Good news: It's finally Halloween, so it's time to get wild. Bad news: There's a ton of amazing shows this week, so you're going to have to make some hard decisions. We've got everything from a two-part, multi-faceted performance debate of what can and can't be jazz (Yeah, But Is It Jazz?), to a showcase of local talents expanding Seattle’s hiphop scene (Guayaba, Taylar Elizza Beth), to the legendary Italian group bringing together the twin worlds of horror films and space disco (Goblin). Follow the links below for ticket links and music clips, and find even more on our music calendar.
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A$AP Mob, Playboi Carti, Key!, Cozy Boys
Possibly known more for what they've taken rather than what they've originated, A$AP Mob returns to the best coast on a promotional tour for their recent release Cozy Tapes Vol. 2: Too Cozy. Expect appearances from A$AP Rocky, A$AP Twelvyy, A$AP Nast, and A$AP Ant, with support from Playboi Carti, Key!, and Cozy Boys to round the night out.
Chelsea Wolfe, Youth Code
When Californian Chelsea Wolfe first surfaced as a possessed, acoustic-strumming siren of the underworld, she was set on making skin crawl, and she succeeded—2011’s Apokalypsis literally begins with 25 seconds of manipulated guttural noises and demonic screaming. In those days, she relied heavily on haunting, lo-fi audio techniques to raise hair, but there were hints, like “Pale on Pale,” suggesting what she would become: a full-fledged metal powerhouse. Wolfe’s new Hiss Spun is a crushing show of force with enough volume to make your eyes pop and, vocally, enough devastating beauty to steal your breath. TODD HAMM
Long before The History Channel broadcast its first cheesy historical reenactment, the Danish director Benjamin Christensen read the infamous Malleus Maleficarum (or "witch-hammer"), a 15th-century guide to black magic for German inquisitors, and decided to endow it with cinematic life. Häxan (1922) is actually a rationalist semi-documentary, focusing on the dangers of superstition and prejudice. But after seeing a few of his bug-out witch-sabbath sequences, you might be excused for speculating that Christensen just needed an excuse to freak people out. And he did—the film was even banned in the US. Just to make this fearsome Halloween treat totally irresistible, Dangerknife (aka Nico Sophiea of somesurprises and Darb Aduor of Leviathan Worship Service) and friends will be improvising an appropriately dark score.
Moon Honey, Wall of Ears, Prom Queen
Acid rock and indie folk project Moon Honey will expand their rabid pastoral sounds for a Ballard crowd as the headlining group for "Halluciween," a psychedelic holiday experience with bill support from Wall of Ears and Prom Queen and a freak-out dance-off contest to cap the evening.
Yeah, But Is It Jazz?: Porter Ray, Bad Luck, the Sky Is a Suitcase
With local rapper Porter Ray, the answer to the question this show poses is a pretty definitive “no.” The Sub Pop-signed MC's work is plenty engaging, but it sounds neither “jazzy” (in the shallow I-know-what-a-seventh-chord-is sense) nor extemporaneous. It’ll certainly make for a striking contrast against the searing, hypermodern improvisations of Bad Luck, a duo whose drummer, Chris Icasiano, organized this show. He presumably had good reason to, so it’s a fair bet that, live, Ray’s music and avant-garde jazz inform each other in unexpected ways. ANDREW GOSPE
The Bowie Ball with BowieVision
Local beloved tribute group BowieVision, which features members of Dudley Manlove Quartet and Purr Gato, plus saxophonist Brian Bermudez, will transform the Croc into a glam rock paradise with a night of wild Bowie hits, and a light show and video backdrops for bonus dazzlement. If you need help with the costume contest, the Glitter Squad will be providing makeovers.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Removed as they are from the modern moviegoing experience, silent movies possess a special kind of hypnotic otherwordliness—and few are stranger than Robert Wiene's 1919 Expressionist masterwork The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Characters creep and scurry through an demented painted landscape In this tale of a malevolent fairground "doctor" and the unfortunate sleepwalker who murders at his command. Conrad Veidt's haunted eyes struggling open in his emaciated, heavily made-up face is one of the quintessential moments in horror cinema. Don't miss your chance to see this film with a score by Wayne Horvitz, performed live by the Wayne Horvitz Ensemble.
