Booka Shade, Robert DeLong
(Showbox at the Market) See Data Breaker.
A Tribe Called Red, DJ Darwin, Chilly
(Barboza) See My Philosophy.
Blu, TiRon & Ayomari, Nu Era, OCnotes
(Neumos) See My Philosophy.
Airport, Black Hat, Magisterial, Bankie Phones
(Electric Tea Garden) See Data Breaker.
(Showbox at the Market) Besides a limited supply of dollars, the greatest obstacle to forking out big bucks to see a Prince concert is the fact that the greatest pop musician of our age is a wildly erratic live performer. When he wants to, he'll put on the most amazing show you've ever seen—as I learned at his 2004 show at KeyArena. And when he's feeling pissy or preachy or otherwise tied up with some Princely struggle only he can comprehend, he can suck balls (as I learned on the 1984 Purple Rain tour, when he doled out clunky medleys of hits between theatrical stretches of conversing with the computerized voice of God). He's so fucking perverse about it, you can't even begin to predict what to expect. So here's hoping the lucky bastards and bastardesses who get to see Prince play the Showbox are treated to a once-in-a-lifetime party packed with eternal hits performed at point-blank range, rather than two hours of Jehovah's Witness–inspired jazz fusion. DAVID SCHMADER
Choicefest: Skarp, Transient, Don Peyote, Murder in the Wood
(Highline) Choicefest is the annual pro-women music festival that celebrates many of the weird, loud, and heavy bands in the Northwest featuring at least one female band member. "No all-dude bands!" says the festival's founder, Adam Bass. Tonight's show, with an epic lineup of brain-buzzing acts including Skarp and Don Peyote, is just the kickoff of the mini-fest—Princess, Pipsqueak, Lozen, Tacos!, and more are playing over the weekend at Black Lodge and the Comet. Besides reiterating that you don't have to be a man to rock, this show is also a benefit for Rick Powell, the local musician who was recently shot three times in the chest in an alleged attempted robbery. MEGAN SELING
Lee Fields & the Expressions, Lady
(Neumos) Describing a musician as a "poor man's James Brown" may sound like damning with faint praise, but it's actually a huge compliment. (If I have to explain the world-historical greatness of James Brown to you in 2013, you've picked up the wrong paper/hit the wrong website.) To come close to replicating the hyperlibidinous funk, volcanic soul, and exposed-nerve balladry of Brown's A+ work is a difficult feat, to be sure. Which means that Lee Fields, a sixtysomething JB disciple to the bone, and his Expressions may be the closest thing in the entertainment world to witnessing the Godfather of Soul in the sweaty flesh right now. Give the epigone some, people. DAVE SEGAL
Shafiq Husayn & Dove Society, OCnotes
(Dahlak Eritrean Cuisine) This is the hiphop show of the week. Nothing should make you miss the beautiful, Afro-futurist, Afro-polycentric, Afro-blue, Afro-bohemian beat-slamming tunes of Shafiq Husayn & Dove Society. Husayn, who has worked with the Robert Glasper Experiment, Erykah Badu, and many others, is currently plugged into that scintillating stream of hiphop/soul/jazz that has its source in the genius of the late J Dilla. Indeed, I have elsewhere argued that the numerous followers of Dilla's program and aesthetic have essentially established whole a new form of black American music. And what do LA's Husayn and 206's OCnotes have in common? Their work overflows with very new and also very traditional musical concepts. I will be surprised if this event does not end as a night to be remembered. CHARLES MUDEDE See also Sound Check.
The Fame Riot, Continental Soldiers, the Fabulous Downey Brothers, DJ Philanthony
(Barboza) If I were to judge the Fame Riot based solely on their fashion aesthetic—the sparkles, scarves, and messy long hair of '70s glam meet the fake fur and Cosby sweaters of Macklemore's "Thrift Shop"—I'd assume the music made by the pair of Tacoma-based brothers was not my bag. But book, judge, cover, blah blah blah—because goddamn, their songs are catchy! New wave's synth, pop's hooks, and steadfast club beats—there's even a Prince-esque guitar solo in "The Finale (Cosmic Future Remix)." It'd work on a playlist next to Katy Perry just as well as it would the Strokes. As for the clothes, I mean, at least they're not sporting the tired suspenders and porkpie hats, right? MEGAN SELING
Captured! By Robots, Skelator, Headless Prez
(Chop Suey) If you were to be kidnapped by any one band, it might not be bad to hit the road with JBOT, the human, and his band of robots—the two stuffed monkeys on cymbals, a severed doll's head who plays the drums, a freaky-eyed robot on the bass guitar, three bloody and headless "hornsmen" on horns. Part head-scratching performance art, part experimental metal concert, C!BR would be easy to tour with—they probably don't need to eat, sleep, or ever stop the van to pee. Don't miss openers Skelator—non-robot people from Seattle who make nonironic, bombastic thrash metal, à la Exodus circa 1984. KELLY O
(Showbox at the Market) See Thursday.
