who hail from Wasilla, Alaska), but they’ve saved some face by relocating to the Pacific Northwest. Not that location can really pin down this band’s sound. Portugal. The Man’s mastermind John Gourley may’ve been raised in the wilds of Alaska, and their albums may’ve been recorded in the foggy mists of Seattle and Portland, but this isn’t bearded folk rock hippie-dippy bullshit. It’s Motown meets Beatles meets Prince.

Last September, the band released its third album, Censored Colors, and it’s a modern age spiritual in a gospel-laced doo-wop kind of way. Those who love monster-sized prog-rock jams will enjoy the second half of Colors, especially the one-two punch of “Hard Times” and “Our Times.” But I gravitate to the slower, groovier tracks like “All Mine,” “Lay Me Back Down” and “Created.” On many of these songs, Gourley channels the same high-pitched falsetto achieved by the Cold War Kids and, yes, Prince. The chill it sends down your spine as Gourley sings “I’m not afraid to die / ‘cause all these colors will change” on “Colors” is not a cheap in-studio effect. You’ll be lifted. Portugal. The Man, The Science Heroes and The Tunnel Kings play at 8:30 pm Friday, March 13, at WOW Hall. $10 adv., $12 door. — Chuck Adams



A Musical Exorcism

Never let it be said that Sophe Lux aims low: “This song is intended to be a ritualistic soul retrievel aimed at banishing the poisonous spirits of excessive greed, material lust, war mongerism, prejudice and hate out of the wasteland of the American psyche.” The song in question is “Hungry Ghost,” the first of the two tracks on the Portland band’s new EP. The song darts from pretty and tame to impatient and hurried before settling into its main sound: Dramatic and retro, full of synths and a sort of throwback arena rock momentousness. Sophe Lux is led by Gwynneth Haynes (sister of director Todd), who’s never content to stick with one vocal style when her sprawling songs can hold many; her soprano is often compared to Kate Bush, but she spends as much time in a rounder, lower tone, or chanting, or breaking, briefly, into an over-enunciated folksinger delivery. “Sophia Song,” which you could think of as “Hungry Ghost”’s b-side, slinks in on a tinkling piano before shifting into an ominous, rising melody that steps aside, now and then, for Haynes’ vocals to shine alone. In just two songs, Sophe Lux covers more ground than most bands ever set foot on. Haynes and company share this bill with troubadour and accordion master Jason Webley, a Eugene favorite, and Sxip Shirey. Webley and Shirey are celebrating the release of a collaborative EP, Days With You, which is the fifth of an eventual 11 EPs Webley is making with various other musicians. Sophe Lux, Jason Webley & Sxip Shirey play at 8:30 pm Thursday, March 19, at the WOW Hall. $8 adv., $10 door. — Molly Templeton