January 2017: A Month of Portland Concerts in 20 Songs

If you haven’t settled on a resolution (or already broken it), you might find inspiration listening to some of the musical maestros coming through town this month. From Dar Williams to DeVotchKa, check out our playlist for January.

By Jason Buehrer, Ko Ricker, and Rebecca Jacobson January 4, 2017

Shutterstock 112570745 efecaa

Image: Shutterstock

It’s high time we put the death, disappointment, and turmoil of 2016 behind us. 2017 kicks us off right with a regiment of folk legends, hip-hop provocateurs, and musical newcomers. Whether you are looking for a call to action, a little hope, or someone to emulate, you'll find it this month at a local music venue.

Jan 13: Summer Cannibals, “Full of It”: After self-producing their first album in 2013, these Stumptown punk rockers have been on constant tour. Their latest bone shaking album, Full of It, has caught the ear of NPR’s All Songs Considered and

Jan 13: Joe Pug, “Great Hosannas”: It’s hard to believe Joe Pug nearly gave up on music after the release of his 2009 debut album. A grueling tour left him a little shell- shocked, but he came back with this latest album, heavily influenced by Steinbeck, Carver, and Dos Passos.

Jan 14: Fruit Bats, “From a Soon-To-Be Ghost Town”: After nearly two decades of shifting lineups and at least one breakup announcement, the folk-rock outfit fronted by Eric D Johnson released a new album last spring full of rollicking banjo riffs and wistful ballads.

Jan 14: Marching Church, “Lion’s Den”: In 2013, frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt started pulling musicians from the vibrant Danish punk scene into his new group. Their latest album Tell Ot Like It Is builds on their 2015 debut, The World Is Not Enough.

Jan 14: Dar Williams, “The Pointless, Yet Poignant, Crisis of a Co-Ed”: The folk-pop icon celebrates the 20th anniversary of Mortal City by performing the complete album (plus other poignant, politically engaged standbys).

Jan 14: John Paul White, “Fight For You”: White last year released Beulah, his first foray into songwriting since the very public implosion of his career-launching duo Civil War in 2012.

Jan 14-15: Natasha Paremski, “Piano Sonata: III. Allegro”: The 29-year-old Moscow-born piano virtuoso plays two different programs, heavy on Chopin and Brahms. Lincoln Hall.

Jan 17: Hot Sardines, “When I Get Low I Get High”: These New York natives have blown the dust off of jazz standards, swing, and ragtime, all while selling out their low-key shows nationwide. Newmark Theatre.

Jan 18: Cate Le Bon, “Wild”: Cardiff meets California in the eerie, affecting psych-pop of this singer-songwriter, who relocated to Los Angeles a few years back.

Jan 19: DeVotchKa, “Bad Luck Heels”: Part baroque pop, part gypsy rock, part circus show, the Denver quartet joins the symphony for a night of unclassifiable sound. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Jan 19: The Donkeys, “Endless Summer”: ”: Despite their tour name and promo song, this San Diego garage band is anything but surf rock. In mid-2016 they kicked off their Endless Summer Tour which will culminate with the release of their latest album Midnight Palms in February 2017..

Jan 20: Pablo Sainz Villegas, “West Side Story: America”: The Spanish-born classical guitarist brings his globe-trotting, soulful sound to this solo performance. Newmark Theatre.

Jan 20: Courtney Marie Andrews, “Put the Fire Out”: Busking her way up the West Coast and then down the East Coast at the age of 16 eventually led this country singer and songwriter to work with bands like Jimmy Eat World and Damian Jurado. Her latest album, Honest Life, came out in 2016.

Jan 24: Devendra Banhart, “Fancy Man”: Enchanting fans and critics alike with his smooth, poppy sound, Banhart’s 2016 album Ape in Pink Marble has turned his songs into a party of odd and endearing characters.

Jan 25: Shy Girls, “Out of Touch (feat. Rome Fortune)”: Since 2013, Shy Girls—a.k.a. singer and producer Dan Vidmar—has been Portland’s preeminent purveyor of ’90s R&B-vibe bedroom music.

Jan 26: Talib Kweli, “Bangers”: It might be easier to say who this Brooklyn-based MC and political activist hasn’t worked with in his 20-year career. His latest capitalism-skewering album F­­—k the Money was released for free through his website in August of last year.

Jan 28–30: Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, “Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture”: It’s a Russian trifecta at this deep-winter concert, with Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, the divertimento from Stravinsky’s The Fairy’s Kiss, and Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto no. 2, performed by lauded young musician Stefan Jackiw. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

Jan 29: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, “All Women Are Beautiful”: The long-running, Grammy-winning South African a cappella ensemble brings its foot-kicking, intricately harmonized zeal to town.

Jan 29: Lizzo, “Good As Hell”: Like a riot grrrl Missy Elliott, the Minneapolis hip-hop artist serves up her rhymes with infectious energy and a take-no-prisoners message of body positivity and self-acceptance.

Jan 31: Eric Johnson, “One Rainy Wish”: The guitar legend went all-acoustic on his most recent album, EJ, a first for the perfectionist picker.

Filed under
Show Comments