(Benaroya Hall) After sinking Tacoma's first (and last, they concede) International Music Festival (the festival went way over budget and no one showed up to make up the difference), the beautiful opera singer Kathleen Battle returns to the Northwest to perform on a sturdier stage. Not to put down Tacoma--it's a great city, with more winter charm than Seattle. But let's be realistic: Who in Tacoma would want to see Kathleen Battle, except the music students and professors at Pacific Lutheran University? There are more pretentious people per capita in Seattle, and so our city can afford the ridiculous expense of feeding the enormous ego of a world-class diva like Kathleen Battle. Tonight she sings some Mozart and selections from other Viennese composers. CHARLES MUDEDE
MONTY BANKS & THE HIGH ROLLERS, DJ LESLIE
(Sunset Tavern) Lounge king Monty Banks started playing his old-school-singer & ivory-tickler stylings around here back in '91, well before the cocktail nation craze, and now finds himself mostly working down in entertainment's vast holy land of Las Vegas. To those many Seattleites fortunate enough to have celebrated life with Monty, it is surely of little surprise. The man is made for the Strip. For starters, he's got the art of the entrance/exit down pat. A couple of years ago (or was it a few?) at a swingin' Owl 'n' Thistle, my saucy eyes swore they saw a spotlight on Monty as he waltzed in. His smile gleamed as he winked at the stage, grabbed the mic, sat himself up on the organ, and swiftly kicked into a Fabulous Baker Boys routine that included not only the requisite Michelle Pfeifferish writhing about, but also a frenzied falling-down-drunk finale, à la Beau Bridges. Continuing to joyfully ham it up while lying among a pile of twisted chairs, and rising with the graceful aplomb of a trapeze artist as the audience raced to right him, Monty carried himself with the irresistibly disarming "I meant to do that" confidence found only among true professionals. JAMES KIRCHMER
HOME ALIVE CD RELEASE PARTY w/THE GOSSIP, CARRIE AKRE, THE PINKOS, LESLIWOOD, GOING SOUTH, GRAIG MARKEL, SANFORD ARMS
(I-Spy) Although Home Alive's first benefit CD, The Art of Self-Defense, featured big-ticket names (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Joan Jett), its success was hampered by its girth (47 songs on two CDs) and the distribution and promotional problems Home Alive encountered within the major-label catacombs of Sony/Epic. Five years later, the continuously vital violence-prevention organization has judiciously aligned itself with a highly respected and efficient punk distributor (Mordam Records) and is releasing a lean and potent compilation featuring quality independent artists (including Carissa's Wierd, Zen Guerrilla, and the Butchies). The release will be celebrated tonight with performances by the Gossip, the Pinkos, Sanford Arms, and other special guests. HANNAH LEVIN
AZAREL, UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL, BYRDIE, TERRY CERILLO
(Old Fire House) See preview this issue.
FUNK DADDY, BIG MIKE, KUN LOVE
(Showbox) The Showbox has been hosting "Funk Night" every week. So inevitably, it had to lead to... Funk Daddy. Listen here, chilluns: Funk Daddy has been a successful producer, DJ, and rapper (his latest, iwantallthat, was released in September) for many a year in the Northwest. Legend is that he learned his ropes from Sir Mix-A-Lot, and has been in demand ever since, making beats for the likes of E-40 and N2Deep. As a DJ, he'll blow the doors off Funk Night. Note: the cover for Funk Night is $15, but if you'd rather be frugal, get there before 9:30 pm. You'll be standing around for a couple hours before it gets going, but that's the deal. BRIAN GOEDDE
THE TRACHTENBURG FAMILY SLIDESHOW PLAYERS, JODIE WATTS
(Breakroom) As every Stranger reader knows, this paper tends to dislike many bands, enjoys a bunch of them, and loves a few in particular so much that all of our damn writers have to chip in their two cents. So check it out: I didn't see the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players until just a few months ago, at the Seattle Art Museum. I was there to see Women, the Annie Leibovitz exhibit of photographs, but also to find out what this "Tracht-a-something slideshow thing" was all about. Women was boring: Each photograph had a singular, straightforward meaning, and the overall "feminist project" of the exhibit was uninspiring because the "strong women" were doing mannish things. The Trachtenburg Family show, by contrast, was brilliant. Rachel (the young Daughter) led the show with prodigious though charmingly erratic drumming, Jason (Father) pounded out silly songs on the piano, and Tina Pina (Mother) operated the slideshow, which strictly consists of slides they find at thrift stores. Most of it was funny, but a lot of it, especially the piece about the fast-food business plan, was very confusing, strange--and here's where it was heads and shoulders over Women--enriching. I could even argue that its feminism was stronger. The Trachtenburgs should be a permanent exhibit at SAM. Really. BRIAN GOEDDE
RON JEREMY w/DROP SIX, DJ CHERRY CANOE
(Graceland) Ron Jeremy has the face of a clown, the body of a couch potato, and has made his living the hard way: producing an erection on demand and mastering his sex animal. During intercourse, Ron Jeremy often asks his younger partners to count down from 20 to one at any pace (slow or fast), and the moment they moan, "One..." he pulls out and holds the big-time money shot. This gift has made him world famous and very rich. Tonight, the inimitable Ron Jeremy visits Graceland for music, comedy, a wet T-shirt contest, and a serious session of Q & A. True, as a person, Ron Jeremy cannot be that interesting (we know all his secrets), but sex is all that matters, and those who have mastered its simple facts deserve our admiration. CHARLES MUDEDE
13TH ANNUAL NIGHT OF THE LIVING ELVIS AND ELVIS INVITATIONALS
