THURSDAY 9/16

THE JAZZ BUTCHER CONSPIRACY
(Crocodile) No one I know can remember the last time the legendary Pat Fish (a.k.a. the Jazz Butcher) toured the States (AND the band was technically put to sleep in '95), which means you should cancel all other plans and motor on down to the Croc for tonight's show. Like his fellow eccentric Robyn Hitchcock, Fish has been responsible for some of the most incredibly brilliant, head-bobbingly great, and wonderfully skewed modern pop music. In some respects, the Jazz Butcher is a flashback (and hopefully a flash forward) to a time when underground music combined wit, heart, and a healthy dose of melody. Recommended? No. Required. WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Barbara Mitchell

THE BEACH BOYS
(Puyallup Fair) Like that fantastically heady, co-mingling, aromatic waft of pig shit, steamy elephant ears, and Tilt-O-Whirl-induced gorp, the Beach Boys are an intrinsic component of that finger-lickin', boot-scrapin' great time that is the Puyallup Fair. Their gorgeously mellifluous harmonies regularly spill across the filthy fairgrounds like the very syrup of nostalgia, bringing a sentimental tear to even the most hard-hearted carny's eye. Minus the perennially unstable genius of Brian Wilson, they're all leftover gorgeous hum and no big bang -- yet still adequately built to croon and doo-wop that California thing. WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Rick Levin

SARAH BRIGHTMAN
(Seattle Opera House) For just $49.50, Sarah Brightman offers a musical event that you're not likely to forget anytime soon. That's because her Eden show is one of the most nauseating pieces of pop opera kitsch that has ever been made. Clad in crushed velvet and wearing a ridiculous microphone headset, the pale wonder climbs to dizzying soprano heights with her voice, punctuating each gooey note with a look of unblinking self-love. Included in Eden is an over-emotional, Italian-language version of the Titanic theme song that makes Celine Dion sound like Janis Joplin in comparison. As for Brightman's long and lauded Broadway career, let's just say that it's no coincidence that she was shagging Andrew Lloyd Webber when he cast her in the lead of his Phantom of the Opera. Unless there's a chance she'll be shagging you this Thursday at the Opera House, you should stay away. WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Nathan Thornburgh

THEE MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT
(Breakroom) Is it Japanese? Yes. Is it particularly original? No. Is it rock? Fuck yeah. With a name like Thee Michelle Gun Elephant it's easy to see how the lyrics to this American-garage-band-lovin' quartet could be so endearingly messed up: "The night nothing happen/ Only I can hear burking/Gibbering black permanent dober/Crash the dog way" ("Dog Way"). WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Kathleen Wilson

GIGOLO AUNTS
(Sit & Spin) Memo to the record buying public: "power pop" is not a four-letter word. It's astounding that bands cashing in on calculated, gooey sentiment (see also Goo Goo Dolls) are shifting units while artists like the Gigolo Aunts continue to turn out album after album of well-crafted, eminently hummable, upbeat pop tunes only to toil in relative obscurity (see also the Posies). Thankfully, Seattle is a pop-friendly zone. WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Barbara Mitchell


FRIDAY 9/17

CARISSA'S WEIRD
(Breakroom) Some months back, at a local show (the specifics of which have entirely slipped my amnesiac, addlepated brain), I was witness to a very pleasant surprise, almost a serendipity, in the form of an opening band called Carissa's Weird. I don't remember just exactly how they sounded, or of what parts, precisely, they were constituted. What I do remember -- in that atmospheric/emotional way -- is what I felt, listening: Here was an outfit both incredibly fragile and powerful, one which completely engaged my attention with their beautiful, lilting-yet-urgent, teetering-on-the-brink-of-disintegration performance. WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Rick Levin

GOODNESS
(Crocodile) Unlike their more detached indie rock brethren, Goodness seem to pour heart and soul into every performance. You should plan on showing up early -- not only to make sure you get in, but to catch the perfect pop bliss of former Posie Jon Auer and Goodness protégés Rizzo, a mighty fine pop/rock outfit fronted by another true rock diva. WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Barbara Mitchell

