(Paramount) His music is a heavenly blend of light rock and orchestral pop. His voice is as slick as angel snot. He sings about the Father and the Son, and when he's through with them, he sings about the Holy Ghost. Yes, he's God-Rocker Steven Curtis Chapman, and if I were the Lord, he'd be going to hell. -- Nathan Thornburgh

(Crocodile) When Pete Droge played L.A. last year, he inadvertently blew the chance for Jakob Dylan to join him onstage by repeatedly crumpling Dylan's scribbled notes because he thought they were being sent to him by an obsessive fan. The clincher is that the show was played to an audience peopled exclusively by music industry insiders. Somehow that goes a long way toward explaining things. If he ever loosens up -- look out. Until then.... -- Barbara Mitchell

(OK Hotel) I've seen trumpeter Dave Douglas with numerous bands (his string and chamber ensembles, Masada, etc.), and all of them were enjoyable, but the Tiny Bell Trio is the only one that's kicked my ass. Dave's monstrous musical force thrives in this context, as drummer Jim Black and guitarist Brad Shepik can follow him anywhere. These two former Seattleites are deep into the wide-open ethics and Eastern-European/Middle Eastern grooves that run through the Tiny Bell repertoire. Think of them as a global power trio rather than a jazz trio. -- James Kirchmer

(Showbox) See Live Preview.

FRIDAY 10/29

(Breakroom) It doesn't hurt to have friends in high places, and if you're going to play sinister-yet-sexy indie rock, Girls Against Boys are a force you want to have on your side. Distortion Felix's first album came out on GAB bassist Johnny Temple's Akashic label. But enough of the name dropping. Distortion Felix possess more than enough talent to stand alone and their fine new album, I'm An Athlete, will probably be one of the year's most underrated discs because it steadfastly refuses to try to be fashionable -- instead relying on such outmoded concepts as songwriting and dynamics. -- Barbara Mitchell

(Crocodile) The Breakroom moves to the Croc tonight for a gosh-darned indie-rock o'rama. Three of the Northwest's heaviest hitters share the bill for an evening that's bound to draw every single individual with a wallet chain within the surrounding four area codes. Pedro the Lion cover the slower, sadder end of the spectrum, while Mars Accelerator bridge the gap between that and the brutal-yet-beautiful multiple-guitar attack of Juno. If you're looking for consistency in a live bill, this is your lucky day. However, if you're allergic to corduroy or black hair dye, you might want to skip this one. -- Barbara Mitchell

(The Big Picture) Drummer John Wicks (Plush Safe, Corn-ucopia, etc.) is on a mission: to bring LIVE drum 'n' bass to Seattle clubs -- and his brand new SAMO trio (with Bob Heinemann and Steve Scalfati) has got what it takes to give DJs a serious run for their gigs. After all, isn't watching the sweat drip off the curled grimaces of humans straining to talk fluent breakbeat infinitely sexier? -- James Kirchmer

(Showbox) There's nothing I can say that might dissuade any Sky Cries fans from attending this show. There's nothing I can say that might persuade the Sky Cries opposition to attend this show. Suffice it to say, music will be played at a place, and you can go if you want to. -- Erin Franzman

(Paramount) At my last job, we had an office dead pool. It was a list of famous folks we thought would die every year, and you'd put your money in for each celebrity you thought would kick it. Sixty bucks on James Brown. -- Erin Franzman

( Except that the CD has been out since August 25th of this year. -- Erin Franzman


(Breakroom) The Bangs may not stray far from the Kill Rock Stars blueprint, but their particular brand of infectious, grrrl-powered punk rock is hard to resist. Their KRS debut, Tiger Beats, is primitive but still confident; it's the kind of music that makes you want to crank up the volume and pogo around the house. They're the kind of band meant to be experienced live, so go see 'em, already. -- Barbara Mitchell

(RKCNDY) Sadly, another all-ages club bites the dust. But not without one last show boasting local bands. Botch, the Blood Brothers, Playing Enemy, and Killsadie will all try to make the best of this unhappy occasion. -- Kathleen Wilson

(Elysian) In all the hype that accompanied the late great Western State Hurricanes, the contributions of guitarist/backing vocalist Stephanie Wicker seemed to be consistently overlooked. Whether you realized it or not, Wicker has an incredibly gorgeous voice that was underutilized in her role with WSH. She makes her debut tonight with her new outfit, Acetylene, which reportedly sounds like a cross between Codeine and Jeff Buckley. In fact, "pretty, lush and heavily composed rocking pop music that can crush and coo within a breath or two" is the exact quote from an inside source. Sounds intriguing, no? -- Barbara Mitchell

( The son of Puerto Rican roots-legend Don Rafael Cepeda Atiles, trombonist William Cepeda is both keeping alive the undeniably funky rhythmic traditions of the bomba and plena and pushing them in exciting new Afro-jazz directions. He hangs a lot in New York and has gotten down with both salsa kings and jazz stars, so expect a highly danceable, yet heady experience. -- James Kirchmer

(Crocodile) See Live Preview.

