November: A Month of Portland Concerts in 20 Songs

From glitter-glam pop-punk to hard-core symphonic play-alongs, November’s music scene gives Portland a lot to be thankful for.

By Jason Buehrer and Rebecca Jacobson November 2, 2016

Jennyhvalpress wpaigm

Jenny Hval brings her Scandinavian sounds to town. 

While local storms—both real and political—have blown themselves out for the moment, the Portland music scene is starting to thunder. So fill your plate with this month’s audio feast—guaranteed to be more palatable then your Thanksgiving left­overs. Nov 2: Kid Koala, “7 Bit Blues”: Music and literary virtuoso Kid Koala shows off his newest studio album, 12 Bit Blues.

Nov 2: NOFX, “I’m So Sorry Tony”: Thirteen studio albums and an ever-shifting lineup have done little to tame this band’s 30-year reign as punk royalty.

Nov 4: Bill Frisell, “When you Wish Upon a Star”: On latest album When you Wish Upon a Star, the fantastically creative, Grammy-winning Seattle guitarist reimagines classic film scores and TV theme songs.

Nov 6: PWR BTTM, “1994”: Cake yourself in glitter for the glam-garage pop-punk of the queer Brooklyn duo, who approach identity politics with tongue-in-cheek humor, goofy onstage antics, and wild outfits.

Nov 7: John Mayall, “Mother in Law Blues”: The grandfather of British blues stops in Portland with his latest studio album, Find a Way To Care.

Nov 10: Calidore String Quartet, “String Quartet in C Major”: Formed in 2010, the fast-rising chamber music group has attracted international acclaim and a bevy of prizes for its spirited, nuanced playing. Winningstad Theatre.

Nov 10: Oregon Symphony, “Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra”: Break out the popcorn. The symphony bangs out John Williams’s epic score for Raiders of the Lost Ark as Harrison Ford—on the big screen, in HD!—saves the world from Nazis. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Nov 10: Lauryn Hill, “Doo Wop (That Thing)”: The former Fugees star swings through Portland on her nationwide tour, a series of concerts featuring guest spots by artists from across the African diaspora. Keller Auditorium.

Nov 11: Iris DeMent, “Let The Mystery Be:” The Arkansas-born country-folk musician sings with a plaintive voice and emotional oomph. (In 1995 Merle Haggard called DeMent “one of the greatest singers I have ever heard in my life.”) On latest album The Trackless Woods, she sets the work of 20th-century poet Anna Akhmatova to music.

Nov 11: Kris Kristofferson, “Let the Walls Come Down”: Not even a bout of Lyme Disease can stop octogenarian singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson from touring. Newmark Theatre.

Nov 12: Sturgill Simpson, “In Bloom”: Whether wading into nihilistic darkness or crafting a song cycle about fatherhood, the Kentucky native is one of the boldest voices in the strange world that is alt-country. Keller Auditorium.

Nov 13: The Beach Boys, “Sloop John B”: God only knows where we’d be without the original California rock kings. They still get around (round, round, get around), so bring someone to squeeze all through the night (we hear East Coast girls are hip) and you’ll have, uh, fun, fun, fun. Keller Auditorium.

Nov 14: Jenny Hval, “Female Vampire”: The Norwegian artist and musician returns to her goth and metal roots on her new album, Blood Bitch.

Nov 15: A Tribe Called Red, “R.E.D”: Political activists and First Nation musicians mix dubstep, EDM, and traditional drumming on their third studio album, We Are the Halluci Nation.

Nov 18: Lupe Fiasco, “Battle Scars”: The trailblazer of conscious hip-hop brings his lyrical rhymes to the Crystal.

Nov 18: Sleigh Bells, “Infinity Guitars”: When not suing Demi Lovato—she’s accused of swiping from Sleigh Bells track “Infinity Guitars”—the noise-pop duo has been at work on a new album, Jessica Rabbit. Due out November 11, the makers describe it as “the sonic equivalent of firing synapses.”

Nov 19–21: Stephen Hough, “Piccolo Sonatina: 1. Allegretto”: The lauded concert pianist and MacArthur “genius” grant winner—he was the first classical musician to receive the prize—takes on Saint-Saëns’s last piano concerto, inspired by the composer’s time in Egypt. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Nov 25: Portland Cello Project, “Denmark”: A decade ago, 10 cellists took to the Doug Fir stage to blast the milling, booze-swilling crowd with a kind of music more traditionally associated with concert halls. What became known as the Portland Cello Project went down so well, they did it again—at other clubs around the city (Mississippi Studios, Holocene), and then around the country, in high-energy performances that led to records and raves, fluctuating lineups, and, this month, an anniversary show at the Schnitz that promises new compositions alongside old favorites. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Nov 25: Car Seat Headrest, “1937 State Park”: Just one of those 20-somethings who recorded a heap of songs in the family car and quietly self-released them on Bandcamp before signing with indie juggernaut Matador Records, Will Toledo crafts emotive, lyrically smart guitar-pop.

Nov 27: Thee Oh Sees, “Wax Face”: You can count on these garage rockers to deliver one of the thrashiest, most frenetic live sets out there—the San Fran band has even turned Pickathon’s Woods Stage into a throbbing party. No small feat.

Show Comments