THURSDAY 12/5


90 DAY MEN, GLASS CANDY AND THE SHATTERED THEATRE, SICK BEES, THE HIGH STRUNG
(Crocodile) See preview, page 47.

EXPANSIONS w/DJ RIZ
(Liquid Lounge) Shortly after Portishead (1994) and Tricky (1995) introduced many of us in Seattle to European triphop, Riz, who had been spinning hiphop and funk at the Re-bar and other venues, embraced the new mutations of Jamaican, New York, Detroit, and London sounds, and began playing it on the then-KCMU program Expansions with DJ Nasir. DJ Riz became the city's guide to the electronic underground, to early Thievery Corporation, Dub Tone, and Fila Brazillia. He continues to spin mutant hiphop on KEXP, despite its being popularized by Moby and AT&T and automobile commercials. CHARLES MUDEDE

PLAN B, GRAND BUFFET, LOVEMAKERS
(Graceland) Someone (namely, the San Francisco Bay Guardian) made the mistake of telling the Lovemakers that they were the Bay Area's "sexiest band," a statement that has been royally inflating their heads ever since. Beaching themselves just as the synth-revivalist wave begins to crest, the Lovemakers chart a thin map of lazy boy-girl vocals and rudimentary programming, samples of moaning women, and shtick that extends itself to song titles such as "Kiss Me" and "We Should Be Taking Our Clothes Off." It's electro-nouveau, watered down with acetone and dressed up in a tight skirt. But, you know, if that's your sort of thing.... ZAC PENNINGTON

HEM, THE BLESSED LIGHT
(Sunset) The Blessed Light comes in two versions, compelling acoustic and gorgeous electric--the latter fully deserving of the band's chosen moniker. Singer Toby Gordon's voice is crystalline and earnest, and the band is much bigger than the sum of its parts. KATHLEEN WILSON

FRIDAY 12/6


THE COUP, BAHAMADIA, MEDUSA
(Evergreen State College) Despite being in the rap business for six years, and receiving lots of high praise from trendy magazines around the world, Bahamadia has produced very little. She only has one full-length CD, Kollage (1996), which is hard to find, and an EP, BB Queen (2000), which is a flawless work of transnational hiphop. Part of the reason for this impoverishment has to do with the fact that since the end of the Afrocentric movement in hiphop--it concluded brilliantly with Queen Latifah's Black Reign (1993)--black women rappers who do anything besides being bad/big-ass bitches are utterly (if not cynically) ignored by the recording industry. Even the supposedly creative Missy Elliott pays her bills by supplying white America with sonic spectacles of the hypersexual black bitch--the black woman who is repeatedly crude about her "chocha's" needs. It's not that Bahamadia is not sexy, but she is more about being an MC rather than what singer/saxophonist Norma Jean Bell once called "the baddest bitch in the room." CHARLES MUDEDE

DEFIANCE, BROKEN SOCIETY, THE HOLLOW POINTS
(Paradox) After eight years of touring internationally and releasing several records, Portland punk quartet Defiance are still toiling at the selvage of pissed-off political hardcore, recently celebrating their eighth CD, Out of the Ashes, on Punk Core Records (also home to the Casualties). It's full of tight, speedy, and electrified hardcore punk, with deep roots in the old school but having hella-timely lyrics: "Who's the fucking terrorist? Is it you or is it me? Or is it those in power who fuel the capitalist disease?" With Ashes, they're not forging new ground, of course, but neither are they shitting on the road already paved. Defiance's activist message matches their tough riffs and anthemic, gritty vocals. JULIANNE SHEPHERD

the LONG WINTERS, JESSE SYKES & THE SWEET HEREAFTER, WINIFRED E. EYE, AMY BLASCHKE
(Chop Suey) Jesse Sykes has the perfect voice. It expresses longing, heartbreak, and existential loneliness with powerful understatement. Like Emmylou Harris in her Elite Hotel period with a half-a-pack-a-day habit or Cat Power's Chan Marshall on the right meds, Sykes has a silvery voice that frays in just the right places. Her noir-country on her excellent debut, Reckless Burning, is shaped with collaborator Phil Wandscher (Whiskeytown's best and most modest guitarist) and it carves out its own unique niche. The first three songs alone show the range within her consistent sound. From the molasses-slow unraveling of the title track to the mournful banjo of "Doralee" to the soaring ode to heartbreak on "Lonely Still," Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter find every shade of blue and discover redemption in looking loss right in the eye. Live, Sykes is a quiet storm, filling a room with her atmospheric songs and transforming the crowd. Standing around in a bar, hearing the gorgeous melancholy of "Drinking with Strangers" is as perfect as a moment can be. NATE LIPPENS

THE TURN-ONS, MS. LED, PETER PARKER, THE PEELS
(Crocodile) The Turn-Ons bring back a bit of the swinging '60s with their organ-laced pop and side-stage film shows of spliced icons and go-go dancers. Ms. Led is the former Leslie Wood, and with her new name comes a new sound. Boisterous and brassy, Ms. Led is in the vein of the Rotten Apples, Elastica, and a less abrasive Sleater-Kinney. The indefatigable Peter Parker still relies on smarty-pants power pop, and I've yet to catch the Peels. Sorry. KATHLEEN WILSON

