Quick Hits

by INLANDER & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & here was a time when skateboarding was just a sport. (See also: snowboarding, wakeboarding, etc.) Now it's an all-inclusive lifestyle. Likewise, there was a time skate clothes companies just sold skate clothes. Now they sell you the whole life. Wardrobe, accessories, drug paraphernalia, sports drinks, videogames, bands. Whole musical genres.

It's incredibly lucrative, creating lifestyles for people so they don't have to. So lucrative, in fact, that niche players in well-defined markets have begun wriggling to find toeholds in the far more amorphous world of entertainment. Enter the VOLCOM TOUR, where a relatively hip (by mainstream standards), relatively boutique (by Vans standards) skate apparel company (they don't even make shoes) rebrands itself "Volcom Entertainment" and starts throwing concerts to prove they aren't just selling sportswear. They're selling life wear.

And what a whiny, metalish life it is.


Kandi Coded, Riverboat Gamblers, Valient Thorr and Totimoshi at the Big Easy Bourbon Street on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 8 pm. $13. Visit www.ticketswest.com or call 325-SEAT.

& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & he bad boy of country, KEITH URBAN, ain't just a country singer. While women clamor over his good looks and past rehab stints, if you get past the perfect hair and strategically placed tattoos the pretty boy's got talent. While Nashville hasn't exactly been open arms to the New Zealand star he's proven he can sell records.

His country's a little more rock. Expect covers of Violent Femmes, the Steve Miller Band and Pink Floyd to mix with the rock ballads he's so famous for. Women get a chance to swoon over his emotive lyrics and, with the rock mix, guys don't have to get queasy over all that talk about feelings. The suits down in Nashville may not like his brand of country, but audiences all over the world (made mostly of women) can't get enough Keith Urban.


Keith Urban at the Spokane Arena on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 7:30 pm. $50, $60. Call 279-7000.

& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & F & lt;/span & or those of you confused by the "Rock / R & amp;B / Electronica" designators on their MySpace page (myspace.com/strength), don't fret, you didn't misjudge. STRENGTH is, indeed, a disco band from Portland.

And yeah, they really are as amazing-sounding as you think they are. While the music is brilliant, funky and fully formed, on their self-titled debut, the band doesn't really seem to have decided if they're serious or not. Too many songs are too self-conscious, too jokey. On songs where the band gets serious about dancing their asses off, everything clicks.

Singer Bailey Winters mimics Jake Shears' (Scissor Sisters) delivery, but that's cool. The instinct that people might not be ready for this is a good one, and the vocal similarities give people a cultural cam to hook in to (holla if you're feeling the rock-climbing metaphor).

These are niggling things though. Strength is great dance music.


Strength with Sugar and Gold, Belt of Vapor and Corum Deo at Prago on Friday, Sept. 14 at 9 pm. $6. Call 443-0404.