This week, start preparing for Halloween crowds by attending some excellent local live music shows. Our critics have picked everything from a reunion of Pacific Northwest rock legends (The Afghan Whigs), to one of the most earnest space-rock circus freaks you'll ever meet (Nik Turner's Hawkwind), to a weaving of shadowy, hypnagogic pop ripe for this season (Zola Jesus). Follow the links below for ticket links and music clips, and find even more on our music calendar.
Jump to: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday
Escape-ism, Echo Ohs
Ian Svenonius started out in Nation of Ulysses, back when Bush I ruled the land, and went punky, spiky; he was known for breaking out a trumpet and breaking bones onstage. His latest project, Escape-ism, promises less bone break and more menace. Clad in a skinny-tie suit, he strums a southpaw guitar and roams the stage while ranting in a squeaky cadence that owes something to Half Japanese’s Jad Fair. Topics include the law of the jungle and Darwinism as it relates to life on the street. Marx, socialism, and liberation theology also enter the picture. Guitar is still spiky, though. ANDREW HAMLIN
Ghost Soda, Pleasures, Thank You
Sink into the intricacies of the local electro-pop scene with live sets by murky dream-spinner Ghost Soda with Pleasures and Thank You.
together PANGEA, Tall Juan
Los Angeles rocker trio together PANGEA make well-crafted bummer punk that hits a little harder and sticks a little longer than your average weekend mixtape. They'll be joined by Argentinian-born, Far Rockaway transplant Tall Juan.
Nik Turner's Hawkwind, Hedersleben, Ocelot Omelet, Spectral Waves
Heads, it's time again to gather all your smokable banana peels and, if you’re game, ingest your nutmeg, ’cause Nik Turner, “the blessed king of freaks,” and his group, Hawkwind, will see to it during tonight’s “space-rock circus” that all your technicolor dreams will become reality. It’s quite fantastic knowing Mr. Turner continues to surf the same vibes he sussed out in the late 1960s. Ocelot Omelot, a very gothic but progressive local metal group, along with contemporary German prog group Hedersleben, open the show. MIKE NIPPER
Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror
Celebrate the impending darkness of autumn with a screening of F.W. Murnau's stupendously influential 1922 vampire film Nosferatu, with live music by pianist Rick Friend and members of the Seattle Symphony.
Tera Melos, Speedy Ortiz
In their early years, Northern California’s Tera Melos drew from the epileptic, hypercharged math rock of Hella with an added hint of the frantic destruction of the San Diego spock-rock scene. But with each new record, the trio moved further away from spastic chaos and more toward meticulous arrangements, prog-level technical acuity, an IDM-minded approach to guitar effects, and a warped approach on pop music, all while retaining their “jam econo” punk sensibilities. With their latest album, Trash Generator, the band now sounds like Brian Wilson and Brian Chippendale emulating Fripp’s guitar inventions with Squarepusher’s textural palette. BRIAN COOK
The Afghan Whigs, Har Mar Superstar
By now, Greg Dulli's second career with Ohio soul rockers the Afghan Whigs can't be thought of as a comeback. His second post-reunion album, this year's In Spades, doesn't have the same fist-pumping drive that its predecessor Do to the Beast did, but it's still excellent. Instead, it's a sophisticated and progressive record ripe with the introspective ballads that made his time with the Twilight Singers so interesting. Right now, Dulli is synthesizing both sides of his already storied career as a songwriter. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Jane Wiedlln of the iconic '80s pop group the GoGos has reappeared on the scene as one half of Elettrodemestico, a electro-psych-pop duo with multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Pietro Straccia.
Iron & Wine
Oscillating between straightforward folk, alt-country, and generic traveling bard, singer-songwriter Sam Beam has been at the helm of Iron & Wine for over a decade now.
