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This Week's Noteworthy Shows and Parties
Defriending Cancer: Todd Barry and other comedians, James Mercer, Isaac Brock
The Entrance Band, Lights, White Buffalo Black Madonna
(Chop Suey) See preview.
King Cannibal, Thunderbolt Lightningstorm, Drunk Unkle
(Contour) See Data Breaker.
The Cumulus Music Festival: Joy Wants Eternity, Scriptures, the Luna Moth, Paintings for Animals
(Mars Bar) See Stranger Suggests.
Wolves in the Throne Room, Atriarch, Megaton Leviathan
(Black Lodge) These black-metal howlers from the woods around Olympia have inspired an elaborate mythology. Some of it's true: The band was born in a former '70s acid commune, two of the Wolves turned the commune into a working organic farm, and they're into "magick." But they also write e-mails, drive cars, drink whiskey, and—most importantly—make eerie washes of moody metal noise. During a WITTR show at Vera last year, fans sat on the floor, eyes either closed or glazed, absorbing the sound like they were listening to a sermon. It was a little spooky—and totally mesmerizing. This Northwest tour is a dry run for their first international tour (to Australia with French metal band Monarch!). According to WITTR, the Northwest shows will unveil a grand experiment: "These four concerts will be the debut of our new approach to performance. We will travel with our own powerful sound system and crew of comrades so that we will be able to completely control the energy of any space in which we perform. Our live sound was forged in underground warehouses and in the amphitheater of the outdoors. We'll be focusing on these anarchic venues in order to bring about the transformations that we require." BRENDAN KILEY
(The Pussy Room/Copper Gate) The Pussy Room is a tiny red room that seats around 20 people. It has a Hammond organ, aerial rigging, a stripper pole, and a full bathroom and open shower with no door. For a few nights this week, former members of Circus Contraption—Sari Breznau and Lara Lee Rasberry—will host Pity Party: a reverse–St. Valentine's Day show for singles only. The ladies promise aerial routines, drinking games, singing in the shower, kvetching, some dancing (tap and pole), shadow puppetry, and maybe even a group hug. BRENDAN KILEY
Fresh Espresso, Truckasauras, Head Like a Kite
Drumcell, J. Phlip, Recess, Menami, Jen Woolfe, Robb Green, Levi Clark, Adlib
(Chop Suey) See Data Breaker.
The Cumulus Music Festival: This Blinding Light, Elders, AristeiA, the Ever Changing Sky
(Funhouse) See Stranger Suggests.
(The Pussy Room/Copper Gate) See Thursday.
P.O.S., Grieves, Budo, Dessa
(Nectar) See My Philosophy.
The Presidents of the United States of America, Black Daisy, People Eating People, DJ Self-Administered Beatdown
(Showbox at the Market) People Eating People is the new solo project (with a little help from her friends) of Mon Frere keyboardist/singer Nouela Johnston. Mon Frere, a keys-guitar-drums trio, attempted to wed Johnston's skillful, sultry singing and jazzy piano chops to more rocking impulses, with mixed results. People Eating People finds Johnston playing her jazz, soul, and R&B influences relatively straight, though tinted with some seductively dark moods, and the results are revelatory. The simple arrangements of People Eating People's self-titled debut put Johnston's powerful, emotive voice—seriously, the vocal runs on "Straight Lines" give chills—and adroit piano playing out front, with just a little drum kit backing her up, and the songs are easily the best she's yet written. Expect to hear a lot from this act in the year to come. ERIC GRANDY
Grandmaster Flash, ADHDJ, the Dowlz, Mixed Up Mike, Darrius, Sasse
(Heaven) Flash is one of those iconic hiphop figures who can legitimately coast on his rep. Even if this turntablist pioneer's act now contains few surprises and innovations, you should experience it at least once: How often do you get the chance to receive a hiphop history lesson from a legend? The last time I witnessed Flash perform, he was annoyingly didactic about the records he played and the tricks he executed. The party was not so much rocked as it was explicated ad nauseam. But, shit, it's Grandmaster Flash; it's worth enduring yet another spin of Bell Biv DeVoe's "Poison" to catch a glimpse of his storied Technics techniques. DAVE SEGAL See also My Philosophy.
D.O.A., MDC, the Insurgence, Dreadful Children, Y.I.A.
