Wednesday 10/19

Friendly Fires, Theophilus London

(Neptune) Trinidad-born, Brooklyn-raised Theophilus London made the leap from internet-famous to actual-famous in 2011. His earlier rap-singing mixtapes, as shamelessly retro in their titles—JAM! (think Michael Jackson and Heavy D), This Charming Mixtape (duh), and I Want You (think '76 Marvin)—as in their samples-and-covers-heavy track offerings, built an increasing blog-buzz foundation that culminated with his July major-label debut Timez Are Weird These Days. Flexing a cockier, more club-ready side of the snapbackpack rapper's take on electronic '80s funk and R&B, Timez is clearly built to reach a wider audience. From London's multiple fashion-mag spreads, TV-spot features, and performances at private Microsoft events and even the Cannes Festival, it seems like it did just that. MIKE RAMOS

Clutch Douglass, Pony Time, Wiscon, Strong Like Woman

(Columbia City Theater) Pony Time are one of the few musical duos who work with their limited resources to sound bigger than the sum of their parts. A Seattle-based twosome composed of bassist/vocalist Luke Beetham and drummer Stacy Peck, their new LP/CD on Per Se Records packs some heavy hitters you'll listen to repeatedly. (Eight songs are enough to keep you hungry.) Beetham has a nasally, peppy tenor that's almost bratty, and creates beefy tones on the bass that carry a strong sense of melody and depth, while Peck hammers out steady, heavy beats. The music is as poppy punk as it is caustic and raw, with an almost toxic garage edge. If songs like the infectiously brilliant "Lori & Judy" were on regular rotation at KEXP and college radio stations, Pony Time would be huge. For now, catch them whenever and wherever you can. TRAVIS RITTER

Beats for Boobs

(Crocodile) October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so you're going to see lots of events and fundraisers—and lots of pink. Breast cancer killed almost 40,000 women last year, which fucking sucks. Beats for Boobs is an all-volunteer, 8-year-old nonprofit that was started in San Francisco. BFB travels to different communities and throws big events that feature not just music, dancing, and DJs, but fashion shows and sometimes food. All proceeds go to those communities' own local breast cancer organizations. This Seattle BFB will feature DJs—including LA Kendall of Hard Times, Lezbro, and Hit Girl—spinning all vinyl, and a fashion show made up of seven local designers. KELLY O

Thursday 10/20

City Arts Fest: Mad Rad, Katie Kate, Helluvastate, Slow Dance

(Neumos) See preview and Data Breaker.

City Arts Fest: Crystal Castles, Crypts, Nightmare Fortress, the Dowlz

(Showbox Sodo) Toronto's Crystal Castles latched on to last year's "occult" trend for their 2010 self-titled release, settling into a colder, more brooding version of their distorted chiptunes and placing an eerie photo of a little girl in a graveyard on the cover. Their live show—full-scale electro-glitch bombast centered on vocalist Alice Glass and her crowd-surfing, fan-punching antics—is the main draw here, but show up early for Crypts and Nightmare Fortress, two local disciples of the triangles-and- inverted-crosses sect. Crypts feature former members of These Arms Are Snakes and Chk Minus conjuring spooky, down-tuned vocals over aggressive witch-house 808s. Nightmare Fortress offer current/former members of Lovesick Empire and Sleepy Eyes of Death taking on electronic goth rock. Wear black to this one. MIKE RAMOS

City Arts Fest: Allen Stone, Fly Moon Royalty

(Triple Door) Fly Moon Royalty caught my ears and eyes at Bumbershoot with their sexy and fun electro-laced R&B. Singer Adra Boo's striking pipes carried across the Seattle Center, attracting a steady stream of festivalgoers. One especially entertaining jam contained the line "I heard you like red beans and rice/Get up in my kitchen!" More recently, Allen Stone is the singer who made my eyes swell with tears at the Seattle Rock Orchestra's tribute to Stevie Wonder. Looking like the adorable love child of John Roderick and Garth Algar, Allen closed the show with an astonishingly soulful version of Wonder's über-romantic ballad "You and I." Stone is one of the best male vocalists in Seattle right now. I still get goose bumps just thinking about it. MEGAN SELING

Friday 10/21

Journey, Foreigner, Night Ranger

(KeyArena) See Sound Check.

City Arts Fest: Shabazz Palaces, Metal Chocolates, DJ Riz

(Triple Door) See Data Breaker.

