THE CHARMING SNAKES, STEAMING WOLF PENIS, SAMSONKNIGHT FEATHERGUN, EUPHONDISSON
(Fun House) See Stranger Suggests, page 21.
INNERCITY HIP-HOP FEST 2 W/BYRDIE, UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL, COOL NUTZ, CLOCKWORK, SOULDEFY, GUESTS
(Chop Suey) More than any other local rapper I know, Byrdie is the most likely to become a rap superstar. He looks and sounds like the sort of person you'd see on BET or MTV, bling-blinging in a club of near-naked brown babes. This is by no means a putdown; Byrdie is a talented rapper who just happens to have a personality that easily attracts a great deal of attention and love. If his present album, NFlight, doesn't make him fabulously famous, then the next one he makes certainly will. CHARLES MUDEDE
MATTHEW SHAW, GRAHAM TRAVIS, SAMEER SHUKLA
(Crocodile) Tonight affords you a good chance to check out two of The Stranger's Big Shot competition front-runners (see p. 50), along with someone who stands a pretty good chance of being included next year. Where Matthew Shaw's songs are low-slung and a little gloomy, Graham Travis' are up-tempo and bright; both men are classicists who write and sing pretty, catchy pop about love and loss, and belong on a bill together the way peanut butter belongs on a stalk of celery. Don't miss Sameer Shukla, either, who also knows his way around the classic pop form, with adventurous melodies and smart lyrics to spare. SEAN NELSON
RAZREZ, FEY RAY, BLACK NITE CRASH, WAVES, DJ COLIN
(Neumo's) Along with threeimaginarygirls.com, nadamucho.com has been instrumental in setting up local showcases ("See It First") spotlighting burgeoning Seattle talent. Tonight's show comes highly recommended, as Razrez dish out highly textured, coolly stylized punk funk that's gotten them easily in the running for The Stranger's Big Shot prize (see p. 50). Black Nite Crash do some sonic layering of their own, creating a Church/Jesus and Mary Chain marriage that's both atmospheric and uplifting. JENNIFER MAERZ
TIFT MERRIT, TRES CHICAS
(Tractor) With her 2002 debut, Bramble Rose, Tift Merritt announced herself as major country music talent with a voice that was part Patsy Cline and part Patty Loveless--a subtly emotive place that could grow big and powerful when need be. The album has a lived-in warmth that immediately connects with people. Her latest release, Tambourine, is a bid for a larger audience. Working with George Drakoulias, who produced albums for the Black Crowes and the Jayhwaks, Merritt is aided by session musicians instead of her usual backing band. The production dresses things up a bit, adding some polish to her Americana but still retaining its grit. NATE LIPPENS
THE HIDDEN CAMERAS, THE BLOW, SCREAM CLUB
(Chop Suey) See preview, page 31.
TIFT MERRIT, KASEY ANDERSON, TRES CHICAS
(Tractor) See Thursday's preview.
HERBIE HANCOCK, ROY HARGROVE, MICHAEL BRECKER
(Paramount Theatre) The technical skill these three jazzmen possess is off the charts. Hargrove, 35, is a fiery, dynamic player who could be his generation's Miles Davis. Hancock is a classicist and an avant-gardist rolled into one hugely talented individual. And Brecker has been described by Jazziz magazine as "inarguably the most influential tenor stylist of the last 25 years." These three titans have joined forces to honor John Coltrane and Miles Davis, two of the 20th century's greatest innovators. Hence the name of this collaboration--Directions in Music, a phrase that adorned Miles' albums starting with 1968's Filles de Kilimanjaro. The trio originally convened in 2001 on the 75th anniversary of both legends' births. They embarked on a wildly successful tour and then won a Grammy for the album Directions in Music: Celebrating Miles Davis and John Coltrane--Live at Massey Hall (2002, Verve). They're reprising this admirable endeavor for all who missed it. DAVE SEGAL
WAYNE HORVITZ, ANGELINA BALDOZ, LESLIE DALABA, STUART DEMPSTER
