The Presidents of the United States of America, at The Gorge during Download Fest 2007. Photo by Chris Kornelis.

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Live Music This Weekend: PUSA, Hackensaw Boys, Dr. John


The Presidents of the United States of America, at The Gorge during Download Fest 2007. Photo by Chris Kornelis.

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Brooken Disco XII with Boys Noize, Recess, Introcut, Brian S, Saigon, Squid Leader

Chop Suey, $15, Friday, 9:00pm

Electro isn’t a femme fatale—when it’s bad, it’s not “better,” it’s just fucking bad. Luckily for Alexander Ridha, who’s been producing and damaging other people’s productions since 2004 as Boys Noize (also the name of his Berlin-based label), his electro is good. Which makes it “very good.” Oi Oi Oi came out last fall, which included a reworking of Feist’s “My Moon, My Man,” and other numbers he’s done a number on lately include Snoop Dogg’s newest ditty, “Sensual Seduction.” Brilliant. In electro, cheekiness is as important as actually liking your source material, and aesthetics are everything—just check out Oi’s cover art, a riff on Damien Hirst’s famous diamond-studded skull, the gaudiest and most expensive piece of art in the world.


Hackensaw Boys, Drew Emmitt

Tractor Tavern, $14, Friday, 9:00pm

Thanks to upwardly mobile folks like Ryan Adams and the Dixie Chicks, Americana over the last decade has slowly been turned into flaccid adult contemporary with a wee bit twang. That’s why the Hackensaw Boys are so damn vital. Along with Chatham County Line and the Black Twig Pickers, the Virginia outfit injects Appalachian string band music with a healthy dose of rock-and-rock primitivism. Yet they don’t forsake Blue Ridge-bred tradition for mainstream pop or cheap novelty à la the Avett Brothers. In fact, the Boys sing of hoboing from firsthand experience. Sure, they’ve opened for the Flaming Lips and Modest Mouse, but they’re more at home when wandering the country, busking on street corners from Asheville to Portland.


Dr. John

Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, $28.50, Daily until Sunday

Extended engagements, which are oh-so-cool, have become a relic in the modern age (at least outside jazz/blues clubs). So it’s kind of a big deal that Dr. John (a.k.a Mac Rebennack) takes over Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley for a damn near full week. As with any rock and roll icon the dude is the subject of three or four anthology-like packages a year. One of the more interesting titles is 2007’s The Early Times of Dr. John, a collection of vintage New Orleans jive, featuring warm, funky organ tones you just don’t hear anymore. The album’s highpoint comes with the southern soul ballad “The Time Had Come.” Who knows how often the Doctor plays such a chestnut, so you’ll probably have to start yelling out requests.


Presidents of the United States of America, Pleaseasaur and U.S.E.

Paramount Theatre, $23 adv./$25, Saturday, 8 p.m.

Last summer's painfully under-sold Download Fest at the Gorge was worth the trip, if only because I was reminded why the Presidents of the United States of America continue to command an audience ravenous for their dune buggy-inspired melodies. The Presidents are the carnival food of your musical diet; the funnel cake and onion rings you need every season. Sure, the most optimal venue for this trio is probably that sunny August day at the Gorge. But, the Paramount will provide a nice bit of class for the band to showcase new tunes from These are the Good Times People. It's a classic PUSA record, equipped with all their pleasantries and ironic guitar riffs on tunes like “French Girl,” “Truckstop Butterfly,” and “Lady Bug” Leave your troubles at the door, embrace your inner geek, and give it 100 percent during “Naked and Famous.” 'Cause the only suckers at this this hipster-free show crossing their arms and exchanging shifty glances will be security.


The Bad Things, Wages of Sin, Sid & Fancy

Sunset Tavern, $7, Sunday, 9:30pm

Sid & Fancy's soulful banjo pickin' and fleet-wristed fiddlin' may sound like it came from the mountains of Appalachia rather than the rolling hills of Ireland, but the raucous punk-grass band from Eugene manages to take cues from established Irish punk acts without sounding like coat-tail riders. From their raucous renditions of gospel standards like "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" to original songs about fleeing the devil and swilling beer 'til the bottle's dry, Sid and Fancy take the best of gospel, bluegrass and Irish folk, soak it all in whiskey and light it on fire. And if Sid and Fancy don't provide enough St. Patty's Day flavor for you, the Wages of Sin, Seattle's own Celtic punk band, should satisfy your craving. With the Bad Things.


The Get Off, the Heels, Dead Xs, guests

Comet Tavern, Sunday, 7 p.m.

One look at the Heels, with the hair, the fishnets, and the snarl-attitude and you've easily got their wave punk number. Their sound, best reflected in the kissably-clever track "Pink Eye" (about bootie deprivation), comes off like the Runaways covering Bonnie Hayes with the Wild Combo's “Girls Like Me”. But be warned, you may recognize "a friend" in their aggressively catchy “Party Doll”. Flooding you with hazy semi-memories of a time when the big C’s on your faux Chanel bag stood for Champagne and Cocaine. A time before you realized that the crazy-inducing combo of hard drugs and more than three cocktails will more than likely result in a montage of TMZ-worthy antics so eternally embarrassing they'd make Paris Hilton blush. The Heels capture this "collapse in judgment" with a tongue and cheek authenticity that implies they just may be speaking from experience.


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