[BOOKS] David Shields has authored 15 books that could be called creative nonfiction but mostly just defy classification, including Reality Hunger, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead and the newly released Salinger. In his other new book released this year, How Literature Saved My Life, Shields describes precisely that (how writing provided an outlet for his anxieties) in a book that is both cultural critique and confessional autobiography. Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651. 7:30 pm. Free.
Commons Brewery Second Anniversary
[BEER] Commons’ simple, rustic Urban Farmhouse was our anointed beer of the year in 2013—and it’ll certainly have that one on tap. But for its second-anniversary celebration, the brewery is pulling out special kegs full of beers you’ve never seen or thought you wouldn’t see again: Zoigl lager, King’s Blend wild ale (not to be mistaken for the king’s cup), the new chardonnay-casked Maybelle farmhouse and a sour red Ortucky Common brewed in collaboration with De Garde Brewing on the coast. Commons promises a humble spread of food to go with the quaffs, but if you show up on Dec. 12 instead, there’s a potluck. The Commons Brewery, 1810 SE Stephens St., 343-5501. 5 pm. Prices vary.
Portland Baroque Orchestra: Handel’s Messiah
[HOLIDAY FAVORITE] Messiah has long been a seasonal favorite, and it works especially well for groups prepared to deal with the challenges presented by its baroque instrumentation and convoluted history. The oratorio (don’t call it an opera) is famous for its second movement’s “Hallelujah” chorus, quoted in countless films and commercials. Musically, it’s an impressive piece, perhaps more so when one considers that Handel completed it in 24 days, working off the rather unimaginative libretto provided by his rich patron Charles Jennens, who simply extracted most of the texts from the King James Bible. Still, the work is remembered for its glorious music, and that’s something we can all get passionate about. NATHAN CARSON. First Baptist Church, 909 SW 11th Ave. 7:30 pm Friday-Saturday and Monday, 4 pm Sunday, Dec. 13-16. $28-$69. All ages.
Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola Duo
[FUNKY JAZZ] One morning 20 years ago, drummer Scott Amendola got an urgent phone call from fellow young Bay Area jazz star Charlie Hunter, who unexpectedly needed a drummer for a gig that night. The pair clicked so well that they’ve been playing together ever since. Their laid-back new album of Amendola compositions, Pucker, follows last year’s all-Hunter-written duo disc, and offers a surprising variety of funk- and rock-infused tempos and moods, with more welcome breathing space than many similarly virtuosic players are willing to grant. BRETT CAMPBELL. Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., 288-3895. 9 pm Friday, Dec. 13. $20. 21+.
Michael Dean Damron, Sugarcane, Land Between the Lakes, Damn Family
[COUNTRY BASH] It’s not surprising Portland singer-songwriter Michael Dean Damron promised to tattoo a donor’s name on his back as a Kickstarter pledge goal for his latest double LP, Nah Mr. Death…I’m Comin’ for You! His solo records are unapologetically sincere and plucky, strewn with hoarse crooning rather than the country rock of his other outfit, I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House. Nah is no different, sweetly drawing upon acoustic tales of motherly instinct, overweight children and a dying America, all told with wry zest. BRANDON WIDDER. Dante’s, 350 W Burnside St., 226-6630. 9 pm. $5. 21+.
Saturday, Dec. 14
Humbug Lager Fest
[BEER] Forget nutmeg and cinnamon and malty sugars and whatever they’ve got you brainwashed into thinking is “festive” in the “winter.” Get yourself some lager, man. Good, clean lager. Or Southern German-style lager packed so full of flavor it might as well be bread. Occidental pulled together a roster: Commons, Upright, Breakside, Ayinger and others, with food from Urban German. Occidental Brewing Co., 6635 N Baltimore Ave., 719-7102. Noon-10 pm. Prices vary.St. Johns Winter Beer Fest
[DANCE] From the start, when Elijah Labay walks onto the floor wearing nothing but red-velvet dance shorts and socks, you know NWDP’s In Good Company isn’t going to be overly serious. The normally stoic Labay, whose portrayals often tend toward pain or distress, now alternates between deadpan stillness and a goofy, Dick Van Dyke smile. In short bursts, he snaps, twists and rolls to Paul Simon’s “Loves Me Like a Rock,” drawing nervous laughter from the audience and setting a convivial tone for the dance company’s annual holiday show. The pieces are choreographed by NWDP’s dancers, and if these works are any indication, they’re a real fun-loving bunch. They had guidelines to use Top-40 songs from 40 years ago—though some Bach and Sneaky Sound System are mixed in—so the pieces are generally lively grooves to hits like “Crocodile Rock” and “Love Train.” Franco Nieto creates a stylized, Tarantino-esque piece to Federale and Cher’s “Half Breed.” Andrea Parson choreographs a playful bit of dance theater featuring a table and a great, acrobatic duet between Labay and Ching Ching Wong. In all the merrymaking, some of the choreography grows a little too freewheeling, verging on unruly. But taken for what it is, it satisfies and entertains with a lot of personality. Northwest Dance Project Studio & Performance Center, 833 N Shaver St., 421-7434. 7:30 pm Wednesday-Saturday and 4 pm Sunday, Dec. 11-15. $32-$45.
