FASTER PUSSYCAT, LIQUOR BOX
(Ballard Firehouse) They just keep coming back... the latest '80s hair band to roll into the Ballard Firehouse is Faster Pussycat, an Aerosmith ripoff that plays dumb-dumb, screamy glam. Faster Pussycat managed to rip off the Stones and the New York Dolls, too. All that crammed into too-tight spandex and the year 2001 might make for the most unintentionally hilarious spoof you've ever seen, or the saddest comment on the lengths to which some musicians will go in order to avoid getting real jobs. KATHLEEN WILSON
CAROLYN MARK & HER ROOM-MATES
(Crocodile) Carolyn Mark is perhaps best known as one half of country dynamic duo the Corn Sisters, with Neko Case. But her Mint Records release Party Girl establishes her as her own distinct and formidable person. With a voice that strikes a balance between the emotive and tough Kitty Wells and the loveliness of Syd Straw, Mark turns in a strong collection of torchy and twangy country (check out the exquisite a cappella "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms"). The idiosyncratic looseness of some of the numbers recalls the Knitters at their Poor Little Critter on the Road best. Live, Mark is a feisty and rollicking performer whose ease on stage and audience rapport has been cemented by a Sunday night residency at the Old Bailey in Victoria, BC, mixing her smart original material and well-chosen, transcendent covers. It's only a matter of time until she covers Skeeter Davis' "I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know" with all the tangled beauty and bad wisdom she offhandedly musters. NATE LIPPENS
LOS LOBOS, MACEO PARKER, DJ LOGIC & PROJECT LOGIC, OLU DARA
(Pier 61/62) You can bet that all of these groups will play their own high-energy, sure-fire, crowd-pleasing sets, but here's to hoping that they will attempt a grand collaboration. I'd especially like to see Maceo Parker and DJ Logic perform together--as they both, in their own ways, successfully combined jazz and hiphop. In their respective projects, they don't just superimpose the two genres, as is the case of even the most intelligent experiments like Guru's Jazzmatazz albums. Rather, Parker and Logic demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the dynamics of each genre, and introduce the two on new ground. Most remarkably, the "new ground" on which jazz and hiphop meet in Parker's vision, as on Dial M-A-C-E-O for example, is solid and funky, different than the expressionistic, sometimes too far-out "new ground" found on Logic's The Anomoly. If these two musicians combine their distinctive formulas of arriving at the same ends (combining jazz and hiphop), this show will be something to behold. BRIAN GOEDDE
(Tractor Tavern) Let's get one thing straight: These Iguanas have nothing to do with Iggy Pop. These New Orleans Iguanas fuse R&B, Cajun, Tex-Mex, zydeco, and roots into their show and have recorded for Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville label. More music for people who just want to hoot and dance. KATHLEEN WILSON
PLEASURE FOREVER, THE PROM, THE LOST KIDS
(Breakroom) A San Francisco-ized version of Soul Coughing, Pleasure Forever may be better heard than seen. After much advance chatter and critical acclaim for a self-titled album offering what sounded like a mix of Cop Shoot Cop and the Birthday Party, the band's label, Sub Pop, trotted the band out to play its most recent birthday party. As soon as Pleasure Forever began playing, the audience vacated the Crocodile's band room in droves when faced with the reality of a hat-wearing, gesturing, keyboard-playing frontman and a band so wrapped up in "coolness" as to put everyone off their free drinks. KATHLEEN WILSON
THE DELUSIONS, VISQUEEN, VENDETTA RED