The existential soul cry of the white male baby boomer has only recently exited the center of attention in the culture it used to effortlessly dominate. Nevertheless, the sound it makes can often reverberate with intriguing, even lovely resonances. Which is to say: If you’re still trying to figure out why your parents never let their love for you interfere with their quest to love themselves, you could do worse than spending some time with Liner Notes, the new memoir by the staggeringly frank, reliably brilliant songwriter Loudon Wainwright. Along the way, he treats his relationships with his kids (including Rufus and Martha, both also brilliant), wives, and parents with candor but not sentimentality—the same heady, occasionally infuriating mixture he brings to his music. And if he doesn’t quite solve the puzzle of life’s meaning, he does give an excellent illustration of the human principle that no amount of privilege is so great that suffering can’t be extracted from it. The book is good, but I’m willing to bet that given Wainwright’s gifts as a performer, the reading will be even better. SEAN NELSON
Paul Weller, Lucy Rose
Distinguished ex-mod punk (the Jam)/ex-soul man (Style Council) Paul Weller carries on in the rock game at an age when it’s an accomplishment simply not to embarrass yourself. He’s a lean 59 and on the road supporting his newish album, A Kind Revolution. It’s full of burnished, professional rock imbued with Weller’s hard-earned soulfulness and late-career interest in subtle, time-tested psychedelic embellishments. Angry young man morphing into mellow, contemplative, gray-fox psych-rocker who’s into Traffic might be one of the better ways to age gracefully in the music industry right now. DAVE SEGAL
Chastity Belt, Strange Ranger, Supermoon
The quartet behind Chastity Belt met at Whitman College and started out playing house shows just for fun—while releasing quirky songs about nip slips and giant vaginas. Lead vocalist and guitarist Julia Shapiro has said that they never really planned for anything to come of the project, but this year brought the release of their third full-length record. I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone shows a more mature and serious side of the band, and it combines their excellent songwriting with their moody, 1990s Pacific Northwest–inspired guitars to create their best release yet. ANNA KAPLAN
See Voodoo Nightshade and Miss Texas 1988 in a spooky show with music from NYC's Bernard Herman and James K, with support from local acts Charlatan, Bloom Offering, and MMMelt.
Hudson: Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski, John Scofield
This lineup promises great things. You know keyboardist John Medeski from soul-jazz shape-shifters Medeski Martin & Wood. John Scofield has added tasteful guitar fire to the bands headed by Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, and many other jazz and rock luminaries. Drummer Jack DeJohnette has brought phenomenal power and dexterity to loads of fusion classics, including Miles’s On the Corner, and to LPs by Alice Coltrane and Keith Jarrett. Larry Grenadier’s distinguished career has included stints with Stan Getz and Gary Burton. On their new Hudson album, the foursome finesse out some chill-inducing, low-key jazz-funk, and forge sublimely oblique covers of chestnuts by Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and the Band. DAVE SEGAL
SISTERS with Spirit Award
Local electro-pop duo SISTERS are all about making music that uses joy as an act of revolution and resistance. They'll be dancing through the pain with guest opener Spirit Award.
Zola Jesus, John Wiese
It takes a sizable ego to incorporate the word "Jesus" into your handle, but one listen to Nika Danilova's fifth full-length should convince skeptics that she's earned the right. It also marks a homecoming as the one-time Seattle citizen returned to Wisconsin for this meditation on loss and reconciliation. Nika (née Nicole) doesn't produce religious music, but on Okovi—Slavic for "shackles"—she invests hypnagogic pop with the grandeur of a midnight mass. Like a devotional singer filled with the Spirit, her voice reaches for the rafters, giving formidably voiced predecessors Lisa Gerrard and Diamanda Galás a run for the money. KATHY FENNESSY
Lauded bassist Christian McBride, who's been a force in the jazz world for over 20 years and has played with musicians including Herbie Hancock and Sting, will perform with Benny Green and Lewis Nash in memory of Ray Brown.
Annie Hart with Flying Fish Cove
Most notable as one-third of Au Revoir Simone, Annie Hart has struck out on her own to create less-synthy but just as heartfelt and meticulously crafted pop music under her given name. She'll be joined by Flying Fish Cove.
Doug Martsch, Sam Coomes, Otis Crooke
Built to Spill frontman and lead singer Doug Martsch will head up this show of folksy rock with Sam Coomes and Otis Crooke.
Bizarro pop Barbie web artist Poppy has racked up hundreds of millions of views on YouTube for her many surreal Technicolor videos. She'll be gearing up to release her debut album this October.