Cults, Cullen Omori, Hideout
Cults, a soul-influenced pop duo from New York, will be joined by San Diego twosome Hideout, who fancy "gritty guitar loops and ethereal vocals singing tales of abduction and space travels," with additional support from Seattle's Cullen Omori.
Kali Uchis, Phony PPL
Rescheduled to address the overflow from the original set at the Crocodile, this Showbox show will feature headliner Kali Uchis and support artist Phony PPL for an evening of swoony, soulful pop.
Tacocat, Tres Leches, Spesh, DJ El Mizell
Tacocat seem to be dodging the rumors that they’re moving to Los Angeles/New York/anywhere other than Seattle pretty well by playing a couple of PNW gigs recently (although there’s no way to know for sure… is this true, Tacocat?). This Halloween show will mark their latest Seattle performance after their glorious, bubble-filled Bumbershoot performance. I imagine that tonight’s performance will entail all the best aspects of that Bumberset, including glitter, bright colors, and remarkably catchy ditties about day-to-day life. However, expect Tacocat to bring spookier and scarier vibes tonight. ANNA KAPLAN
Worshiprr, Ancient Mariner, Donormaal
On the spookiest night of the year, join Ancient Mariner, Worshiprr, and DoNormaal at this release show for Ancient Mariner and Worshiprr's new albums, Forever // Hotel and #queerabrasion).
Yeah, But Is It Jazz?: King Tears Bat Trip, DoNormaal, Absolutely Free
Seattle drummer Chris Icasiano likes to push the envelope when he curates. Witness his Halloween night extravaganza that’s part of Earshot Jazz Festival: King Tears Bat Trip, a free-jazz septet with four drummers, guitar, tenor sax, and live electronics (check out their live in Red Square video on YouTube); DoNormaal, Seattle’s hardest-working syrupy-voiced rapper; and the Frank Zappa/Mothers of Invention-inspired Absolutely Free. As the titular question asks: Yeah, but is it jazz? If it sounds fresh, who cares? GREG SCRUGGS
The Black Dahlia Murder, Suffocation, Exhumed, Decrepit Birth, Necrot, Wormwitch, Ashes of Existence
It’s tough to outline exactly how stacked this lineup is—each of these death-metal bands have released an album-standout record in the past year. Necrot’s Blood Offerings represents the genre’s crusty and political side, while the shredding melodic Decrepit Birth embrace its progressive and psychedelic side. Exhumed’s comeback album, Death Revenge, loads hook after hook into songs like “Unspeakable.” Suffocation remain a New York OG heavyweight. Maybe best, Detroit’s the Black Dahlia Murder have just released possibly the best record of their career, Nightbringers, thanks to contributions from new guitarist Brandon Ellis. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Death Grips, Ministry
Death Grips, the futuristic gods of industrial-metal-rap provocation, have not let up on their assault on societal convention and musical provincialism, as best heard on The Bottomless Pit, their awesomely face-grating 2016 album. Now co-headlining a tour with their spiritual forebears Ministry, they promise to bring some darksided, blood-foaming chaos fuel to your town, beautifully keeping the bleak promise of the 1990s rock-rap collisions alive in tortured spirit. Fuck a red Yankee hat—the spirit of Public Enemy's “Bring Tha Noize” and the Judgment Night soundtrack lives forever. Much as I’d love to hear what would happen, I also like to imagine DG’s Zach Hill deleting Rick Rubin’s voice mails with a smirk. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Gregory Porter's voice is a baritone that makes you feel right at home; as for his style of phrasing, it feels very familiar (Lou Rawls, Johnny Hartman, Nat King Cole), but it is also like nothing you have heard before. And this is why the greatness of Porter is not easy to describe. If you listen to him one way, he seems to be rooted deeply in the tradition of jazz song, but if you listen to him another way, you hear a big, warm, blue voice that moves about the music like some liberated balloon rising and falling in the wind. Porter is not conventional, yet he is, and for some reason he easily manages to be both without settling on one or the other. CHARLES MUDEDE
Justin Townes Earle, The Maldives