ARRINGTON DE DIONYSO, WHEN BELLS BREATHE
(Polestar Music Gallery) Take the nonsensical fervor of Old Time Relijun, strip it naked of any attempt at congruent pop structure, and you've got a pretty clear idea what to expect from frontman Arrington de Dionyso's solo performance: namely, utter bewilderment. But in a good way. That same OTR enthusiasm, as channeled through free-jazz-inspired bass clarinet, vocal drone, and, well, just about anything in the general vicinity. It's not for the faint of heart, but if you're one of those "expect-the-unexpected" of folks, de Dionyso might just be right up your alley. ZAC PENNINGTON

MONSTER DEFIANCE HEADQUARTERS, THE QUARTERHORSE, DYPAK
(2nd Avenue Pizza) For god's sake, bring the earplugs to this show! The Quarterhorse are a loud Olympia outfit that drag sludgy punk, screaming and hollering, through the dense structures of walloping bass lines. The last time I saw them play locally was also at 2nd Avenue Pizza, and their skill for creating droning, thick-as-fuck noise bored some serious holes in my hearing. Definitely check them out (especially their recent CD, I Was on Fire for You--it's so good) if you like your punk heavy. Monster Defiance Headquarters use static, feedback, knob-twiddling, radio programs, televisions, and other odds and ends to fuse humor with end-of-the-earth, push-you-to-your-breaking-point NOISE. JENNIFER MAERZSATURDAY 12/7


PETE KREBS, MIA DOI TODD, SAETA
(I-Spy) Recently returned from a European sojourn and celebrating the success of I Know It by Heart, his latest record with the Gossamer Wings, Pete Krebs, the former (and you never know about reunions) leader of such Northwest mainstays as Hazel, Golden Delicious, and the aforementioned GWs, will play a solo set following an hour-long interview on KEXP's local music show at 6 pm. Happy coincidence sees to it that Krebs' former Hazel bandmate, Jody Bleyle, will also be in town this weekend, playing a show with her new band, Family Outing, Sunday at the Crocodile. Can a duet of Prince and Sheena Easton's "U Got the Look" be far behind? SEAN NELSON

SAUL WILLIAMS, URBAN SCRIBES PROJECT, MIDNIGHT ECLIPSE
(Chop Suey) See preview, page 47.

THE FAKES
(Orpheum Records) The Fakes immediately bring to mind my days riding the middle school bus in 1983: sketchy heshers in the back passin' around a joint, scrawling AC/DC logos on the green vinyl seats, playing "War Pigs" over and over on a crappy boom box--Ozzy's voice defying the decaying cassette and dying D batteries. I wasn't very cool back then, sitting way up front in my mom-approved corduroys, worrying if the contact buzz might throw me off my first-period math quiz. So now it's awesome to hear esteemed-producer-about-town Martin Feveyear, who worked on the Fakes' self-released debut EP, Pretty Larceny, say of the band, "These guys are so fucking uncool that they're cooler than hell." It's true--no retro-garage revivalism, no bored-emo-hipster bullshit, just big, chugging, devil-horned, over-the-top-and-proud rawk, enough to make you wanna sketch their skull logo on a Metro bus seat. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

ONE MAN ARMY, THE EXPLOSION, MAD CAP, AMAZOMBIES
(Graceland, early) Like the Distillers (but minus the Brody Armstrong female factor), Boston's Explosion mix fresh-faced social commentary with old-school punk and singsong choruses. There's definitely a class of '77 feel to these guys; they have been compared to the Clash, the Sex Pistols, and Sham 69, and they espouse liberal, screw the man/think for yourself philosophies to quick-tempoed punk. After having seen them play live, I can vouch that their shows are just as energetic as their records (all three of which came out in 2000), and say this is definitely my pick tonight for the snotty, spiky, and socially aware. Also on the bill are Green Day prodigies One Man Army, who keep the melodies going for the working-class punk. JENNIFER MAERZ

BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY, sleep, sons of the ghetto, guests
(Showbox) Discovered by the late Easy (Easy Access) E of the legendary L.A. crew NWA, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony represent Cleveland, Ohio. During the mid-'90s, their rapid rap style was severely bitten by every wack MC from Seattle to Miami. Though their new CD is ridiculously called Thug World Order, they are not hardcore gangsta rappers but "poetic hustlas." Indeed, literary American English departments, language arts institutions, and so on should recognize "1st of tha Month" as a modern masterpiece of poetry (not floetry--how I loathe that expression). The Kruder & Dorfmeister remix of "1st of tha Month" on K&D Session pt. 1 is as good as the original. CHARLES MUDEDE

SUNDAY 12/8


THE FAKES, BEAT SENSELESS, BEARSKIN RUGBURN
(Sit & Spin) See Saturday's preview.

