(Tractor Tavern) Guitarist Duke Robillard has gone solo again, as he has done occasionally in a long career spent mostly with two of America's most famous blues bands: Roomful of Blues and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Even now, despite his associations with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, the genius of Robillard's solo work is that it fuses many more styles than his straight-blues bands ever did. Duke's mix of rockabilly, blues, and jazz is unique without being ornery on the ears. Despite having just an average voice, Robillard has become one of the country's better blues and roots rockers. -- Nathan Thornburgh

(New Orleans) The last time Winard Harper came to the New Orleans he was giving a drum workshop on a Sunday afternoon. The local high school jazz band leaders brought their busloads of lanky, talented players, who traded paradiddles with professional drummers like the ever-intrepid Jose Martinez of Bebop and Destruction. Through the afternoon Harper's fundamentalism was evident: start with the basics, end with the basics. His methodical approach isn't just for teaching: Even in the middle of the most blazing hard-bop solo, it seems unlikely that the young phenom would bastardize the left-right-left-left, right-left-right-right paradiddle combination. That's why he's comfortable in all jazz styles. That's why his mind is free to move beyond technique into creativity, taking his side men with him, rocking the New Orleans all weekend long. -- Nathan Thornburgh

(Sit & Spin) If you're not a fan of the Cure, you've either been in a coma or you've been cheerleading for the past 20 years. Either is inexcusable. Put away those pom-poms, rip those tubes out of your mouths, and go spend this fun and very unique night out in Seattle. There's a new lounge to be experienced at Sit & Spin, it's a great line-up, and the songs are guaranteed to be brilliant. -- Jeff DeRoche

(Puyallup Fair) The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who would eventually lose his mind and kiss a horse on the lips, once said that it is in the contemplation of music that the passions truly enjoy themselves. Nietzsche died approximately 100 years before Huey Lewis & the News released their multi-platinum album, Sport, which was remarkable only for its utter lack of passion. Nietzsche also stated somewhere that it was indeed a shame to die of thirst in the middle of the ocean. While he was speaking metaphorically of heavily-salted Truths, this aphorism might apply equally well to bad pop music. -- Rick Levin


(Puyallup Fair) Contrary to all reason and understanding, I like that Third Eye Blind. For a radio band, at least. Their two big hit songs "Semi-Charmed Life" and "Graduate" are catchy but not too annoying. I wouldn't buy their album, but it also doesn't drive me to self-mutilation the way those Marcy Playground/ Matchbox 20 kind of bands do. Nobody wants sex AND candy, you slope-headed swingset perverts. Candy is a substitute for sex. And about this "It's 3 a.m. I must be lonely." Well are you or aren't you? Frankly, I don't give a damn, and don't EVER call me at 3 a.m. -- Erin Franzman

(Madison's Café) Although one might initially be drawn to a band due to their elaborate cosmetic and musical presentations, there's no substitute for genuine personality, originality, and skill. Guitar Monks (an acoustic duo featuring Andrei Otraskin and Zony Mash's Tim Young) have the killer chops and experience needed for such creatively unrestrained expression -- and celebrate a CD release tonight. Centuries of jazz and traditional styles blend together in new combinations, and Aiko Shimada's similarly honest folk/jazz guitar innovations (sensitively rendered with the help of a full band) make for a perfect opening. -- James Kirchmer

(King Cat Theater) Although she's now an international star, Evora's moving music has not been watered down for mass consumption. Growing up poor in the Cape Verde Islands (off the coast of Senegal), she became well known while still in her teens for her mastery of "mornas" (nostalgic, minor-key, Portuguese-Creole ballads that mourn lost loves and past sufferings) and is still the undisputed queen of this heartfelt tradition. -- James Kirchmer

(Owl 'N' Thistle) Fifty-four-year-old guitar wizard and veteran songsmith Gerald Collier is a walking contradiction -- partly truth, partly fiction. Despite a recent conversion to Mormonism, Collier's highly-accomplished songwriting remains a paradoxical blend of scorching blasphemy and gut-wrenching sexual yearning. His excruciatingly beautiful ballads of longing and betrayal are buoyed by an underlying grace of spirit, and his voice is a most splendid instrument blessed by the very archangel Moroni. As Collier is slated to join Foghat for an up-coming national tour, you should catch him right now, while the honky home-fire burns its brightest. -- Rick Levin


(Emerald Queen Casino) My first homoerotic experience happened during that movie Hard to Hold, when I saw Rick Springfield's butt flash across the screen. I wanted to be Jesse's girl. I now believe I've been given this one night to finally make that dream a reality. -- Jeff DeRoche

(The Fenix) Israel Vibration formed when the three founding members met at a polio rehab clinic in Jamaica almost three decades ago. Apparently marijuana is an effective cure for polio because Israel Vibration are not only extremely weed-friendly, they are also cured enough to walk, dance, and even harmonize in songs written about their savior, Lord Jah. Although my Jewish brethren may be disappointed that they're not Zionists in the old-fashioned sense, Israel Vibration promises to be the most soulful, down-home reggae Seattle sees this fall. -- Nathan Thornburgh

(Serafina) Jovino Santos Neto (piano) and Hans Teuber (saxophone) are two of the few jazz musicians in town who truly bridge the gap between local and national talent. By that I mean that they live here and watch KOMO news and get rained on like the rest of us fools, but they have careers and name recognition that expand far beyond Seattle's borders. This is particularly true of Neto, who has worked on no less than 13 major releases, with artists from Jimmy Cliff to fellow Brazilian Hermeto Pascoal. But the best part is that Neto continues to enrich the local scene in many ways: whether it's performing at neighborhood joints like Serafina or adding that extra dash of greatness on local recordings like Ben Thomas' The Madman's Difference. -- Nathan Thornburgh

