(Gordon Biersch) Reason #843 to be thankful for living in Seattle: Gordon Biersch's campaign to expand their clientele by featuring some of the Northwest's best singer/ songwriters in a cozy setting. For free. Portland's Pete Krebs is a gosh-darned treasure, and his songs and voice lend themselves perfectly to sitting around crying into your microbrew. Or relaxing after a movie, an evening's worth of shopping, or a meal. If they'd only turn off that darned television while the artists are playing.... -- Barbara Mitchell

(Mona's) This is a farewell show of sorts for guitarist Leif Totusek, a native Seattleite who's taking off for Paris to tour extensively with Realworld recording artist Geoffrey Oryema. However, it won't be the first trip across the Atlantic for Leif; back in the '80s he toured all over Europe with ex-Franco guitarist Mose Fan Fan and Somo Somo, among others. Perhaps you've seen Leif with his soukous-influenced Freestyle Candela project, the now-defunct jazz-funk collective Blotallika, or his soul-jazz trio One Two Three (featuring Phil Sparks and Larry Vincent Jones). He's one of the most fluid, soulful, and rhythmic guitarists to ever come out of Seattle, and the closest in spirit to Jimi that I've ever seen 'round here, so get on out and bid him a warm adieu. -- James Kirchmer

( Anyone who says Seattle doesn't have a thriving dance scene -- myself included -- hasn't been out to a drum 'n' bass night lately. Surprisingly, Seattle junglists are known for being some of the most enthusiastic. This might explain why U.K.-based drum 'n' bass rag Knowledge just paid us a visit and also why we're being blessed with a show from the genre's true innovator, Doc Scott. He and his 31 label were among the first to tap into the deep 'n' dark sound y'all love so much. Go and hear the brand-new dub pressings he's carting across the pond. Otherwise you're gonna wait six months for it to be available here in the States. -- Courtney Reimer


(Crocodile) See Stranger Suggests page 48

(Showbox) The sublimely clever and kooky "Don't Let's Start" and the exasperatingly catchy "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" are just a tiny sampling of this New York band's immense talents, which shouldn't be discounted just because they happen to be accessible enough on the surface that the dunderheaded enjoy them too. -- Kathleen Wilson

(Breakroom) The problem with most "smart rock" is that it lacks heart or soul. Thankfully, both Death Cab for Cutie and Actionslacks manage to prove that intelligent people have feelings, too. This is Actionslacks' first Seattle appearance in over a year, and the time away has been put to good use. The band's new songs (which should come out early next year on DeSoto) are frontman Tim Scanlin's best yet -- clever without being condescending and heartfelt without being cliché. The 'Slacks have also added a second guitarist, which contributes even more power to a band already well-versed in the concept of dynamics. -- Barbara Mitchell

( One of life's great mysteries (apart from why anyone would buy into the Gap's campaign to put everyone in those godawful vests) is the fact that more people haven't gotten hip to the genius that is Sunset Valley. Any band that can write lyrics like "I got your number from the bathroom wall in my house/I never met you at my birthday party" and back them up with music so buoyant even your geriatric relatives would have a hard time not bouncing up and down deliriously, deserve more than a small-but-devoted following right here in their own backyard. See also Live Preview page 45 -- Barbara Mitchell

(Fenix) Once a lonely British expatriate working in a NYC comic book store, Rob "Bucket" Hingley was visited by the great Skank Spirit, who ordered him to buy suspenders and shiny black boots and bring ska to all 50 United States. That was 1983, and "Bucket" has done his job well: Note the legion of bands who continue to reproduce the Toasters' sound more than 15 years later. Among the followers are Easy Big Fella, the fine Seattle skankers who fortunately mistook rainy Seattle for dreary England and devoted themselves to big horns and up-tempo limey antics, just like the Toasters. -- Nathan Thornburgh


(Sit & Spin) He used to be a simple saw-playing maniac who hung out with Primus, but then San Francisco's own M.I.R.V. was visited by the great Freak Spirit, who commanded him to write psychedelic punk songs about goat suckers, clapping monkeys, and pink elephants. That's the shtick he's bringing with him from down south this Saturday; show up if you want to drink from the twisted cup proffered by Les Claypool's heir apparent, but don't forget your earplugs. Or your goatee. As for Alien Crime Syndicate, some locals complain that this power pop band, comprised of at least one founding member of the Mieces, is too polished and good-looking to get ahead in these rumpled parts. Jealous? -- Nathan Thornburgh

(Rocksport Bar & Grill) I've been bitching and moaning for quite some time now that if this town's recreational music scene must be steeped in the dreaded irony, then why God, why, can't we get at least one decent Van Halen tribute band? Is it too much to ask for in this blasted, eyebrows-locked-in-the-arched-position city? Portland has TWO, for chrissakes. Well, the bitching will stop tonight when California's Atomic Punks -- the only Van Halen tribute band that Alex and Eddie endorse -- hit the Rocksport out in West Seattle, promising to do Dave "better than Dave does Dave" (to quote Eddie himself). -- Kathleen Wilson