Choicefest: Princess, Fist Fite, Pipsqueak, Skies Below
(Black Lodge) See Underage.
E-40, Parker Brothaz, Cool Nutz, Neema, Fearce & Bean
(Showbox Sodo) Vallejo rapper E-40 is a true originator of West Coast slappers, style, and slanguage, which he's proved from his '92/'93 debuts with family unit the Click and solo album Federal, to his frequent collaborations with other well- and lesser-known Bay rappers throughout the years, to his vital role in popularizing the region's mid-'00s hyphy movement. 40 Water has even found a way to release more than seven albums in the last three years, all of which still sound fresh and up-to-date, proving he's still on top of his game. He's as close to a literal living legend as one can get, responsible for too many classics to list in a mere preview blurb. Just think about seeing stuff like "Sideways" performed live, and the decision should make itself. "OOOOooooh" (40 voice). MIKE RAMOS See also My Philosophy.
Tera Melos, This Town Needs Guns, By Sunlight
(Crocodile) Stereolab have a self-descriptive song called "John Cage Bubblegum"; Tera Melos could title more than one of their own tracks "Captain Beefheart Bubblegum." (If you don't think this is a good thing, lick my decals off, baby.) The Sacramento group have taken Don Van Vliet's unpredictable time signatures and unconventional guitar tones and smoothed them into math-pop magic, peaking on 2010's Patagonian Rats. Tera Melos's new album, X'ed Out, subdues the band's jittery rhythmic slants and no-wave abrasiveness a bit, allowing the uplifting melodies to shine harder. On "No Phase," they even dabble with sheerest shoegaze ethereality. Yep, change can be pretty good. DAVE SEGAL
Federation X, C Average, Trashies, the Narrows
(Comet) Federation X meticulously constructed and then brashly detonated several explosive punk/rock records in the late '90s/early '00s. Then two of the jerks moved east to the lesser coast for a few years. But all that is in the past. Guitar extortionist Ben Wildenhaus and frontman Bill Badgley are, at least for now, relocated to this dank corner of the country. What's more, they've got a new record in the chute—this time with production team Deaf Nephews: Dale Crover and Toshi Kasai of Melvins/Big Business. Add to this the fact that this is the first of only a handful of C Average reunion shows, and WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GRANT BRISSEY
Los Amigos Invisibles, Darek Mazzone
(Neumos) Latin Grammy winners Los Amigos Invisibles are Venezuela's answer to Thievery Corporation or Kinky. LAI's slick, suave, upbeat dance music is tastefully sensuous if not exactly bursting with original flavor. Their latest album, Repeat After Me, bubbles with slightly quirky synth and percussion sounds but overall maintains an amiable demeanor and loungey disco/house rhythmic clip for folks in business-casual attire to party fairly responsibly to. DAVE SEGAL
Cathedrals 5: The Moondoggies, Mirah, Shenandoah Davis
(St. Mark's) See Stranger Suggests.
The Men, Dude York, Big Eyes, CCR Headcleaner
(Vera) See Underage.
The Narx, So Pitted, the Shivas, Hornet Leg, the Fabulous Downey Brothers
(Black Lodge) See Underage.
Ben UFO, Ben Tactic, Nordic Soul, Recess
(Q) See Data Breaker.
Jim Jones, Philthy Rich
(Crocodile) See My Philosophy.