(El Corazón) This kind of middle-aged punk-pioneer lineup can often come across as a cash grab. But the legacies of both D.O.A. and MDC reflect the dedication of lifelong rabble-rousers, not career musicians. D.O.A.'s Joe Keithley has always been a political activist, even running for election in Vancouver on the Green Party ticket. Long before such stances were standard within the punk community, MDC's Dave Dictor championed vegetarianism and gay rights—perhaps best displayed by a now-famous confrontation with Bad Brains over their homophobic actions directed toward Big Boys' out-and-proud singer. Though both D.O.A. and MDC had their share of missteps over the years (Loggerheads and Smoke Signals, respectively), the impact of their early work and continued commitment to their ideals keeps them relevant 30 years later. BRIAN COOK
Kandi Coded, Valis, ASG
(Sunset) Kandi Coded is the unflattering name of producer Jack Endino's latest band. The man who worked controls for records by Nirvana, High on Fire, Murder City Devils, and Tad plays guitar in this quartet with guitarist/vocalist Jamie Lynn, drummer Johnny Graziadei, and bassist Sam MacDonald. Their newest album, Fell for the Gift, is meat-and-taters rock with punk, grunge, and metal elements all conventionally aligned in burly, hirsute linearity, with vocals that sound like Lemmy's, if he'd never smoked a cigarette in his life. Kandi Coded's music is as exotic as a burger and a PBR, which means that the Sunset likely will be packed tonight. DAVE SEGAL
Paul van Dyk, Johnny Monsoon, Jason LeMaitre, Jesse Newman, Slava
(Showbox Sodo) See Data Breaker.
The Cumulus Music Festival: Talkdemonic, Bronze Fawn, Diminished Men, Bill Horist
(Mars Bar) See Stranger Suggests.
(The Pussy Room/Copper Gate) See Thursday.
The Presidents of the United States of America, BOAT, Molly Lewis, DJ Self-Administered Beatdown
(Showbox at the Market) Are you sick of the ukulele yet? You will be. Until recently, I thought the miniature instrument's reach in indie rock extended only about as far as Beirut or Dent May or the occasional Magnetic Fields joint. Then Paul Constant pitched me a story about Julia Nunes, and I've since come to terms with the fact that the YouTubes are just swarming with plucky youngsters plucking out ukulele versions of popular songs along with their own compositions (even a certain Stranger editor's boyfriend has picked up the instrument lately). Molly Lewis is one such youngster (20 years old), a bastard child of Kimya Dawson via Juno, and she does both covers (Lady Gaga) and her own material, which tends toward the self-consciously "nerdy" and twee (a love song to Wikipedia, another about MySpace), more cutesy jokes than catchy tunes. ERIC GRANDY
Vivian Girls, Best Coast, TacocaT
(High Dive) It's hard to pinpoint the crucial distinction between like-minded lo-fi pop groups Vivian Girls and Best Coast—but while Vivian Girls' straightforward, Spector-flavored ditties tend to ring hollow, the California-mythologizing work of singer-songwriter Bethany Cosentino's Best Coast project does not. After only a couple listens, her deceptively breezy songs dig their roots deep into your cerebellum, and the most impeccable among them, like "When I'm with You," are likely to stay lodged in your head for days. The talent on this High Dive bill is like an inverted food pyramid: All the healthful, vitamin-rich stuff comes first (including a not-to-be-missed set from frisky local grrrl group TacocaT), while the sugary empty calories of Vivian Girls' put-on pop close out the evening. The dietitian's advice? Show up early, and then split for drinks before the underwhelming buzz band takes the stage. JASON BAXTER
My Posse Don't Do Homework!, Ladies on a Fence, Blouse (u.s.a.)
(Rendezvous) Under the moniker Blouse (u.s.a.), busy Seattle musician Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy creates eerie, endlessly fascinating ambient music that you would not expect from the drummer of experimental-metal behemoths the Abodox. Blouse's touchstones include Bernard Szajner's ominous, otherworldly synth explorations, Brian Eno's more forbidding tone poems, Hans-Joachim Roedelius's melancholy pastoralisms, and Lustmord's cranium-piercing horrorscapes. Yeah, that last sentence contains some extremely important, seminal names, but this isn't hyperbole. Thomas-Kennedy's 17-track album Blouse really is a stunning foray into mind-warping invisible soundtracks. I hope there's much more from where this material came. DAVE SEGAL
The Tripwires, Thee Sgt. Major III, the Demon Rind, the Fucking Eagles
(Funhouse) You know what I like? Tacoma! You know what else I like? The fucking rock bands from Tacoma! Know what else I really like? Fun! And then what else? Fun at the Funhouse! I also really like it when bands from Seattle open for bands from Tacoma—especially these three—one named after a practical joke, one after some sort of military figure, and one after a very anti-Christian fruit peel. These three bands also include former members of the Screaming Trees, the Fastbacks, the Posies, the Supersuckers, and the Cops. You wanna know what I don't like? Jerks! If you're one of those, then don't go to this show. KELLY O
Dancing on the Valentine—a David Bowie Tribute Night: Half Acre Day, Sean Bates, Exohxo, Peter Parker, Lesli Wood, Hotels, Legion Within, Motorik, Jon Wooster, DJ Mike Steve
(Crocodile) When Jenny George was 12, she was diagnosed with leukemia and given about a month to live. But Jenny beat it; Jenny is a badass. And now, every year, she celebrates her Valentine's Day birthday with a rock show that benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Dancing on the Valentine isn't just a birthday rock show or a benefit gig; it's also an annual tribute to some of Jenny's favorite bands (girl has good taste, too). This year, local superstars including Half Acre Day, Sean Bates, Exohxo, Peter Parker, Lesli Wood, and Hotels will cover their favorite David Bowie tracks. Will someone puh-lease cover "Magic Dance"? MEGAN SELING
1776, This Blinding Light, Mars Accelerator, Griffin
(Comet) When I heard about this show, I thought it was going to be the hazy garage punk of the other band named 1776—the one that consists of Bill Bagley, formerly of Federation X, and Sterling Callier, formerly of Loving Thunder (you read that right, Loving Thunder broke up). Instead, the 1776 playing tonight make quite serviceable classic rock in the vein of the Kinks et al. I suggest a fight for the name. There are four people in this 1776, but judging by the fact that all four of them have permed hair in the band photo, I'd put my money on the other guys. GRANT BRISSEY
(The Pussy Room/Copper Gate) See Thursday.