HOG MOLLY
(OK Hotel) Hog Molly is former Tad frontman Tad Doyle's latest venture, and though it doesn't offer the same unrelenting grunge his former band was famous for, it still rocks. Damn close -- it's just a little prettier is all. Just a little. WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Kathleen Wilson

MAKTUB
(Showbox) Without the benefit of an over-the-top hype machine, these local groovemasters have built their momentum -- and a substantial local following -- primarily through word of mouth. That's the kind of publicity you can't put a price on, and it's been generated by the band's phenomenal live shows and stellar new album. If you haven't gotten hip to Maktub, that's your loss. Check 'em out before the rest of the country discovers yet another one of our local treasures. WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Barbara Mitchell


SATURDAY 9/18

THE RICHARD THOMPSON BAND
(King Cat Theater) It's been over 30 years since Richard Thompson's first album and amazingly, he's just hitting his stride. After founding Fairport Convention, Thompson spent the '70s making lots of lousy music (like his 1975 release, Hokey Pokey) with his wife Linda. He ditched his wife and started building a strong solo career through the '80s, culminating in him shacking up with Capitol Records and hitting various folk and rock charts throughout the '90s. This much is true: Lots of people consider him the best singer/songwriter there is, which is impressive when you consider how many earnest people are out there strumming guitars and singing about love and loss. So, WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Nathan Thornburgh

KOOL KEITH/DJ SPOOKY
(RKCNDY) We've bitched about Spooky in these pages, but we stand corrected by our North Carolina correspondent, Mr. Amardeep Singh, who had this to report on the Black Elvis tour: "Oh, and I forgot to mention. DJ Spooky actually put on a good show down here. He avoided overkill with the random/ undanceable noises, and did a solid set with dub, drum 'n' bass, and hiphop beats that kept the crowd moving.... He often had a cute, coy smile on his face as he was working. So maybe in person he's become somewhat shrill and unlikeable; maybe he's not really going anywhere with his whole musician-intellectual shtick. But he was more fun to watch than Kool Keith. He had the other dudes from Ultramagnetic MCs up on stage with him, and put on a live show that was so testosterone fueled, and so conventionally hiphop aggressive, that it made nonsense out of KK's elegantly dadaist rhyme style.... I felt confused and hurt, like I was seeing a drag queen beating the shit out of a Korean grocer with a blue sequined purse." Um, WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Erin Franzman

YELLOWMAN
(The Fenix) Born with a silly name and not a drop of melanin in his body, Winston Foster reinvented himself as Yellowman, the albino Jamaican dancehall DJ and vocalist. He flooded the reggae world with over 40 albums in the '80s, from 1983's Zungguzungguguz-ungguzeng to 1987's Yellow Like Cheese, but eventually fell from the charts. Now "Mr. Sexy" is at the Fenix to show everyone that he's a more mellow yellow: He's replaced the outrageously sexist lyrics and the rapid-fire riddims with a more melodic dub style and even bits of social consciousness. WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Nathan Thornburgh

SUPERCHUNK
(Crocodile) Only the most energetic and entertaining live band on the indie rock board of directors, Super-chunk's Mac and Laura could easily take Thurston and Kim, and Guided by Voices would hyperventilate if they tried to pogo the way Superchunk does through their entire set. WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Erin Franzman

BAD LIVERS
(Tractor Tavern) With a hodgepodge of instruments and Austin's reputation as a cultural oasis, Bad Livers claims to have been rocking and folking and punking for some time now -- but it all sounds like country to me. In the end Bad Livers might be a bit too hayseed and hillbilly for a Saturday night in the big city. WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Nathan Thornburgh

FEAR
(Breakroom) The sound of tattered Converse high-tops slapping into a floor made sticky with Schmidt sloshed from aluminum cans, lots of greasy black hair (maybe a little gray now), claustrophobic club air containing nothing but yellow smoke and humid body odor, bulky guys in torn tank tops with their tough-as-nails girlfriends, an atavistic sense of testosterone-heavy camaraderie, circa 1984, the kind of thing you might have seen at a Black Flag or a Circle Jerks or a Meatmen show, loud, obnoxious, lewd, and rude: These are the things to expect at Fear's Breakroom show. Fear Fear. Be very afraid. And... WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Rick Levin


