(Triple Door) If you're a fan of the bland singer-songwriter Jon McLaughlin, you're doing it wrong; I don't care how in love you are with his slick pop or nice jawline. You'd be better off getting into John McLaughlin, the British guitarist who electrified some of Miles Davis's greatest ensembles in the late-'60s/early-'70s, worked with the phenomenal Tony Williams Lifetime, and led Mahavishnu Orchestra to stratospheric feats of jazz-fusion virtuosity. Liking Jon McLaughlin is only going to cause future embarrassment and shame. Immersing yourself in the canon of John McLaughlin, however, will reward you for the rest of your blessed life—unless you prefer the sonic equivalent of faux-fireplace flames to a planet-devouring inferno. DAVE SEGAL
Colonies, Makeup Monsters, Slowwave, Cumulus
(Barboza) Save for a cute cover of the Beach Boys' "Little Saint Nick" over the holidays, Colonies haven't released anything since 2009's Thirty Thousand. In both 2010 and 2011, the band hinted at the possibility of new music, and the years came and went without a peep. LIARS. But 2012 might be Colonies' year. This heavier than your average indie-rock band, which would appeal to fans of Death Cab for Cutie, have been busy writing their new album and promise they're planning to start tracking songs this spring. Here's hoping that when they come out of hibernation for tonight's show, they don't see their shadow and run away for another year. MEGAN SELING
Bo$$ Fam, Boombox Massacre, Second Family, Peta Tosh, Awall
(High Dive) See My Philosophy.
Catch Hell, Death by Steamship, SAYS, PotatoFinger, Girl X, Flave, Dash EXP
(Electric Tea Garden) See Data Breaker.
Illmaculate, Cool Nutz
(Nectar) See My Philosophy.
Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, Sounds Major
(Barboza) Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground have always separated themselves from the crowd of other local indie-folk-pop (or whatever) outfits with their overall musicianship and good-vibes live performances. But how are they going to fit all 13 of their band members and instruments onto Barboza's little stage? However they manage, it's a great excuse to check out this new venue if you haven't yet and to hear the group perform their old standards and few new ones from their upcoming third LP. Sounds Major, a side project of Kyle O'Quin of KK&HWU and Sean Nelson from Harvey Danger/the Long Winters, are opening. MIKE RAMOS
Footwork, Fever Teeth, Osito, M. Women, Naomi Punk
(Ground Zero) See Underage.
HONK! Fest West: Brass Messengers, Bucharest Drinking Team, Environmental Encroachment, Scrambled Ape, more
(Streets of Georgetown/The Mix) See Stranger Suggests.
Emerald City Visions
(Triple Door) Curated by Stranger columnist, KEXP host, and Don't Talk to the Cops! member Larry Mizell Jr., Emerald City Visions is the special SIFF event featuring hiphop interpretations of music from The Wiz, the Broadway-smash-turned-Hollywood-flop in which The Wizard of Oz is given an African American makeover. Tonight's show kicks off with DJ DV One, who'll spin a set along with a video mix showcasing the Seattle hiphop scene. Then come performances by Metal Chocolates and Don't Talk to the Cops!, followed by the pièce de résistance: a 35-minute adaptation of The Wiz film, scored to a live performance by OC Notes. DAVID SCHMADER
Red Fang, Sandrider, Serial Hawk
(Highline) Jiminy fucking Cricket! Do Red Fang ever stop touring? I recently e-mailed tour guy/fifth man Chris Coyle the same question, and he simply replied, "No." It seems like they've been to Europe or across the States at least a dozen times in the last two years, and before the next time they head back over in July, they're doing this little US thing, apparently just for kicks. This may be your last chance to see the Portland four-piece in a space as intimate as the vegan dreadlock-hive that is the Highline. We've already spilled a lot of ink shouting accolades about Sandrider, too, but you'll want to get there early for Serial Hawk, who share their billmates' predilection for humming, chugging locomotive rock that runs on riffs so meaty they could feed two armies. GRANT BRISSEY
The Wampas, the Magpies, Youthbitch
(Blue Moon) Remember in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back when that wampa captured Luke Skywalker and hung him upside down in his freezing-cold ice cave? Man, I was really worried about Luke in that scene. I had such a crush on Luke. Seattle's Wampas are pretty crushworthy, too: three Seattle dudes who play straightforward indie rock with a bit of surf twang. It's pretty but not too pretty, and definitely not twee. It's the kind of music you could play in your car while driving your girlfriend somewhere nice for dinner so she thinks you're cool, but not cold. KELLY O
(Paramount) See The Homosexual Agenda.
Stickers, Big Eyes, Wild Assumptions, Lindseys
(Hollow Earth) See Underage.
LMFAO, Far East Movement, the Quest Crew, Sidney Samson, Eva Simons, Natalia Kills
(KeyArena) See Data Breaker.
