Thursday 9/2

Climax Golden Twins, Bill Horist, Vance Galloway

(Chapel Performance Space) Bill Horist and Vance Galloway rank among Seattle's most inventive, engrossing guitarists currently working. Horist is a fluent master of many styles, methods, and moods; this six-string surrealist can get crazily abstract, space out peacefully, rock psychedelically (with Master Musicians of Bukkake), and spaz out jazz-fusion-wise (with Ghidra)—and a lot more besides. A disciple of phenomenal ax maestros Fred Frith and Robert Fripp, Galloway summons spellbinding tones from his prepared and processed guitar, which he massages into alien-sounding yet emotive compositions and astronautical Muzak of the spheres. Climax Golden Twins remain enigmas in Seattle's underground; they can drone you into fantastic reveries, slip into gamelan mode, drop a block of musique concrète on your head, deliver a heady, metallic KO, or get all Alan Lomax/Harry Smith on your ass. You never know with these guys, which is probably for the best. Tonight's show is a benefit for Wyndel Hunt, a local musician who suffered a serious bicycling accident. DAVE SEGAL

X-Kid, the Pirate Signal, Roze the Fallen Angel, Suntonio Bandanaz, Piñata, Unique, Black Gravity

(El Corazón) I first met MC/producer/multi-instrumentalist X-Kid at the Glitta showcases Sonny Bonoho used to throw at the Kirkland Teen Center back in the day. X-Kid and his label Immaculate Flave definitely seemed to be doing their thing. I didn't find out till later that X-Kid is a bit of an unsung NW-scene veteran—he was a Portland b-boy in the '80s and later a member of the Seatown crew Players on Wax under the MC handle Devastating Master X; in 1991, he and DJ EZ-Shock put out the Down with P.O.W. 12-inch on D Ganksta Records. Now based in Los Angeles, he's still running Immaculate Flave and making tunes, such as this year's Don Juan of Saddam LP. He may not exactly be a kid anymore (an ex-kid, I guess), but the dude is still at it, making moves and music, and repping his native NW. LARRY MIZELL JR.

Friday 9/3

Dead Accents Showcase: Tiny Vipers, Crystal Hell Pool, Demian Johnston, Sparkle Girl, Blouse (u.s.a.)

(Josephine) See Data Breaker.

Slayer, Megadeth, Testament

(WaMu Theater) What can be said about Slayer that could possibly alter anyone's perception of these metal masters? The masses can debate the merits of lesser bands, but no metal fan can deny the authority and power of Slayer. Even as their worshipers eagerly await the second coming of Reign in Blood, there is no denying the impact of their classic albums and their continued relevance in the landscape of heavy music. Tonight's concert contains 75 percent of the hyped "Big Four" thrash-metal lineup that's been playing select dates overseas; only Metallica are absent. But who wants to watch a headliner that's spent the last two decades undermining their first four albums when you can watch Kerry King and company keeping it real instead? BRIAN COOK

The Intelligence, the U.V Race, Spurm

(Sunset) There are at least three excellent reasons to go to this show tonight. The first, of course, is that it's the record release show for Males, the sixth full-length from Seattle's outstanding and prolific the Intelligence. Males is par for the course from Lars Finberg et al., as the Intelligence's post-punk seems to grow tighter with each new release, and here, thanks to being recorded at the Hangar in Sacramento, a warehouse-sized studio, they just sound plain BIGGER. Reason two is Australia's the U.V Race, whose punk rock sounds like it was recorded 30 years prior to Males but is old done right. The U.V Race demonstrate an appreciation for the gritty and arrogant greats of punk rock—the Fall, Swell Maps, and Angry Samoans. Spaz punkers Spurm open. WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED? GRANT BRISSEY

Saturday 9/4


(Seattle Center) See guide.

Bumbershoot Afterparty (with surprise Warp Records recording artist)

(Crocodile) Soooo... as far as surprises go, tonight's secret guest is not exactly a Sherlock Holmes–caliber mystery. Unless Aphex Twin snuck in there while we weren't watching (and he is a tricky bastard), the only Warp Records recording artist in town for Bumbershoot this weekend is loopy IDM-fiddler-turned-soul-crooner Jamie Lidell. And the Crocodile would be a lovely, slightly more intimate place than the Seattle Center grounds to see the dapper Mr. Lidell do his thing. Whether looping his solo beatboxing into odd, spittle-flecked funk jams or leading his sometimes freaky band (double sax, holy robes) in mostly faithful soul reviews, Lidell is an utterly charming performer. His records have grown increasingly trad over the years, but here's hoping tonight's show, away from the family festival crowds and back in the nightclub, will inspire him to get down to the weird. ERIC GRANDY