The Last Slice of Butter, Nu Sensae, White Lung
(Black Lodge) Everything the Last Slice of Butter (and I'm not going to comment on that name beyond "Ugh!") have recorded sounds as though it were taped in a cave using substandard equipment. But this is a good thing: The instruments sound as though they're swathed in something velvety and dark, and the vocals sound as though they're being sung from about three football fields' lengths away from the rest of the band. They've got a great, swampy sound that feels dirty, like the Cramps or Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, but minus the campy overkill. LSOB take pop rock, bury it in some loamy ground for a few weeks, and then exhume it and walk it around to see what happens. Like good kimchi, it becomes something tangy and delicious. PAUL CONSTANT
The Richard Thompson Band
(Showbox at the Market) Why is tonight's Richard Thompson show different from any other the legendary singer-songwriter-guitarist has played in Seattle over the years? Because tonight's performance at Showbox at the Market is one of a number of shows being recorded for Thompson's forthcoming live album of all-new songs. The audience's reward for paying attention during a set of unfamiliar compositions: a second set of beloved Thompson classics, many of which are sure to be lit up by that amazing guitar. DAVID SCHMADER
Nick Oliveri, Valis, All Time High
(Funhouse) Fans of Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, and the Dwarves might be eager to witness the man who's lent a hand to all of these bands perform tonight at the Funhouse. But Nick Oliveri's tenure in Kyuss was brief, his contributions to QOTSA apparently weren't crucial enough to keep him on board, and, well, the Dwarves haven't really been interesting or edgy in over a decade. Lately, Oliveri has kept busy with Mondo Generator, a project that sounds like an amalgam of all his previous endeavors. It's uncertain exactly how a solo set will differ from anything Oliveri's done in the past. The only safe guess is that it will be acoustic. So if B-grade unplugged stoner rock sounds enticing, you're set for the evening. BRIAN COOK
Sloan, the Tripwires, My Pal Foot Foot
(Crocodile) Toronto's Sloan have been slogging it out on the live circuit since 1991, maintaining a consistent track record of clever, hooky power pop that comes off like a Canuck analogue of R.E.M. or the Posies. It's comfort-food music, but it surpasses much of the cutthroat comfort-food-music competition. Seattle foursome the Tripwires perfectly complement Sloan's down-to-earth, nice-guy rock. Way back in October 2009, I wrote that they "understand the importance in their particular niche of memorable hooks, interesting dynamics, varied guitar tones, and passionate vocalizing." This has not changed. My Pal Foot Foot are named after a Shaggs song, which bodes well for lovers of ramshackle, skewed pop shenanigans. DAVE SEGAL
Guns of Barisal, Throne of Bone, Substandard
(Comet) Are Throne of Bone serious or are they a joke? At first glance, vocalist Michael Freiburger's oversized cloak and bone-shaped microphone might steer your opinion to the latter, but his ear-piercing shrieks complement the band's galloping, Swedish-influenced riffs just enough to convince you it really doesn't matter. While other metal bands are stuck in the micro-genre-assessment game, Throne of Bone aren't afraid to borrow their favorite elements of post-rock and black metal, mix them up, and arrive at the end with a three-song 7-inch that shows a promising metal band who know they can be as ridiculous as they want as long as they have the riffs to back it up. KEVIN DIERS
Blood Red Dancers, See Me River, Curious Mystery, Constant Lovers
(Neumos) Oh, man, for a second I read this and thought it was Brighton, UK, duo Blood Red Shoes (recommended: "Getting Boring by the Sea"). Of course, Seattle, Washington, bass-drums-keys three-piece Blood Red Dancers are no relation. At times, Blood Red Dancers play grim, slow, and low-grinding funereal rock that might appeal to fans of Murder City Devils' darker, drunker, and more slurring moments. At others, as on "Feel Good Hate," they lock into disquieting piano-and-rhythm grooves that sound something like a devil-worshipping Menomena with gravel in their throats. The more gravel the better, frankly, as Blood Red Dancers' lyrics, when they come out clearly on songs like "All You Need Is Money," aren't exactly profound. Still, that growl and those grooves probably sound pretty good cranked up live. ERIC GRANDY