The Isley Brothers
(ShoWare Center) Is it worth your ever-dwindling time and money to catch a group that's been working for more than five decades? If it's the Isley Brothers, yes... probably. The Teaneck, New Jersey, bros have a grip of melodious and gritty soul, funk, and rock hits that can lift your spirits as efficiently as those by the most gifted ever to plug in: "Shout," "It's Your Thing," "That Lady," "Footsteps in the Dark," "For the Love of You," "Harvest for the World," and my goddamn eternal anthem, "Work to Do." Ernie Isley's Hendrix-level guitar acrobatics and Ronald Isley's silky falsetto have as much a chance of losing their luster as Mitt Romney has of becoming a philanthropist. These songs are so satisfying, they're even worth a trip to Kent... probably. DAVE SEGAL
Chris Cochrane, Climax Golden Twins
(Chapel Performance Space) Chris Cochrane is a king of guitar, and in 1985, with dancer Ishmael Houston-Jones and writer Dennis Cooper, he created THEM, a masterwork of gay men fighting with love, AIDS, fear, self-loathing, and desire. THEM was re-created two years ago in a residency at New York's New Museum, and now the music, released on John Zorn's Tzadik label, will be performed by Cochrane at Chapel in Wallingford. A writer in Artforum in 2010 described Cochrane, who has collaborated with a galaxy of incredible artists, as "burning and shrieking." I just don't think you should miss this. JEN GRAVES
Inferno: DJ Spooky, DJ Swervewon, DJ Astronomar
(Barboza) In four years, DJ Spooky will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the album Songs of a Dead Dreamer, which put his name on the map. I bring up this fact because the last time Spooky was in town, late last year, he collaborated with the Seattle Symphony's quartet, Sorrento Hotel's Night School, and UW's MCDM to produce a night of bold images, elegant strings, and slamming hiphop beats. Anyone who saw this performance could only conclude that, despite being in the game for nearly two decades, Spooky is far from exhausting his intellectual and creative resources. He is still relevant, still experimenting, still growing, still doing interesting shit. CHARLES MUDEDE
Tim Barry, Kevin Seconds, Julie Karr
(El Corazón) There's a moment on Tim Barry's newest album, 40 Miler, that is the perfect example of why I love Tim Barry. In the title track, he sings: "I can't stand songs about writing songs/And albums over 40 minutes long/And broke-up bands on their third reunion tour/Damn, Beau, we both should've quit at age 24." He delivers the last line, addressing his old Avail bandmate Beau Beau, with a laugh. While so many bands are trying to hold on to the past for what feels like nothing more than an attempt to fill their empty bank accounts, Barry is okay with the fact that he's broke (as he often sings about). He's happy writing simple but genuine folk songs about where he's been and the people he knows, without forcing something that isn't there (and possibly looking ridiculous in the process) in order to make a buck. MEGAN SELING
The Thermals, Little Cuts
(Neumos) Now that Dave Hernandez has secured a more lax Shins touring agreement with James Mercer ("There are a couple new kids playing some song parts I came up with a long time ago, and I get to not have to be in the bus and am titled 'founding bassist and guitarist of the Shins.' Me and James get to still be friends, and everyone's happy"), he's been able to focus back on his scrappier roots (remember, say, Scared of Chaka?). Specifically, he's worked on the new Intelligence record, Everyone's Got It Easy but Me, and he and bandmates Andrew Church and David Weeks (of the Cops) are working on a ton of material for their Little Cuts endeavor, as well as planning a West Coast tour for the summer. Last winter, the band released the Plastic Disaster EP on Portland's Dirtnap Records. Dave Segal called the music "ticking time bomb scrappy rock 'n' roll, with melodic-pop architecture," which fits. I'm hearing some similarities to Mark Sultan or the King Khan & BBQ Show (a good, good thing). GRANT BRISSEY
(Neumos) See preview.
(Showbox at the Market) See Stranger Suggests.
(Neumos) See preview.
(Neptune) Former Seattle resident and Maktub frontman Reggie Watts turned 40 this year, but it hasn't slowed him down one bit. Though he's capable of playing multiple instruments, Watts's current tours feature him using nothing but his voice, a loop pedal, and occasionally a keyboard in his own brand of musical improv-comedy. Looping his own beatboxing sounds to build beats, he sings, raps, and delivers routines that are often as sarcastic and hilarious as they are conscious and relevant. The best part about it, however, is how easy this all seems for him. Also, nobody knows how to poke fun at Seattle like a guy who lived and played in bands here for 14 years. MIKE RAMOS
Stop Biting: Matt Respect, Introcut, AbsoluteMadman, Zac Hendrix, Suntonio Bandanaz
(Lo-Fi) See Data Breaker.
Ex-Girlfriends, Danny the Street, Sweetpups
(Chop Suey) See The Homosexual Agenda.
Julian Priester/Rob Scheps Project
(Royal Room) Cornish University professor Julian Priester is Seattle's preeminent avant-jazz denizen, with a career encompassing dates with John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Max Roach, Miles Davis, Sun Ra, Herbie Hancock, Art Blakey, and many other important figures. The composer/trombonist's best albums as a leader—1974's Love, Love and 1977's Polarization—contain exquisite compositions ranging from spine-tingling ambient calm to velvet-bell-bottomed funk to cerebral, controlled chaos. Priester has maintained his adventurous spirit to this day, which he'll flaunt tonight with the powerful and nuanced saxophonist/flautist Rob Scheps and his band, featuring Dawn Clement (piano), Geoff Harper (bass), and Byron Vannoy (drums). DAVE SEGAL