Portland is a great city for music, and at the heart of the city, Portland State is close to it all. Here are some ways to experience live music at PSU and beyond.
One of the oldest buildings on campus, Lincoln Hall houses the PSU School of Music & Theater as well as three separate performance venues. Chamber Music Northwest, Friends of Chamber Music, White Bird Dance Company and all of the student ensembles perform here frequently.
Every Thursday at noon in Lincoln Hall 75, the music department hosts a concert featuring PSU students and faculty performing jazz, classical and contemporary pieces. Every concert is free and open to the public.
From noon–1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, PSU Professional Sound brings great live music to the Park Blocks (or Parkway North if it’s raining). These concerts are conveniently next to the Smith Memorial Student Union dining hall right at lunch time. Sitting down to live music in the middle of the day is a great way to let off steam after morning classes, and the rotating lineup always offers something interesting.
The college radio station can be found online at kpsu.org and in person inside SMSU. Programmed by and for PSU students since 1994, KPSU features music, comedy and talk radio as well as more experimental fare. Don’t miss Live Fridays at 5 p.m. featuring performances and interviews with local and touring artists.
Old Portland is dead. The days of dirt cheap rent attracting creative hopefuls are well behind us. But some of the best concerts can still be found in basements and dive bars if you know where to look. The Facebook group Portland Underground Show Listings is a good place to start; it’s quite active and features a wide variety of music, from punk to dance to experimental. Even if you end up standing outside making conversation the whole time, the experience is wholly unique and definitely worth a $5 cover charge.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall is home to the Oregon Symphony, and it’s only a five minute walk from campus. If you stop by the ticket office on SW Washington and show your student ID, you’ll be able to buy $10 student tickets, which is a fantastic deal (usually great seats as well; I almost always get a seat in the lower balcony).
The Old Church
Uncomfortable pews and giant pipe organs may bring up all manner of childhood memories, but The Old Church is a great venue a few blocks from campus, with surprising acoustics and a consistently solid roster. Local chamber music groups such as FearNoMusic perform here, and even Michael Gira will be here in October. The guy whose band Swans made an album called Public Castration Is a Good Idea performing in a place of worship. What a world we live in.