( DJ Rap has gone from being a Page Three girl in her native U.K. to being a respected jungle DJ and producer. Her debut full-length, Learning Curve, won the attention of critics galore, but I have to say: Perhaps it's another kind of curve that's getting Charissa Saverio (a.k.a. DJ Rap) all that attention. If you wanna be taken seriously, then maybe cleavage shouldn't be a standard ingredient in your mixes. For Kenny Ken, on the other hand, respect is well-deserved. Last time he was in town, the local junglists nearly jumped out of their cargoes in awe of his masterful mixing. -- Courtney Reimer

(Jazz Alley) Regina Carter plays with the kind of fire that you might expect to hear from someone with something to prove. After all, the blanched world of mainstream jazz has not always been ready to take on young black women who play the violin. So Carter's strings burn with an intense desire to validate her sound for the '90s, and it's working. She has sat in with artists from Mary J. Blige to Billy Joel, and has managed to keep things straight-ahead enough to gain serious attention from the jazz community. Still, the violin remains too incongruous in the jazz setting, in my view, and unless you're a hardcore jazz fan or violin aficionado jonesing for something brand new, Carter's bold crossover moves may not give you anything to relate to. -- Nathan Thornburgh

(Crocodile) Imagine South Park's Cartman as a middle-aged perpetual adolescent, playing acoustic guitars and writing songs with his brother and then playing out his rock star dreams at open mic nights and you'll start to grasp the genius that is Tenacious D. The joke is -- although the D pepper their material with satanic references and gangsta-style fronting -- the music is still toe-tappin', almost folky, and contains some really great harmonies. It's musical comedy done by total professionals and guaranteed to work on any number of levels. -- Barbara Mitchell

(Showbox) What a perfect setting for this not-to-be-missed Cuban laud (a 12-stringed mandolin-like lute) player and his amazing 10-piece dance band. He is one of the stars of the Buena Vista Social Club, along with the endlessly charming Pio Leyva, one of his "piquete's" (family's) featured singers. Barbarito's longtime mastery of traditional styles (son, guaracha, changui, etc.), and genuine countryman soul may just change your life. A recent show found him suddenly playing behind his back and with his tongue, à la Jimi Hendrix, all the while ripping a wicked solo. -- James Kirchmer

(Tractor Tavern) Like Regina Carter, who will be waving a violin at the staid Jazz Alley crowd, Jaime Masefield of the Jazz Mandolin Project wants to cross over with his own stringed instrument. The only difference is that Masefield is playing a mandolin, the tinny, pear-shaped cousin of the lute and guitar, instead of the violin. The mandolin is a nice instrument for Renaissance fairs and Shakespearean hoedowns, but when it bites into some hard-bop jazz, it tends to sound like a jingle from Super Mario Brothers. Additionally, the band has the same vision as their friends, Phish: jam early and often, and hope that a musical gem will rise from the effluence. -- Nathan Thornburgh


(Puyallup Fair) Donna Summer is back, big-voiced and still a diva. She hasn't said anything nasty about AIDS and gay people lately, and that new-ish single ("for-ever and-ever this waaaaaay") that they're playing in discos and gay bars everywhere is just melodramatic enough to make your pathetic little heart melt. Besides, you gotta love her nasty, aging, post-disco ass, or you'll go to hell. God, and The Stranger, say so. -- Jeff DeRoche

(Art Bar) Lord Chillum wowed us spinning deep jungle at last weekend's house party at our friend's swanky new condo. With Sage freestyling over the beats, our upwardly mobile friends scuffed up the polished-wood floors shaking their BCBG-clad bodies. The bass was so heavy our sweating cup of Bombay and tonic nearly vibrated off the corner of the sleek and minimal coffee table. We were distracted by the cutie in the glasses, but we caught our booze before it spilled. Check out Chillum at -- Erin Franzman

( Yes, he's a charming, adorable British guy, but that has nothing to do with why I'm such a fan. It's not that he's got one of the most well-read heads on any shoulders within the dance community, either. Nor is it that he's part of the seminal San Francisco DJ collective, Wicked. Nope. Thomas is actually one of the few remaining DJs who refuses to fit himself into a neat, marketing-friendly DJ persona: He's been known to mix Charles Mingus and Billie Holiday with Prince and Diana Ross. -- Courtney Reimer

