(KeyArena) Oh, what a tangled bill we weave, when first we practice to appease--the tastes of every short-synapsed 14-year-old, that is. With this fascinating mix of the good (Moby, Green Day), the bad (Fuel, Papa Roach), and the 14-minutes-and-counting (I'm talking to you, Orgy--one New Order cover does not a real band make), discerning music fans will just have to take a few ugly lumps with their sonic gravy. Now that Billy Joe and Co. have children of their own, stockbrokers, and a chart-topping sensitive-guy ballad behind them, some might think that Green Day have gone all soft and squishy. Recent appearances show they're just as snarly and obnoxious, loud, fun, and fast as they ever were, however, so don't mourn them just yet. And please ignore the legions of preternaturally tanned Sigma Chi and Tri-Delt members who have come to adopt Moby as their own since the release of the excellent but inescapable Play; though his set will probably be short, it will most definitely be sweet. LEAH GREENBLATT

(Paramount Theatre) Everyone knows that Megadeth fucking rock, right? I know what you're going to say: At one point they did, and now they're getting old and don't rock as hard. Be that as it may, it is still unacceptable to miss this show, because Hell's Belles is playing. They're an all-girl AC/DC cover band that kick ass in all the right ways, playing some of the best music many of us listened to when we were growing up, and pulling it off really well. Granted, the assumption that people will be willing to pay the Megadeth ticket price to see this local cover band is a bit farfetched. But, you have to admit, the bill as a whole does more than make up for the cost. No matter how old they get, Megadeth are Megadeth, and always will be. And Gruntruck are what Seattle's recent music history comes from, and are a goddamn rockin' band in their own right. Those who consider themselves music fans in this town should see them, too. CHARLES REDELL

(Showbox) Raised near the birthplace of Robert Johnson in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, John Lee Hooker has gone on to become a legend himself. Since 1943, the now-octogenarian musician has been making records and performing. Hooker has not let up in his 57-year career, garnering every accolade imaginable and a legion of devoted superstar disciples. His collaborations with some of them are highlighted on his 1998 release, The Best of Friends, and there are three new recordings. The album takes songs from his last decade's output, from 1989's The Healer to 1997's Don't Look Back, featuring Ry Cooder, Robert Cray, Ben Harper, Booker T. Jones, and the requisite slavish appearances of Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, and Van Morrison. Despite the potentially treacly duets with some of the celebrities, Hooker turns in his trademark blues and boogie. While the possibility of legendary status outweighing actual creative rewards always hangs in the balance for these types of shows, Hooker is known for his electrifying live presence and inventive playing. Like artists as diverse as Ray Charles and Rosemary Clooney, John Lee Hooker continues to challenge the vernacular of his genre and reinterpret his material. That is impressive at any age. NATE LIPPENS

FRIDAY 12/15

(Catwalk) This self-described "social malcontent" from London actually did a brief (one-day) stint as vocalist for Garbage before Shirley Manson assumed the role of chanteuse. It's probably for the best, because Meg Lee Chin's smoldering techno-rock aggression and in-your-face delivery seem pretty far away from Manson's chilly allure. Chin sang with Pigface, the Chicago-based industrial outfit, before she released her solo debut, Piece and Love, last year. And the near-anarchy of the Pigface tour served as a perfect incubator for Chin's fierce energy. Her chaotic live show proves girls kick ass even without a guitar in hand. DAVID SLATTON

(Club FX) Dieselboy's bring-him-home-to-meet-the-folks blond looks and matching mild-mannered demeanor hide a man who becomes a demon on the decks. Dark and dirty as his records may be, Mr. Higgins manages to avoid the relentless, one-note-beat assaults that jungle too often falls back on because he is brave enough to break up the tempo, venturing into vocals and found-sound sampling, and smart enough to engage the crowd at large, not just the trainspotters. Though his recent double-CD release, The 6ixth Session, demands criminal doses of ephedrine (or at the very least a few quad-shot breves) to match and sustain its manic-to-the-point-of-numbing energy, his live set should be a little easier to take, whatever your poison. LEAH GREENBLATT