"TEAM BENT" featuring V FOR VENDETTA, FAMILY OUTING, KING COBRA, THE DARK PLACES, ENEMY KITE, KREMLIN
(Crocodile) See preview, page 43.

AUTOMATON, AKIMBO, NEW MEXICANS, BLUE SKY MILE
(Graceland) Automaton's latest CD, Clarions and Banners, is a compilation of stunning post-rock beauty, with dirgy melodies ripping through the slow-moving rhythms of the songs. There is a somber, desolate touch to many of these 12 tracks, brought further to the surface with a hint of cello or the haunting call of a trumpet. The CD is as full of fire as it is of ice, though, and the intensity heats up between softer numbers into more driving emotions. This show, a benefit for Ladyfest Seattle, was wise to include as well the hardcore metal noise of Akimbo and the tightly wound math rock of New Mexicans. JENNIFER MAERZ

BRAD, PEARL JAM, STEVE EARLE
(KeyArena) After a long career and a longer life filled with dead ends and demons, Steve Earle's singer/songwriter instincts are sharp and unforgiving, with hard-won truths and dull aches wrapped around every phrase. In Homeland Security Act America, records like his September release, Jerusalem, will likely be rounded up into a pile and lit aflame, so before the new Gestapo starts tightening the screws, be sure to hide extra copies of it under the floorboards. Sorrowful, sometimes hopeful, and genuinely provocative, Jerusalem has the nerve to look inward, trying to find explanations and come to grips with all that ails us in the aftermath of That Day. Despite their continuing inability to put together a cohesive disc, Pearl Jam are still hell on wheels as a live band, so by all means go see them even though KeyArena sucks shit as a live venue. By the time they tear up the stage, however, it may seem a little redundant; Earle's own ferocious playing and scathing lyrics may have already done the job. MATTHEW COOKE

MONDAY 12/9


MUDHONEY, PEARL JAM
(KeyArena) It's good to see Mudhoney playing the KeyArena. This show, like Sunday's show, is a benefit for various nonprofits, so even though beers are a frightening seven bucks, your money goes to a good cause. If you're already planning on heading to the big stadium to see Pearl Jam, though, I recommend this lineup out of the two nights, because Mudhoney are one of Seattle's best, most enduring acts from the days before Eddie Vedder was fighting Ticketmaster (how long ago that feels now), and they deserve your money, attention, and respect more than any of the other opening acts. JENNIFER MAERZ

RHETT MILLEr, earlimart
(Chop Suey) "My friend is trapped in a hostile world," sings Rhett Miller on his topnotch new solo album. Me too--what with all this talk about war on Iraq and terrorist threats, plus creditors calling every single day (don't they know the economy is in the toilet?). That's exactly why The Instigator isn't straying far from my stereo--there's something really comforting about hearing Miller sing heartfelt (but not heartwrenching) songs about love gone right and love gone wrong. The Old 97s frontman shines like a beacon in the dark, offering the promise that even in these troubled times, only love can save the day. Innocent? Sure. Naive? No way. "I know the world's a bitch, don't get me wrong/You've gotta give the world the finger/You've gotta sing a happy song," he croons on "Nervous Heart." In times like these, it takes more courage to be an optimist than a pessimist. Positivity is the new negativity. Rhett Miller for president! BARBARA MITCHELL

TUESDAY 12/10


OZOMATLI, slowrider, dj vitamin d
(Showbox) Ozomatli are a multi-culti big band based in L.A. So far, they have released two CDs (Ozomatli, 1998; Embrace the Chaos, 2001), both of which mix hiphop with '70s big funk and salsa. Not all the band's songs are successful, but they attract some of the best rappers to their cause. Their last CD, Embrace the Chaos, has contributions from De La Soul and Common. For those who like their hiphop on a positive and global tip, this band was made just for you. CHARLES MUDEDE

WEDNESDAY 12/11


TIGERBEAT6 tour w/ cex, numbers, stars as eyes
(Baltic Room) See preview, page 44.

BLIND GUARDIAN, SYMPHONY X, guests
(Graceland) First described to me as the "power-metal Genesis" by my friend Nate, a scholar of metal and doom, I immediately special-ordered German metal band Blind Guardian's 1989 release, Battalions of Fear. Simply bleeding with D&D/Lord of the Rings references ("By the Gates of Moria," "Gandalf's Rebirth"), it in actuality sounded like four guys with a Master of Puppets cassette and their first flying V guitars (though, in retrospect, not a bad start at all). The "power-metal Genesis" part came later, with the release of 1998's Nightfall in Middle-Earth (hello, Tolkien) and 2002's A Night at the Opera. With theatrical time changes, operatic vocals, and a sheen of TOTAL AND UTTER TRIUMPH, Blind Guardian will power-metal your ass right into your chain mail and get you drunk on their soaring choruses of joy and Orc battles. You really can't ask anything more from a band whose singer cites Jesus Christ Superstar as his favorite record... of all time. JULIANNE SHEPHERD

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