City Arts Fest: All-Star Replacements Covers

(Comet) A sibling event to City Arts Fest's screening of Color Me Obsessed, Gorman Bechard's documentary about his Replacements obsession, tonight's all-star tribute features a cavalcade of local bands (the Fastbacks! The Cops! Virgin Islands! Kinski!) attacking the Paul Westerberg songbook. The joke makes itself—you've never heard Replacements songs played better!—but getting the notes right is the easy part. Go to the Comet tonight to see who manages to best channel the ramshackle magic o' the 'Mats. (Dear God, please see that the set list features covers of "Within Your Reach," "Unsatisfied," and "Can't Hardly Wait" [played Tim-outtake style]). DAVID SCHMADER

Seattle Opera: Carmen

(McCaw Hall) Seattle Opera head Speight Jenkins says the hardest thing about putting on Carmen is you: Its music is so famous—dah-dum-dum-dum!—that everybody knows what they think it should be. I say gather up your preconceived notions, storm McCaw Hall, and if you don't see what you wanted, occupy the place. Just kidding. But in general, there ought to be more yelling about art in America. JEN GRAVES

City Arts Fest: Fences, William Elliott Whitmore, the Black Whales, Daniel G. Harmann & the Trouble Starts

(Neumos) If you were to throw on a William Elliott Whitmore record without of any sort of prior knowledge of the Iowa-bred singer, you'd likely envision a white-haired, scraggly bearded, cigarette- and whiskey-ravaged old folkie behind all those weary songs of loss and misfortune. Consequently, seeing Whitmore on stage can be disorienting at first; there's an incongruity between the young, handsome, tattooed, banjo-wielding man and the deep husky voice, old-time vibrato, and heavy backwoods drawl transmitting from the PA every time he sings into the microphone. But therein lies the magic of Whitmore's music—it's compelling to hear such a world-worn voice coming from someone still so fresh in his years. BRIAN COOK

Ancient Warlocks, the Tom Price Desert Classic, Valis, Killer-Dillers

(Funhouse) Three weeks ago, I gushed about Seattle stoner-rock band Ancient Warlocks. As soon as I read my own mention of them living up to the Black Sabbath comparisons thrown their way, I started to get nervous. Those are big fucking shoes to fill. Every NBA basketball player who's ever been compared to Michael Jordan has either fallen straight on his face, careerwise, or fizzled out slowly, never living up to the daunting expectations. I couldn't do that to these dudes. So, let's get this straight: No, Ancient Warlocks aren't the next Black Sabbath. They're just the first Ancient Warlocks—groove-centered melodies, doomy riffs, howling vocals and all. Openers the Tom Price Desert Classic play a catchier brand of dirt-caked garage rock, and local music heads might recognize Valis bassist/frontman Van Conner from his time in Screaming Trees. KEVIN DIERS

Saturday 10/22

Mudhoney, Hot Bodies in Motion, Thee Emergency, Lovesick Empire

(Neumos) See Stranger Suggests.

City Arts Fest: Capsula, Whalebones, Stag, Rose Windows

(Comet) See preview.

Death Cab for Cutie, the Head and the Heart

(KeyArena) I will knife fight anyone who dismisses or disses Death Cab for Cutie because they're successful. The opening band might be called the Head and the Heart, but DCFC have been adeptly chronicling how those two body parts interact (or don't) since I was gobsmacked by their first single about 14 years ago. I had the pleasure of working with them early on and watching them grow into the juggernaut that they deserve to be, and their success has always come on their own terms and they always create music that somehow manages to simultaneously massage your cranium and pull at your heartstrings. Am I bummed that they're playing KeyArena instead of my friend's living room? Personally, sure. But I'm beyond stoked that a group of guys this smart, nice, talented, and dedicated have captured the attention of so many people. Quality and integrity don't always get rewarded. It's nice to see it when it does. BARBARA MITCHELL

The Tudor Choir

(Blessed Sacrament Church) Look, early American aesthetics have a quiet side, a rocking-chair side. Shakers and Quakers! This choral concert, by one of Seattle's great choirs, is heavily Shaker. The words to the songs (mostly for unaccompanied voices) contain phrases such as "in restless wave" and "the eagle trees" and "one thing I have desired." (Just one thing!) There are settings to poems by women, and folk songs by men who opened taverns in order to host public singing lessons in New Hampshire in the 1700s—it ranges from transcendentalism to what certain Anglo types like to call "bawdiness." Additional topics will include Jesus, sheep, shepherds, and apples. JEN GRAVES