(Gallery 1412) A member of electronic-music/accordion legend Pauline Oliveros' Deep Listening Band, trombonist Stuart Dempster produces deep, lung-powered clouds of sonic mysticism. His preferred recording/performing environments are caves, massive cisterns, and enormous churches, where the naturally cavernous acoustics nurture his eerily wavering drones. Horvitz, as you should know by now, is one of Seattle's most diverse and virtuosic keyboardists. His rare local performances are always edifying and enlightening. DAVE SEGAL
MON FRERE, SLENDER MEANS, LITTLE HAND OF THE CITY, DARCI CASH
(Paradox) Alicia Blake has been with the Paradox since the beginning (back when it was still that old theater on the Ave, even). She's done everything from collecting money at the door, to stamping hands, running sound, and booking bands. Alicia also has a keen sense of musical taste, so she's handpicked a few of her favorites to help celebrate her birthday. The mostly local bill, featuring the marvelous Mon Frere (contenders for this year's Stranger Big Shot award, see p. 50), Slender Means, and Little Hand of the City, is rounded out by Los Angeles band Darci Cash, who play dynamic, sparkling indie-pop. And to once more prove that Miss Blake is the sweetest among all that's sweet, she's donating all the show's proceeds to tsunami relief efforts. MEGAN SELING
MIA DOI TODD, PAUL EDWARDS, LANGUIS
(CHAC Lower Level) Mia Doi Todd is one of those ice-goddess divas who appeal to sensitive, literate bohos with a weakness for hushed exotica and understated, downtempo beats. Her best-known album, 2002's The Golden State, features instrumental badasses like Nels Cline (guitar), Mitchell Froom (keyboards, harmoniums), and Kraig Grady (glockenspiel). They craft gently bruised, post-Portishead melancholica sure to please public-radio aficionados. Multiply PJ Harvey by Cat Power, add Beth Orton, then divide by Joni Mitchell, and you roughly have an idea of Todd's mannered approach. Her fifth album, Manzanita, is a dusky collection of heartbreaking ballads that sounds like a slightly frayed cashmere sweater feels. Paul Edwards--one of Seattle's most underrated and versatile DJs--will be spinning heady techno between sets. DAVE SEGAL See also Data Breaker, page 21.
YOB, TOTIMOSHI, WORMWOOD
(Sunset) With thunderous, tar-coated guitar riffs, bass lines that hit like felled redwoods, ominous bell tolls, and a drummer who hammers like the gods, Yob are Eugene's premier doom-metal band. The trio's expansive sound is sleep-level hypnotic, as their 2004 Metal Blade EP The Illusion of Motion deftly displays. Motion is paced with emphasis on every last reverberation, drawing out psychedelic vibrations on both instruments and vocals alike for maximum effect. This show is sponsored by stonerrock.com for a reason. JENNIFER MAERZ
ANNA OXYGEN, CRIME IN CHOIR, THE CHARITY STRIPE, DJ JIZOSH
(Vera Project) Seattle was recently declared the fittest city in America, and I think I know why. Even our musicians make us work out. Anna Oxygen is really into audience participation, teaching her crowds an electro-pop aerobic routine they can dance along to. It's fun, it makes you sweaty, and it burns off the fat from that Trader Joe's frozen quesadilla you just ate. Anna has a little fixation with food as well; she uses the rock operetta as a vehicle for a plot involving a calorie going on an adventure. Her new album on Kill Rock Stars is expected out sometime this summer--see her before she gets an infomercial. ARI SPOOL
MARK E. QUARK
(Club Contour) Venerated San Diego house DJ vet Mark E. Quark makes frequent stops in Seattle (he lived here briefly) to bestow "deep and moody" sets, according to flavorpill.net (I haven't seen the man spin and his releases are damn near impossible to find). Credited as a key figure in the growth of West Coast house music, Quark is known for leaving no body unsweaty with his selections. This show is going down on naked sushi night, in which said delicacies are displayed on ungarbed women. Sexy or sexist? Both. Neither. Deal with it. DAVE SEGAL
MUSCLE: DJs AMATEUR YOUTH, EL TORO, PISH POSH MOSH
(Seattle Eagle) See Stranger Suggests, page 21.
HANDSHAKES, THE NEONS, PAPER OR PLASTIC
(EMP) See All Ages Action, page 47.
