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High Notes: The Best Live Music in Portland This Week, June 9-15

Tuesday, June 09, 2015


Jonathan Richman courtesy of High Road Touring

I apologize in advance for the abundance of old white dudes in this week’s concert previews. But if you add up the ages of Todd Rundgren, Jonathan Richman, and David Nelson, you get more than 200 years of rock ’n’ roll excellence! My philosophy is that we should honor our tribal elders when we have the opportunity to do so. They won’t be here forever, which is exactly what your parents said about Christmas visits to Grandma’s house.

Jonathan Richman

June 9 @ 8pm

So why is folk-naif Jonathan Richman such an exalted figure in the rock cosmos? It’s simply because the 64-year-old Boston troubadour has been doing whatever the hell he wants since he first appeared with his legendary proto-punk band the Modern Lovers in 1970. Endlessly touring with his Sancho Panza drummer Tommy Larkins, and singing goofy, guileless songs about girls, insects, and painters that he admires, Richman is a completely unique artist. And those are in mighty short supply these days. 

$15. Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave. 

Surfer Blood

June 10 @ 8pm

Don’t call it a “comeback.” Oh, well, go ahead. This Florida quartet was flying high till singer John Paul Pitts faced a charge of domestic violence (the case was dropped) in 2012, which put a dark cloud over the release of their major label debut ‘Pythons’ the following year. Now they’re back with ‘1000 Palms,’ a record that aims for a return to the chaotic guitar-pop styling that initially won over the cognoscenti, as on songs like “Floating Vibes” and “Swim” from their first album ‘Astro Coast.’

$16-18. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave.

David Nelson Band, Moonalice

June 12 @ 8pm

A founding member of New Riders of the Purple Sage and a longtime Garcia collaborator, guitarist and singer Nelson will be celebrating his 72nd birthday at this show. The least you could do is swing by and request an encore of “Panama Red” or some other stoner-cowboy nugget from the New Riders songbook. Most of Nelson’s band—drummer John Molo, guitarist Barry Sless, and former Jefferson Starship bassist Pete Sears—also play in Moonalice, so prepare yourself for plenty of hybrid jams long into the night. 

$25. Alhambra Theatre, 4811 SE Hawthorne Blvd. 

Todd Rundgren courtesy of Todd-Rundgren.com

Todd Rundgren

June 12 @ 8pm

Timeless Todd is turning 67 next week, and he’s on the road behind his latest record, ‘Global,’ a synth-driven album that isn’t among his best work, but not without its charms. Don’t let that dampen your enthusiasm, because Todd can always open up the vault and pick and choose from a pile of classics that towers over anything currently found on any modern rock listening platform. Concert staples like “Can We Still Be Friends,” “I Saw the Light,” and “Just One Victory” are nothing less than pop perfection from a master craftsman that can still bring it live. 

$45-75. Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell St. 

The Heavenly States

June 14 @ 8pm

If you’re a diehard fan of this Austin-by-way-of-Oakland crew, then I’m afraid it’s going to cost you a pretty penny. The new Heavenly States album, ‘Hiss,’ is a mighty three-record set that retails for $50—vinyl only. Perhaps a more economic solution for the cash-strapped curious would be to see them in the comfy confines of the Know, where gentle tunes such as “My Friends” and “Sun Chase Moon” will sound exquisite, and full-tilt rockers like “Car Wash” will rebound off the walls like a magic racquetball.

The Know, 2026 NE Alberta St. 


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