(Ballard Firehouse) Relax. (Had to be said. That song wasn't really about orgasms, was it?) In lieu of Press Release of the Week, we offer Press UN-Release of the Week: Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Instead of a flurry of promotion, it's been more like a wiggle. Our panel of judges didn't even get a fax about this one, kids. But because they're so devoted to presenting a panoply of sonic event options, our judges say this: Oversize neon T-shirts never went out of style. -- Erin Franzman

(Breakroom) For those who happened upon the Northwest in the last 20 seconds or so, here's the 10-word description of Olympia's C Average: Two guys, two instruments, heavy metal, Lear jets, Eddie Vedder. Get the picture? Bloodhag's fervent fascination with science fiction dovetails beautifully with their fire-breathing metal assault. A 14-year-old boy's wet dream. Did I say beautiful and assault in the same sentence? I did, didn't I? -- Kathleen Wilson

(OK Hotel Ballroom) The musical relationship between Zony Mash's keyboardist/composer Wayne Horvitz and guitar guru Bill Frisell goes all the way back to the mid-'80s, when both lived in New York and played in groups such as John Zorn's raucous Naked City. This rare summit meeting will feature many new acoustic and electric tunes, guest vocalists, and will be recorded for a CD release. Adding to the excitement is the fact that this run of shows (which concludes tomorrow) marks the beginning of an extended hiatus for Zony Mash. Now's the time to check them out before the inevitable endorsements from the nouveau-hippie establishment hit. -- James Kirchmer

(Bohemian) Cool roots-reggae kicks are hard to find these days, except for Seattle resident Clinton Fearon, a champion of '70s-styled reggae vibes and classic, gospel-flavored sounds. Tonight this former Gladiator (and one-time Studio One & Black Ark house bassist in Jamaica) celebrates the release of his new double-CD, What a System, featuring an entire CD of dub versions, masterfully mixed by the one and only Hopeton "Scientist" Brown. -- James Kirchmer

(Crocodile) All too often, artists who are praised for being "angular" or "quirky" seem to lose some of their humanity somewhere along the line. The genius of Kristin Hersh is her ability to excel on an intellectual and sonic level while consistently creating music that's also genuinely moving. Her voice carries the unmistakable quality of someone who's lived through less-than-carefree times, but there's a hard-won spirit of optimism and survival that seeps through in the end. -- Barbara Mitchell


(Crocodile) FCS North (FCS is pronounced focus) is one of those live acts you're either going to love, or just really respect. What's most notable about the band isn't the songs really, but the talent. I find it impossible to groove on anything remotely drum-and-bass, but the last time I saw this band I found myself stupefied by the drummer; the strongest, most tasteful I've seen in Seattle. They're fun to watch, and those weird drum-and-bass kids aren't out there doing that jerky hand-dance thing that they do, so don't be scared. -- Jeff DeRoche

(RKCNDY) In this year of perpetual pre-millennial tension, we could all use a good dose of Limp. One look at the name of their second album (that's Guitarded to the uninitiated) and it's immediately obvious that Limp don't take themselves or their music overly seriously. What they do take seriously is takin' their show on the road, rockin' it for the kids, and writing some severely contagious pop-punk songs about such time-honored subjects as bike rides and chicks. -- Barbara Mitchell

(Swingside Cafe, 7 pm, $8) The termination of live music at the Speakeasy dealt a major blow to our local improvised-music community, but the shows continue on at this Fremont restaurant, where performances occasionally take place in their pretty, barbecue-equipped backyard patio. Artis the Spoonman (remember Soundgarden's "Spoonman"?), Chet Corpt, and Avram Fefer will back up bassist Michael Bisio for an early evening filled with wild sounds. -- James Kirchmer

(Elysian Brewery) Carrie Akre and Rusty Willoughby are best known for their work fronting local legends Hammerbox, Goodness, Pure Joy, and Flop, but tonight is a fine opportunity to see them up close and personal. They may have established their reputations as part of more rock-oriented groups, but they've recently exposed more subdued but no less compelling sides of their personalities in their respective solo work. Surprisingly, both shine even more brightly when they're not competing with a noisy band -- their voices are more than capable of carrying the show. -- Barbara Mitchell