DJ HEATHER, LAWNCHAIR GENERALS
(Baltic Room) DJ Heather is part of Chicago's SuperJane collective of house mixtresses, and thus deserves your instant respect. For a reliable gauge of DJ Heather's command of the Chicago house vernacular, check out Dancefloor Principles (2003, Nordic Trax). Gliding 118-bpm funk flows throughout the disc like a life-giving river (Seattle's Lawnchair Generals get some love, too, with their outstanding track "One Thing"). Heather keeps things relatively deep and tracky and thankfully isn't too reliant on diva dramatics. Her rep is solidified with a forthcoming mix disc coming out March 14 on the renowned Fabric label. It's safe to say countless grooves will be gotten on tonight. Local house dons Lawnchair Generals will ably set the (turn)table(s) for the headliner. DAVE SEGAL
L-D SECTION I, THE TURN-ONS, DJ PEDRO, DJ STEVEN
(El Corazòn) Multimedia art collective Lansing-Dreiden may call Brooklyn (via Miami) home, but the summery, psychedelic dream pop warming every last harmony on their A Sectioned Beam EP is so California in tone it should come with a sunburn. Theirs is a grand pop spectrum that continues to expand into new-wave and space-rock territory--but aside from the music, their story is shrouded in secrecy. The band refuses to give both interviews and information about anything other than the skeletal details of their CDs and visual-art shows. Tonight marks a very special event, as nine members of the loose L-D membership will be out here for their first live public performance in the country. They're in town to shred the veil for a night, as well as to usher in the first installment of the NY DJ night Shout! here in Seattle with Shout! DJs in tow. (Note: El Corazòn is the former Graceland). JENNIFER MAERZ
SUFFOCATION, BEHEMOTH, CATTLE DECAPITATION, NON-EXISTENCE, BLACK GOAT
(Studio Seven) San Diego's Cattle Decapitation put the gore back in grindcore, sending heavy metal and farm animals to a speed butcher on their latest guts-strewn release, Humanure. With a frontman who sounds like he's gargling chunks of flesh and blood and quick, apocalyptic melodies flaming out as quickly as they arise, Cattle Decapitation are nimble sonic acrobats in a genre where mediocre bands can sound as stomach-wrenching as their album art. JENNIFER MAERZ
THE THERMALS, THE DIVORCE, VIVA VOCE
(Vera Project) Viva Voce is the dreamy pop brainchild of Anita and Kevin Robinson, husband and wife duo extraordinaire. They are touring heavily to support their newish album, The Heat Can Melt Your Brain (Minty Fresh). The Heat features haunting melodies, intricately woven fuzzy guitar riffs, and the saddest words you can sing along to without getting depressed. It also features a lot of weird instruments, like saws, kazoos, and other stuff that will be interesting to see done live. Afterwards, stick around for the kings of teenage power pop the Divorce, and angry (but cute) poli-sci majors the Thermals. ARI SPOOL
BLACK:JAPAN, HAKEA, DJ TAWNEY, DJ OBLIQUE, DJ NEUROSHARD
(Baltic Room) Like Wolf Eyes and Yellow Swans, local noise sadists Black:Japan include a catastrophe in every measure of music they create. They somehow got tapped to open for KMFDM on that band's last tour, and incurred a welter of hate for their troubles. One of the many B:J haters quoted on the group's website describes them as "ambient-death-metal-emo." If only… Seattle duo Hakea continue to hone their visionary blend of IDM and old-school German electronic music (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Manuel Gottsching), using the best of analog and digital technology to forge oddly attractive and ominous compositions. DJ Tawney trawls the more esoteric and infernal sectors of ambience and IDM in her trainspotter's-delight sets. DAVE SEGAL
THE ZUTONS, THE SHORE, THE PEELS
(Crocodile) Since forming in Seattle a couple of years ago, the Peels have moved to San Francisco, opened for the Von Bondies and the Ponys, earned a cover story in the SF Weekly, and are now releasing their debut self-titled CD on Dim Mak. Not a bad little trajectory. The John Goodmanson-produced disc sounds impressively fuller than their live shows did, as the band seems to have progressed from an above average '70s punk act to a fuller, bluesy garage-rock band--punctuated by frontwoman Robyn Miller's scratchy, feral howl, a brassy voice with range to die for. They play tonight with the Shore, a Silverlake act not-so-subtly obsessed with the swooning pomp and swagger of the Verve. JENNIFER MAERZ
BILL FRISELL'S 858 QUARTET
(Tractor) One of the world's most versatile and accomplished guitarists, Seattle's Bill Frisell puts distinctive spins on whichever genre he tinkers with. His 858 Quartet--which includes viola player Eyvind Kang, cellist Hank Roberts, and violinist Jenny Scheinman--leans toward abstract-expressionist tone poems that can alternately disorient, entrance, or frazzle your nerves. The ensemble's new album, Richter 858 (Songlines), is a masterly display of string-driven chiaroscuro. The group also performs Tuesday, February 8. DAVE SEGAL
It's really not worth mentioning.