G-EAZY, A$AP FERG, MARC E. BASSY,
NEF THE PHARAOH
(Memorial Coliseum, 300 N Winning Way) G-Eazy and A$AP Ferg's rise from regional independent stars to major-label names evinces the realities of mainstream music production as much as it does their own talents. Both artists ascended to prominence in their own locales—Ferg in New York City as part of the A$AP Mob, and G-Eazy in the Bay Area (he shares an alma mater with Lil B's old crew, the Pack). A$AP Ferg's Trap Lord, a weird, grimy excursion through Ferg's self-made empire, couldn't contrast more with the Drake-isms of G-Eazy's oeuvre. Yet both artists share a similar affinity for seeing the view from the top—and for the hustle that will get them there. MAC POGUE Also see My, What a Busy Week!
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) Few album cover photos have become as iconic as the album itself. The portrait of a young Patti Smith—photographed by a young Robert Mapplethorpe—that graces the cover of her seminal album Horses is not only a beautiful piece of art in its own right, it elegantly reflects the times (the late '70s), the place (New York City), and the deep and loving bond between two friends. But most of all, the black-and-white shot of Smith—dark blazer tossed Sinatra-style over her left shoulder—captures a confident young artist in possession of her craft, who knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that what she was creating would live on for years and years to come. That she and her original band (sadly without the late Richard Sohl) are touring to celebrate the anniversary of Horses 40 years later should come as no surprise to anyone fortunate enough to have been there for its debut. And though it has been 26 years since his passing, there can also be no doubt Mapplethorpe's spirit will be with Smith onstage for this historic moment. SANTI ELIJAH HOLLEY Also see My, What a Busy Week!
HUSTLE AND DRONE, MICHAEL FINN,
(Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison) It's been a busy few years for Hustle and Drone, and the electropop trio is punctuating the new year with a final push before heading back into the studio to record a follow-up to their debut LP, Holyland. Since forming in 2012, the band has stuck to a busy regimen, playing large and small venues, shooting videos inside the Moda Center with trampolines and slam-dunk contests, becoming perennial contenders in the summertime Rigsketball tournament, and—somewhere in there—honing their live set into a strobe-light wonderland of electronic bliss. Meanwhile, Michael Finn has had a huge year; as half of the Domestics braintrust, Finn co-wrote one of the best albums to come out of Portland (or anywhere) in 2015 and also logged time in Boone Howard's new group. It's a clash of the titans tonight, you guys. Don't even think about missing it. RYAN J. PRADO
AND AND AND, THERE IS NO MOUNTAIN, RARE DIAGRAM
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) There Is No Mountain, born of the now-defunct Americana group the Ascetic Junkies, combine traditional folk songwriting with Glenn Kotche-worshipping avant-garde percussion. The songwriting—ostensibly split between the two multi-instrumentalists, Kali Giaritta and Matt Harmon—falls on the more traditional indie side of the "experimental" tag, but their textures recall a chilled-out Dodos or a non-aggressive Buke and Gase. The duo are releasing their second album, Luna, on January 15. Portland indie rockers-turned-mayoral candidates And And And will share the stage tonight, with the usual between-song heckles of "Freebird" drowned out by pointed policy questions and inquiries into whether that weird painting of Isaac Brock will remain hanging in the mayor's office. MP
TANAGRA, ICE SWORD,
REVOLUTION OVERDUE, GORGON STARE
(High Water Mark, 6800 NE MLK) Flagstaff, Arizona's Ice Sword are the kind of band who write a song about Dungeons & Dragons, but that might be a plus—fantasy metal has been experiencing a small but potent resurgence of popularity. When's the last time you checked out Substratum or Skelator? Those bands pack small houses, and Ice Sword may do the same with their potent mix of Manowar riffs and Summoning keyboards. At their best, they even sound a little like Hammers of Misfortune, which should be reason enough to observe and report. JOSEPH SCHAFER
MATT COSTA, TOBIAS THE OWL
(Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta) I first heard Matt Costa on a mixtape given to me in seventh grade. His song "Cold December" was a chill interlude nestled between Ben Folds' "Still Fighting It" and U2's "Vertigo." Costa is a skateboarder-turned-musician; at age 18, fate dealt him a bad hand in the form of a gnar injury. But No Doubt guitarist Tom Dumont heard his demos and produced some of Costa's early releases, letting him trade in his shot at being on the cover of Thrasher magazine for eating banana pancakes with Jack Johnson, who discovered the young musician and had him open for his 2005 tour. And he's been able to comfortably plateau ever since. CIARA DOLAN
FEDERALE, DAVID J, THE UPSIDEDOWN
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) With Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight marking legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone's return to the western genre, there's a pretty good chance the holidays left you itching for more music that conjures up images of rolling tumbleweeds. Sure, you can always plant yourself on the couch and re-watch Sergio Leone's Dollars trilogy, or play through Rockstar Games' Red Dead Redemption again, but why not make it a night out? Portland's own spaghetti western orchestra, Federale, have been scoring imaginary films for more than a decade, and recently their music has found its way into some real movies. 2014 saw the band contribute five tracks to the critically acclaimed Iranian vampire film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, in addition to having a song featured in the blockbuster The Lego Movie. Tonight, Federale will share the stories behind these songs, as well as preview some material from their forthcoming album. CHIPP TERWILLIGER
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Portland hip-hop/funk fusion group Speaker Minds are seeking to rescue the groove while sending a positive message with their latest album, Gumbo Grooves. From "Loose Limbs," a track that recalls '70s disco funk, to the modern club-ready single "Follow Me," the album explores a varied sound while keeping a booty-popping backbeat that would be at home on a Snoop Dogg record. Led by rapper Randal Wyatt, Speaker Minds are celebrating Gumbo Grooves at tonight's record-release show, their first recording under the FNBeatsGalore label, and one that captures the ensemble's live energy and versatile feel. Classic soul vocals from Adrian Adel and distorted hard-rock guitar from Josh Johnson create a gritty and catchy foundation for the positive flows laid down by Wyatt. It's an album calling you to the party, if you love the funk. JENI WREN STOTTRUP
THERE IS NO MOUNTAIN
(Music Millennium, 3158 E Burnside) See Thursday's listing.
KILLED BY HEALTH, VCR, SIGNALS,
(The Know, 2026 NE Alberta) Killed by Health is a newborn psych-rock band with an affinity for macabre jokes. Their only recorded material that's locatable on the internoodle is the three-song demo High Five. It's a little loose, like the sneakers of a tot who's still learning how to tie her shoes, but each track has nice twangy melodies. They'll be joined by Genders singer Maggie Morris' solo project Sunbathe and Eugene three-piece VCR, whose stoner garage-pop sounds like Fountains of Wayne becoming a Scooby-Doo psych band. VCR's four-song EP Live at Luckey's is $4.20 on Bandcamp—which is hilarious, but more than it would cost on iTunes. CD
STRAUSS' OBOE CONCERTO:
OREGON SYMPHONY, FRANÇOIS LELEUX
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) After scoring a Grammy nod back in 2013, our Oregon Symphony is once again nominated for Best Orchestral Performance at next month's awards show, so isn't it high time to hear what all the fuss is about? Tonight and tomorrow, you'll have your chance, as Portland's biggest band serves up a killer setlist featuring a pair of works penned in the 1940s. The evening opens with John Alden Carpenter's seldom performed Sea Drift. Then, after being tossed about by oceanic swells of symphonic immensity, the Schnitzer audience will be treated to an event that's never happened in the band's 120-year history—an oboe soloist taking the stage! François Leleux touches down at PDX to tackle Concerto in D Major for Oboe and Small Orchestra composed by Richard Strauss, and the Frenchman's double-reed tones are guaranteed to pierce hearts and minds like sonic arrows. Following intermission, Mozart's Symphony No. 28 offers a healthy dose of classical precision before handing the night off to Franz Liszt, whose Les Préludes from 1855 culminates with majestic brass and mighty percussion in a kickass crescendo. BRIAN HORAY
