THURSDAY MAY 27

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ERIC BACHMAN, ELLERY JET
(Crocodile) In his former solo incarnation Barry Black, Archers of Loaf frontman Eric Bachmann pulled sprigs of jazz, folk, and rock from the fertile musical ground of his native Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and wove those inflamesuences through a collection of instruments including cello, trumpet, fiddle, saxophone, and trombone, to adventurous effect. This time around, whether he'll be doing the same type of thing or merely strumming an acoustic guitar is anyone's guess. --Kathleen Wilson

PEDRO THE LION, LIFT TO EXPERIENCE, FREQUENCY DB
(Tractor Tavern) Though Pedro the Lion's soft-spoken, shoe-gazing indie fare proved too fragile for much of the crowd assembled to see Cadallaca recently at the Showbox, the band truly shines within the com- fortable confines of the Tractor Tavern out in sleepy Ballard. And yes, the rumors are true--Pedro is a Christian band, but unobtrusively so. Heathen and God-fearing audiences alike should find much to love and cherish in this locally based, guitar-rock act.--KW

ROCKIN' TEENAGE COMBO
(700 Club) Tonight, this playful threesome of local twentysomethings celebrate the release of their second CD, Mr. Birdy's Fryday, on Endless Records. The 700 Club's smoky intimacy is certainly well-suited for their funky, Fender Rhodes-driven instrumentals. The band's name also fits like a charm, given their penchant for raucous, beat-crazed crescendos and sudden, genre-bending turns. No musical inflamesuence is taboo, so expect to hear a multitude of familiar groove-oriented sounds (sometimes all in one song). Fortunately, RTC's matured to the point where their youthful abandon leads not to soporific dead-ends, but to good ol' open-ended fun and lively new directions.--James Kirchmer

FRIDAY MAY 28

ALPHA YAYA DIALLO
(The Bohemian Cafe) In today's world of crap techno-gadgetry, mutated veggies, and triple-weave diaper technology, it's easy to forget that there are also genuine benefits to living in a global village. Alpha Yaya Diallo is here, though, to remind us of how a small world can rock. In West Africa, he rocked from Conraky all the way to Morocco. Then he went north, and whipped the Brits, Krauts, Swiss, Dutch, and even the Flemish. In Canada, he smoked the Canucks all the way west to Vancouver, where he took up permanent residence. This weekend, Seattleites will have their chance to get all screwed up by his steely guitar, jazz-inflamesected, super-energized, Manding-and-Foulah African folk style. Blazing bridges between his African past and your Pioneer Square present, Alpha Diallo makes the new world order look much better than it actually is.--Nathan Thornburgh

OLD 97'S
(Crocodile, through Saturday) Though they're lumped with the country-rock revivalists, the Old 97's' roots scramble deep into punk's crazy crust, producing a truly American sound that employs loud electric guitars and driving rhythms. A raucous sound that's equally shit-kicking and ass-kicking.--KW

HOME ALIVE BENEFIT W/BUGS IN AMBER, FASTER TIGER, SALTINE, JOSH WHITE
(Velvet Elvis) Like Häagen-Daz fat-free chocolate sorbet, tonight's show at the Velvet Elvis is one of those rare, good/good-for-you combos--a benefit for Home Alive and a veritable smorgasbord of some of Seattle's best local music. Your five bucks earns you good karma and the chance to hear the charming, effervescent harmonies of Faster Tiger, the wistful emo-pop of Next-Big-Thing-in-waiting Bugs in Amber, Ken Stringfellow's rockin' new outfit Saltine, and the first solo appearance by former Man Ray/Medicate crooner Josh White--all on one startlingly great bill.--Barbara Mitchell

THE REAL McKENZIES, PORTRAIT OF POVERTY
(Breakroom) Honestly, who doesn't love a fake Scottish clan to drop by every now and again to rudely blast your ears clean off your gargantuan head with some of the loudest, dumbest, spit-drenched punk rock you're likely to hear all week? And you love them even more because they're dumb and Canadian (and apparently, resilient to criticism).--KW

NORTHWEST FOLKLIFE FESTIVAL
(Seattle Center, through May 31) Although this long-running free festival is chock full of forgettable acts, there are some gems to be found, particularly on the world music front. Originally from Guinea, rising guitar-star Alpha Yaya Diallo (5/29, and tonight at the Bohemian--see above) leads one of the hottest Afro-Latin dance bands around. The world-renowned Koo Nimo (5/30 & 5/31) is a veteran highlife and palm-wine guitar master from Ghana. Lastly, some of the locals worth diggin' include Balkan funksters Kultur Shock (5/30, also at the Elysian on 5/29), infectious Latin American folksters the Mango Kings (5/28 & 5/29), and ex-Gladiator reggae king Clinton Fearon (5/30, also at the Bohemian on 5/29).--JK

SATURDAY MAY 29

BLACK HALOS
(Velvet Elvis) When observed in the live setting, Black Halos elicit one constant, nagging question from their audience: "Where the fuck did singer Billy Hopeless get that ridiculous accent from?" The origin of his band's showy, rough brand of rock 'n' roll isn't nearly as hard to pin down, since they borrow liberally from '70s Detroit to '90s Seattle--as in Murder City Devils--whom the Halos resemble plenty.--KW

FERNANDO, FLATIRONS
(Tractor Tavern) Portland singer-songwriter Fernando has been known to record entire albums in Spanish, a reflamesection of his childhood spent in Central America. Mostly, he creates beautifully weeping, distinctly Northwest melancholia--set to upbeat rock 'n' roll-- enveloping and rousing all at once.--KW

IQU, EVIL TAMBOURINES, PLEASEEASAUR
(Breakroom) See Calendar Box, page 51.