(Fremont) It's a thankless job. Our panel of judges unanimously voted this week to award our coveted honors to a press release not even intended for us. No sirs, it was addressed to Brad Steinbacher and Kathleen Wilson only, but our panel of judges can bear no malice in the good fight to bring you the Press Release of the Week. It was sent by Ron ("Sincerely, Ron") who is very likely a member of Sycophant, and who may also be a sycophant himself: "If you were smart (which you are) you would put this in your calendar of events," and "Steve Moriarty (the nicest, most organized booking agent in the universe) is emceeing." Whoa, Ron, settle down, there, slugger. First off, the press release doesn't say exactly where in Fremont this Oktoberfest will be, so tell us again about being organized. I suppose Fremont is small enough that any Oktoberfest occurring there will stick out like a sore thumb. As will dearest Ron, who promises, "I will be wearing a slimming and flattering new vest and black slacks." Press Release of the Week will try to include the word "slacks" in all future coverage of Sycophant. -- Erin Franzman


(Galway Arms) See Stranger Suggests


(Metropolis) The syphilitic German existentialist Friedrich Nietzsche, whose sister sold him out to the Nazis after he went crazy and kissed a horse, once said that anything which does not kill you makes you stronger. This aphorism applies most suitably to the life and times of expert bassist and all-around tough guy Mike Watt. He's been through hell and high water, and he still keeps chugging away. Watt is one of our most honorable and distinguished godfathers of San Pedro corndog punk, and he was in the Minutemen, for God's sake, which alone ensures his venerable slot in the sweet hereafter. -- Rick Levin


( The N' Sync of electronica will hit Seattle to prove that middle of the road, mainstream, mediocre crap music can succeed in any genre. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! Oh, it's Fatboy Slim, who's going to have a lot of awful DJs to answer for this time next year. And don't give me any shit about the N' Sync comparison -- the Jaxx may not be attentively styled but the Sync boys are not exactly easy on the eyes, either. Teenage girls just aren't very picky. -- Erin Franzman

(Showbox) Tricky's sexy, and that's why you like him. His music, his voice, even his dumb, dreamy lyrics. Be honest, boy or girl, you are a little whore for Tricky. You love the cold, blue lights in the smoky, overheated theater. You're getting wet just thinking about him, deep and raspy in your ears, taking you into those night-situations, sweat at the back of your neck, beer spilling down the front of your shirt. You make me sick. -- Jeff DeRoche

(Tractor Tavern) The Suzy Bogguss story reads like a touching made-for-TV movie: Young girl with silly name moves from small-town Illinois to Nashville in order to write sentimental songs and become a country star. She flirts with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and finally does the "horizontal two-step" with established songwriter Doug Crider, who makes everybody listen to her demo. That's when the dreamy stuff really kicks in: appearances at Dollywood, cameos with the Dirt Band, and a spot in the chorus in CBS' Women of Country TV special. In 1996, The Oprah begins using Suzy's songs "Saying Goodbye to a Friend" and "Letting Go" as theme songs for segments on her show. All My Children does the same. But if anything makes Suzy Bogguss live up to her name, it's her classic "Fire and Ice," which she wrote and performed as the theme song for the nationally telecast 1997 U.S. Figure Skating Championships on ABC's Wide World of Sports. In short, if you want to spend your Tuesday night listening to made-for-daytime-TV country schlock, go to the Tractor Tavern for a listen. -- Nathan Thornburgh

(Seattle Opera House) Jethro Tull was actually an 18th century agriculturist who was responsible for the invention of the seed drill, a device of earth shattering importance because it facilitated the more efficient drilling of seeds. The hydraulic mechanism of Tull's seed drill was worked through a simple foot pump, like a church organ. Before Tull's invention, peasants had been forced to drill their seeds by hand, which was very time consuming. -- Rick Levin

(Jazz Alley) Tito Puente's lifelong nickname, El Rey (The King), is a leftover from the 1940s when he the was the original "Mambo King," the young and flashy leader of New York's Picadilly Boys Latin orchestra. But with all the phases Puente has gone through in over 50 years, that title seems like it came from nine careers ago. It began when an ankle injury ruined his dreams of a dance career and forced him into music, where he quickly realized his virtuoso potential. As a stunning young timbalero and band leader, he helped make the mambo an international craze in the '40s; in the '50s it was the cha-cha-cha. Later on he brought bossa-nova, boogaloo, and even salsa to broad American audiences, all wrapped in a pulsating jazz package. With over 100 records and the most recognizable name in all of Latin music, Puente has done nothing less than single-handedly shape what most Americans know about Latin music. More importantly for the Jazz Alley, Tito Puente remains a fierce and brilliant presence on the stage: To watch his eyes during a timbales solo is to see into the blazing core of an American legend. -- Nathan Thornburgh


(Moore Theater) Ben Folds Five is actually the subtlest Billy Joel cover band in history. Every song they do sounds just like "Piano Man" to me, and when I hear "Piano Man" my ears bleed. And Train? Have you seen their one-hit-wonder video, starring Rebecca Gayheart as a waitress? Rebecca Gayheart, who's parlayed her gig as a girl in a Noxema commercial into an acting "career" in cinematic events such as Jawbreaker and Urban Legend, playing girls who look like they should be in Noxema commercials. -- Erin Franzman

Support The Stranger

Find Out How Seattle’s Westland Distillery Is Turning The World Of Whiskey Upside Down.
Get to know the world-renowned whiskey distillery in your own backyard.