Our swift immersion into the busy holiday season means a slow season—for concerts and releases—is also upon us. Still, there's a local rap show to get into next week, a Cameroonian-American multi-instrumentalist pushing the boundaries of indie rock at a Mississippi Studios, and a diverse array of musical genres and sounds coming up on the Oregon Symphony’s holiday concert lineup. 


Upcoming local event(s) featuring local artist(s).

Jordan Fletcher, Mat Randol, Justice Gbada, Mar'queese

You might know of Kelly’s Olympian as the home of the Thesis, Portland’s longstanding monthly hip-hop show, or maybe you just know it as a motorcycle bar with delicious chicken strips and tots. But you should also know that the bar venue consistently hosts a bevy of other hip-hop lineups. One such upcoming show features rapper Jordan Fletcher as headliner—hopefully he gets into “148th Ave,” a grimy rap track that he released a couple years ago, which goes extremely hard. Another draw for the bill is North Portland native and rapper Mat Randol, whose track "Fast Forward" we wrote about in April. Justice Gbada and Mar’queese round out the bill. (Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington, Mon Nov 20, 8 pm, $10-15, tickets here, 21+)


Some upcoming music buzz to put on your radar.

Oregon Symphony’s Holiday Concerts

The Oregon Symphony has expanded its holiday concert series, and this year's will include eleven concerts at the Schnitz boasting a diversity of music genres and culturally specific programming. Choir nerds should take note of Handel's Messiah (Dec 2 & 4), as well as the Gospel Christmas concert (Dec 9 & 10). There’s also A Very Merry Mariachi Christmas Concert, showcasing Mariachi Sol de México de José Hernández (Dec 11), a chance to see Broadway legend Kristin Chenoweth with the Oregon Symphony (Dec 14), and Portland-based multilingual band Pink Martini—AKA the “little orchestra” spearheaded by Thomas Lauderdale—performing its wildly eclectic catalog and holiday classics alongside the Oregon Symphony. (various dates and times, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, more info at orsymphony.org)


There’s something to be said for artists who can evolve sonically, like Cameroonian-American multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Laetitia Tamko. As Vagabon, Tamko has been making genre-fluid music since 2014, and her first album Infinite Worlds made a big statement with boundary-pushing songs in the indie rock realm. On her sophomore self-titled project she experimented with a wide array of influences, from alternative rock and heavy reverb to ’80s and ’90s new wave, R&B, and electro-pop. In September, Tamko released her third studio album, Sorry I Haven’t Called. Co-produced by Rostam, the project marked her first in four years. In early December, the self-taught indie-rock musician returns to Mississippi Studios for an intimate concert that feels like the perfect setting her work's quiet insightfulness. Expect to see her pick up a couple instruments, and slay highlights from the album—from lead singles “Can I Talk My Shit?” “Carpenter,” and the infectious and danceable “Lexicon,” to the scathing and righteous “Do Your Worst,” and the catchy, club-friendly of ”Made Out with Your Best Friend.” It’s safe to say Vagabon fans are all hoping she’s got “Water Me Down,” a deeper cut from her self-titled, on the setlist. (Sun Dec 10, 8 pm, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi, $20, tickets here, 21+)