Head, Blank Its, Warning: Danger!, Thee Headliners

(Funhouse) Once upon a time, a brave prince named Brian Foss, who was forever busy protecting his kingdom from an evil army that disguised itself as "punk rock," traveled the land under the banner of the "Warped Tour" and met a beautiful damsel named Cyndi. They fell in love, and on this very day five years ago, they were married. Now Brian valiantly defends his territories with Cyndi at his side. He brings honorable and virtuous punk rock to both his grand stage at Yee Olde Funhouse and the airways, on KEXP's Sonic Reducer show every Saturday night. Tonight is a celebration honoring the prince and his bride. Head will raise the punk flag high in Brian and Cyndi's honor. They will also perform their magically classical Angry Samoans–meet-the-Ramones variety of music for all to enjoy. THE END. KELLY O

Sunday 9/5


(Seattle Center) See guide.

Pavement, Quasi

(Paramount) See preview, and Stranger Suggests.

Monday 9/6


(Seattle Center) See pullout.

Ra Ra Riot

(Easy Street Queen Anne) The last time I saw Ra Ra Riot, it was years ago at Chop Suey; I think they were just about to get signed, or had just been signed, to Barsuk but had yet to release an album for the local label. I remember them being a lot more boisterous and frayed than they sound on new sophomore album The Orchard, but, frankly, this stately restraint is a good look for them. Ra Ra Riot's main mode is swooning chamber pop led by Wes Miles's falsetto vocals and laced with low cello vibrations and sweet, high violin. They do deviate, though, as on "Too Dramatic," which evokes '80s new wave with its glassy keys, peppy chorus, and just slightly jerky rhythms but which is gentle enough not to land as pastiche. ERIC GRANDY

Coliseum, Burning Love, Heiress

(Funhouse) Chris Colohan is the living embodiment of punk-rock persistence. On a 2008 European tour with Cursed, what should have been one of the high points of his seven-year career with the Toronto hardcore band, Colohan announced that the band had been robbed and left stranded without passports or money. It was over. But Colohan got right back at it, with a lo-fi five-song demo with Burning Love. Though not quite as gloomy and dark as his previous efforts, the band gives all kinds of rock 'n' roll nods to Motörhead and early Black Flag. Kentucky-based headliners Coliseum are also no strangers to change; their newest LP, House with a Curse, steers away from the sometimes-draconian rule book of crust punk to embrace a little thing known as melody. KEVIN DIERS

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

(Havana) Detroit's Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott) overcome their ridiculous name—NASCAR pandering (or mocking, even) is never a good look—with an endearing, chilled strain of country-tinged rock. But, thankfully, they're no My Morning Jacket/Band of Horses retreads. DEJJ work on a more intimate scale, as evidenced on their enjoyable Horse Power EP (Quite Scientific), while also flexing more interesting drum-machined rhythms than those two Americana-rock touchstones. The duo's dual-angelic-voxed songs strike a carefree note without being annoying about it—a difficult feat. A buzz band with a promising future, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. likely won't be playing a small venue like Havana next time they come through Seattle. DAVE SEGAL

Tuesday 9/7

Dr. John and the Lower 911

(Jazz Alley) See Stranger Suggests.

Mark Kozelek, Tiny Vipers

(Town Hall) Mark Kozelek and Tiny Vipers at Town Hall will be intimate and lucid. Kozelek is the man behind Sun Kil Moon, Red House Painters, and an album of Modest Mouse covers called Tiny Cities. In remaking Modest Mouse's songs, he makes them his own, singing impossible harmonies from the bottom of an old, darkened heart. His songs drift and converse with themselves in a language of daguerreotype refrains. Kozelek looks out from the scenes of old photos and lives through vicarious souls. It's 1883 and a man named Hank is building the Brooklyn Bridge. Hank suffers from the bends due to long hours working in the squalid depths of the East River and breathing in the diseased compressed air. It puts food on the family's table. During the weeks leading up to Hank's death, he hears sounds in his head. Those sounds are the sounds of Mark Kozelek singing his song "Salvador Sanchez." The song walks Hank hopefully to heaven. TRENT MOORMAN

