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The live hip-hop of the Roots is a good fit for the Cuthbert.

Byline: Serena Markstrom and Lewis Taylor The Register-Guard

Live hip-hop (rap backed by a band) is the foundation of the Roots' Grammy-winning, jazzy, urban sound.

Pop notes

So, although some might wonder what a hip-hop act is doing at a summer amphitheater, it makes perfect sense that this Philly band is coming to the Cuthbert on Wednesday. Performing live is, simply, what the Roots do best.

Formed in 1987 by a pair of students at an arts high school, the Roots began as the Square Roots, a duo featuring Ahmir "uestlove" Thompson and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter.

Numerous other members since have come and gone. Roots now features five core members and a handful of touring musicians.

"Rising Down," the group's latest release (and its second album on dream label Def Jam records), featured a bevy of guest artists, including Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and former band member Malik B.

The album, the group's 10th, was described as dense, dark and angry by many critics when it hit the stores in April. Rolling Stone magazine dubbed it "their swampiest album yet."

With sounds like that, the Roots should be right at home playing along the banks of our slack-water canoe channel.

Stephen Marley, the second son of Bob Marley, opens the show at 7 p.m. Tickets are $32 in advance through TicketsWest.

Jason Spooner Trio

Today, Jo Federigo's

Jason Spooner, a singer-songwriter with substance, blends roots, rock, folk and blues elements into his rhythmic flat-picking. The northern New England storyteller has garnered comparisons to everyone from Paul Simon to Kelly Joe Phelps.

If that still doesn't capture your attention, consider that this is more than just a one-man show. Spooner is joined by classically trained bassist Adam Frederick and multifaceted drummer Reed Chambers.

"Spooner's voice is fresh, authentic and distinct," one reviewer concluded in the Portland (Maine) Press Herald. "Combined with the storytelling narration of some of the songs and the gorgeous melodies of others, (he) hits the mark every time."

Jo Federigo's is at 259 E. Fifth Ave. The cover is $5, and the show starts at 9:30 p.m.

Los Campesinos!

Tuesday, WOW Hall

This Wales septet sounds nothing like its namesake (except for the exclamation point), which is to say they're not a bunch of droopy peasants. More like a group of high-strung high school hipster kids.

Described by critics as "giddy," "tuneful," "silly" and "ironic," Los Campesinos! could be filed under the category of "indie pop" or "pumped up guitar pop" or "gale force pop" or even "tweecore,"

"Think Arcade Fire with a three-pack-a-day Swee-Tart habit," Blender Mag concluded.

You get the point. Easy listening this is not. Kevin Costner fans will not be here.

The Parenthetical Girls open the show at 9 p.m. Tickets are $13 in advance.

The WOW Hall is at 291 W. Eighth Ave.

Skerik's Maelstrom Trio

Saturday, Sam Bond's

Saxophonist Skerik last led the Maelstrom Trio in an evening of what a news release calls "improvisational funk metal jazz histrionics" at Sam Bond's Garage last September.

The rest of the trio is Brian Coogan (pianos and keyboards) and New Orleans drummer Simon Lott. Both have played here with Bobby Previte's Coalition of the Willing.

Stebmo opens at 9:30 p.m., and the cover is $8 to $10. Sam Bond's is at 407 Blair Blvd.

Donna Jean and the Tricksters

Sunday, WOW Hall

In a multimedia blink, "American Idol" contestant Jennifer Hudson went from backup singer to "Dreamgirl" and Oscar winner. For most artists, that blink takes much longer.

Donna Jean Godchaux--MacKay is a name Grateful Dead fans know. She got started as a backup singer for Elvis Presley and Percy Sledge before joining the Dead.

These days, Godchaux--MacKay is back into music with renewed energy, due in no small part to her project Donna Jean & the Tricksters, who visit the WOW Hall on Sunday.

In a news release, Godchaux-MacKay indicates her new project is on par with anything she has ever done.

The group started after a benefit show for the Dead-founded Rex Foundation in 2006, the Black Tie-dye Ball, a news release says, when she bonded with the Zen Tricksters.

Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. The show starts at 8 p.m., and the WOW Hall is at 291 W. Eighth Ave.

June and Joren Rushing open.

Eugene Music Video Festival

Sunday, Wandering Goat

Musician Anne Gregory will perform and show a video at this event, which pairs new and old music videos with live music.

The Eugene Music Video Festival, compiled by Green State Entertainment, will feature more than a dozen local, regional and national video artists at 6 p.m.

Gregory and Halo of Bees, a Bellingham, Wash., two-man electro outfit, will open the live music portion at 7 p.m. Scream Club, a rap duo, will play last.

Other videos on the program are from Nicky Click, the Ovulators, David Stray Ney, Paul Starling, Yogoman Burning Band and Lusty Limbless Lesbos.

Olympia's Scream Club describes itself as "two freaky white rapper chicks stopping hearts everywhere."

The alternative weekly in Seattle, The Stranger, says, "Out of 5 stars, I give Scream Club 10. This smart-mouthed lesbian hip-hop duo sling super-catchy, sex-savvy rhymes that don't resort to the common white indie kid/rapper cliche of being too kitschy."

Wandering Goat is at 268 Madison St. There is a $3 to $5 suggested donation.

Alkaline Trio

Monday, Indigo District

If you have tickets for Monday's Alkaline Trio show, be prepared to get there early. Sight lines are sadly not good for everyone at popular shows at the Indigo, and this one will sell out or come close.

The Medic Droid and Broadway Calls will take the stage before Alk3 does. My guess is the crowd will be a mix of teens just discovering the band and those in their late 20s and 30s whose own angst and heavy drinking has declined along with the band's.

Alk3 has a new album coming out July 1 on Epic, "Agony and Irony." The pop-punk trio that hasn't always been a trio has made its rounds through the world of popular bands, having been featured by most major media and having made appearances on the Conan O'Brien and David Letterman shows.

The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets are $18 in advance or $20 the day of show. Indigo District is at 1290 Oak St.


Thursday and June 6, Sam Bond's and Cozmic Pizza

Americana band Spoonshine is inspired by Northwest nature, history and culture, a news release says.

Members make music on mandolin, guitar, keyboards, woodwinds, upright bass and an "eclectic drum set," and three of the four sing.

"From high energy grooves to melodic laments, sets can be short and sweet or all night long, depending on the setting," a news bio says.

You'll get the chance to see them in two settings: a 9 p.m. Thursday show at Sam Bond's Garage, 407 Blair Blvd., for $5, and a June 6 show at 9:30 p.m. at Cozmic Pizza, 199 W. Eighth Ave., for $3.
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Title Annotation:Entertainment; POP NOTES
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:May 30, 2008
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