Eugene Weekly : Music : 4.26.07

“The Blues Show Of The Year”
Salgado stages fantastic benefit

Concert For Curtis II. 7 pm, Sunday, 4/29. Silva Concert Hall, Hult Center. $150, $75, $50, $35. 682-5000

Curtis Salgado, one of the Pacific Northwest’s premier blues musicians and the inspiration behind John Belushi’s Blues Brothers character, was diagnosed with liver cancer over a year ago though he had been clean and sober for 17 years. After spending about $100,000 on testing, Salgado was told a suitable liver donor had been found, but he had to produce proof he could pay. “I didn’t have health insurance,” said Salgado recently by phone from his Portland home. “They said, ‘Mr. Salgado, we need to see $300,000 in the bank or no go.'” Salgado knew he needed help, but it was difficult to ask for that kind of money. “It’s embarrassing to put yourself in this situation,” Salgado said. “I am so blessed, first to get a liver and then to have the whole community pull together like this. It affects me, and I’m like, ‘How do I give back?’ The only way was to have the best show possible.”

After undergoing a successful transplant, Salgado is hoping this benefit concert will put a dent in his debts. The lineup, Salgado said, is in his opinion, “the blues show of the year.” Steve “Some People Call Him Maurice” Miller, Charlie Musselwhite, Kim Wilson (” A devastatingly good harmonica player with The Fabulous Thunderbirds.”), Kirk Fletcher (who plays guitar with Wilson) and Little Charlie & The Nightcats plus surprise guests will be appearing. Also on stage will be Jimmy Vaughan (with The Fabulous Thunderbirds from 1979-1983), who recently announced his commitment to the concert. “He’s my favorite guitarist,” Salgado said. “Little Charlie, Kirk Fletcher, Steve Miller, and Jimmy Vaughan on guitar, plus my two guitar players … that’s pretty much the best blues guitar players you can see on the planet, in my opinion.”

Salgado was quick to add that each player is donating time to help him. “It’s humbling, very humbling,” he said. “I’ve always wanted that special hit record, and it’s always kind of eluded me. I always wanted that one record that would get me out there so I could have my head above water,” Salgado said. “To be blunt, I wanted the golden ring. But after this experience, I know I already won the golden ring, and it was the community that gave it to me. This is so much deeper and so much more meaningful than anything like that. My focus now, and what I’m championing, is organ donorship.”

Salgado, doing well after a couple of initial setbacks, continues to be checked every four months. He has maintained a positive attitude since the beginning of his ordeal. When he first learned of his diagnosis, Salgado said, “I was like, ‘Nah, I ain’t going, not yet.'”    



Found Sounds
Ex-Patriot tour brings noisemasters to DIVA

In 1939, Lou Harrison and John Cage began scouring San Francisco junkyards and antique shops for brake drums and other objects that might make good percussion instruments. Their percussion ensemble concerts showed that compelling music could be made from sources other than approved orchestral or folk instruments. Today, as any Stomp! concert demonstrates, making music by banging on trash cans, bouncing rubber balls and whooshing brooms no longer seems so radical. But the tradition of turning “noise” into music remains strong. This Thursday, April 26, DIVA hosts a five-pack of experimental music performers from various locations and traditions who specialize in that sonic alchemy.

Z’EV, a U.K.-based sound artist, has been a pioneer in so-called industrial music since the 1970s. After studying various world music traditions at Cal Arts, he began creating his own percussion sounds out of industrial materials for a variety of small yet intrepid record labels, including a commission from John Zorn. Moe!, who’s worked with dozens of bands and musicians, equips his trap set with everthing from pipes to food pans, spatulas and other objects liberated from the Pizza Hut where he used to work. He’s fun to watch, too, running around to strike or crash into various noisemakers. Performing everywhere from an abandoned subway in Austria to a Polish coal mine to a Paris museum to a Japanese zen temple, North Carolina’s Sikhara creates trancy sound collages from sampled voices and “animalistic tribal percussion.” Eugene’s own Warning Broken Machine employs feedback, electronic toys and other fond objects to create vast washes of sound. Portland’s Noah Mickens also uses found objects (such as scrap metal percussion) and voice in a bewildering variety of contexts, including throat singing, neo-classical, “afro-noise-dance,” traveling freak show, theater scores and more. He’s also been an important impresario in booking adventurous Portland clubs like Someday Lounge and Jasmine Tree.

