The 34 Best Things to Do in Portland This Week: Oct 21-24

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by Mercury Things to Do Staff

Sometimes it feels like the whole month is just one long pre-amble to Halloween, which is, to quote poet laureates Daryl Hall and John Oates, “so close… so far away!” but it’s not like there won’t be a million amazing things to do this week in the meantime. Legitimate geniuses like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Thom Yorke are both in town, Lucy Dacus and Sara Bareilles are exciting minds and stirring heartstrings in their own unique ways, Comedy Bang Bang and Nick Kroll are both here to get weird and hilarious, and more! Hit the links below and plan your week accordingly.


Jump to: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday


Monday, Oct 21

Black Belt Eagle Scout, Hikes
Raised on Swinomish Indian Reservation in Washington State, Katherine Paul AKA Black Belt Eagle Scout’s new album At the Party with My Brown Friends sees the artist channeling her community through music, with many songs inspired by her indigenous culture. “Going to the Beach with Haley,” for example, is powered by a melody that reminds now-Portland resident Paul of the traditional powwows from back home. Her intimate show in the laidback Mississippi Studios showroom seems like the perfect opportunity for people of color to take up space, and revel in the creativity of one of the region’s most notable queer and indigenous artists. (Mon Oct 21, 8 pm, Mississippi Studios, $15-18) JENNI MOORE

Ta-Nehisi Coates
“Literary Arts presents a night soaking up knowledge direct from award-winning author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, in conversation with fellow bestseller Renee Watson, as they discuss Coates’ previous works as well as his first novel, The Water Dancer. (Mon Oct 21, 7:30 pm, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $15-85)

The Wicker Man
This is a screening of the 1973 original, meaning you will not be seeing Nicolas Cage in a bear suit socking up women and swallowing gallons of CGI bees. Instead, you will be immersed in the off-kilter world of this slow-burning British cult classic, starring Christopher Lee at his confidently creepiest, where the horror isn’t contained in loud orchestral stabs and brutal bursts of bloody gore, but in the careful peeling away of idyllic island life to reveal the placidly unnerving and profoundly disturbing wrongness underneath. (Mon Oct 21, 9:30 pm, Hollywood Theatre, $7-9) BOBBY ROBERTS

Hot 8 Brass Band
One of New Orleans’ all-time great brass bands, the Hot 8 Brass Band combines jazz, marching band music, hiphop, and that indefinable Crescent City swagger. This is the authentic real deal and it demands to be seen live, so get down to Star Theater and join the second line. (Mon Oct 21, 9 pm, Star Theater, $20-25) NED LANNAMANN

An Evening of Improv Comedy to Benefit Rahab’s Sisters
Some of Portland’s finest improvisers come together to create unique, irreverent comedy right on the spot in an effort to raise money for Rahab’s Sisters. Presented by Bridge City Improv, Comedy Really Cares, and Portland Center Stage, and featuring performers from Girls With Heads, Kickstand Comedy Space, Curious Comedy Theater, ComedySportz, and the Stumptown Impov Festival. (Mon Oct 21, 7 pm, Portland Center Stage, $15)

Judah & the Lion, Flora Cash
An evening of “Folk Hop ‘n Roll” with the rising Nashville-based trio who are currently crossing the world in support of their latest album, Pep Talks. (Mon Oct 21, 8 pm, Roseland, $25, all ages)

Tyler Childers
The Crystal Ballroom serves up one last night of Americana and whiskey-soaked folk from the quick-rising singer/songwriter hailing from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Paintsville, Kentucky. (Mon Oct 21, 8 pm, Crystal Ballroom, $36, all ages)