Little Gold, the Lovey Dovies, Ambulance

(Sunset) "Took away my chainsaw/Now you're using it on me," Little Gold's Christian DeRoeck sings on "Chainsaw," and the accompanying music sounds nothing like the death-metal gorefest you're imagining. DeRoeck crafts tuneful songs brushed with country, pop, and psychedelia influences, along with disparate elements culled, apparently, from wherever he finds his attention wandering to that particular day ("Chainsaw" features an exquisite hand-clap breakdown). "Completely Fucked," a single off the band's debut LP, is a raucous little bit of pop that rocks back and forth on its own call-and-response hook before launching into a few harmony-laden adventures. It's all good clean fun—with cussing and chainsaws. PAUL CONSTANT

Kali, Descend!

(Neumos) Peijman Kouretchian—the magnificent drummer for the defunct Girth and Secret Chiefs 3—has organized a night of Indian classical music and homegrown psychedelia called Kali, Descend! The local percussionist—who's been studying tabla over the last few years—has enlisted guitarist Bill Horist, violinist Timba Harris, and bassist Jim Davis to accompany Hindustani vocalist Sumitra Guha and tabla master Aniruddha Mukherjee for a night dedicated to the goddess Kali's sinister side. The two ragas on Guha's MySpace page are beautiful East-West fusions that put both Indian-classical and out-rock tendencies into flattering lights. In addition to the aforementioned collab, Guha and a special guest to be announced will perform an acoustic set of traditional Indian classical music and Kouretchian and Mukherjee will jam on drum set and tabla. DAVE SEGAL

Wednesday 9/8

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Past Lives

(Vera) See Underage.

Dr. John and the Lower 911

(Jazz Alley) See Stranger Suggests.

Shonen Knife, the Pharmacy, the Purrs

(Tractor) The Shonen Knife formula hasn't changed at all since the days when Kurt Cobain brought them around to the United States, claiming they were a huge influence on Nirvana's sound: They still pound out adorable slivers of cutesy, English-mangling punk-pop, and, to my knowledge, they still don't have a song that's over four minutes long. This kind of thing is backlash-proof: Shonen Knife's career is kind of like when Andy Kaufman would take a joke and drive it into the ground, pick it back up, dust it off, and then drive it into the ground again. You just can't deny that kind of dedication. They have a song that is just a list of berry names; I defy you to try to criticize that and not look like an asshole. PAUL CONSTANT

The Walkmen, the Helio Sequence

(Showbox at the Market) For me, the Walkmen always come down to one single, spectacular song: their 2004 growler "The Rat." No fault of the Walkmen—they keep making reliably fine records—but damn if that song doesn't say more in its volley of bitter recriminations and its wistful reflection than the band has expressed in its entire career since. Setting aside this unparalleled achievement, let's look at their forthcoming sixth album (including that redo of Harry Nilsson's Pussy Cats), Lisbon. As usual, the band ranges from drunk swaying melancholy—as on "Stranded," whose woozy brass band evokes something like passing out at a Fourth of July parade—to an explosive kind of exhaustion, as on the wide-open, hoarse choruses of "Angela Surf City." It's almost enough to make me take "The Rat" off repeat. ERIC GRANDY

Watch It Sparkle, NighTraiN, White Jazz, Mopper

(High Dive) There ain't nothing new about what the local trio Watch It Sparkle have to offer—tambourine-heavy, sloppy garage rock with heavy bass and spastic, howling vocals—but if the sound ain't broke, why fix it? Their song "My Baby Has a Red Tooth" has a little Murder City Devils vibe, but I think that's mostly the organ talking, because the vocals are more crazy werewolf than Spencer Moody. Regardless, they'll be a spectacle to watch. There's one more reason to check out the show: opening band White Jazz, a project featuring members of Akimbo and Bloodhag, which means it will be loud. And maybe literary. But mostly loud. MEGAN SELING

The BellRays, Gravelroad, the Young Evils

(Crocodile) Rocking with MC5-like intensity and density while a Tina Turner–esque/Betty Davis–like powerhouse soul diva belts out passionate metaphors about romance and social injustice? What's not to love? The BellRays have been doing this extraordinary thing for 20 years with little variation, but that's just fine. Some bands can harness so much vital energy and whip up so much libidinal juice that the monolithic form in which they come rushing at you is no handicap. We don't want BellRays ballads or rural-blues laments or multipart prog epics. We just want the hard, loud, and fast stuff, delivered as if their eternal destinies depended on it. Don't ever change, BellRays. DAVE SEGAL