As a child, Oregon Mozart Players music director Glen Cortese had two passions: piano and baseball. An injury took the latter from him and gave him a lot more time to practice the former. But as anyone who’s heard him announcing World Series scores (particularly if his beloved Yankees are playing) between concert pieces can attest, Cortese’s love for the national pastime never waned. On May 5, just in time for the new baseball season, the OMP will perform “Game Called,” Cortese’s setting of a Grantland Rice poem inspired by Babe Ruth. The splendid program at the Hult’s Soreng Theater also boasts Haydn’s always-entertaining symphonies, Benjamin Britten’s “The Sword in the Stone,” based on the King Arthur legend, and Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll,” a lovely piece that has for more than a century been making every husband feel guilty that he didn’t write a masterpiece for his wife’s birthday and hire a band to play it on the stairs as she awoke on Christmas morn. How about a dozen roses instead, honey? The Mozart Players warm up by joining the Eugene Concert Choir on April 28 at the Hult for Puccini’s Messa di Gloria.


Local jazz fans should check out Mike Denny‘s new trio with B-3 boss Barney McClure and drummer Kevin Congleton at Jo Federigo’s on May 4. They’ll play classic organ trio standards in the tradition of Jimmy Smith to Joey DeFrancesco; look for their upcoming CD. And on April 27, Cozmic Pizza hosts a pair of local contemporary jazz fusion bands: The Menagerie and Gary Rempel Jazz Syndicate. Or if you’re in a samba mood that night, head over to Luna for Macaco Velho‘s Brazilian beat. Cozmic also brings back the latest incarnation of the ever-evolving gypsy folk band Taarka (this time featuring mandolin, guitar, fiddle and vocals) on April 28.

Some other recommended road shows in a world music vein: The great Bay Area Afrobeat ensemble Albino! brings their Fela-Kuti-fueled big band grooves, costumes and dancers to the WOW Hall, with Portland’s funky March Fourth Marching Band opening. Speaking of world music, you can hear one of its biggest crossover stars, but you’ll have to go to Corvallis to do it, because that’s where Angelique Kidjo is playing on May 9. On May 5, Luna brings back one of America’s greatest singer songwriters, L.A.’s Peter Case. The modern troubador got his start with the power popping Plimsouls (remember “A Million Miles Away” from Valley Girl?) and went on to make two of the most acclaimed solo albums of the 1980s. He’s continued to crank out magnificent, blues based story-songs, and has the voice and guitar chops to match his songcraft. And he’s written a new memoir of his eventful life, so be prepared for a few prose passages, too.

Another musician-cum-author, Victor Wooten, comes to the McDonald Theatre May 2. The four-time Grammy winner, who made his name with Bela Fleck’s Flecktones, has a flourishing solo career that veers between Prince-y funk, fusion jazz and hip-hoppy soul. His last album name checks mentors like Jaco, Stanley Clarke and Bootsy, and Wooten’s bass mastery puts him up near that stratosphere.



Indie Extravaganza!
Three days, four exceptional shows

It’s a virtually unheard of week for a certain kind of music that I’d hesitate to fully slip into the “indie rock” category. Guitar-centric, evocative and often independent, perhaps; across the board within an aural spectrum — though even that may be painting with too broad a brush. But no matter how you color it, there are shows galore.

