Exfixia, Lights Demise, Wicked Haven
Friday, May 17
Blacklight Lounge, 610 Marion St. NE
9 p.m., $4, 21+
The recent closure of Salem all-things-loud den The A-Frame left an opening for another venue to claim the devil-horned throne of Cherry City nightlife, and Salem’s only blacklight-and memorabilia-themed do-it-yourself bar has apparently realized this opportunity — dotting their calendar with finger-tapping lineups like this one. Bend-based progressive metal outfit Exfixia is slated to headline the night, which features local metal purists Lights Demise and Wicked Haven. While Lights Demise and Wicked Haven pay homage to 80’s and 90’s metal favorites (like Pantera, definitely Pantera), the female-fronted Exfixia has much more modern tilt with delicate and melodic lyrics dancing over thunderous beats and riffage.

Rich McLoud and The Sale
Saturday, May 18
Venti’s Taphouse, 2840 Commercial St. SE
9 p.m., free, 21+
Venti’s south Commercial Street location has put together an awesome pairing of often reggae-flavored acts Rich McLoud and The Sale. Salem’s Rich McLoud stirs overflowing handfuls of soul and hip hop with a reggae-roots base, while Portland’s The Sale visits reggae through the hippie-love train’s folk-powered engine. Make sense? The Sale features the real life boyfriend-and-girlfriend duo of Dallas, Oregon native Justin Bennett and longtime Portland-area singer-songwriter Bre Paletta, and has been picking up steam on the tough-to-crack folk circuit in the Northwest. If life is fair in any way, Rich McLoud will be right behind them. The dude is due.

Stone Iris
Wednesday, May 22
The Triangle, 3215 Liberty Rd. S
9 p.m., free, 21+
More reggae? Well, it’s not really what you think. If you’re free on Wednesday and have a few bucks for a domestic, head on down to the Triangle to check out one of Edmonton’s most popular local acts — the raunchy reggae rockers Stone Iris. As of press time, Stone Iris was all alone on a hump-day bill a the south Liberty venue, so intrigued patrons likely will be treated to an intimate concert by the visiting Canadians. Now, if you do attend the concert, make sure to strike up a conversation with them. It’s always (or mostly) fun hanging out with aspiring traveling musicians. If you need an ice-breaker, how about the Oilers (the city’s NHL team)? What Cherry City music-lovin’ resident can resist a couple of hockey-loving Canadian reggae(ists?). Anyways, Stone Iris can lay down a stellar groove and its adventurous mix of reggae and southern-esque rock n’ roll has some legs, so it’s no surprise the band’s talents have landed it considerable accolades in the Canadian Midwest.

Heather Keizur Trio
Thursday, May 23
Christo’s Lounge, 1108 Broadway St. NE
7 p.m., $5-9, all-ages
Salem’s best bet for jazz has another ringer on the calendar, singer Heather Keizur with pianist Steve Christofferson and bassist Dennis Caiazza. Keizur is a stop-a-conversation talent, but is also known for singing in both English and French. Key-jockey Christofferson is a well-known player around these parts who has a decorated resume including working as an accompanist for legendary jazz singer Nancy King. Tickets to the all-ages show are $7 before the day of the show at Christo’s, $9 the day of the show and $5 for students. For more information, contact Christo’s at (503) 371-2892.

The Gusto Brothers
Saturday, May 25
Liberty Spirit, 2653 Commercial St. SE
9 p.m., free, 21+
The problem with a lot of cover bands is… well… they take themselves too seriously. Though The Gusto Brothers aren’t a cover band — they have quite a few original songs in the blues rock universe — they tend to play the type of gigs where covers are virtually mandatory to fill out the night. And let’s face it, after a few cold ones, a lot of us want to hear our favorite classic rock tunes. The Gusto Brothers are especially talented at pulling off a rendition of a bluesy southern-rock gem, but have been known to dive into other directions to the gleeful surprise of some unsuspecting party crashers. Not to ruin the fun, but word has it that a few Tenacious D songs are scheduled for this particular night.

The Oregon Valley Boys
Saturday, May 25
Boon’s Treasury, 888 Liberty St. NE
9 p.m., free, 21+
Western combo The Oregon Valley Boys aren’t a typical Boon’s Treasury regular. Sure the McMenamins-owned venue almost always has an act that could be categorized as some form of Americana, country or folk, but the Texas swing of The Oregon Valley Boys has the sort of earnest presentation and straight-from-the-horse’s-mouth sound that is missing from the plaid-and-thick-rimmed-glasses-wearing country that often inhabits Boon’s, other McMenamins, and the like-minded culprits that seem to be everywhere now. It’s not that the youngins have worn out their welcome, but when the Americana dries up on the radio (or equivalent), there will still be bands like The Oregon Valley Boys holding the torch. They’re a homage rather than a modern interpretation, and there’s a special charisma and link to the past that comes with that.