Viva Voce is Italian for "by word of mouth." And that's the way this husband/wife rock duo has acquired much of their notoriety. That and "by word of television," (for which I don't know the Italian) because the Portland-based pair's music has been featured on numerous TV show soundtracks including the WB's One Tree Hill. For years Kevin and Anita Robinson have been writing, recording and producing beautiful optimistic malaise. The newest product is The Heat Can Melt Your Brain, which will hit streets nationally this fall on Chicago label Minty Fresh.
Wednesday, September 1, Neurolux.
Killswitch Engage is a band unafraid to tell people they are unafraid of trampling the standard and rewriting the rules of the game--and by game they mean heavy music. Ballsy! You may have caught them on last summer's Ozzfest Tour or 2003's MTV2 Headbanger's Ball tour. If not, see them running around maintaining their reputation as one of the best live acts in their genre. They've eased up a bit on the tough guy act (as evident in the title of their new disc The End of Heartache). "You never get used to the fans chanting; it's amazing and embarrassing at the same time," the band's new vocalist Howard Jones says. "You just want to call your Mom and be like, 'Listen!'" They play with Autumn to Ashes, Eighteen Visions and 36 Crazy Fists.
Wednesday, September 1, Big Easy, 6 p.m., $15.
Recently at The Fair, I saw a psychic and coughed up five clams for insight into the future of commercial music. Worthless, since I can clearly see for myself that the future says name trends! For a while we had "The" bands, now I see the germination of the "Kill" band trend (see Killswitch Engage, Kill Hannah, The Killers and Killer Mike). A nascent punk band called Killradio (debut album out on September 7) is coming to town with The Kinison. Of course, only some of the "Kill" bands will profit from the trend, and these guys just may be the underdogs of the drift.
Thursday, September 2, The Venue, $8.
The Buckhorn Mountain Boys
Summer abates and a few remaining activities must get packed into the weekends before the snow comes to tuck us inside. My list includes rafting the Payette, camping, four-wheeling, climbing some rocks and hitting Idaho Botanical Garden's summer concert series. OK, so I am pretty indoorsy, but even I am going to be al fresco enough to check out the last opportunity to see this outdoor concert celebration. The Buckhorn Mountain Boys will bring their traditional bluegrass to the final Great Garden Escape Summer Concert. With their unique stylings and smooth harmonies, it's obvious the Boys pride themselves in dishing authentic bluegrass. Pack a picnic basket or nosh on selections from IBG's vendors.
Thursday, September 2, Idaho Botanical Garden, 6-9 p.m. $7 general, $4 IBG Members.
Even if you think that 500 gigs in three years is a small feat, you might still be impressed with Global Funk. The So-Cal quartet creates music in clubs all over the country that is danceable and intelligent. And on their downtime they made music in a recording studio for their new album. Bogo sounds like pogo, which is likely no coincidence, as their funky rock will get most kids springing to the tight improvisational musicianship. So how does a band keep years of constant touring interesting? That's where the improvisational piece comes in; no two Global Funk shows are the same.
Note: Date changed from September 2 to Friday, September 3 at Tom Grainey's.
The Marley Brothers
I can't possibly be the only one who thinks the Marley family begs comparisons to the Partridge family. The Marley Brothers (yes, the sons of reggae legend Bob), touring now as one big, loving act, are like Jamaica's version of America's favorite singing family. Exhibit A: Both groups sing about happy stuff. OK, that might be it, because these guys really sing and play their instruments. Ziggy, Stephen, Julian, Damien and Ky-Mani each have oodles of acclaim for their multi-skilled work in music from singing to production to spinning to playing various instruments. Now that they're all together, c'mon, get happy!
Saturday, Sept. 4, Big Easy, 9 p.m., $25.
Toots and the Maytals
Rumor has it that Toots Hibbert's 1968 single "Do the Reggay" is credited with having named the genre. Even if that's just rumor, Toots and the Maytals have written and recorded enough classic reggae songs that they are basically synonymous with it. After almost four decades, generations of artists--even the Clash and the Specials--have covered Toots' numbers. The band has been on the road supporting their latest record, True Love, which is Toots' songwriting talents mixed with influences from other well known artists.
Tuesday, September 7, Big Easy, 7:30 p.m., $19.50. :