THURSDAY 8/26

B-SIDE PLAYERS
(OK Hotel) The joint is sure gonna be caliente tonight as this mambo-mad, San Diego-based 10-piece spices their tasty Latin-dance grooves with plenty of funk! They can dish it out straight with the best of them but are at their most charismatic when the bass, electric guitar, keys, and horns get down on the one. Like L.A.'s Ozomatli, the B-Side Players ain't afraid to be themselves and make music that reflects their diverse California roots. Highly recommended. -- James Kirchmer

GZA
(RKCNDY) While I've almost given up all hope that the Wu Tang Clan and their various parts will ever again come up with anything as perfect as "C.R.E.A.M.," GZA's latest CD, Beneath the Surface, offers sturdy hope that the Clan parts will continue to flourish better in their solo outings than in their collective effort. GZA continues to flirt with overindulgence and filler (cut it already with the intros and outros and skits and gimme a real song), but at least the CD's got about four songs I wanna hear again. The live show could be a shaky proposition (the Clan's live shows left a bit to be desired, what with them being so goddamn stoned they can't even remember their own songs) but with local support from DJ B-Mello, Take 1, and the Silent Lambs Project you'll most likely end up with cake and icing. -- Riz Rollins

ENEMYMINE, BLOODY HOLLY, THUNDERWAER
(Breakroom) If you like loud then you probably remember godheadSilo, the loudest two-piece motherfucking band to emerge from the Northwest -- louder than even the Melvins. Enemymine is nearly as boisterous because it's led by former godheadSilo frontman Mike Kunka, who wrote the book on thudding, screeching, and making the most of an eight-string bass guitar. He's joined by second bassist and drummer Dan Sasaki. Bloody Holly features former members of Fluid. -- Kathleen Wilson

VOYAGER ONE
(Sit & Spin) I'll admit it. Half the reason I keep going to see Voyager One is that I'm still hoping and praying that My Bloody Valentine are eventually going to release another album. Or that the Verve will reform and perform material exclusively from Northern Soul and Storm in Heaven. Or that Spiritualized will come back with their full light show, Loop will reunite, or I'm eventually going to really like Spectrum or E.A.R. I'm a drone junkie. There, I said it. -- Barbara Mitchell

RICK SPRINGFIELD
(Emerald Queen Casino) Laugh if you want, but I'm told former soap opera heartthrob Rick Springfield puts on a great show. My friend Chad saw him on his last swing through town and said Springfield looked as hot as he did in Hard to Hold, and played the rock star just as he did in that movie, too, swinging his guitar around and getting all the ladies in the audience to scream for more. Of course, this night might be a little different because it all takes place on a casino boat, but if you're a single guy who likes 40ish women, your odds look pretty high. -- KW

BINGO, RICHMOND FONTAINE, LUTHER RUSSELL, RIO GRANDE NATIONALS
(Showbox) Though Tractor Tavern favorites Golden Delicious have broken up, fans of that distinctly American sound -- as in bluegrass -- should check out Bingo, led by GD singer Kevin Richey. Richmond Fontaine blends punk and country into some seriously heart-wrenching tunes. Formerly of the Freewheelers, folk-rocker Luther Russell sounds most like Joe Cocker and certainly not like the twentysomething, laid back guy he is. His band, Federale (featuring former Fabulous Thunderbird drummer Jimmy Bott and ex-Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford), probably won't be accompanying him tonight but that's just fine because Russell's solo stuff, which can be heard on his album Lowdown World, is riveting in its own right. -- KW


FRIDAY 8/27

LOS LOBOS
(Crocodile) Back when Ricky Martin was still pulling his pito backstage at Menudo concerts, Los Lobos was proving that Latino music can be much more than lip-syncing and ass-filled choreography. For 20 years Los Lobos has been muscling out a blend of mariachi, norte, blues, and rock that draws on the group's Chicano heritage without overshadowing the originality of the music and the musicians. What's more, Los Lobos has a seemingly indefinite shelf life -- just look at the recent success of the Latin Playboys, a side project of Los Lobos members Louie Perez and David Hidalgo. Compare the endurance of their style of rock with that of other rock-hybrids that found their fame in the '80s, like kraut-rock, psychobilly, or cowpunk, and you'll begin to appreciate the grit and beauty of East L.A.'s finest rockers. -- Nathan Thornburgh