Justin Townes Earle has sort of a thing with lineages. For one, he’s named after the late, great Townes Van Zandt. For another, his father is country and folk outlaw-cum-pagan-bard Steve Earle, and while these are usually the first things people say about Justin Townes Earle, he tries to keep them out of his music and be his own man. Trouble is, he’s now a father himself. Earle’s upcoming eighth album, Kids in the Street, takes time to reflect on his newfound responsibility as well as his own sometimes-misspent youth. As always, his smooth and honey-sweet voice is as gentle and alluring as his lyrics are poignant. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Bizarre Ride Live: The Pharcyde 25th Anniversary Tour
Twenty-five years ago, four young rappers and a producer released what was at the time the most advanced hiphop album the world had ever heard, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. It's a record that time will never touch or rust. The LA rappers (Fatlip, Slimkid3, Imani, Bootie Brown) and producer (J-Swift) superpacked each track with surprises. Nothing on Bizarre is flat. Everything pops. On top of all that, a number of the then-major schools or branches of hiphop are mocked: gangsta rap, conscious rap, hippie rap, R&B rap. This show is two of Pharcyde's original rappers (Fatlip, Slimkid3) and the producer (the genius J-Swift—his life, sadly, has not been easy; he's gone in and out of jail, on and off the streets) celebrating one of the most remarkable albums in the 39-year history of hiphop. Yeah, I want the farmer man. CHARLES MUDEDE
Black Rock Coalition Get-Down Revue, Burnt Sugar Arkestra “Caramelizes” Prince
Besides being one of my music-journalism heroes who schooled me via his perceptive, über-hip criticism in the Village Voice, Greg Tate has led Burnt Sugar Arkestra for 18 years, while spearheading the Black Rock Coalition out of NYC. A big band who merge the sensibilities of Sun Ra and Parliament-Funkadelic, Burnt Sugar Arkestra extrapolate jazz, funk, rock, and the blues into a vibrantly hued, polyglot attack. Their sound is cerebral, extroverted eclecticism to which you can break out in a cold sweat. Tonight watch them tear into Prince's bounteous catalog with freaky gusto and, one would imagine, improvisational zeal. (You can also catch BSA November 3 at Seattle Art Museum, paying tribute to the 1960s “liberation music” of Abbey Lincoln, Max Roach, and Oscar Brown Jr.) DAVE SEGAL
Guayaba, Taylar Elizza Beth, Snuff Redux
Alt hiphop and psych-soul queen of the ghost opera Guayaba will swarm over the Chop for a night of fiery sounds and visions, joined by Taylar Elizza Beth and Snuff Redux. Hosting duties for the evening will belong to DoNormaal and RVN of 69/50.
Earlier this year, lost and marooned in a new state, I realized I needed to see some shows again. I thought of my favorite singer of recent years, and googled her for tour dates, not feeling terribly hopeful. Incredibly, she was soon playing an hour and a half from me, at FORM: Arcosanti 2017, a unique little festival in northern Arizona. Thank you, Kelela: That show revived me. As if to answer more prayers, she revealed that a new album was coming—and now it's here. Her Warp debut, Take Me Apart, is damn near perfect, blending her badass 1990s R&B voice with this decade’s sharpest club sounds, plus an arresting intimacy, a singular ache faultlining under islands of regret, culminating in album closer “Altadena,” named for a town very near to my heart. My love for Ms. Mizanekristos. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Sean Hughes once said that “everyone grows out of their Morrissey phase… except Morrissey.” Well, all due respect, etc., but the Paramount will be filled with close to 3,000 people who beg to differ with the late Irish comedian/writer/DJ. The Morrissey phase is a complicated matter, and Morrissey himself doesn’t do much to make it easier, between the increasingly reactionary public pronouncements and the late-period music—most recently the keyboard-y “Spent the Day in Bed” (which is qg, actually)—one strains to love. And yet, the love of Morrissey is not easily renounced, because it tends to be foundational, in a way that is unique among lovers of pop music. It’s the kind of love you might feel you ought to grow out of, but then, without it, like, who would you even be? SEAN NELSON
Burnt Sugar Arkestra: We Insist! Freedom NOW
"In homage to Abbey Lincoln, Max Roach, and Oscar Brown Jr, the Burnt Sugar Arkestra Chamber revives and reimagines the legendary 1960s canon of Liberation music, with compositions specifically from the We Insist! Freedom Now Suite, Percussion Bitter Suite, and It’s Time, as well as selections from some of Ms. Lincoln’s later solo work and from the Max Roach Quartet." (Promo Copy)
