October: A Month of Portland Concerts in 20 Songs

From the ferocious and danceable music of Peaches to the simple sound of RY X, October promises killer music nearly every day.

By Lisa Dunn and Rebecca Jacobson September 29, 2016

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Don't mess with Peaches. But you can catch her Sunday, October 2 at the Wonder Ballroom.

Though it’s time to bid farewell to summer, we’ve got enough musical talent coming through Portland to soften the blow of saying sayonara to river days and hello to agonizing over a Halloween costume. As the air becomes crisp, so do the musical acts making their way through the city. Everyone from Ringo Starr (he tries so hard!) to Tegan and Sara (your not-so-secret boyfriend) and even the incomparable Peaches (pictured above) guarantee this will be an October to remember.

October 1: Lindsey Stirling, “The Arena”: The YouTube-famous violinist excels at perplexing music critics with her combination of EDM, New Age vibes, and classical lite.

October 2: Peaches, “Close Up (ft. Kim Gordon)”: When Peaches released Rub in 2015, it was her first new album in six years. But she’s roared back with all the ferocity, style, and sexually powerful lyrics we’ve come to expect from the famously transgressive art-pop star.

October 3: Tegan and Sara, “Boyfriend”: The Canadian sisters’ newest album, Love You to Death, is an infectious, 10-track spree of shimmer, bounce, and legitimate emotional ache—and proves the duo can do dance-pop as well as anyone else out there. Taylor who?

October 4: Thievery Corporation, “Lebanese Blonde”: Perhaps best known for the single “Lebanese Blonde” (thanks, Garden State), this jazzy, utterly '90s duo is still pumping out music fit for staring out a rainy window while wearing platform mules and brown lipstick.

October 7: Brian Wilson, “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times”: Fifty years ago, a 23-year-old Californian released one of the seminal rock albums of all time. Now, to celebrate its anniversary, the Beach Boys cofounder plays Pet Sounds in its entirety—supposedly this tour marks his final performance of the masterpiece.

October 8: Tobacco, “Gods in Heat”: Thomas Fec, frontman of psychedelic Black Moth Super Rainbow, has been quietly making experimental art-electronica under the name Tobacco for almost a decade. But the latest from the famously private musician is probably his best yet, with his signature vocals that sound like they’re coming from an Echo Mic and a heady dissonance that knocks you off your feet.

October 9: The Julie Ruin, “I Decide”: Riot grrrl icon Kathleen Hanna (formerly of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre) and band have unveiled a second album, Hit Reset, which balances aggressive punk anthems, danceable beats, and political proclamations.

October 12: Tacocat, “Dana Katherine Scully”: This palindromic Seattle band has a garage-rock sound with some sharp, feminist lyrics—one song is dedicated to X-Files’ cool-headed protagonist Dana Scully (“She wants to know what’s out there/ But she needs to know why/ ‘Cause she’s the only one thinking it through”). We want to believe.

October 12: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, “2/3’s Adventure”: The big-band orchestra, led by star trumpeter Marsalis, hits the Schnitz for a one-night stand.

October 14: James Blake, “Radio Silence”: Blake’s self-titled 2011 release was a revelation: a waterfall of heartache and synth. And his latest, The Colour In Anything, is no different. He’s like an English version of Bon Iver (who features on this album) who doesn’t seem quite so breakable.

October 16: Explode Into Colors, “Sharpen the Knife”: A half-decade or so ago, the three women of this Portland-based, musically-unclassifiable outfit enjoyed a short but fiery run, melding dancy beats, post-punk, fuzzy reverb, arty funk, kicky drums, and a sludgy grunge streak. They broke up in 2010 but are now reuniting for back-to-back shows—the first benefits local music nonprofit Friends of Noise, and the latter will raise funds for Los Angeles all-ages space the Smell.

October 18: Itzhak Perlman, “Tzigane (Rapsodie de concert)”: The star violinist joins Sri Lankan pianist Rohan de Silva for an evening of sonatas by Brahms and Ravel.

October 18: Ringo Starr, “It Don’t Come Easy”: The former Beatles drummer hits the Schnitz with the 12th (!) iteration of his All Starr Band.

October 18: RY X, “Shortline”: The hypnotic music of Australian-born, LA-based RY X is soft, simple, and inspired by Jeff Buckley. Break out the tissues.

October 20: Sun Angle, “Creeping Sun”: The self-described “music for burnouts” made by these Portland locals makes you feel like you’re in one of those '60s surfing B-movies.

October 21: Of Montreal, “it’s different for girls”: Come for the irreverent sound, stay for the heavy lyrical content. While you’ll still find that signature interplay between light and dark, the two-decade-old outfit finds new ways to reinvent itself in a richer vein.

October 23: PAPA, “Eat My Radio”: The L.A. duo makes music that sounds a bit like Interpol and Bloc Party had a child. A really, really cool child.

October 25: Pet Shop Boys, “The Pop Kids”: Pet Shop Boys has been making music for 35 freakin’ years. And the English duo is still churning out catchy dance music—this time with a healthy dose of nostalgia.

October 27: Jethro Tull, “Aqualung”: In the pantheon of Scottish rock-and-roll flutists who perform on one leg, Jethro Tull front man Ian Anderson definitely ranks top five.

October 29: Blitzen Trapper, “Love Grow Cold”: After the rough terrain of 2013’s off-kilter hip-hop/country-rock hybrid VII, Blitzen Trapper is back with the tightly focused country sound we know and love.

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