SUNDAY 10/31

(Aladdin Theater, Portland) Halloween is at its necrophiliac best in Portland, as the whole Aladdin Theater turns into a giant séance to raise Fairport Convention from the grave. The Grim Reaper has played his games with the Brit folk-rock legends Fairport Convention before. An equipment van accident claimed the life of one of them, a fall down the stairs reaped another of their folksy souls. But neither of those victims are nearly as dead as Fairport's fiddling, '70s, British folk style. You'd be better off waiting for Richard Thompson or Ian Matthews, who are living, rocking veterans of Fairport, to come back to town. -- Nathan Thornburgh

(Elysian) The Elysian's Ghoulbooty Halloween showdowns are becoming a tradition of sorts -- this is the fourth year that sax extrovert Skerik will be corralling a gaggle of local musicians through set after funky set. And yet the thing that everyone remembers from last year's Ghoulbooty is the spanking brew that the Elysian's owner made, and how he wore a keg costume and went around giving free refills. -- Nathan Thornburgh


(Breakroom) Is it just me, or -- after a couple years of forced hibernation due to the conspiracy to foist electronic music on the masses, whether they were buying it or not -- is good solid indie rock slowly crawling back to its rightful place in our country's better, divier clubs? I hear "Shiner" and I immediately think back to my first, glorious black eye. There actually is an element of brutality to the music of this Kansas City trio -- but the harshness is tempered by an almost hypnotic sense of melody. -- Barbara Mitchell

(Jazz Alley) This show is FREE! Crossover vocalist Patricia Barber is soulful, talented, whatever, but mostly, this show is FREE! It's Jazz Alley's 20th anniversary, and they want to thank you for your support by not charging you a red cent to get into the 8 pm or 10 pm sets for Patricia Barber. You deserve it for all those times that you shelled out $20 to hear artists that couldn't even floss Barber's teeth with their weak string of so-called hits. Make your reservations soon (441-9729). -- Nathan Thornburgh

(Moore Theater) In addition to the excellent new live Clash album, From Here to Eternity, Joe Strummer has a solo project forthcoming on Epitaph called Rock Art and the X-Ray Style. For tonight's performance, Strummer has promised to play well-loved Clash tunes as well as some of his solo material. -- Kathleen Wilson

(Vito's) Guitarist Hans Fahling has started his most accessible group thus far, the oddly named Artindapop. The band is big and pleasure-oriented, mixing the most accessible elements of jazz, funk, and rock into their original compositions. They are a very new outfit, and have some strides to make in their songwriting, but they've got players who can make up for that. The tenor saxophonist has a rich bebop sound, and Fahling, the German expatriate and Cornish grad, adds bite and refinement with his buzzing distortion and fast fingers. -- Nathan Thornburgh

(Old Town Ale House) Those of you into jazz's freer, more adventurous side are in for a post-Halloween treat tonight, as you'll only have to shell out $5 to dig this groovin', Oregon-based trumpeter alongside multi-reed-man Vinny Golia, guitarist Scott Fields, and one helluva rhythm section: New York native George Cremaschi and Chicago's Damon Short on drums. -- James Kirchmer


(King Cat) Listen to what the spin doctors have to say about Luscious Jackson's sound: It's "multicultural" and "hip-hop-influenced," with "Spanish guitars" and "funky beats." Yeah, well, these women look like extras from the set of Friends, and they have about as much street cred as their producers, the Beastie Boys. They stole their name from a black basketball player who played for the 76ers in the '60s, and they stole their music from everyone else. The only thing that saves these Gap-selling Beastly Girls is that they're appearing with Ben Lee, an Australian alterna-kid who wakes up next to Claire Danes every day. -- Nathan Thornburgh

(Showbox) I love Halloween. And not just because it's the one time of year I can readily find new clothes (you people call them "costumes"...) -- it's because it means that the Cramps are coming 'round! Lux and Ivy might as well have invented psychobilly -- plus, they're one of the few acts of their vintage who are not only still playing, but who sound completely fresh AND still look good in latex. Few artists manage to put out the pure, primal energy of these vets. I'm getting goose bumps just thinking about it. -- Barbara Mitchell

(Crocodile) If Tim Burton was a rock band, he'd be Uz Jsme Doma. Surrealists from the Czech Republic, they play hard, fast, and tight, with a showmanship honed by nearly a thousand performances since forming in 1985. Quoting Kafka, they describe their intricate compositions as "an axe for the frozen sea inside us." -- Rob Zverina

(700 Club) Once upon a time, Tuesdays at the 700 Club meant Crack Sabbath and nowhere to sit. After Skerik went on hiatus, the band continued on with Craig Flory as Battlestar Dyslexica. The latest morph finds Mike Stone, Ron Weinstein, and Flory still in the house with Guardian Alien bassist Guy Davis, guitarist Phil Hurley, and ex-Green Apple Quickstep singer Ty Willman (pimpin' a pleadin', white-boy soul thang). Recently, Krist Novoselic played bass and later shook his booty, which ALONE was worth the price of admission. -- James Kirchmer

(Re-bar) Buzz, buzz, buzz. Carissa's Weird is the band that everybody loves but nobody's seen, or can remember seeing. Weird, indeed. -- Erin Franzman


(Crystal Ballroom) If jazz is really dead, then this group helped kill it. Improvisation, the strength and domain of jazz, used to be a badge of excellence, a challenge of preparation and invention. And then a certain overweight dope addict from the Grateful Dead started playing hour-long solos using no more than three notes, smearing himself and his slavish fans in pure musical crap. Well, the otherwise talented players in Jazz Is Dead apparently respect that, because dippy jams are their passion, ignoring the fact that God in His wisdom took Jerry Garcia for a reason. -- Nathan Thornburgh

(Jazz Alley) Name one septuagenarian gal hotter than Eartha Kitt. It's not possible. Kitt is a killer cabaret act, pouring on the attitude and belting out the standards. She's the only Homo sapien who can actually purr, and as a result, now and forever, Eartha Kitt is the definitive Catwoman. Bonus points if she sings "Santa Baby." -- Erin Franzman

(Vito's) Well, alright, maybe Wednesdays at Vito's aren't a block party, but this horn-guitar group will smack those who show up with a mix of straight funk covers and out-jazz originals. In particular, watch out for trombonist Lief Thomas, who can play that trombone just like ringing a bell. -- Nathan

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