(OK Hotel) There's something cinematic about Living Daylights' music. On the opening track of 500 Pound Cat, I get visions of Clint Eastwood on a horse somewhere in New Mexico. Not that every Daylights song will make you think of a Western. They're mellow without being boring, and sometimes they take off on musical flights of fancy where all you can do is follow along and wait for them to come back down to earth. These passages are balanced with moments of whimsy and musical quirkiness that may make you think you're listening to free jazz. Not to worry, though. Living Daylights have groove, and you'll find the beat again soon enough. GENEVIEVE WILLIAMS


(Crocodile) With the release of this year's Lifestyle, the indie trio Silkworm may have achieved perfection. From the first bass notes of the opener, "Contempt," to the last folksy plucking of "The Bones," this album drips of confidence and intelligence. After 10-plus years of indie-pop innovation, they have produced a surprisingly straight take on rock and roll and one of the year's finest albums. We are lucky that Silkworm's hesitation to trade in their artistic independence for major-label backing has kept them our little secret. Seattle foursome Kinski punctuate their droning, hypnotic landscapes with periods of sonic assault that will drive you from your skin. Their mastery lies in their ability to coax you back inside. NATE LEVIN

(Tractor Tavern) The idea is almost genius: Collect a group of the city's most talented musicians and couple them with perhaps the zaniest person on the West Coast. Crazy Captain Rob Morgan and his band of Squirrels have been a staple in the local music scene for years. While Squirrels sightings are sadly few and far between these days, the rodents have come out of retirement to grace the Tractor for their annual Squirrels' Christmas bash. Expect twisted holiday cheer of the highest order. Sing along to all of your Christmas favorites, revel in Rob's bottomless Santa-sack of props, witness the Squirrels' amazing instrumental prowess, and expect at least a stocking-full of bad jokes. If you are really, really lucky, you might just get a chance to ask Baby Cheevers, the talking Cabbage Patch doll, about the subtleties of Teflon. Have any last-minute shopping to do or any difficult-to-buy-for folks on your list? Just bring them on down to the Tractor, hand them a winter brew, and let the Squirrels do the work for you. NATE LEVIN

(Sunset Tavern) Hog Molly is Tad's ballsy buttrock band. The Cripples are a new-wave punk quartet from Seattle that feature The Stranger's own Allie Holly-Gottlieb on drums--and a fine drummer she is. They boast giddy finger-action by frontman Ross Marshall, who plays one of them hand-held keyboards (a key-tar) as well as sings. If you like your punk rock toned and tightened, or if you like your new wave extra energetic, then this is the show for you. JEFF DeROCHE

(Rainbow) There's one damning thing about these guys that MIGHT turn you off, and I'm going to tell you why you should stomp on your instincts and GO SEE THIS AMAZING BAND ANYWAY. The Sex Mob curse? They are often tritely labeled by the music press as an "experimental" or "alternative" jazz combo--which sounds about as appealing as a colonoscopy. (As Wm.™ Steven Humphrey once wrote in this paper, "experimental jazz sounds like someone locked a monkey in a room with some heroin and a saxophone.") But don't expect annoying goatee-strokers or black turtlenecks at this show: Sex Mob--slide trumpet player Steven Bernstein, alto saxophonist Briggan Krauss, acoustic upright bass player Tony Scherr, and drummer Kenny Wollesen--are exuberant, innovative, and irresistibly fun, and they have the ability to seduce jaded hipsters and serious "jazz aficionados" (another butt-clenching term) alike with their eyebrow-raising, grin-inducing amalgamation of strong improv, melody, and ballsy covers of pop favorites (check out their latest, Solid Sender, from Knitting Factory Records). Tonight's performance should be a fucking blast--and hopefully the Mob will treat us to their insane-but-somehow-perfect rendition of ABBA's "Fernando." That's right, I said ABBA's "Fernando." MIN LIAO

