THURSDAY 7/25

CRÈME BLUSH, THE FITNESS
(Re-bar) Because this show is at Pho Bang, I have to mention what an excellent job Jackie Hell and Ursula Android did screeching about dead babies and rubbing blood on themselves during the Capitol Hill Block Party the other weekend. I'm sure this Re-bar event will include more crass humor, food frottage, and ad-libbed magic. Musical guests for Pho Bang this week include the Fitness, who dress in workout gear to ramp up their rock, and Crème Blush, a New York electro act whose kitschy music reminds me of the slow Jan Hammer-scored scenes from Miami Vice. JENNIFER MAERZ


FRIDAY 7/26

BLACK KEYS
(Chop Suey) See Stranger Suggests page 29.

"THE FLOCK OF DJ" PRESENTS: DURAN DURAN VERSUS THE CURE
(I-Spy) Cover bands dedicated to the new-wave era--proof that the '80s are hanging around longer than that last party guest who refuses to take a hint at 4 am--continue to linger in Seattle clubs. But I can vouch for the musicians involved in paying tribute to the Reagan years this time: Members of the Briefs and Harvey Danger join some band called the Downsound to revisit the days of "Rio" and "Why Can't I Be You." According to I-Spy, these '80s events have been really popular lately, so if you're a fan, you won't be alone. Let's hope whoever plays Roger Taylor doesn't get cursed with the drummer's nervous breakdown. JENNIFER MAERZ

JAMPAC BENEFIT: WHAM COVERS
(Crocodile) Okay, you didn't believe me about this whole '80s thing? Here's more proof: The Crocodile is also having a tribute to our musical past, but their evening will center on the fey wonders that were Wham. In a benefit for JAMPAC, the Croc is crossbreeding members of the Divorce, Tagging Satellites, the Popular Shapes (who I love), and New York electro act Crème Blush (see Thursday), along with performers such as the talented Kurt B. Reighley and It's Mark Mitchell. Shimmery eye shadow and flavored lip gloss not included. JENNIFER MAERZ

MIDNIGHT THUNDER EXPRESS, LAST OF THE V8'S
(The Comet) After taking a little break from local shows to tour the U.S., Midnight Thunder Express return to rock Seattle. Their new disc sways between glam and garage, sticking mostly with the harder stuff as frontman Willie Crane shows off his husky vocal talents. JENNIFER MAERZ

THE SPEEDLES
(Fremont UNconventional Centre) I've never seen the Speedles, so I can't vouch for the music, but I can tell you this about the band: They dress up in colored wigs and ties and play Beatles songs at twice the speed. The top part of their press release asks us to "picture Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols playing 'Yesterday.'" The bottom part of their press release says, "Beer will only be 75 cents a glass." Now that's something. JENNIFER MAERZ


SATURDAY 7/27

KINSKI, AEREOGRAMME, SELDOM, THE NORTH MAGNETIC
(Graceland) After an extended break to finish recording and solidify a lineup change, Kinski are back--and the rumor is that the new album contains at least a couple of reggae slow jams and a Black Flag cover. If you believe that, I'd like to talk to you about funding my online music company.... What is true is that Kinski are finally returning to action, with a new drummer, new material, and a reported deal in the works with Sub Pop. While you'll have to wait a few months to be able to play that album through your own headphones, you can celebrate the band's reemergence tonight by immersing yourself in the thundering sonic ocean that is their live show and thanking your lucky stars that Seattle is home to one of the most gripping, powerful live bands out there today. BARBARA MITCHELL

IN THE DRINK
(Rendezvous) I'm relieved the Rendezvous is back, even if it is under new management (the folks who brought you the OK Hotel)--and not just because the drinks are notoriously strong, but because of the venue's history of hosting free shows by underground acts like In the Drink on a nightly basis. Singer/guitarist Jason Sumner, former Modest Mouse violinist Tyler Reilly, bassist Colby Kenfield, keyboardist Kim Hunter, and drummer Joel Parkhurst make up this moody-but-not-melancholy rock band, and together they navigate the eldritch territory between Nick Cave's haunting ballads and the Waterboys' folk rock poetry. Reilly provides the mournful strings for Sumner's world-weary voice and post-punk guitar melodies, and the duo drives the group's Old West gothic sound on songs like "In Precise Design," a mysterious dirge full of antediluvian dust and sweet sorrow. It's an ideal soundtrack for a twilight drive down a lonely desert highway. DAVID SLATTON

ROSIE THOMAS, DJ DAMIEN JURADO
(Café Venus) As a singer/songwriter, Sub Pop's Rosie Thomas is an instantly engaging talent. Her poignant songs--defined by her childhood experiences--are touching without ever becoming cloying. Vocally, she resembles the powerful grace of Emmylou Harris, unless she's slipped into the role of her comic alter ego Sheila, the neckbrace- and glasses-wearing dork with a narcissistic streak a mile wide. Sub Pop labelmate Damien Jurado hosts this night of anything-goes talent. KATHLEEN WILSON

