THESE DAYS, CORIN TUCKER CAN'T SNEEZE without all of Seattle singing Gesundheit. These pages in particular have witnessed some rather voluminous and lovey-dovey doting on the phenomenally talented Sleater-Kinney alumni. We heart Corin (and Carrie, and Janet), we love her awesome band, and we're absolutely smitten with the wonderful things she does.

So why devote yet more hyperbolic press to her band Cadallaca? It's simple. The enormity of our crush cannot be overstated, nor stifled, and after all, we've just caught sight of her again.

Wednesday night's Showbox performance was staged not in the capacious showroom, but in the more intimate front lounge. The tighter setting, while indeed a squeeze for the jostling crowd, engendered an atmosphere of crackling, close-knit anticipation. Faster Tiger inaugurated the evening with a set of jangly repartee-style pop; the three members trading and often intertwining vocal lines. The three-way lyrical interplay and dynamic instrumentation gave a competitive intensity to the songs; live, the individual members seemed to push and pull each other into a tentative (in a good sense) discovery of each moment.

Then Pedro the Lion hauled their toe-gazing asses onto the stage, and proceeded to rumble through a set of hypnotic, hard-driving but pretty tunes, which rarely veered from a standard tempo and structure: slow, meandering and melodic. Pedro laid down a solid, engaging set of undifferentiated and overdriven emotional fuzz. They have a good (if somewhat primitive) thing going, if you go for their sort of thing.

Then came Cadallaca. What can I say? Tucker, in her fabulous wedge bouffant and chunky sling-back pumps, was riveting. Song after electrifying song, her unique guitar stylings were superbly articulated, and her singing was full of undiluted emotion; those honed, falsetto vocals resonated with a shrill strength and clarity. She's great.

But the real surprise was Cadallaca's execution as a unit. This is no quickie, quirky side project; they are a full-fledged and purposeful trio--the Ronettes with a vengeance. Cadallaca's set was fierce and focused. The unified power they exhibited--and the obvious assurance and fun they had doing so--was fantastic. Sarah Dougher's command of the keyboard and her urgent vocal delivery proved to be the perfect foil to Tucker's distinct contributions. Dougher's a thrilling performer. And sts is a perpetual motion machine on the drum kit, pinning everything down with a steady, galloping beat. My companion at the show, a Cadallaca fanatic, thought the new songs were even better than the material on Introducing Cadallaca.

The entire evening exceeded some already high expectations. It started well and built to a quick, exhilarating crescendo. That's a rare, good thing.

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