Tuesday, Oct 22

Thom Yorke
This has been a plentiful year for fans of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke’s wobbly falsetto, around which he builds the majority of his ethereal, noise-touched pop ballads. Last fall he waltzed in with his first feature score, for Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria remake, which was terrific if overpowered by the titular “Suspirium” track. (Keep it on the record; just, for god’s sake, get it out of the movie.) In June, haxxors stole over 16 hours of Yorke’s MiniDisc recordings with the notion of ransoming them and—being truly unmoved by this threat—he offered them up to his fans, donating the profits to environmentalist group Extinction Rebellion. (I bought it.) Weeks later, Yorke’s third solo album Anima hit number one on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart, his first record ever to do so. You can expect a night of quiet, delicate musical majesties so no talking, and no shouting for “Creep.” (Tues Oct 22, 8 pm, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, $59.50) SUZETTE SMITH

Saintseneca, Nick Delffs
Everything is cooler than nasally, refined indie-folk-rock these days. Bands like the Decemberists are doing fine, no doubt, but their sound isn’t exactly in vogue, pushed from the public sphere by pop and hip-hop. Which means excellent albums like Saintseneca’s 2018 effort Pillar of Na flew even further under the radar. The veteran Ohio band has been cranking out fuzzy, buzzy acoustic stomp-pop for several years, with a handful of solid records on its resume. But Pillar of Na brought Saintseneca’s strengths—elegant arrangements, lovely vocal harmonies, Zac Little’s winsome melodies—into crystal-clear focus. It’s a terrific work that deserves to reach more ears. (Tues Oct 22, 8 pm, Polaris Hall, $12-14) BEN SALMON

Joe Pug
If you’re fond of fellas like Jason Isbell, Josh Ritter, and Ryan Adams but haven’t yet dug into Pug’s work, do so immediately. (Tues Oct 22, 8 pm, Doug Fir, $20-25)

Steve Lacy
Fresh off the release of his solo debut, Apollo XXI, the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, producer, and guitarist for the Grammy-nominated R&B and soul band, The Internet, makes his way to the Wonder Ballroom for an all-ages headlining show. (Tues Oct 22, 8:30 pm, Wonder Ballroom, $30, all ages)

Jordan Rakei, Sam Wills
New Zealand-Australian singer/songwriter and producer Jordan Rakei heads up a night of soulful, jazz-tinged R&B at the Star Theater when the North American tour supporting his latest album, Origin, touches down in Portland. (Tues Oct 22, 9 pm, Star Theater, $25-45)

WLCM: An Evening of Experimental Jazz + Beats
KMHD and Soul’d Out team up to present this live mashup of styles and sounds from some of Portland’s most adventurous music makers, starring Italian producer/drummer/DJ Tommaso Cappellato and Portland’s Korgy & Bass and Brown Calculus, each exploring musical realms both rooted in—and traveling far beyond—post-soul movements. Live visuals by Reliqs. (Tues Oct 22, 8 pm, The Hallowed Halls, $10)

Leonard Bernstein at 100
45th Parallel helps celebrate the centennial of an American musical legend, featuring chamber music as composed by Bernstein in his earlier career, including Seven Anniversaries and 4 Salon Songs. (Tues-Wed Oct 22-23, 7 pm, Oregon Jewish Museum, $15-30)

Wage War, Like Moths to Flames, Polaris, Dayseeker
Florida-hailing quintet Wage War bring their melodic metalcore and hardcore through the Hawthorne for the Portland stop on a tour supporting their latest album, Pressure. Like Moths to Flames, Polaris, and Dayseeker round out the all-ages bill. Tues Oct 22, 7 pm, Hawthorne Theatre, $18-20, all ages)

Portland Diamond Project World Series Watch Party
Watch game 1 of the MLB World Series, hear from Portland Diamond Project members and featured guests, enter to win giveaways and raffles, and get your hands on the latest PDP merchandise. Guests include Portland Diamond Project Founder and President Craig Cheek, former television play-by-play announcer for the Portland Trail Blazers Mike Barrett, former Major League Golden Glove winner and Oregon State infielder Darwin Barney, and more. (Tues Oct 22, 5:30 pm, Revolution Hall, free w/ rsvp)