(Crocodile) The Delusions have proven themselves to be Built to Spill frontman Doug Martsch's favorite band, if the fact that he's taken them on several tours and placed them as openers on nearly every local show is any indication. Visqueen just finished recording a demo with Barrett Jones at the helm, and when the rough mix was played at the Cha Cha on a particular night when members of at least 10 local bands were crowding the bar, no one was less than amazed at the stunning accomplishment. This will be the band's first show in a real rock club (the four-piece debuted at the Capitol Hill Block Party and then played a second show at the Cheap Trick after-party in the Showbox's new Green Room), so expect to be blown away by what vocalists Rachel Flotard and Kim Warnick can do. KATHLEEN WILSON
(Emerald Queen Casino) Brought up in an over-protective Catholic family, I wasn't allowed to go to rock concerts until I was 18. (I still went, of course, but these were covert expeditions involving strategically placed pillows in the bed and climbing out the window.) Whenever Willie Nelson came to town, however, my dad would take me himself to see the man whose albums, along with those of Johnny Cash, were constants on the family room "hi-fi." I'm a daddy's girl to this day, and those nights of sweet Americana are among my favorite memories. Since this show is at a casino, dads can't take their daughters along. That's too bad. KATHLEEN WILSON
NORTEC COLLECTIVE, DONALD GLAUDE, JACKAL & HYDE, JOHN KING, LOGIC PROBE, MONK, SUBCONSCIOUS
(EMP) It's rare that music's packaging taints the music itself to such a degree that it won't get out of my head, no matter how loud I turn the music up. But such is the case with the Nortec Collective's new and excellent Tijuana Sessions Vol. 1. The outside packaging says the collective's varied, experimental, and overall tasteful combination of electronica and traditional Mexican music is "the sound of the First World in the Third and the Third World in the First." Tijuana is such a "Third World" place because it services the sex-and-drugs appetites of "First World" Southern California (the drugs, actually, go all over the U.S.). If anything, the talented musicians of the Nortec Collective resist these terrible economics by introducing a creativity that is distinctly from Tijuana, and distinctly not a cheap thrill. Their show will be great, and have nothing to do with being from the "Third World." BRIAN GOEDDE
(Rainbow) If pressed to provide a top-10 list of Seattle's best bands of the '90s, I'd have to include this legendary group of instrumental music rabble-rousers, right alongside all the obvious choices (Nirvana, Soundgarden, etc.). In hindsight, rock crowds would have certainly gotten a kick out of Pigpen's mostly aggressive sound, but the band never did land any appropriate rock-show opening slots, and was often mislabeled as a "jazz" act by scribblers and promoters. Perhaps best described as an improv-ready all-musical-terrain vehicle for bandleader/keyboardist Wayne Horvitz's eclectic tunes, Pigpen was known for its engagingly visceral shows--and tonight's "reunion" date is its first since 1996 (when alto sax genius Briggan Krauss, now with Sex Mob, moved to New York). Also on hand, naturally, will be Pigpen's notorious rhythm section: bassist Fred Chalenor (ex-Zony Mash, Hughscore, Land, Hana, etc.) and drummer Mike Stone (Crack Sabbath, Suicide Jack, Danny Barnes, etc.). Highly recommended. JAMES KIRCHMER
SNOG, FOCKEWOLF, LBM
(Catwalk) Snog would be just another techno project born from the carcass of post-industrial electronics and 1980s synth-pop if it weren't for David Thrussell's dead-on satirical observations of capitalism and consumer culture. The Australian group won over the burgeoning European club scene with its strange mixture of misanthropy, sociopolitical lyrics, and infectious dance grooves. And it even scored an unlikely club hit with 1992's "Corporate Slave," a tongue-in-cheek dance-floor anthem that helped ravers come to terms with the obvious. Last year's Third Mall from the Sun also hits the mark but in a more oblique fashion. Relieve your work-related stress with tracks like "Real Estate Man" and "Late Twentieth Century Boy." DAVID SLATTON
KULTUR SHOCK, HANA
(Crocodile) See Stranger Suggests.
SUPERCHUNK, THE PROMISE RING, LOVE AS LAUGHTER
(EMP) See preview this issue.