City Arts Fest: The Hold Steady, Grand Archives

(Neptune) The Hold Steady's latest record, Heaven Is Whenever, was a pile of blah (with the exception of "The Weekenders," which I like despite the fact it's about as interesting a rock song as anything Kings of Leon have done). That being said, I've cherished everything singer Craig Finn has touched since his days in Minnesota rock band Lifter Puller. Heaven Is Whenever falls short—way short—and the absence of Franz Nicolay's brilliant keyboard riffs is just the beginning of its problems. Still, the Springsteen-loving rock band has something to offer live. Their old stuff will make you party and dance, and watching Finn spaz around like the grown-up version of that kid in the documentary Spellbound who thinks he's a robot is ridiculously entertaining. MEGAN SELING

City Arts Fest: Male Bonding, Unnatural Helpers, Virgin Islands, the Fucking Eagles

(Chop Suey) From openers to headliners, this City Arts Fest lineup rocks hard and fast while planting tunes in your noggin you won't easily forget. The three support acts rank among the city's best at spiky, energetic rock. Male Bonding fly in from London courtesy of local juggernaut Sub Pop, in order to support their new Endless Now album. Last year in these pages I wrote about Male Bonding finding "a happy medium between scathing noise and shout-along melodicism, grinding out breathless anthems with remarkable economy and ramshackle nuance." Endless Now finds Male Bonding muting their previous full-length Nothing Hurts' amphetamine blur and smoothing its serrated edges, but the hooks still come flying fast and glorious. DAVE SEGAL

City Arts Fest: Blackalicious, Freestyle Fellowship, Hi-Life Soundsystem, Don't Talk to the Cops

(Showbox at the Market) LA's Freestyle Fellowship—MCs Aceyalone, Myka 9, Self Jupiter, and P.E.A.C.E.—released The Promise, their first full-length since 2001's Temptations, this Tuesday. But their limited release, cassette-only 1991 debut, To Whom It May Concern, a lo-fi 50-minute ride through a jazz-sampling odyssey of free-association rhymes and heady lyrical content, remains their crowning achievement. During a time when LA rap was ruled by the gangster-ass likes of N.W.A., Freestyle Fellowship stuck out as innovators, influencing every "lyrical" rapper from Busta Rhymes to Bone Thugs and paving the way for the "conscious/backpack rap" genre. Gift of Gab, the verbally dense MC half of headliner Blackalicious, definitely belongs in this indebted group. MIKE RAMOS

Sunday 10/23

Portishead, Thought Forms

(WaMu Theater) See Stranger Suggests and preview.

Radio Moscow, Hobosexual, the Flying Eyes, Mystery Ship

(Comet) Do you pine for psychedelic blues rock in the vein of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Blue Cheer, and the MC5? Ames, Iowa's Radio Moscow possess big, fuzzy riffs, a drummer who makes the full use of his toms, and a vocalist who may or may not have time traveled here from the Summer of Love. This is some sprawling stuff, and while it's all expertly executed, Radio Moscow's songwriting could use some editing. Still, this should be a rock blowout. You might as well go for Hobosexual anyway. GRANT BRISSEY

Skrillex, 12th Planet, Two Fresh, Nadastrom

(WaMu Theater) See Data Breaker.

Roger Daltrey Performs The Who's Tommy

(KeyArena) Tommy is a lovable 1969 rock opera, but who is going to shell out the long green ($37.50–$123) to witness singer Roger Daltrey try to replicate it—as well as do some non-Tommy Who classics? Affluent boomers and their offspring, most likely. The band members Rog has enlisted to execute this massive undertaking don't ring any bells, except for cocreator Pete Townshend's younger bro, Simon, on guitar. (By the way, Pete supports the endeavor.) But, as Tommy was never performed in its entirety when the Who were together, this tour does serve a purpose, and the songs remain magnificent examples of Townshend's ambitious orchestral arranging and ability to pen both intimate and bombastic indelible melodies. And the outlandish tale about a deaf, dumb, and blind boy who goes on to lead a messianic movement with his supple-wristed pinball wizardry is whimsical yet inspirational; just try not to get swept away by the climactic "We're Not Gonna Take It." DAVE SEGAL