Whether the Builders and the Butchers are regaling their audiences with eerie tales of the gallows, coal-mining accidents, or the various other methods by which people have expired over the years, the macabre pop-gospel balladeers' energetic, upbeat melodies defy the sorrowful tales of general bloodshed that accompany them. Between the cheery banjo stylings, vocalist Ryan Sollee's twangy warblings, and the gritty lo-fi recording quality that pervades most of their tracks, the Portland band's bluegrass inclinations dominate. At times, Sollee sounds like he could be Colin Meloy's little brother, with accordion and mandolin to drive home the sea-chantey effect that earned the Decemberists their popularity; at other moments, the music swells with a psychedelic riff, and you could swear you were listening to one of Led Zeppelin's lesser-known blues tracks. Don't be surprised if the band hops off stage and leads a raucous musical procession around the venue. If you missed them at Block Party, or at the Sunset last time, don't make that mistake again.
Wed., Oct. 15, 8 p.m., 2008