Ariel Pink, Telecaves
Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler loves Ariel Pink’s music, and perhaps you should, too. The LA misfit has shifted from bizarrely blurred hauntologist to slick, streamlined pop technician, while honing his songs' earwormy charm. If early releases like The Doldrums and Worn Copy made listeners wonder if Mr. Pink was pulling an elaborate prank or purveying a postmodern commentary on “outsider” music, his more recent output—Before Today, Mature Themes—establishes him as a quirk-pop auteur who knows exactly what he's doing. Over the last 20 years, Ariel Pink's abundant melodic gifts have zoomed into sharper focus and his production values escalated, resembling how Marc Bolan transformed from Tyrannosaurus Rex to T.Rex. DAVE SEGAL
Bob Mould with Vic Bondi
After his 2014 record, Beauty & Ruin, shook his fanbase with exquisitely executed gloom after the death of his father, one might expect something more straightforward and punk-oriented from ex-Hüsker Dü songwriter Bob Mould. Of the new record, Patch the Sky, the '80s indie-rock/thoughtful-punk pioneer says, "The words make you remember. The music makes you forget." Now in the context of the September 13 death of his former Hüsker Dü bandmate and co-songwriter Grant Hart—whom he honored in a tear-jerking tribute on his Facebook page—tonight's show should yield an appropriately somber tone. Mould's spirit seems optimistic in the face of more loss, however, and this performance promises to be electric in both acoustics and emotional dynamism. BRITTNIE FULLER
Depeche Mode, Warpaint
In 1981, Alan Wilder responded to a London classified ad for a synthesizer player. Depeche Mode were behind the ad and Wilder joined up, giving the synth-pop group their signature sound. Had he not responded, the 1980s and early ’90s would have had a different soundtrack without the likes of “Personal Jesus” and “Policy of Truth.” With a new album, Spirit, out this year, Depeche Mode’s swing through town isn’t technically a reunion tour, but it sure feels like one for a band whose heyday came three decades ago. Aged though they may be, synths this bombastic were made for an arena sound system. GREG SCRUGGS
Little Big Show #19: Perfume Genius with Briana Marela
When “genius” is right there in your band name, you’re going to have to deliver. Fortunately, Mike Hadreas figured out how to summon the goods. The first two records were real good, but Perfume Genius achieved a glory on 2014’s Too Bright that only grew more glorious on this year’s No Shape. If there’s any justice, he’ll be carried out of this show on a team of white stallions. SEAN NELSON
Courtney Barnett with Kurt Vile & The Sea Lice
Of course this temporary duo’s forthcoming LP, Lotta Sea Lice, is good. How would it not be? Did you see who made it? It’s just that it isn’t either artist working at peak form. But that’s the nature of these school of collab records, from Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane’s Rough Mix to Mos Def and Talib Kweli’s Black Star—they offer perspective on the people and the process, and reveal how hard it can be for solo musicians with distinct voices to incorporate someone else’s differently distinct voice into their songwriting. But the art is in the effort. The shows are sure to make a great framework for Courtney Barnett’s and Kurt Vile’s cool, complementary styles, which are like time magnets for the best elements of the past 50 years of underground/indie pop music. (Let’s just all agree never to refer to them by their first names separated by an ampersand.) SEAN NELSON
Broken Social Scene with Belle Game
Easy listening is a term most commonly deployed as a pejorative, but I think Broken Social Scene make a convincing case for its use as an accolade. The loosely defined, sprawling indie-rock collective's equally loose and sprawling guitar rock could not possibly be easier on the ears, but that's not to the detriment of their songs, which range from tiny pop treasures à la "Anthem for a Seventeen Year Old Girl" to careening yet controlled studio riots to impeccable chill-out music just the right side of yacht rock. ERIC GRANDY
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith with Maria Usbeck
Yes, collaborating with Buchla-synth guru Suzanne Ciani on last year’s unconventionally inspirational Sunergy album proves Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s post-new-age mettle, but there’s more to her than that auspicious linkup. Smith has three other compelling full-lengths to her name, including 2015’s Euclid and 2016’s EARS. The former puts a fresh spin on ye olde analog-synth songcraft, its tracks beguiling with a phantasmal cuteness akin to Nobukazu Takemura’s and Midori Tanaka’s best work. On EARS, Smith manifests an unusual strain of aural peace in her compositions, pitched somewhere between Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Co. and Emerald Web. So many musicians in this realm slacken into maudlin innocuousness, but Smith keeps her tones and atmospheres fizzing with conflict, never choosing the easy route to profundity and beauty. DAVE SEGAL
Give a prog-psych band like Wand a natural riff and you can feed their supernatural souls for maybe a day. Teach one of Drag City’s weirdo-pop bands how to jangly riff and feed them for a phantasm-oozing lifetime. Under a Floydian sun, Wand deliver their fourth album, Plum, which demonstrates signature dynamics of all things mellifluously loud and dizzyingly graceful. They took Seattle’s weirdo-pop equivalent Darto on tour with them to sonically liquefy the country and will drop them off after this gig. The two bands have a simpatico connection, as Wand mastermind Cory Hanson mixed Darto’s psych-surrealist LP Human Giving. ZACH FRIMMEL