Wednesday, Oct 23

Lucy Dacus, Liza Anne, Sun June
It makes sense that Lucy Dacus has catapulted to such high acclaim; the directness of her writing, and the subdued music she drives it with, is a great study in earnest songwriting. Following Dacus’ 2016 debut, No Burden, she hit the road and seems like she’s hardly been off it, what with her immediate post-“No Burden” tour forming of Boygenius with Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker. 2018 was even more a stepping-out party for Dacus, as her follow-up LP, Historian, basically floored everyone who’s heard it and landed at or near the top of numerous Best of 2018 lists. If you haven’t invested any time listening to Dacus yet, what the fuck are you waiting for? (Wed Oct 23, 8 pm, Aladdin Theater, $18-20, all ages) RYAN J. PRADO

Comedy Bang! Bang! Live!
The reliably hilarious Comedy Bang! Bang! is one of the longest-running podcasts for good reason. It features the intensely funny Scott Aukerman and some of the best guest improvisers in the world. So try not to miss this rare live taping of the program, with special guests and character drop-ins who will assuredly bust your gut (with laughter). (Wed Oct 23, 7 pm & 10 pm, Revolution Hall, $35-45, all ages)

Pure Bathing Culture
There probably isn’t a single space-related word that hasn’t been used to describe Pure Bathing Culture. Sure they’re dreamy, astral, and euphoric—they’ll turn your eyes into diamonds, your arms into flowing robes! They’re downright mystical, and the reason we’re running out of words to contain them is proof that you should have seen them live by now. (Wed Oct 23, 8 pm, Mississippi Studios, $16-18) JENNA FLETCHER

Amulets, Derek Hunter Wilson, Hugo Ra Paris
Three artists on local record label Beacon Sound will celebrate the release of new works at this show. All are worth investigating, but for now let’s focus on Amulets, a project of Portland-based audio/visual artist Randall Taylor, who combines tape loops, field recordings, and live, processed guitar to create dynamic, layered drones. The resulting music sounds like it’s living and breathing and sad and hopeful and slowly growing more beautiful by the moment. Tonight, Taylor will celebrate not only his new album Between Distant and Remote but also joining the Beacon Sound roster after moving to Portland from Austin, Texas last year. (Wed Oct 23, 8 pm, Holocene, $8-10) BEN SALMON

Brent Weinbach, DJ Dougpound
With his amazing facial contortions, deadpan delivery, and confusing audience participation, Brent Weinbach’s comedy is wonderfully absurd, and a welcome change of pace from the usual “LOL Portland, am I right?” jokes. (Wed Oct 23, 8 pm, Polaris Hall, $20-25) MEGAN BURBANK

Lisa Loving
Longtime journalist and media activist Lisa Loving reads from Street Journalist, offering aspiring journalists insight into her well-honed approach to reporting whats meaningful, holding the powerful accountable, and enriching the community from the ground up. (Wed Oct 23, 7 pm, Annie Bloom’s Books, free)

Heart Bones, Atari Ferrari
Sean Tillmann (aka Har Mar Superstar) and Sabrina Ellis (A Giant Dog, Sweet Spirit) bring their newly-minted collaborative project to the Jack London Revue to perform a set of songs influenced by their favorite classic duos like Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood, Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, and Sonny & Cher, and their love of doo-wop, musical theater, and electro-pop. (Wed Oct 23, 9 pm, Jack London Revue, $15-20)


Thursday, Oct 24

Y La Bamba
Portland-based singer/songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza brings her beloved indie-folk and pop project to the Doug Fir Lounge for a two-night stand celebrating the release of her new Tender Loving Empire-issued EP, Entre Los Dos. (Thurs-Fri Oct 24-25, 9 pm, Doug Fir, $16-20)

Sara Bareilles
Is it possible to have an artistic career whose arc doesn’t seem to ever bend downward at any point? Sara Bareilles seems to be enjoying such a thing, after “Love Song” took over the world in 2007, and her Little Voice LP blew up. Since then it’s been over a decade of nothing but tours, and awards, and albums, and books, and an ever growing fanbase—which exploded upon her taking over Broadway via her musical adaptation of Adrienne Shelley’s low-key indie classic Waitress. She stops in Portland as part of her “Amidst the Chaos” tour, supporting an album that might be her most meaningful to date. (Thurs Oct 24, 7 pm, Veterans Memorial Coliseum, $31-92, all ages)