HIT EXPLOSION
(Fenix) It sort of makes sense. If you're only going to go out Friday or Saturday night, why waste your money seeing an artist that you only know one song by, or take the chance that the band is going to suck? Cover bands are a sure thing -- highly competent musicians performing not one but ALL of your favorite tunes. Hit Explosion are the Sure Thing of sure things, consistently delivering top-notch renditions of the hits to crowds full of weekend warriors. Now if only someone could explain Tequiza to me.... -- BM

KOFY BROWN
(Rain Dancer) Oakland, CA's Kofy Brown works the Lauryn Hill angle musically and the Ani DiFranco angle professionally. This is a CD release party for her album, Skinny and Tight, out on woman-owned Simba Music, and should provide a mellow, tripped-out hiphop/soul vibe. Also, Skinny and Tight is a funny title, and makes me think of those skinny-butt tight-asses who back Sir Mix-A-Lot (see above). This is the more promising of the two shows, 'cause at least she admits to being skinny and tight. -- EF

ANN & NANCY WILSON
(Benaroya Hall) Though it's just the two of them playing acoustic guitar and keyboard, Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson still managed to blow the roof off of ARO.space when they kicked off their current tour there earlier this summer. The gals played several new songs as well as old hits like "Dog and Butterfly," "Even It Up," and a roaring version of "Crazy On You." This seated, fancypants night at hoity-toity Benaroya Hall probably won't be as fun, but shouldn't disappoint, either. -- KW

REBECCA GATES
(E.J.'s, Portland) Possessing that cool demeanor and equally cool voice, Spinanes vocalist/guitarist Rebecca Gates has a loyal following despite the scarcity of her live performances. So the truly devoted are slightly in luck with this rare Northwest appearance in Portland, a mere two and a half hours away. -- KW


SATURDAY 8/28

JUNK RECORDS SHOWCASE
(Breakroom) Junk Records showcases the bands on its label with performances by the Dragons, Portland's the Weaklings (a band whose members are fond of lacerating themselves on stage), RC5, whom the Stranger's Mike Nipper calls "straightforward, fist-first, '76 punk and roll," (is that runk? poll?) and the Spitfires, who specialize in raw and gritty white trash power punk. -- KW

NEW JAKARTA ENSEMBLE
(On the Boards) Indonesian music's overall effect is already truly unique and this native ensemble goes even further out there with a non-traditional approach that incorporates a myriad of similarly ritualistic and/or modern elements (while still using many traditional instruments). Anyone who craves heightened states of sound (Terrence McKenna would absolutely love this stuff) will instantly identify with this intriguing seven-piece ensemble. Their new CD, Commonality, is perfectly titled. -- JK

PERFUME TREE
(ARO.space) Signed to World Domination following the major-label departure of Sky Cries Mary, you could almost be convinced that -- given Perfume Tree's visually-oriented show and soaring female vocals -- the powers that used-to-be had decided that they'd found the "new" SCM. Fortunately, Perfume Tree have continually carved out their own niche. Their past two albums have fleshed out their ethereal atmospherics with more electronic elements, adding depth and texture to an already intoxicating mix. -- BM

FIVE GEARS IN REVERSE
(Sit & Spin) Keep your eyes peeled for more on this recently relocated Bellingham band. They have an album about to be released on the similarly transplanted label, Montessaro, that -- if you want to argue the nature vs. nurture point -- might well combine the straightforward, harmony-laden pop of former Bellingham residents the Posies with the rollicking, off-kilter sensibilities of contemporaries Death Cab for Cutie. Do you think it's the water up there? -- BM

