The Everyone Orchestra, a nationally touring improv all-star band is coming back to Portland to give us all a chance at making music. Conductor Matt Butler will play Father Time and oversee improvisation by musicians from bands like The Motet, March Fourth Marching Band, Fruition, Vagabond Opera, Peak Experience Productions and you, the person reading this, if you dare. The show features an interactive art installation, live painting and some sort of mysterious ritual for creating New Year's resolutions. If you want to see what they deliver, check out YouTube.
The Everyone Orchestra, 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 30, Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 Alberta St. $15. Info: 503-719-6055, www.albertarosetheatre.com .
New Year's Eve
Spanning two years
The Brothers of the Baladi are one of the most eclectic groups in Portland, jamming Arabic, Turkish, Persian, rock, reggae and Latin tunes. And let's not forget the Offbeat Belly Dance troupe that will be sharing the bill. It's impossible not to like any band that can sing in seven languages - why, that's as many languages as there are seas, so you're guaranteed waves of good feeling.
Brothers of the Baladi, 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, The Blue Monk, 3341 S.E. Belmont St. $10. Info: 503-595-0575, www.thebluemonk.com .
After taking a hiatus in 2009, Shanghai Nights - which alludes to Portland's wicked past as a sinful seaport - returns as one of our city's more offbeat New Year's Eve celebrations. The evening features the funky, soul jazz of Seattle-based McTuff Trio with Devin Phillips, the groovy electronic rock ofMaterialized and Scott Lawfeaturing Mighty Dave Pellicciaro and Dale Fanning, the ambient indie pop of Stephanie Schneiderman, and DJ Harry and Jans Ingber performing the String Cheese Incident Remix Set.
Shanghai Nights, 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, Bossanova Ballroom, 722 E. Burnside St. $37.50 in advance, $50 at the door. Info: 503-770-0303, www.bossanovaballroom.com .
Jazz vocalist Mia Nicholson has a lovely alto voice that almost sounds like a muted trumpet as it dances over her band's backup. This is the New Year's Eve show for the romantics out there - Nicholson is all class and no sass, and if she isn't, well, we don't want to know.
Mia Nicholson, 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31, Portland Prime, 121 S.W. Third Ave. $15; free if you dine in the restaurant. Info: 503-223-6200, www.portlandprime.net .
May the circle be downloaded
Music Millennium is celebrating that quaint era when people actually had to leave the house to buy recorded music with a Community Day, including a songwriters' circle. The tonal scriveners on hand will be Lex Browning, formerly of Quarterflash and the Austin Lounge Lizards and currently with the Freak Mountain Ramblers; Gregory Stockert, who played the squeezebox for the Holy Modal Rounders and the Clamtones; and Jack McMahon of Tracks and The Chameleons. C'mon down, kids, and find out how players got their tips before YouTube came along.
Community Day, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Jan. 3, with 7 p.m. Songwriters' Circle, Music Millennium, 3158 E. Burnside St. Free. Info: 503-231-8926.
Puerto Rican native Neftali Rivera is gifted with a rich baritone voice and plays guitar with the deft touch of a harpist. Before moving to Portland 14 years ago, he was a professional entertainer on the island, and has carried with him here the ballads and dance tunes with Spanish and African roots that make Puerto Rico's music so contagious and impossible to ignore.
Neftali Rivera, 7 to 10 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 4, Andina's Bar Mestizo, 1314 N.W. Glisan St. Free. Info: 503-228-9535.
Time to chime
Hailing from Boise, indie rockers Fauxbois play anthemic chiming rock 'n' roll and soulful ballads that uplift the spirit while giving the listener just enough melancholy to let you know they've thought a bit more deeply about life than your average bar patron. Frontman and chief songwriter Brian Mayer forged his sound in Brooklyn about a decade ago, where he would busk on street corners and play at clubs under his alter ego, Mayerforceone. He's created a palate of folk-inflected pop music with more than a hint of sea shanty to paint your post-punk world all shiny and gold.
Fauxbois, Pony Village, 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7, The Woods, 6637 S.E. Milwaukie Ave. $7. Info: 503-890-0408, www.thewoodsportland.com .