Nick Kroll
The comedian, actor, and writer known for his hilarious arsenal of characters in Kroll Show and Big Mouth, along with his portrayal of Gil Faizon alongside John Mulaney’s George St. Geegland on The Oh, Hello Show, brings the “Middle-Aged Boy” Tour to the Newmark stage for a pair of Portland performances. (Thurs Oct 24, 7 pm & 9:30 pm, Newmark Theatre, $29)

Guerilla Toss, Blesst Chest
Guerilla Toss has long been enamored with the danceable strains of no wave and post-punk, taking inspiration from the whacked out disco-skronk visions of James Chance and the sweat-stained grooves of ESG. (Thurs Oct 24, 8 pm, Polaris Hall, $13-15) ROBERT HAM

Big Thief, Palehound
Due to the runaway success of their 2016 debut Masterpiece and 2017 follow-up Capacity, Brooklyn’s Big Thief is becoming one of the most important bands in indie rock. Songs like the folksy, haunting “Mythological Beauty” revolve around the voice of singer/guitarist Adrianne Lenker, who alternates between mumbling and howling lyrics that vividly reanimate memories with details like “shrapnel and oil cans, rhubarb in the yard.” (Thurs Oct 24, 8:30 pm, Crystal Ballroom, $25, all ages) CIARA DOLAN

Mumiy Troll
The long-running Russian rock outfit headed up by Ilya Lagutenko returns to Portland to perform an array of hits and deep cuts from throughout their career, along with new material off their latest album, East X Northwest. (Thurs Oct 24, 8:30 pm, Wonder Ballroom, $35-40, all ages)

King Black Acid & The Rainbow Lodge
In the 1990s, Daniel Riddle released a handful of albums under the name King Black Acid, adding his unhurried brand of cinematic psych-rock to the fertile local scene. In the years since, Riddle has kept busy playing shows and composing lots of music for TV and film, but his newest release—Super Beautiful Magic, out on Cavity Search Records—is his first full-length since 2000’s Loves a Long Song. It’s a very welcome return. When all is said and done, Super Beautiful Magic sounds a bit like a cross between the Flaming Lips and the Polyphonic Spree, but with the silliness stripped out and only the freaky, fluttery beauty left behind. (Thurs Oct 24, 9 pm, Mississippi Studios, $12-14) BEN SALMON

The Wailers
Pioneering reggae rock bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett and the rest of the reunited Wailers make their way to the Aladdin Theater for the Portland stop on North American tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of the band’s 1979 album, Survival. (Thurs Oct 24, 8 pm, Aladdin Theater, $25-30, all ages)

Jake Brennan
Jake Brennan reads from Disgraceland, a book adaptation of his popular rock ‘n’ roll true-crime podcast, exploring the seedy stories lurking in the shadows and back alleys of music history. (Thurs Oct 24, 7:30 pm, Powell’s City of Books, free)

The Golden Girls Bingo: A Q Center Fundraiser
The Q Center hosts an evening of Golden Girls-themed bingo, with a photo booth featuring wigs and outfits, and delicious vegan cheesecake. Tickets are $25 and will net you 5 bingo cards and a slice of cheesecake. Additional cards can be purchased for $5. All proceeds from ticket sales provide funding for Q Center. (Thurs Oct 24, 6 pm, Q Center, $25)

Blackwater Holylight, R.I.P., Pushy
Rising Portland psych outfit Blackwater Holylight brings their haunting, heavy, and melodic sound to the Star Theater stage to celebrate the release of their latest album, Veils of Winter. Like-minded locals R.I.P. and Pushy round out the proceedings. (Thurs Oct 24, 9 pm, Star Theater, $10)

Don’t forget to check out our Things To Do calendar for even more things to do!

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