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Music Critics' Picks: Casey Neill and the Norway Rats, Diesto, Laughs & Lyrics 5, Golden Hour

Sept. 5-11: Live music in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

Diesto / photo courtesy of Facebook

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Casey Neill and the Norway Rats are steeped in Portland's eclectic music scene. From dusty rockers to seafaring folk expeditions, the band comes across like the sort of people who gleefully dig through crates of forgotten troubadours from the '60s and '70s. Featuring the essential keys and accordion of Jenny Conlee (of the Decemberists and Black Prairie), the Norway Rats create incredibly textural indie rock that sounds like an elevated bar band playing as the terrible rays of morning light seep in through the windows and past the crowd of swaying insomniacs. As a frontman, Casey Neill brings a workingman's charm to his role as intrepid bandleader - his husky voice sometimes recalls Bruce Springsteen, but his quavering upper register suggests a forlorn Neil Young. {REV. ADAM MCKINNEY}

CASEY NEILL AND THE NORWAY RATS, w/ Trees and Timber, June Madrona, 8 p.m., Northern, 414 ½ Legion Way, Olympia, $5


If I were only allowed to write about one genre of music, as much as I enjoy all the folk rock, indie pop, punk, jazz fusion and hip-hop, I'd have to narrow my choice to one category: heavy rock. And so, when such a band comes into view, filtering out all those others, and they just happen to hit the pelvic note - I'm super happy. This week, we're talking Diesto. With elements of deep-groove stoner rock, combined with a math-y, jam band twist, Diesto is a natural fave. Hailing from Portland, the four-piece secretes heaviness, with a prog metal lean. Juicy jams that weave weighted riffs, growly, expanding vocals and grinding drums that anchor your soul are a given. Catch them with C-Average and RedVolt, which includes original drummer Craig Becker from Fitz of Depression. {NIKKI MCCOY}

DIESTO, w/C-Average, RedVolt, 9 p.m., McCoy's, 418 Fourth Ave., Olympia, $5, 360.352.0696


The Laughs & Lyrics Comedy Series highlights local and national comedians on a monthly, and soon to be weekly basis, at The Sampan Restaurant & Grill in Olympia. Laughs & Lyrics 5 features New York's Anthony "Harlem" Blu, Tacoma's Frank Brown (by way of Valdosta, Georgia) and another T-town (by way of Alexandria, Louisiana) resident, Ray "Love 75" Humphrey. This will be an edgy, hilarious night with class, featuring dinner and drink specials, and Crowd Control Entertainment & Live From I-5 spinning soul/R&B, reggae and hip-hop after the comics rock. {JOSE GUTIERREZ}

LAUGHS & LYRICS 5, featuring Anthony "Harlem" Blu, 9 p.m., The Sampan Restaurant & Grill, 922 Hensley St., Olympia, $5, 360.456.8020


As a band name, Golden Hour sounds like it would give you a pretty clear idea of what to expect - when using the term for photography, golden hour (or magic hour or lavender hour) denotes the period just before sunset when everything is slightly aglow with a reddish hue, lending a softness and clarity to image, so you might naturally picture a twee gentleness to any band that would adopt the name. While there's a certain delicate air to Portland's Golden Hour, there's a lurking feistiness that lends a twitchy energy to their music. Jangly guitars and cooing vocals will suddenly give way to jubilant yelps. It's akin to watching the sunset with some dark clouds looming in the distance, waiting for the light to dim just enough for a full-on takeover. {REV. AM}

GOLDEN HOUR, w/ Oh, Rose, Camp Wisdom, Sister Palace, 8 p.m., Northern, 414 ½ Legion Way, Olympia, $5

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