Blasting forth from Portland and fresh off their second successful West Coast tour, the Ted Dancin' Machine appears live on the River Theater stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24.

Formed in 2000, originally under the label of "just a ska band," the fearless group of friends and musicians are churning out sounds that one might never expect from the Pacific Northwest. The TDM (as many prefer to truncate the comical title) are proving to fit neatly into more than just one genre.

Ska fans will not be disappointed by the familiar (yet occasional) upbeats on Kent Smith's guitar, and metalheads will feel right at home once "Key Love" starts to shred with his six-string-samurai-style. Matt "Hollywood" Harding holds his own as the one and only horn in the band. Brett LaFever, an original member along with Harding, is the four-stringed-fury on bass guitar, combining funk, reggae, rock and punk. Having joined in late 2002 with Smith, Derek Stewart smashes out thunderous drum grooves reminiscent of the late John Bonham of Led Zeppelin and are often as complicated and flashy as the beats Stewart Copeland made popular in The Police. Chelsea Campbell, at the front of the Ted Dancin' Machine, effervesces with attitude, energy and amazing vocal talent while her lyrics connect with crowds on several intellectual levels.

The TDM has shared the stage with big acts such as the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Save Ferris, Tsunami Bomb, Streetlight Manifesto, Big D and the Kids Table, Chris Murray, Monkey, MU330 and Suburban Legends.

Having only independently released their first full-length album, "Want Me," in 2002, the Ted Dancin' Machine is armed with roughly 13 new works and will be spending much of the rest of 2004 in the studio as they collaborate on their sophomore effort, which has yet to be named.

The River Theater show, an all-ages event, starts at 7:30 p.m. with opening act Sweater Club. Growing weary of the constant spectacle that is popular music today, Sweater Club was formed under the idea that artistic ideals are not to be compromised. Founded under the principles of honesty, creativity and originality, it is no surprise that the group's sound does not fall between any conventional lines. Combining the melodic horn lines of ska, the energy and emotion of punk, the message and feel of reggae, the improvisational abilities of jazz and the power of rock, Sweater Club has created a sound that is purely their own.

Beer and wine will be available to those older than 21. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $10 ($12 at the door) at the River Theater's box office, 230 W. Marine Drive, from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, at the Astoria Co-op or online at www.RiverTheater.com

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