Untoward: A Benefit for the Creative Music Guild
[EXPERIMENTAL IMPROV] The Creative Music Guild has been promoting challenging, improvisatory music in Portland for going on 20 years now. It’s a vital part of the local arts community, though you don’t need me to tell you that. Just look at the lineup for this benefit show. It features a cadre of the city’s best experimental musicians, including guitarist Marisa Anderson, the broken-beat jazz duo Grammies, acid-rockers Eternal Tapestry and the uncategorizable Dragging an Ox Through Water. If you really want to keep Portland weird, this is the show to support. MATTHEW SINGER. Secret Society Ballroom, 116 NE Russell St. 9 pm. $10 advance, $15 suggested donation day of show. 21+.
Sunday, Dec. 15
LipPopBooking Black And White Christmas Party: Pheasant, Lonnie Winn, Dramady, Jaret Ferratusco
[FOLK POP] I apologize in advance if labeling Pheasant as “folk pop” conjures images of wispy acoustic guitar and twee, soft-spoken vocals designed to make your mother weep. The band’s most recent work, Gravel Beach, is tried-and-true rock’n’roll, flanked by slight glimmerings of orchestral brass and fret-burning guitar hooks that fall somewhere between Lynyrd Skynyrd and Stephen Malkmus. Nevertheless, it’s the subtle touches, like the sweetly sprouting backing vocals on the title track and the dance-riddled grooves of “Dog in the Scrapyard,” that keep singer Matt Jenkins and the rest of the Portland quintet from being labeled as straight roots rock. BRANDON WIDDER. Valentine’s, 232 SW Ankeny St., 248-1600. 9 pm. $5. 21+.
King Krule, Willis Earl Beal
[THUG LYFE] Archy Marshall is a lover, not a fighter. The music he creates under his nom de plume King Krule is wise beyond its years—gritty, stubborn, stark and impossibly tuneful. Watching the lanky redhead onstage, wearing a suit two sizes too big, you get the sense his songs aren’t written as much as unearthed from under a box of stale hash. King Krule has frequently been compared to a British Tom Waits or Joe Strummer raised on hip-hop and dubstep, but on his debut record, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, he sets course on his own path, writing classic heartbreakers often filled with only guitar, scattered percussion and his rugged, thuggish voice. It’s easily one of the most assured debuts in a long time, especially when you learn that many of these songs—including the jaw-dropping “Out Getting Ribs”—were written when the 19-year-old Marshall was just 16. You can hear bits of contemporary influences (especially on the languid “Neptune Estate,” which sounds like King Krule covering a Portishead song), but to my ears it’s more akin to a set of jazz standards reinterpreted as pop songs by a kid who doesn’t know any better. Believe the hype. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER. Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., 231-9663. 9 pm Sunday, Dec. 15. $14. 21+.
The Dandy Warhols Holiday Show
[HOLIDAY HOEDOWN] The Dandies are no strangers to spreading the yuletide cheer. Between their raucous rendition of “Little Drummer Boy,” now a nearly 20-year-old Christmas staple, and their more hushed shot at the angelic “Silent Night,” the band’s buzzing psych-rock guitar and holiday mirth is becoming a tradition in itself. This year, Portland’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra and the Drew Grow-fronted Modern Kin will take the stage at the band’s annual holiday bash, probably before the ’nog actually kicks in. BRANDON WIDDER. Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St., 225-0047. 8 pm. $20 advance, $22 day of show. All ages.