The big name is, of course, The Decemberists, recently referred to in The New York Times as the “Decembrists,” an “emerging” band that plays Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge, which is, by the way, a “dance club.” Ahem. Last year, The Decemberists released the widely-acclaimed The Crane Wife; that was followed by this year’s DVD release, A Practical Handbook. Sometimes esoteric but never needlessly cute, The Decemberists got a lot of press when guitarist (and former Eugenean) Chris Funk faced off with Stephen Colbert in a “Shred Off” which brought to an end the highly entertaining “Decemberists vs. Stephen Colbert” feud of ought-six. Expect less soloing and more catchy, literate, extraordinarily arranged songs at the band’s second McDonald Theater show in the last couple of years. Opening for The Decemberists is My Brightest Diamond, the solo project of Shara Worden, who has also played with Sufjan Stevens. (9 pm Thursday, May 3, McDonald Theatre; $18.50 adv., $20 door.)

Explosions in the Sky

There is one bad thing about The Decemberists’ show: It’s the same night that Explosions in the Sky plays the WOW Hall. EITS, an instrumental band from Texas, appears to be a group consisting of four geniuses, at least if their astonishing, anthemic, aurally descriptive songs are anything to judge by. The band’s newest release, All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, is just under 44 minutes of what I want to call the opposite of silent film: This is the music to a story you have to make up yourself. It’s intense and unusual, bright and dark, beautiful and loud, intricate and driving. EITS makes the music that defines a genre by its contradictions. (With Eluvium, 9 pm Thursday, May 3, WOW Hall; $8 adv., $10 door.)

For something a little more externally appreciable — by which I mean you can dance to it — catch The Rapture. This band of Brooklynites multiplied the attention they’d previously received with 2003’s Echoes, which featured “Out of the Races and On to the Tracks,” a yelping, exuberant song that insists listeners not stand still, as did the even more energetic “House of Jealous Lovers.” Their most recent album, Pieces of the People We Love, seemed to make a smaller splash upon its release last year, but the band is still creating catchy dance-rock that weaves a bridge from late-’90s/early-2000s angular guitar rock to ’70s tunes and tones. Former lone lead singer Luke Jenner, who now shares the vocals with Mattie Safer, sounds less distressed than he used to, but he still carries two of Pieces‘ highlights: lead track “Don Gon Do It” and “Get Myself Into It,” a spare, percussive, insistent song decorated with saxophone and laid out above one of rock’s most danceable beats. (With Shiny Toy Guns, 8 pm Monday, April 30, WOW Hall; $16 adv., $18 door.)

Minus the Bear

Before all those shows is another chance to check out the evolving Indigo District space when Minus the Bear, The Honorary Title and Chin Up Chin Up play there Saturday night. Minus the Bear recently released a remix album, Interpretationes del Oso, that offers new versions of tracks from 2005’s Menos el Oso by P.O.S., Dalek and others. They’re scheduled to release a new record (with the slightly epic title Planet of Ice) this summer, so it’s safe to guess that the Seattle quartet’s show will involve some new tracks. I’ll be crossing my fingers for “Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse” from 2003’s Highly Refined Pirates, which for me clarified the band’s sound: dynamic, rhythmically involved, with sometimes spare guitar lines tied together by singer Jake Snider’s versatile voice. Like the rest of these shows, this one — with its pair of also-enticing opening acts — shouldn’t be missed. Extra bonus: They’re all all-ages! (8 pm Saturday, April 28, Indigo District; $14 adv., $15 door.)



Get Hyphy


Although the original ethos behind Earl Stevens’ hip hop moniker developed from his love of 40 oz. bottles of malt liquor, the name E-40 will soon stand to represent the longevity of the collar-poppin’ MC’s career. At 39, the Bay Area rapper has stepped out of the underground and onto the charts as one of the most prolific figures in hip hop music. Fueled by his 12th album, My Ghetto Report Card, E-40 has brought the synth-heavy beats of crunk heavyweight Lil Jon from Atlanta to Northern California — reinventing himself as one of the leaders of the newly popular “hyphy” movement. On the album’s first single, “Tell Me When to Go,” the lyricist delivers rapid-fire rhymes over a hollow, trunk-rattling beat while keys jingle in the ignition. Fellow rapper Keak Da Sneak also appears with a raspy growl that makes you think his favorite drink is Cuervo and gravel.