The Intelligence, Daydream Machine, PartMan PartHorse
(Chop Suey) Now that marijuana is dipping its little green toe into the acceptable and straight-up-legal pond in these parts, will future generations of teens still scribble totally sick 420s on their notebooks during detention? Will poster aliens still insist on being taken to your dealer, if your dealer is just Safeway or whatever? Celebrate this special holiday while it's still special, with the ramshackle ultragenius of the Intelligence: abrasive, lo-fi post-fun fun steeped in catchy and unconventional hooks made for dancing off your cottonmouth. Also making an appearance are Partman Parthorse—the fittest band around, guaranteeing deadpan rock-punk for your ears and decorative mankini for your eyes. With low-toned, hazy psych rockers Daydream Machine. EMILY NOKES
Choicefest: Lozen, Bad Powers, Tacos!, Elk Rider
(Comet) Bad Powers' debut is a strong contender for the most criminally overlooked rock album of 2012. Maybe a lack of touring was to blame for the absence of media hype? Maybe it's the fact that the band is basically a restructuring of New York noise-rock veterans Made out of Babies, only without the unnerving and legitimately cuckoo antics of vocalist Julie Christmas hogging up all the attention? Either way, it's time to correct the situation. The band is finally laying siege to the West Coast, and singer Megan Tweed (also of Seattle's the Family Curse) deserves kudos for complementing Bad Powers' grimy mixture of Barkmarket's earthquaking dynamics and Today Is the Day's aural dementia instead of overshadowing it. BRIAN COOK
Rage Against the Machine Tribute: Bullet in Your Head, Scarecrow Messiah, Pretty Enemy
(Central) The Central Saloon, a Pioneer Square bar, is the "official bar for Monster Supercross!!" And headlining its after-party (?!) is Rage Against the Machine tribute band Bullet in Your Head. Also, it's on 4/20. To recap: energy-drink-branded motorcycle race after-party in Pioneer Square on 4/20 headlined by RATM cover band. So now you know where to go on Saturday! To literally anywhere else on earth. Inside a volcano. In your parents' bedroom while they're having sex. Into a porta-potty that's about to be rolled down a hill. Note: This is not a dig at the musicians here at all. Rage Against the Machine was an actually great '90s band whose lyrics taught me a bunch of important political shit as a teenager—but somehow, most of the dudes who like them are notorious douche captains (e.g., Paul Ryan). If you mess up and go to this show, expect 100 drunk Paul Ryans with pocketfuls of Rohypnol. RUN. ANNA MINARD
Northwest Sinfonietta: Awadagin Pratt
(Pioneer Park Pavilion, Puyallup) Pratt's played with everyone, from New York Philharmonic to Northwest Sinfonietta. He was one of the first black pianists to rock the competition circuit (back in the 1990s), and this time in Seattle he's performing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 in a program that also includes Mozart's Symphony No. 39 and the world premiere of a piece by Sinfonietta founder and director Christophe Chagnard: Embargo, Suite Cubana. This should be well worth the outing; the Sinfonietta—the best orchestra in Seattle that you've never heard of—also specializes in Mozart. (Additional performances April 19 at Benaroya Hall and April 20 at Tacoma's Rialto Theatre.) JEN GRAVES
(Neptune) See Stranger Suggests.
Watsky, Dumbfoundead, the Flavr Blue
(Crocodile) See My Philosophy.
James Blake, FaltyDL
(Neptune) James Blake's new album, Overgrown, moves further away from his earlier, more overtly beat-oriented output, instead emphasizing his burnished, soulful vocals—think somewhere between the late folk-blues troubadour Karen Dalton and Antony Hegarty—and elegantly contoured torch-songcraft. Blake values intimacy and tenderness above all in his compositions, casting his gently vibrato'd croons into low-lit tableaux of consoling introversion, although "Retrograde" and "Voyeur" deviate from the prevalent warm-milk sound. Fans will call it "simmering" and "mature"; haters will deem it "soporific" and "stodgy" (even RZA's guest rap on "Take a Fall for Me" lacks spice). Much livelier is the oft-morphing, bass-laden music of New York producer FaltyDL (aka Drew Lustman). He brings cracking, limber rhythmic convolutions and glimmering melodiousness to UK garage, which has earned him a Ninja Tune contract and slots on high-profile bills like this one. Get there early. DAVE SEGAL See also My Philosophy.
Shuggie Otis, Jesca Hoop
(Triple Door) On '70s psych-soul masterpieces Freedom Flight and Inspiration Information, multi-instrumentalist prodigy Shuggie Otis displayed the rare ability to sound featherlight yet robust in both voice and composition. In this way he resembles Curtis Mayfield and Sly Stone, although Otis's fame is a mere fraction of those immortals'. Part of that is due to his reclusiveness and small body of work (if only he'd accepted the Rolling Stones' 1974 offer to be their guitarist!). No matter: Brothers Johnson turned Otis's sublimely levitational "Strawberry Letter 23" into a massive hit, which surely kept him financially secure during those creatively fallow years. Now with Epic reissuing Inspiration and appending a bonus disc, Wings of Love, containing 14 previously unreleased, sporadically great tracks from 1975–2000, the time's ripe for rediscovering (again) his breezy, slyly sensual tunesmithery. Let's hope Shuggie's tightened up his live act since a bungled 2001 comeback tour. (Additional performance April 24.) DAVE SEGAL