Friday, Dec. 15
After three Netflix specials and several tours, the sassiness of John Mulaney's standup has almost eclipsed that of all those Stefon sketches he wrote for SNL. After a three-month run last spring, Mulaney is reviving his Kid Gorgeous tour, which skipped Portland the last time around. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, portland5.com. 7 pm. $25-$35.
When Tamar Berk and Steven Denekas set out to make an authentic, '70s-style rock opera, they didn't cut any corners—they even convinced Quadrophenia engineer Ron Nevison to produce it. The resulting Dawn of Paradise is the most ambitious record to come out of Portland…maybe ever. Read our feature on Paradise here. Tonic Lounge, 3100 NE Sandy Blvd., 503-271-8464, toniclounge.com. 8 pm. $8. 21+.
House of Low Culture, Caustic Touch, Daniel Menche, EMS
About a year ago, the four artists on this bill met during a noise show. Earning each other's appreciation that night, they all collaborated in different iterations in the months that followed, then decided to take their joint efforts further, producing a four-way split now being released on Accident Prone Records. The results are alternately abrasive and meditative. It's as cohesive as it is individualistic, with House of Low Culture's contribution resembling Aaron Turner's other droning work. Caustic Touch's tracks are blasts of harsh static, while Daniel Menche's songs are the most rhythmic, and EMS closes out the record on a haunting note. Noise as a genre is an acquired taste, but at least these artists know how to produce it well. Modular8, 1416 SE Morrison St., 971-601-6338. 9 pm. $17 advance, $20 day of show. All ages.
BadBadNotGood, 1939 Ensemble
From the looks of them, you probably wouldn't peg the four dudes in Toronto-based BadBadNotGood as the group leading a new generation of jazz-drunk hip-hop. But since the band's inception, BBNG have received widespread acclaim for breathing new life into the jazz world—a description they don't totally agree with. Looking at their body of work, it becomes clear why BBNG doesn't pledge its allegiance to any specific genre. Sure, they did a whole collaborative album with Ghostface Killah, but they also flex their pop sensibilities on songs like "Time Moves Slowly," featuring Future Islands singer Sam Herring. Read our feature on BBNG here. Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark St. #110, revolutionhall.com. 9 pm. Sold out. 21+.
Saturday, Dec. 16
10 Barrel in the Pearl knows how to throw a holiday party: Five different special versions of Whitney Burnside's house Pearl IPA from triple to session to CDA to hazy, a Pearl Jam cover band on the heated rooftop patio, and free apps with cover charge. Dress nice. It's a holiday. 10 Barrel, 1411 NW Flanders St, 503-224-1700, 10barrel.com. 7 pm-midnight. $10 advance tickets.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Probably the first film anyone could refer to as "dripping in atmosphere," the German silent film about a murderous sleepwalker who kidnaps a woman is still one of the most stunning, hyper-stylized movies ever made. This screening comes with a live score and 20s silent cartoons. Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St., cstpdx.com. 8 pm. $5-$8 suggested donation.
Pedro the Lion
With his original band, slowcore legends Pedro the Lion, beloved songwriter David Bazan chronicled the dark truths behind traditional American institutions with uncompromising honesty. This three-night stand prefaces a full-on reunion tour that'll kick off next year. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave.,
503-288-3895, mississippistudios.com. 8 pm. Sold out. 21+. Through Dec. 18.
McTuff, Trio Subtonic with Dan Balmer
If you happened to catch one of the recent local gigs by the quartet featuring Galen Clark, Dan Balmer, Bill Athens and Russ Kleiner, you'd imagine they'd been together from the get-go. That's how organic their music sounds—so much so that they're releasing a new joint CD. In fact, versatile guitarist Balmer had been a Portland jazz institution for decades before hooking up with Trio Subtonic, which has been cranking out tight, danceable jazz-funk for years, too. Balmer's addition allows the quartet to stretch out a bit more than the trio usually does, and injects some fire into its usual laid-back style. As strong as both acts are individually, this inspired combination adds up to even more than the sum of its considerable parts. The Goodfoot, 2845 SE Stark St., thegoodfoot.com. 9 pm. $10. 21+.
Sunday, Dec. 17
Some of the best mixers and shakers in Portland cocktails will be competing to make the best nog in town—folk from spots like Rum Club, Expatriate and Angel Face—with additional gin nog from the Shipwreck cocktail pop-up. Nightwood, 2218 NE Broadway, 4-7 pm. $30 advance tix at e.sparxo.com/4th-Annual-PDX-Nog-Off.
Bike Farm, the city's raddest bike collective and educational bike shop, is hosting dozens of local vendors that sell handmade, bike related gifts. There'll be bike bags, smartphone mounts for handlebars and lots of hand-knit helmet warmers, because the bike commuter in your life is probably perpetually cold this time of year. Bike Farm, 1810 NE 1st Ave., bikecraftpdx.com. 11 am-5 pm. Starts Friday. Free entry.
Playwright José Rivera's Marisol takes place in an alternate New York City besieged by strange, otherworldly threats. Cows are producing salty milk, an unspecified plague has run amok and the moon has literally fled Earth to hang out with Saturn. It's all the result of an impending battle between God and his angels, who have risen up against their reportedly senile boss. Caught in the madness is Marisol (Yolanda Porter), a young Puerto Rican woman who, instead of joining the holy war, decides to search for her missing friend June (Trishelle Love), who has a serious head injury, and her brother Lenny (Alex Albrecht), who, in defiance of modern science and male anatomy, becomes pregnant. If you need to make sense of it all, Marisol will leave you unfulfilled. But if you're willing to let the strangeness overwhelm you, Rivera and PAC have created an apocalyptic and oddly uproarious world that's at once tragic, goofy and scarily real. Read our full review here. Shoebox Theater, 2110 SE 10th Ave., pac.edu. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, 2:00 pm Sunday through Dec. 17. $20.