King Krule, Mal Devisa
Archy Marshall (aka King Krule) got his first release on an indie label at age 17. It’s a credit to his curiosity as a songwriter that his music since then has deepened in feeling and complexity rather than remain in a state of arrested development, as is sometimes the case with wunderkind artists. He’s embraced the take-it-or-leave-it quality of his voice—somewhere between a croon and a yelp, it’s polarizing but highly expressive—and draws from an increasingly diverse sonic palette of jazz, down-tempo electronica, bossa nova, and hiphop. New album The Ooz is his strongest work to date. ANDREW GOSPE
Tyler, the Creator; Taco
As an independent MC and producer, Tyler, the Creator made a serious name for himself as a uniquely talented musician with the Inglorious and Goblin albums. He also gave himself a serious rap as a homophobe and misogynist. The latter record in particular goes over-the-top with its depictions of violent, intrusive thoughts. On his later LP, Flower Boy, Tyler threw the world a curveball by coming out of the closet and expanding his sound into psychedelic and jazzy territory. It’s unclear exactly where Tyler’s head was at when his career began, but right now he’s one of the most free-thinking rappers in America. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood
Disregarding his awkward Chris Gaines alt-rock phase, Garth Brooks ranks fairly high on the American national treasure list, having been marked as a top selling solo artist by Billboard and awarded the accolades of 2016 Country Music Awards Entertainer of the Year and 2017 CMA Entertainer of the Year Nominee. Since this will be Garth's first time in the Seattle-Tacoma area for over a decade, you may wanna hang your hat on this cowboy for a night.
6LACK, Sabrina Claudio, Sy Ari Da Kid
Melodic heartbreak-heavy rapper and proud ATLien 6LACK (pronounced Black) first gained praise with his recent debut project, FREE 6LACK. He has since toured as support for the Weeknd on the Starboy Tour: Phase 1.
Blanck Mass, Egyptrixx
As with his other band Fuck Buttons, Benjamin Power’s work as Blanck Mass has a knack for balancing menace and beauty. Latest record World Eater hews to a gentler side of noise music, where pummeling drum machines and industrial drones coexist with operatic vocal samples and dulcet harp arpeggios. At one point, a song’s chaotic climax dissolves into a field recording of a burbling creek. Power has said in interviews that 2016’s political events inspired the album. The music is suffused with despair, but there are fleeting moments of what maybe sounds like hope. ANDREW GOSPE
Habib Koité, Bamada
Dubbed the biggest pop star of West Africa by Rolling Stone, Mali native, guitarist, and composer Habib Koité plays contemporary world music. His most recent release, Soô ("home"), takes an in-depth look at the beauty and struggles of his homeland.
Goblin, Mondo Drag
Italy’s Goblin have the rare distinction of straddling the incongruous worlds of horror-film scoring and Euro-disco. For the former, Goblin set the bar high with their chthonic soundtracks for directors such as Dario Argento (Suspiria, Profondo Rosso, Tenebre) and George A. Romero (Dawn of the Dead, aka Zombi). The group contoured their extraordinary prog-rock chops to serve the ghoulish needs of horror flicks, generating some of the most unsettling atmospheres ever to accompany attractive people doing macabre things on a silver screen. They also could make a discotheque throb, with tracks like “Tenebre” and “Flashing.” Goblin’s 2013 comeback show at Neumos exceeded expectations. Since then, key member Claudio Simonetti’s left the lineup, but don’t count these guys out. DAVE SEGAL
Lee "Scratch" Perry with Subatomic Sound System
I have the last Lee “Scratch” Perry album! It’s called Must Be Free! It’s great! It makes no sense even by Lee “Scratch” Perry standards! I’ll quit with the exclamation points now! He’s collaborating with something or someone called Spacewave. The man says he can read minds, but he doesn’t know that his own website hasn’t been updated since 2010. I’m fascinated on each spin at how the new music recognizes the pull of classic, therefore expected, arpeggios and riffs in electronica, then systematically refuses them and throws out subtlety instead. No idea if the album will relate to the show at all. But Perry is 81. Catch what you can catch of him while you can. ANDREW HAMLIN