But before E-Fonzarelli’s Nor-Cal gospel hit teenybopper top tens around the country, a young Stevens cut his teeth in The Click — a group he founded in his native Vallejo, Calif. With other members B-Legit, Suga-T and D-shot, The Click released its first album, Down and Dirty, in 1994. The group would go on to record five more albums and establish themselves in the Bay Area music scene.

As a solo artist, E-40 has worked with everyone from Snoop Dogg to Jay-Z, introducing a lexicon of slang that continues to influence hip hop’s top wordsmiths. In addition to his work in the studio, the “Ambassador of the Bay” has explored other business ventures such as opening a Fatburger franchise in Pleasant Hill, Calif., and expanding his record label, Sick Wid It Records. Currently on tour with Twista, E-40 will show the rest of the country why his recognition in hip hop has been long overdue. E-40 plays at 8 pm Friday, April 27 at the Lane Events Center. $35 adv., $39 door. — Zach Klassen

Irreverent Reverend Packs Heat

A DJ / A DJ / Let’s get out of here / A DJ… / Let’s get out of here / I know a place with a little better atmosphere / It’s cool let’s go!

Reverend Horton Heat

Never invite the Reverend Horton Heat to go hear your favorite DJ, no matter how well that DJ drops a needle. As the above lyrics from “If It Ain’t Got Rhythm” (Revival, YepRoc Records) suggest, that won’t fly.

Like a devilish musical hellhound, the hatchet-voiced Reverend Horton Heat (aka Jim Heath) brings divine nutriments (straight up rock and roll) to the less than virtuous (people like me). It’s raw, fun, psychotic and feels better than having drunken sex in public.

“If you’re a musician, you play music,” Heath says. “You don’t sit around waiting for some golden record deal. We live in a really topsy turvy world where people who can’t sing are making millions of dollars selling records, but the guy that studied and has a Ph.D. in music is playing piano at the Hyatt Regency.”

Geniuses are playing on the street, Heath says, while, “some cute little girl who can bounce around and knows the right dance moves is making a million dollars.”

“Rock and roll never really had a chance,” Heath says. “People act like, oh, rock and roll — they’ve been doing that forever. But it really died in the 1950s. Rock and roll is Jerry Lee Lewis pounding straight-eighths on the piano. Then in the 1960s all of a sudden Mama and the Papas are singing these folk song harmonies, and they’re rock and roll. And then you had these art bands in the 1970s. That’s not rock and roll. We play rock and roll.”


Reverend Horton Heat and Murder by Death play at 8 pm Wednesday, May 2 at the WOW Hall. $20. — John Dooley


!!! Dammit !!!

Dance music, in all its various incarnations, acts as a barometer for the times. Disco, punk, New Wave and hip hop are all intrinsically connected to the ’70s and ’80s; without the tumultuous global and political situation that riddled those two decades, those different styles of dance music would never have caught on. It should come as no surprise then — as the Bush regime falls one-by-one, the Dems recapture Congress, two strong presidential candidates (one female, one black) vie for the hearts of Americans everywhere — that the guys in !!! (pronounced chk chk chk, or as any one-syllable percussive sound repeated three times) would also evolve their sound to reflect this new, lingering hope.


While “Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard (A True Story)” from !!!’s 2004 release Louden Up Now leveled dance floors everywhere with its frenzied jams and spiraling, punk funk grooves, the group also revealed an ability to dredge up nihilistic-sounding, no-wave vibes with their cover of Nate Dogg’s “Get Up,” from a 2005 split single. Up to this point the band’s sound was at best strident and somewhat vicious and at worst stripped-down and primal (which kicked ass even then).

With their new album Myth Takes, !!! lets its guard down just a tad, opening up to brighter, poppier sounds. The group expands their post-punk repertoire with the tail shaking, B-52’s style guitar licks of the album’s title track and the soft-drama ambience of “Infinifold.” However, extended tunes like the epic “Bend Over Beethoven” and the throbbing “Heart of Hearts” prove that the band can still build a giant house of cards out of some simple grooves. A new !!!? Yes. A better !!!? Debatable. Still a rocking !!!? Definitely. !!! plays at 9 pm Tuesday, May 1 at the McDonald Theatre. $14. — Steve Sawada