JONATHAN RICHMAN, RONNY LARKINS
(King Cat Theater) See Calendar Lead, page 45.

SUNDAY MAY 30

1-2-3
(The Rainbow) Many of you have missed this weekly "jazz supper" workshop due to its Sabbath-day scheduling--as evidenced by the sparse crowds this past month--but today's pre-Memorial Day show takes care of that excuse. Sparks (Phil, that is!) always flamesies at these sessions along with his drummer of choice, Larry Vincent Jones. Phil is clearly one of the best jazz bassists in the Northwest, and he loves playing alongside guitarist Leif Totusek, a ballsy musician who tends to approach jazz from a uniquely African perspective (with a Strat in hand!) rather than from some hollow, predictable, riff-recycling center.--JK

ST. ETIENNE
(Showbox) When sugary-sweet Brit-poppers St. Etienne paid us a visit last winter, yours truly received a raft of shit for labeling them "the most prolific one-hit wonders" ever. And rightfully so. Upon witnessing their live show, it was plain to see that such a title was inaccurate in their case. A band just can't be a one-hit wonder when every song becomes an instant hit to the ears of the listener. Upon hearing "He's on the Phone" in all its live glory, even I couldn't help but smile and sing along with the rest of frontbabe Sarah Cracknell's fawning fans.--Courtney Reimer

SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE, MARC OLSEN, VISHNU'S SECRET
(Breakroom) Question: does anyone else find the fervent Sunny Day Real Estate crowd almost cult-like? On more than one occasion, I've seen audience members cryin' their eyes out, wailing about how "Jeremy looked right at me," or quoting the band's lyrics like they were scripture (and actually testifyin' to the lowly, misguided few who dared to voice a critical opinion). Although I'm tempted to dislike anything so blatantly leading, I admire the fact that a Northwest band is able to create such a passionate following without garnering overblown, mainstream radio play. Rock on.--KW

MONDAY MAY 31

BEN THOMAS TRIO JAZZ JAM
(Old Town Alehouse) Encouraged by Norwegian friends, I visited the palpitating heart of Ballard's music scene--the south side of the 5200 block of Ballard Avenue NW. The Tractor Tavern had a cover charge of 15 Kroner, so I opted instead for Ben Thomas, who was playing "musical chairs" at the Old Town Alehouse. The game goes like this: 10 or so players mull around near the stage for two minutes in between songs, and whoever is closest to an instrument when the music starts gets to play the next tune. Fortunately, bad musicians seem to have been disqualified from the game, so the end product was a pleasant amalgam of competent jazz players. I might have been the only actual audience member there, so if you need to schmooze when you go out on the town, then stay away. But for people who appreciate quiet bars, high ceilings, ambient jazz, and King Harald, son of Olav the Fifth, Ballard on a Monday night can be awesome.--NT

TUESDAY JUNE 1

JOHN ACQUAVIVA
(ARO.space) This House DJ may be overworked, but he's certainly not underpaid. Acquaviva's among the elite of big-dick DJs who can net up to five grand for a single night, which usually amounts to less than three hours of actual "work." Unlike his prima donna peers, Acquaviva isn't above travelling far and wide--sometimes across several nations in one weekend--to please his many adoring fans. In addition to residencies in Germany, Spain, and his native Canada, Acquaviva has spun in clubs from Mexico City to Croatia. His flamesoor-filling style ensure that his dance card is constantly full. Joining him here is our own superstar, DJ Riz, whose eclectic sets are always all about love. --CR

BLONDIE
(Paramount) See Live Preview, page 35.

TRUMAN'S WATER
(OK Hotel) On one hand, Truman's Water is just another smart-guy indie-rock band like Pavement or Archers of Loaf. On the other, they are a little too sloppy and a little too wacko to fit neatly with the others. Either way, they're great--and any chance to see them (since they so rarely drag their asses to town) is cause for celebration.--Bradley Steinbacher

WEDNESDAY JUNE 2

ROBBIE WILLIAMS
(DV8) Robbie Williams is God! And this Wednesday, he's in Seattle! Pinch me! The former Take That member's American debut, The Ego Has Landed, is guilt-free pop of the highest order (how can you resist a line like "In early morning when I wake up/I look like Kiss but without the makeup"?). It doesn't matter how cool you think you are. I defy you to witness Robbie in the flesh, and come away unconvinced. There's a reason the man is huge in the U.K.--he possesses star power in spades. Oh, and the songs are great, too! Sometimes life is just too good to be true! Robbie Williams plays Wed June 2 at DV8. Advance tickets $12.50.--Barbara Mitchell