SUNDAY 12/17

(Stadium Exhibition Center) Hey kids, come and get your 2000 Mattel Series Baby Diva variety pack, with your choice of Urban Warrior Baby Diva Pink (comes complete with mini Manic Panic dye kit, Sean John hot pants, and an attitude disorder); American Pie Baby Diva Mandy (Lolita lollipop, Aquafresh Superwhitening Formula, and Mickey Mouse Club Alumni card included); or New Jack Princess Baby Diva Mya (ghetto-fabulous wardrobe, genuine vocal talent, and scary member of Wu-Tang on backup gift-with-purchase). Will any of this year's models be available in the 2001 edition? There are no guarantees, so get 'em while you can. We still have some leftover '98 stock of the Bloated Ego Male Diva doll that looks a lot like Stephen Jenkins of Third Eye Blind. Pull the string in the back of its head and you'll either get a charming, unoriginal pop-rock ditty or an obnoxious self-aggrandizing phrase-o'-the-week--this one is hours of fun. Ask Mom really nice, and maybe she'll get you all four. LEAH GREENBLATT

(Rainbow) See Saturday listing.

MONDAY 12/18

(Nation) The powerful, preachy indie sensation Slam may not have been everyone's cup of righteous tea, but the film's star and co-writer Saul Williams is inarguably one of the biggest figures in spoken word today. If words were bullets, this guy's mouth would be the kind of deadly assault weapon Dick Cheney can't wait to legalize, but if the VP-to-be saw how Williams puts the ills of urban society in his cross hairs and lets it rip, he'd probably have another heart attack and drop his NRA membership to boot. Williams and this all-star cast of local hippie-hoppers are in fact gathering for a very good cause: the rather fuzzily titled Victims of Custodial Interference. They're coming together to help parents and children torn apart by the court systems regain their emotional and financial footing, and that can't be bad. LEAH GREENBLATT


(Showbox) A fucked-up blend of beats, rock, soul, and odd sounds chased with a voice reminiscent of Stevie Wonder and Prince, Pigeonhed bring out the best that these styles have to offer. They create a world dedicated to sonic textures and dope-ass funk. Other than Super_Collider, the Cristian Vogel/Jamie Liddell project, there isn't anyone putting the soul back into electronic-based music as well as these folks do. No one would have guessed a rock singer like Shawn Smith and an indie rock producer like Steve Fisk could conceive such a thing. With this consummate live performance, you'll be glad they did. F. VENTURA-PENA

(KeyArena) Do you know the righteous rapper rhetoric against that ass-shaking "bling bling" shit? This is it--all the bad stuff under one roof. Rap is riddled with ethics, and where certain artists are pulled in directions both gangsta and Rasta, the Cash Money crew are just staying true to the basic appetites. They pride themselves on sex and property, with both beat and rhyme aesthetics so uppity, some call it "bounce." Think of Pen & Pixel's album-cover artwork where the rapper is centered in a ridiculous melange of moneybags, cars, women, mansions, helicopters--whatever. They want material, not ethics, and what has resulted is a cast of characters that people don't know how to deal with. As far as I can tell, people still aren't sure if Lil' Kim's use of her sexuality is self-promoting (like early Madonna) or just self-prostituting. Thank goodness for New Orleans' Cash Money for creating a Southern voice in rap and keeping things interesting. Oh, and they might have stage pyrotechnics. BRIAN GOEDDE


(Sit & Spin) Seattle's Exbestfriends produce a full, no-frills metal sound that is grungey and melodic enough to contextualize a singer who looks a great deal like Kurt Cobain. Though the band must despise having attention called to the bold and striking resemblance, it's virtually impossible not to notice and, yes, digress in saying as much. Having done so, let us allow that it's brave and even original to be doing "the grunge" here in the year 2000, and that they do it really well. Grunge lives. JEFF DeROCHE