SUNDAY 9/19

HAPA
(Century Ballroom) There are a lot of reasons to like the Hawaiian duo Hapa. First, they've got a serious dose of Hawaii-pride, which is woefully lacking even in the Land of Aloha itself. The group's name is the pidgin word for mixed-race, but both Barry Flanagan (not native) and Kelii Kanealii (native) sing and write in the Hawaiian tongue. Second, you've got to like Hapa because they've won more Na Hoku Hanohano awards (six "Hawaiian Grammies") than any other band that has played the Century Ballroom on a Sunday night. Ever. The only bad news is that their sentimental world-blend of harmony and Hawaiian-style guitar may be an acquired taste for non-islanders. WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Nathan Thornburgh


MONDAY 9/20

KENNY ROGERS
(Puyallup Fair) Hold 'em, fold 'em, walk away, and run: I've spent a lifetime trying desperately to follow these four basic tenets of "The Gambler." Way back, me and Pop used to sing along with Kenny Rogers' Greatest Hits, our voices warbling like heartbroke hicks over that saddest of refrains: "You picked a fine time to leave me... Lucille...." I can think of no more appropriately worn-out superstar than Kenny Rogers to send his craggy voice soaring out into that fantastically heady, co-mingling, aromatic waft of pig shit, steamy elephant ears, and Tilt-O-Whirl-induced gorp that is the Puyallup Fair. WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Rick Levin

GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR! LABRADFORD/SCARNELLA
(Crocodile) The elusive members of these artfully orchestrated and smoldering rock bands will have so much equipment (godspeed you black emperor! has at least nine members), you won't even fit into the Crocodile. Try to squeeze in, though, because this will be the best show in a month of great shows. Oh, and don't forget to WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Erin Franzman


TUESDAY 9/21

MAGNETIC FIELDS
(Crocodile) Pack your bags, we're camping at the Croc this month. Great shows every damn night. The Magnetic Fields are not at their most captivating live, but this time there's a gimmick: What if they play all 69 love songs? WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Erin Franzman

DEMOLITION DOLL RODS
(Breakroom) Here's a little secret: Live music is supposed to be fun. Let your hair down tonight and head on out to catch Detroit's Demolition Doll Rods. They may never win a beauty contest -- or even a talent show -- but their live shows are one heck of a hoot. How can you go wrong with trashy rock 'n' roll delivered by a band with a drag queen guitarist and a blind drummer? (That's not a trick question....) WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Barbara Mitchell

TONY FURTADO
(Tractor Tavern) If the banjo has ever bugged the hell out of you, it's not Tony Furtado's fault. While most banjo music sounds like frenetic clucking, Furtado has managed to add an indie/blues sense of timing and melody to the instrument. The result is acoustic music that doesn't bug, but rather, places Furtado on a small pedestal with Ry Cooder, Louie Fleck, and a few others who can make American roots music seem downright sexy at times. WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Nathan Thornburgh


WEDNESDAY 9/22

THE CHURCH
(Fenix) While they may have reached their pinnacle of popularity in the late '80s with the single "Under the Milky Way," the Church have been turning out album after album of dark, beautiful, and slightly hallucinogenic pop for the better part of the past two decades. The '90s haven't been particularly kind, but I'm willing to pardon a multitude of sins for the sake of perfect pop gems like "Unguarded Moment" and "Reptile." You may not have heard any of their past few albums (and you should be thankful in some regards), but with a greatest hits collection imminent, tonight's show should be the Church at their best. WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Barbara Mitchell

FASTBACKS/JON AUER

KEN STRINGFELLOW/SKYWARD

NO. 13 BABY
(ARO.space) Once again, the Seattle music community comes to the aid of one of its uninsured own -- in this case, roadie extraordinaire and all around swell guy Joe Norcio. Any one of these artists alone would be worth the price of admission, making tonight's line-up one of the year's strongest -- and well worth seeing even if you don't know Joe. Of course, if you look closely at the bill you'll notice that there's a full Posies line-up lurking in there, making it likely that... oh, you do the math. Just be sure to show up and reap the rewards of your contribution to a worthy cause. WORK IT, SEATTLE!! -- Barbara Mitchell

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