(Fenix, 3 pm) In these days of dwindling all-ages venues, Pioneer Square live music anchor the Fenix has stepped up to help fill the void with some very well-attended all-ages shows. Tonight's show is a benefit for JAMPAC and features several local bands including Mayfly, Glimmer, Severna Park, Grace, and Peter Parker. -- Kathleen Wilson

(Showbox) New York Jimmy says, "I like to style and see chicks stylin'." Well, I like to smoke cocaine on top of the Space Needle and piss on my minions as they scamper below. You see, we all have our likes and dislikes: I'm just saying that Zoot Suit Sundays at the Showbox may not scratch the right itch. That's because Seattle is still shaking off that grungedust, and the kind of swank and polished-chrome luster that swing demands is hard to find here. The band is great and the CD should be good, but if you're the kind of fool who has to wear two-tone shoes and a fedora to have fun, you might as well move to Los Angeles and go kiss ass at the Brown Derby for a while. -- Nathan Thornburgh

(Owl 'N' Thistle) Bassist Keith Lowe can kick ass on jazz, rock, funk, blues, country, African soukous -- you name it. He's a well-schooled former child prodigy that can play most anything. Tonight Keith will be digging through some funk, jazz, and New Orleans-styled grooves with his usual show-stopping abandon as a special guest of saxman Skerik's "El Guzano." It's a relatively new, high-energy trio featuring Hammond B3 organist Joe Doria (the Art Bar's Wednesday night fixture, with Dan Heck) and Mike Stone (Guardian Alien) on drums. -- James Kirchmer


(Puyallup Fairgrounds) The biggest disappointment about lead singer Darius Rucker, besides the fact that he's not "Hootie," is that he still hasn't found the cojones to stop acting pretty and just start rocking. The voice is not the problem, because Rucker has one of the most distinctive and potentially powerful male voices in popular music today. What's lacking is the will to rock, and that's damned near inexcusable, especially considering that their 15 minutes of fame are nearly over, and they don't have anything to lose by going a little apeshit. Oh well -- it's not going to happen, especially because these days Hootie and his Blowfish spend most of their time "rocking" the golf course. More information on that criminal perversion can be found at -- Nathan Thornburgh


(Benaroya Hall) The reasons for clowning Art Garfunkel are obvious: the big hair, the soft rock style, the chorus from "Cecilia", and the fact that he's coming to Benaroya Hall straight from a gig at the Hyatt Regency Suites Hotel in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The reasons for respecting him, however, are more persuasive. After all, it was Garfunkel who, in the 1980s, left his worldly goods behind and started walking across America, muttering something about hating USA Today and shopping. You notice that us candy-asses at The Stranger grouse all the time, too, but apparently nobody here has what it takes to shut up and get walking. For that reason I recommend this gig -- not necessarily for you, but definitely for your parents, who can appreciate the activism without fixating on the receding hairline. -- Nathan Thorburgh

(Breakroom) Most instrumental outfits falter because they fail to understand one crucial factor: dynamics. If you're not going to use vocals and lyrics to keep your audiences's attention, you'd better do something -- and Mogwai does that "something" like few others. This Scottish band's (that's a hint that they don't tour here often) latest release, "Come On Die Young," is hypnotic enough to function as bedtime music -- if you like experiencing hallucinatory dreams involving tidal waves and thunder storms, that is. It also literally comes to life in a live setting -- this is the kind of music that keeps unfolding listen after listen, and it's best experienced up close and personal. -- Barbara Mitchell


(Puyallup Fairgrounds) When Randy Travis' 1986 debut album, Storms of Life, became the first country album ever to go multi-platinum, most other country "stars" had a hard time even going gold. By 1990 he had a pair of new snakeskin shitkickers, a mellifluous George Jones vocal style, and a nicely packaged hit single, "Forever and Ever," that I won't be able to get out of my head until I jump off the Aurora Bridge. In 1999, however, "Forever and Ever" takes on new meaning as Travis straps on the same old boots and prepares the same tired set for a Wednesday night in Puyallup: no longer a legitimate star, no longer setting the pace. What happened? Mainly that Happy Meal Action Figure known as Garth Brooks took over country and kicked Travis to the curb. For those of us who were only half-Cracker to begin with, the upper echelon of country is simply no fun since Randy Travis left. -- NathanThornburgh

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