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) When Slater Smith first began writing and performing under the Weather Machine moniker in 2012, he was more or less another young folk singer/songwriter—nothing of note to make him stand out in an already-too-crowded field. In the next couple of years, however, Smith recruited more bandmates, channeled his inner Ray Davies, and wrote the music that would become the Weather Machine's excellent sophomore album, 2015's Peach. With a four-piece band behind him, Smith thrives, proving himself a worthy frontman. For his weeklong residency at Al's Den, the Oregon native returns to his solo acoustic roots, though he's no longer the dewy-eyed folksinger he was when he started, but a versatile and compelling songwriter and performer. SEH
ANNALISA TORNFELT AND THE
(O'Connor's Vault, 7850 SW Capitol) Annalisa Tornfelt has made a name for herself in several collaborative projects in Portland, most notably as vocalist with dark-country group Black Prairie. Tornfelt has also logged time with the Builders and the Butchers and recently forged her own solo career. She released two albums in 2015—her sparse Americana LP The Number 8 and a collection of covers dubbed Search Zero. The former is a sweeping, intoxicating example of the power of great, country-tinged songwriting, with songs both playful and sad, as on the heartbreakingly spot-on "Play a Game." Search Zero opens things up, with covers as disparate as the Velvet Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes" and Dwight Yoakam's "Back of Your Hand." Both are prime examples of the dexterity that Tornfelt employs to channel her beautiful inspirations. RJP
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) See Sunday's preview.
STRAUSS' OBOE CONCERTO:
OREGON SYMPHONY, FRANÇOIS LELEUX
(Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway) See Sunday's preview.
HAUNTED SUMMER, SAMA DAMS,
(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) Haunted Summer, the Los Angeles psych-pop duo of Bridgette Eliza Moody and John Seasons, got their start when the pair collaborated on an inspired set of Animal Collective covers at a Halloween show back in 2012. When the performance went well, Moody and Seasons took it as a sign to leave their current bands and begin collaborating with each other on original material. Haunted Summer quickly wrote and recorded their eerie yet radiant 2013 debut EP, Something in the Water, which was recently reissued on vinyl with the help of Ninkasi Brewing Company. The five tracks on the EP reinforce the group's ghostly vibes, with Moody's ethereal vocals blending seamlessly with spaced-out and hazy orchestral dream-pop, allowing the music to take control of your headspace like a ray of light seeping in through the cracks of a long forgotten and rundown gothic mansion. CT Also see My, What a Busy Week!
(Al's Den, 303 SW 12th) See Sunday's preview.
ANIMAL EYES, WEEED, JOLLAPIN JASPER
(The Liquor Store, 3341 SE Belmont) Subtlety never has been—and most likely never will be—a strong suit for a band with a name like Weeed. These Bainbridge Island, Washington, psych-metal stoners named their latest LP Our Guru Brings Us to the Black Master Sabbath, for chrissakes. However, being so straightforward with their influences possibly correlates with their appeal. Like the Matthew McConaughey of psychedelic metal bands, they are just L-I-V-I-N, and there's nothing more to it. Whether the album's 15-minute closing track "Nature's Green Magic" is meant to be ironic or dead serious is irrelevant, really, although I do hope it is the latter. While it's easy to be stuck doing something you hate all day long and then numb your existential dread with sarcasm and booze, here's band strumming a single chord for five minutes straight in a song dedicated to their favorite herb. CAMERON CROWELL
(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) Todd Rundgren's career is as disparate as that of any musician of the last five decades. On one hand, it's commendable—a musician who continues to challenge himself and his audience—but it's also made it difficult for the songwriter to fully carve out his place. But that obviously doesn't concern Rundgren. Hell, just take his excellent 1970 solo debut, Runt, and you'll find a lot to chew on. Of course, all of Rundgren's dalliances have his unique stamp, which is never an easy task, and they show what a true innovator he is, both as a songwriter and a guitarist. MARK LORE Also see My, What a Busy Week!