(RKCNDY) Will women ever tire of smart boys singing sad, dopey songs about breakups? Will men ever quit admiring their brothers who do so? It's a safe assumption that Mr. T Experience frontman Dr. Frank is banking on the chance that they won't, since he's got the formula down to a science. Whether you're wallowing, wilting, or just need a little comic relief in the form of fun Berkely-style punk rock, MTE is your band. -- Kathleen Wilson

(OK Hotel) Lock up your liquor cabinets -- Popdefect are coming to town. If you're looking for an excuse to get drunk and have a great time (and let's face it -- who isn't?) now would be the perfect occasion, when this former (we're talking way, way back) Seattle band comes home. -- Barbara Mitchell

(Fenix) Local, tripped-out spaceheads Sky Cries Mary are releasing some new material, the first in two and a half years, in the form of a video-enhanced disc called CD-I. This Saturday night show is the usual over-21 type of gig, while tomorrow's early 6 pm gig is alcohol-free and for the kids and 12-steppers alike. -- Kathleen Wilson

(The Elysian) They used to be average Seattle types playing mildly alcoholic music, but then the Stevedores were visited by the great Leprechaun Spirit, who forced them under threat of violence to form a traditional Irish band that played full-blown alcoholic music. The Stevedores were born, and the drinks were poured, but ne'er was a harmony sung out of tune. The Elysian should be a good place to witness this full array of traditional instruments played by young men with a buzz on. God bless County King and the music that our forefathers drank to! -- Nathan Thornburgh

(The Central) See Stranger Suggests page 49


( It certainly seems like longer than four years ago that Brit Hop took a left turn past Tricky and continued its descent into darkness and night led by Portishead, that faux noir outfit whose success launched a thousand snits. Fellow country folk Lamb's first release was in the same dark neighborhood as Portishead, but musically their image seemed a pastel variation. Lamb's singer, Rhodes, professes that she "grew up singing, breast-fed on hippie singer/songwriters at her mother's knee," and it shows. Her "style" is adolescent folkishness that mistakenly strays into meatier jazz territory without the discipline, ear, or discernment of jazz, or the poetry of folk. In subsequent remixes by Mr. Scruff, Autechre, Fila Brazilia, and A Guy Called Gerald, her vocals took a back seat to the musical underpinnings provided by bandmate Andrew Barlow and turned surprisingly lush, provocative, and more musical. The remixers used the vocals more like seasoning than stew and the result was far more satisfying -- though that's not likely to be the case in the live setting. -- Riz Rollins

(Breakroom) Through the years and with the release of their latest album, The Hot Rock, Sleater-Kinney have reached new heights of popularity while maintaining their individuality, a tough thing to do in a time when recognition equals imminent obscurity. The trio play the Breakroom tonight as part of the month-long Breakfest celebration, and will no doubt fill the club with their kinetic energy -- Sleater-Kinney's deliberate and powerful music, coupled with Corrin Tucker's urgent, definitive vocal stylings, assure the audience an unforgettable experience, especially in a venue as intimate as the Breakroom. You may even catch yourself smiling when you notice how much fun Corin, Carrie, and Janet are having on stage. Also on the bill is Sarah Dougher from Cadallaca, who'll unveil a slightly softer sound than you may have heard in her previous work. -- Pete Savignano

(Tractor Tavern) He used to be just Omar, a young man with long fingernails, a classical guitar, and a solid musical foundation. Then Omar was visited by the great Vocal Spirit, who ordered him to form a band and sing rock lyrics to his flamenco guitar music: The Omar Torrez Band was born. Although we at The Stranger are not sure that the Vocal Spirit offered the best advice, we do recognize Omar Torrez as one of Seattle's bright young talents and ask that you please attend his show. -- Nathan Thornburgh


(Fenix) Like Nosferatu himself, Christian Death simply refuse to die. After essentially starting the whole stateside goth movement way back when, Christian Death continued on even after the departure of founder Rozz Williams. After Rozz's suicide last year, at least now there's no confusion that this is Valor's Christian Death. Are they good? That's not the point. They're legends in some (dark) circles. Wear bright colors at your own risk. -- Barbara Mitchell

(Crocodile) Anyone who ever suffered through a Pixies show can attest to the fact that they -- how can I say this? -- SUCKED live. Thank goodness for No. 13 Baby, a local Pixies tribute band who one-up the original by actually being fun to watch. While Black Francis and company looked like they'd rather be experiencing oral surgery (minus the anesthesia) than performing, No. 13 Baby are obviously having a blast. But this isn't just self-indulgence, folks: The songs are so well done that, apart from the fact that there's energy emanating from the stage, you'd almost be hard-pressed to say it wasn't the Pixies themselves at times. -- Barbara Mitchell


(Roseland Theater, Portland) They used to be a hardcore Detroit rap group called the Inner City Posse, who obviously sucked and were close to going back to work at GM like their daddies. That's when, according to them, they were visited by the great Carnival Spirit, who commanded them to spread the word about the coming apocalypse by wearing face paint, touring the nation, and selling gobs of Jokers Cards. Ha, ha, get it -- the "Jokers Cards" are albums, and they cost $18 each, and these talentless, merchandise-friendly "clowns" are the first people to make a million dollars off the word "bitch" since 2 Live Crew. -- Nathan Thornburgh