Tonight's Show Suggestions


Jesca Hoop, courtesy photographer Frank Ockenfel

Mose Allison performs again at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley tonight in addition to these two fine shows:

Jesca Hoop, Greg Laswell, Secret Stairs at Tractor Tavern, 8 p.m., $10

Opening for the Polyphonic Spree at the Showbox in 2007, Jesca Hoop seemed at first like she might succumb to all the noise from the folks over at the bar. But the chestnut-haired singer-guitarist dedicated herself to winning over the healthy crowd that gathered in front of the stage for her set, and it worked.

Accompanied by a keyboardist and a guy manning a small MPC sampler, the Northern California native was equal parts freak-folker and torch singer; she had a riveting voice and confident stage presence, and her songs were best when accompanied by trip-hoppish beats. She used to be Tom Waits' nanny, and he once said that her music "is like going swimming in a lake at night." Whatever that means. Tom Waits says weird shit, but having a Tom Waits quote on your bio is a good, good thing. Jesca also wears funny hats sometimes. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

Horse Feathers, Ah Holly Family, Mighty Tiger at Sunset Tavern, 9 p.m., $10

True, Portland-based Horse Feathers may take its name from a Marx brothers' movie, but there is nothing funny about this band. At times, the soft, lyrical music of Justin Ringle and friends comes off as downright melancholy. Songs like "Cur in the Weeds," the opening track on last year's House with No Home, are heartbreaking beautiful. Ringle's near-falsetto pairs with Peter Broderick's violin crescendos and Heather Broderick's cello to create simultaneous feelings of calm and sadness. At the same time, there is something oddly warm about the easy, gentle melodies of "Finch on Saturday," where Ringle sings about God and love with his heart wide open. Horse Feathers' music is inviting, as if Ringle is willing to share his innermost lyrical feelings with the rest of the world. And there's nothing wrong with that: This is sort of quiet folk that shouldn't be confined to a stereo. PAIGE RICHMOND

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