SUBSET/SOURCE OF LABOR
(Mural Amphitheater) We just can't say enough bad things about Subset. Were it not for Sir Mix-A-Lot, who unfortunately defers to the uncontrolled outbursts of peach-lovin' skinny-butts Chris Belew, Dave Dederer, and Jason Finn, we'd say stay home and watch the Weather Channel. There is more funk on the Weather Channel than onstage at a Subset show, but we keep hoping against hope that those ex-Presidents will shut their damn pieholes and let Mix-A-Lot flow all over "Baby's Got Back," just once, for old time's sake. They'll be nothing but a let-down after Source of Labor. -- Erin Franzman

WILLIS
(Crocodile) For the past year or so, Willis have been quietly packing Seattle clubs with their polite, weekend-warrior-friendly take on late '90s alternapop. If you're looking to inject a little bite into your Saturday night, you'll probably want to skip this show; however, if you're out for a listener-friendly experience that offers the professionalism and good-natured, hummable vibe of, say, Hootie and the Blowfish, this might be your ticket to paradise. -- BM


SUNDAY 8/29

GILLIAN WELCH
(Crocodile) Listening to Gillian Welch, it's almost impossible to believe that she's a contemporary artist. Her songs resonate with a timeless, almost Appalachian, bluegrass quality that belies the fact that she grew up in Los Angeles and just barely passed the big 3-0. Welch's voice embodies the quiet desperation and desolation of her material, making her latest album, Hell Among the Yearlings, the kind of music that will literally haunt you. -- BM

STEVE EARLE
(King Cat Theater) See Stranger Suggests.

SWINGIN' UTTERS/TEEN IDOLS/ CAUGHT RED HANDED
(RKCNDY) Omigod an all-ages punk show at RKCNDY! Well you could knock us down with a feather. When Seattle recovers from its collective gasp of surprise, we'll actually want to catch the Swingin' Utters, who've earned their punk pedigree touring with CIV, one of those bands that had radio hits as a result of the mad scramble to find "the next Green Day." Boy, those were the salad days of Cali punk. Caught Red Handed are suburban Seattleites described as "fast and hard," "intense," and "creating off-the-wall melodies." Um, excuse me, but that sounds like hardcore. -- EF


MONDAY 8/30

LEO MCNAMARA & BILL GALLAWAY
(Galway Arms Irish Pub) This show is shrouded in mystery. Who are these men? What do they play? Is it traditional Irish music? Leo McNamara and Bill Gallaway, if those are indeed your real names, break your silence and reveal your true identities. Every week we get a show calendar from Galway Arms Irish Pub and every week Leo and Bill play Monday nights. But we ask you, have we ever gotten the least bit of description? Have we ever heard the tiniest soundclip? Stranger readers, we have not. Are we being unreasonable? Consider this a plea. -- EF


TUESDAY 8/31

JAVON JACKSON QUARTET, FEATURING DR. LONNIE SMITH

(Jazz Alley, through Sunday)See Stranger Suggests.

PARINI, WELCOME, HEROIC TRIO
(Crocodile) Formerly of 66 Saints, Parini frontwoman Lisa Orth is one of this city's true rock queens, blending the looks of early Debbie Harry with the coy rock toughness of the Runaways. -- KW


WEDNESDAY 9/1

SOIREE DES FEMMES
(Backdoor Ultra Lounge) In the early days of dance music I saw a flyer for a rave in upstate New York. At the bottom, in red letters, it said, "WARNING: European style dance music may be slightly faster than American style dance music." In that spirit I present one of the winners of Press Release of the Week: "For women who prefer the company of women. Featuring sexy European music for 8-10 and guest lady DJs from 10-close. Soiree des femmes provides a plethora of hot female entertainment. Featuring guest lady DJs spinning sexy European music from 8-10 and dance music from 10-close...." WARNING: European style dance music may be slightly sexier than American style dance music. Ironically, this is probably loads of fun. DJ Linda Kennedy spins and "Belly Dancer Habib & dancers" perform. -- EF

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