DAVE PAVKOVIC'S EXCITING TRIO, FCS NORTH, HIM
(Graceland) Drawing on free jazz, groove, and ambient, Seattle's daring trio FCS North has a constant pioneering spirit to its music. With last year's self-titled Pacifico Records debut, the band laid claim to a moody instrumental sound that ebbs and flows, constantly changing course. Its live shows demonstrate the tight and telepathic dynamic between its members. Bassist Joshua Warren's slithering and spirited playing weaves around keyboardist Chad States' evocative parts and Andy Sells' jaw-dropping drumming for a sound at once spacious and focused. While some have lazily lumped FCS North in with Chicago's post-rockers, the band exceeds the limitations of that sub-genre by never sitting still. Like a shark, it keeps moving to stay alive and vital. NATE LIPPENS
NORRIS MAN, JAH MASON, RAS SHILOH, LUTAN FYAH, DJ RUFFIAN, RAW VIBES CREW
(I-Spy) It's no Reggae on the River (Northern California's annual huge reggae festival), but this is a fine lineup, billed as the Third Annual Northwest Reggae Festival. Raw Vibes Crew, which has received high praise for its brand of "reggae-dub," will work overtime as the backup band for all of the participating Jamaican vocalists. Nation, the restaurant above I-Spy, will also feature reggae "selectors" (the insightful name DJs are given in the reggae lexicon). There are two shows slated: one for all ages from 3-8 pm, and a 21+ show from 10 pm-4 am. BRIAN GOEDDE
UNITED STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS PRESENTS: 2001 UNITE MEKKA FESTIVAL
(Stadium Exhibition Center) Except for the disco-influenced rap jams of the early '80s, I don't have much of a taste for disco music. Disco culture, on the other hand, with its freaky costumes, designer drugs, all-night stamina, and a religious love for the DJ, is totally appealing. No drugs are allowed (they've never been allowed at discos, ahem) at the United State of Consciousness raves, but all the other elements are there--which makes electronica a clear descendent of disco. USC's festivals are absolutely brilliant: people everywhere in wild costumes, over 30 DJs spinning all kinds of electronica, and this year, its sideshows include a BMX Freestyle Street-Jumping Demo, a 3D Maze, and a Bozo Boxing ring. A word of warning, though, on how it can go over the top in a creepy way: Because this is all-ages, you'll see lots of teens, and even pre-teens, who are going on 25, and it can be disconcerting to see kids present their newly pubescent bodies. BRIAN GOEDDE
SAMO (CD RELEASE), w/ELIZABETH PUPO-WALKER, DJ KID HOPS, DJ DISKYZE
(Sunset Tavern) This Seattle-based live/electronic trio may be a relatively new band (its debut CD is just out on NCM East Records), but its members, all at least in their late 20s, are loaded with experience. From punk to funk to jazz to drum and bass, these guys have, between them, nearly done it all. In SAMO, drummer John Wicks (currently holding court every Monday at the Sunset with "John 'n' Joe"), bassist Bob Heinemann, and multi-instrumentalist Steve Scalfati have found a way to tastefully incorporate practically all of their favorite influences--including electronica, film music, Brazilian rhythms, John Coltrane, and, according to their website, farm equipment. Thankfully, SAMO's resulting amalgam never feels forced, and, as expected, uniqueness abounds. Their exciting cinematic (and sometimes danceable) grooves exude the tongue-in-cheek confidence of a vintage Bond bachelor pad, but are pleasantly devoid of the gratuitous samples and pea-brained porn-beats that seemingly play us at every turn these days. JAMES KIRCHMER
BEN LEE, JACK JOHNSON
(Crocodile) See Stranger Suggests.
(Sit & Spin) See preview this issue.
SPLIT LIP RAYFIELD
(Tractor) Like a hood-ornament phoenix rising from the highway-side blaze of a red-lined V8, Wichita's Split Lip Rayfield emerged from the ashes of the beloved hardcore country band Scroat Belly, and has been kickin' bluegrass in the ass ever since. Anchored by Jeff "Edward Basshands" Eaton's one-of-a-kind bass-fiddle ("McGyvered" outta a pickup's gas tank!), this fearless, punk-fueled foursome picks its strings with a rockin' pedal-to-the-metal intensity and virtuosity, honed over the years at Kansas' world-famous Walnut Valley Festival and its non-stop jam sessions. Its members are influenced by the late Bill Monroe's unmistakable "high lonesome sound" all right, except the "high" part ain't just referring to their vocals, and "lonesome" seemingly harks back to their basements, where "company" meant a beer-filled fridge and some speed-metal LPs. Don't get me wrong, though--this ain't no gimmick "alt-bluegrass" band; Split Lip Rayfield's the real friggin' deal, gone fuckin' haywire in all the right ways. JAMES KIRCHMER
GILLIAN WELCH, DAVID RAWLINGS
(Showbox) See preview this issue.
Clean up your act.