RICHARD BUCKNER, JOHN VANDERSLICE, RICHMOND FONTAINE
(Crocodile) With the recent release of the band's fourth full-length, Winnemucca (fifth if you count Whiskey, Painkillers and Speed, the live album), Portland's Richmond Fontaine have made a near-perfect album for those who appreciate songs that play out like short stories. Singer/lyricist Willy Vlautin writes of ragged, broken characters whose lives are wasted in the most run-down of Reno's casinos and those who have fled to the Pacific Northwest in hopes of escaping the demons that are damned to follow wherever they go. Backed by guitar, bass, drums, and pedal steel, Richmond Fontaine create a sound that's too influenced by punk, the Replacements, and Hüsker Dü to be called alt country, but encompasses enough bittersweet Americana to appeal to a wide audience. KATHLEEN WILSON.

BILLY IDOL
(Pier 62/63) I've never seen Billy Idol live, and the fact that the guy wants the press to use photos of him from the '80s just cracks me up... but to give you a taste of what this show could hold in store, I asked my good friend Monica, who saw the white-haired wonder last year at the Bridge School Benefit, for a report: "While I wasn't sure what to expect from Billy, I was amazed at his performance and found myself telling all of my friends how incredible he was after the show. He had the entire audience on their feet with fists pumping in the air. The crowd was deafening as all of the obvious children of the '80s sang along to "White Wedding," "Rebel Yell," "Sweet Sixteen," "Eyes Without a Face" and "Cradle of Love." There you have it. JENNIFER MAERZ

JOHN VANDERSLICE
(Sonic Boom, Ballard) On the heels of his most recent LP, Life and Death of an American Fourtrack, San Francisco multitask master Vanderslice returns to Seattle for a two-shows-in-one-day stand. Fourtrack is a nominal concept album, but its songs, which include a few of the best of JV's career (especially the majestic "The Mansion") and feature lyrical collaborations with John (Mountain Goats) Darnielle and William (not to be confused with Robert) Blake, stand alone. Since Vanderslice opts for a rotating band lineup, it's hard to know what the Crocodile show will bring, but this Sonic Boom appearance bodes well for foregrounding the beautiful, fatalistic tunes themselves. RANDY OCTOGENARIAN


SUNDAY 7/28

RADAR BROTHERS, TERROR SHEETS
(Graceland) See preview page 51.

LOVE, ARTHUR LEE
(EMP) Love. Live? HERE? Fucking right! Sixties psychedelic HERO Arthur Lee is finally outta the lock-up and getting ON it! Yes, O-N I-T... so much so I ain't heard anything about the live action except, "I saw Love. Shit, man (BIG inhale)... GODDAMN." Nice... Lee and company is cookin'! Backing him are his long-loving friends, Baby Lemonade... who, for all intents and purposes, are LOVE... since from 1969-ish Lee has fronted different lineups as Love. Cool? Now, if you've never dug Love, dig 'em, their catalog's stunning!! They established a stirring identity, breaking LOTS of "musical ground" in a short time. For that reason their first three LPs--Love, Da Capo, and Forever Changes--are absolutely essential, AND have just been remastered and reissued! So, please, buy them records and GO see Arthur!!! After this, who knows when the next time some Lovin' might come 'round. MIKE NIPPER


MONDAY 7/29

FREEDOM FROM SUMMER TOUR w/MAMMAL, NEON HUNK, HAIR POLICE
(Graceland) Imagine having nightmares of Teletubbies on Ferris wheels after subsisting on Pixy Stix, Red Bull, and LSD for a week. Milwaukee's Neon Hunk would be the perfect soundtrack to your Technicolor trip, with their drum-and-synthesizer noise porn--a collection of carnival video-game collisions, eerie cheers, and generally cacophonous style. Hair Police continue the wily assault, with instrumental pileups on every song, while feedback and white noise squirm through tracks like maggots through shit. These Kentucky kids even tinker with toys to make their low-fi junk punk clamber. Part arty performance, part test of your patience for extended sound orgies, HP's instrument mangling is often compared to the two big Pussies (Harry and Galore). With tourmates like these, one can only assume that Detroit's Mammal has a keyboard collection that will continue the construction work on your skull. JENNIFER MAERZ See also Stranger Suggests, page 29.