(Crocodile) This ludicrous annual tradition is always wildly popular in Eugene, Portland, and Seattle, the three towns in which it takes place. Like an amped-up, costumed karaoke or drag event, it's an excuse for needy attention whores with abandonment issues to grab the microphone and become someone who's actually interesting. The "professional" Elvises this year are Pete Christie (of the Guardians of American Morality) and Seattle writer/musician Dennis Fitzgerald. What qualifies these two guys to be the night's featured entertainers, I know not. There will also be the usual Elvis Invitationals, in which amateur Elvis impersonators (this means you!) are backed by an all-star band called the Memphis Mafia, and given the chance to perform their wacky, irreverent, and highly individual interpretations of The King. There will also be a performance by the Seattle rockabilly/country-swing band the Donettes. You can bet that every would-be rock star and drunken whore in town will be at this event, lubed up and ready to die on a toilet seat by night's end--metaphorically, of course. JEFF DeROCHE
(Tractor) The great promise of the Tractor has always been that it can deliver--in a way that few clubs even try in Seattle--country and roots music to an urban audience. This might not exactly give the hipsters and clubbers multiple orgasms, but they should know that the Tractor's roots music is the best of all possible kinds. It's nothing like the glam and sham that makes most country suck so hard, but rather is more likely to manifest in groups like Seattle's Rai, whose members thread bluegrass, funk, blues, rock, and more bluegrass into their instrumental mix. Nothing too flashy, but it's live, electric, and just the thing for an evening of dancing and beer drinking. Their CD release party at the Tractor should make country palatable even for those of us who aren't hardcore hill crackers. NATHAN THORNBURGH
SANFORD ARMS, THE WALKABOUTS, JESSE SYKES AND THE SWEET HEREAFTER
(Crocodile) Unfortunately you're going to have to wait until March for the official debut release of Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter, but at least in the interim you can enjoy them live. Sykes' sweetly spooky country yarns are making her the artist to watch in this town. If you don't believe me, ask Mark Lanegan or Giant Sand's Howe Gelb, who were both reportedly so impressed with her opening sets at their recent shows that offers of future record collaborations are already kicking around. Tonight Sykes is paired with the Walkabouts, one of Seattle's more quietly enduring success stories. After leaving the Sub Pop roster in 1991, the band enjoyed a steadily building audience overseas with help from European label Glitterhouse, and collaborated with all sorts of impressive characters, including Brian Eno. Guitarists and vocalists Chris Eckman and Carla Torgerson have subsequently led their predominantly fluid lineup through all sorts of reflective, rural terrain from dark country folk trails to sweeping pop landscapes, forging each exploration with a natural confidence that can only form after years of disciplined study. Despite the fact that they make their home here, Seattle appearances are quite rare, and the additional presence of Sanford Arms on the bill makes this a show not to be missed. HANNAH LEVIN
MANDONNA, THE HO-HO'S
(Breakroom) Dave Schmader and I saw the Go-Go's perform live at their inaugural reunion show on Pier 51 two years ago. We both agreed that their unsteady set was gleefully sloppy, drunkenly exuberant, and thoroughly charming. Unfortunately, I also saw them later that year in California, when several weeks on an '80s nostalgia tour with the B-52's and the Psychedelic Furs had molded them into letter-perfect VH1 marketing dolls. Needless to say, it wasn't nearly as fun and left me feeling old and stupid. Thankfully, the Ho-Ho's know that Belinda and company are best emulated in their more raunchy, slumber-party-with-dessert-wine state and jettison perfection for the more enjoyable qualities of high volume (courtesy of key former members of the Bali Girls), sleazy drag (the boys don their trashiest finery), a perfect female vocalist (Becky Harbine), and highly satisfying, old-school song choices ("Johnny Are You Queer," "Automatic"). Cool jerks, indeed. HANNAH LEVIN
Take a chill, B.
"DJ DOLLAR BEERS"
(Art Bar) See Stranger Suggests.
BLOOD BROTHERS, PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES, DJ FRANKI CHAN
(Graceland) It seems excessive that this paper allows a failed political candidate like myself to sing the praises of his favorite local bands week after week (now Modest Mouse is hard to call truly local), but an excessive response is just what the Blood Brothers demand, and this town has been too slow to give it up. So: If you like the Germs, early Wire or Joy Division, the screamier Nirvana, and majestic late Fugazi, you owe it to yourself to experience the (entirely original) heirs of this line and the full-blown existential hysteria their five-way hammer-and-swing incurs. Their EP This Adultery Is Ripe (Second Nature Recordings) has the heft and dimensional wallop of a full-length album; I was astonished after owning the vinyl for several weeks to discover it runs at just over 20 minutes. GRANT COGSWELL
(Conor Byrne's, Dubliner, Galway Arms) You have ample opportunities this week to go to clubs, stand in crowds, shift your weight from foot to foot, and sip beers, all the while deciding whether or not the music is any good. Well, well, well: What about you, punk? Get out the guitar, pan flute, spoons--whatever it is you play--and go to Conor Byrne's, the Dubliner, or the Galway Arms. Every Tuesday, these places "open the microphone," a swiftly poetic phrase to mean anyone with a lick of courage can play and sing under the hot, critical stage lights. Now what?! If you're not a musician, check it out: the Seattle scene is a bit dead right now. There isn't a whole lot of genius gracing the stages around town, and the good bands play often enough that you'll see them eventually if you haven't already. It has everything to do with the dot-com bust and general "mellowing out" of Seattle society; Seattle is regressing to an urban culture that still swells with talent, but is not dead-set on making it big. Instead of everyone fixing their eyes on the stars, everyone is creating pockets of enthusiasm and support around nights like these. There! Two flawless and irrefutable arguments for open mics. BRIAN GOEDDE
(I-Spy) See preview this issue.