CHER, CYNDI LAUPER
(KeyArena) Though the gays call her an icon (television gays, anyway), Cher is the first female performer I ever followed with dogged attention. From the early Beat Goes On and Sonny and Cher Show days--the latter taught me about divorce and about how to clap without chipping your nail polish--to the gloriously gossip-laden relationships with Gregg Allman, Gene Simmons, and that bagel boy Rob Camilletti, to Sonny's untimely death and the acceptance of daughter Chastity's lesbian lifestyle and son Elijah Blue's crappy band Deadsy, teeny Cher has shown that all one needs to roll with the punches is an unlimited supply of wigs and a good plastic surgeon. I agree wholeheartedly with her philosophy, and plan on weathering the next 20 years with a flip of the hair and a nip of the eyebags as soon as it's warranted. Aside from all that, however, I hear Cher makes her entrance at the beginning of the show perched upon a real live elephant. And the last time Cyndi Lauper was in town, she got ID'd at the Crocodile, so she must be getting a leg up on ol' Mother Nature, too. KATHLEEN WILSON

ONELINEDRAWING, JUPITER SUNRISE, FLYING OR FALLING, NEVER AGAIN
(Paradox) Omigawd! Onelinedrawing? You guys, we have to go to this show! I just read about him in August's issue of Seventeen magazine and he's super cute and he sounds really super great! They said he was "super passionate, folky, acoustic guitar rock." I'm totally into romantic guys like that! And in the same issue, Seventeen had these totally cute kids modeling a totally cute new style called emo! We should try this emo thing out, you know? Get all dressed up for the show, since Seventeen also said Onelinedrawing was totally emo. Which is a bonus, because apparently all emo boys wear glasses, and I just love it when a guy wears glasses! Totally! MEGAN SELING


TUESDAY 7/30

MJ COLE, MERLIN
(I-Spy) See preview page 57.

BEN KWELLER, MY MORNING JACKET, PONY LEAGUE
(Graceland) Like fellow tunesmiths Damien Jurado and David Bazan, My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James is capable of reducing even the most stoic listener into a useless, blubbering mass of nostalgia. On At Dawn, the Louisville five-piece's sophomore record, his reverb-drenched, Neil Young-stained vocals penetrate on an unusually visceral level; they seem to dive directly into one's chest, find a submerged memory, and drag it kicking and screaming to the surface. The longing produced is inconsolable and unquenchable--the way a child feels when separated from her security blanket or from his mother's breast. The band has apparently been honing its rock chops on tour, but it's a good idea to prepare for the worst. I'm planning to be in the front row, weeping copiously and shamelessly clutching a handful of soggy tissues, pining for things I misplaced years ago. TIZZY ASHER

LOGIQUE, UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL, NONPARIELYX, MISTA OCTOBER, KUTCROME, DJ VITAMIN D
(Noc Noc) Last week I wrote that Silent Lambs Project was the first conscious or real hiphop band in Seattle, and for the most part that is true. But there are some exceptions, one of whom is DJ Vitamin D, whose sound laboratory, the Pharmacy, has produced some of the most iridescent beats in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, if he's not credited as a producer on a local CD, I'm reluctant to buy it, as Vitamin D is a capable, talented artist. CHARLES MUDEDE


WEDNESDAY 7/31

DANZIG
(EMP Sky Church) See preview page 55.

THE BEAT JUNKIES, SPECIAL T
(Nation) The Beat Junkies come from the current capital of underground hiphop, Los Angeles. They're a turntable crew, but not like San Francisco's Invisibl Skratch Piklz or New York's X-Ecutioners. The Beat Junkies, who mixed the Soundbombing 2 disc, are much closer to the radio DJs from the early '80s, like KISS FM's DJ Chuck Chill Out, WBLS's Marley Marl, and WHBI's World Famous Supreme Team. Indeed, the full title of the crew is World Famous Beat Junkies, and with good reason. Like many of L.A.'s underground crews (the Nonce, Lootpack, Jurassic 5, Planet Asia, and so on), their approach to hiphop is not futuristic but traditional. If the Invisibl Skratch Piklz are genetically engineered freaks from the year 3000, then the World Famous Beat Junkies are robots from an era that dreamed of "Breakin' in Space" (1984, Keymatic). CHARLES MUDEDE

THE DIVORCE, THE THERMALS, WE WROTE THE BOOK ON CONNECTORS
(Crocodile) Portland's Thermals have only played a couple shows together and produced a five-song demo, but already they've got an excellent live act down (and attracted a fair amount of sniffing around from Sub Pop). Sounding like a messier Guided by Voices meets a more spastic Wire (and featuring a guitarist from Kind of Like Spitting), the Thermals are fronted by a wiry beanpole of a singer who rolls his eyes and jerks around as he yells out high-pitched commands to ignore cultural icons. The music is super-catchy in a raw pop kinda way, and I highly recommend checking out this show. JENNIFER MAERZ

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