(Graceland) The Man Scouts of America aren't terribly original, but that doesn't matter. They've got fire, fire, FIRE!!! So if you like your music loud and rockin' -- and you appreciate the genius of rigging your guitar with pyrotechnics -- this is a show you won't wanna miss. In fact, given the attention paid to actually putting on a show, this should be required viewing for some. BARBARA MITCHELL

(Paramount) He's a member of Wu-Tang, he's got a whole lot of 14-karat dental work, and like any good hiphop maestro, he's making his way into Hollywood via bit parts in action films. Method Man has moved smoothly into crossover territory by teaming up on a single with Limp Bizkit, too. But you know what else? He's also the main man on Wu-Tang's classic "C.R.E.A.M.," he performed one of the '90s' greatest duets with Mary J. Blige on "You're All I Need (to Get By)," and he's done some very solid solo work. All cynicism aside, he's a very talented man. Appearing with "partner in rhyme" Redman. LEAH GREEENBLATT

(I-Spy) Blessed Light are the latest entry in local lo-fi pop. Purveyors of melancholy and sweet little songs, they play the kind of music that makes you ache in the best possible way, that makes you long for the one who got away or for that opportunity you let slip by. They'll be releasing something on local label Made in Mexico shortly -- so expect to be hearing a lot more about 'em. BARBARA MITCHELL

(Paradox) Those clever scamps in Raft of Dead Monkeys are at it again, taking their smart-rocking stage show to the Paradox. This is an all-ages show so that the kids can appreciate the unpredictable and always rewardingly wacky hijinks of this band. When are we gonna see some go-go dancers, fellas? ERIN FRANZMAN

(Gordon Biersch) San Francisco's Chris Von Sneidern specializes in the kind of intelligent, well-crafted pop that seems utterly timeless and completely modern at the same time. Like Michael Penn, Freedy Johnston, or a handful of other songwriters of the same caliber, he shouldn't be condemned to being a well-kept secret, one of those artists whose fans consist of a small-but-devoted following that's predominately composed of peers. BARBARA MITCHELL


(Showbox) The 2x4 Tour: two sets by four guys. Sadly, the Melvins aren't playing two sets, but Melvins guitarist Buzz Osborne will be joined by a mystery guitar player for the first time, and they are touring with Leif Garrett's four-piece, Godspeed. Putting aside all knee-jerk cynicism toward Leif, this is his chance to show us how he rocks these days. The Melvins had him sing on their record, and he was individual enough to stand out. I thought it was weird/bad at first, but now I think it's weird/fascinating. The Melvins, however, are guaranteed to astound and rock all the people who are smart enough to go to this show. JUAN-CARLOS RODRIGUEZ

(King Cat Theater) It's official: Joshua Redman is the Hottie of Modern Jazz. Just look at him. His success isn't just due to his luscious good looks -- that's for rock stars. Redman is talented, with a strong ear for tradition but an innovative sense of adventure -- see his 1998 release, Timeless Tales (For Changing Times), in which he braves the critics' waters by recording a bunch of jazz covers of pop music standards; a nightmare in theory, but resulting in a creative, surprisingly appealing collection of interpretations. Admit it: With those pillow lips and "C'mere, baby" eyes, you'd buy a ticket to watch him eat a grilled cheese sandwich. MIN LIAO

(Sit & Spin) Both Sage and King Black Acid have been around for awhile now, and both are more or less centered around their lead guitarist/singers. Daniel Riddle, frontman for King Black Acid, also played in Hitting Birth. Since he's played in KBA, the band has developed a trance-inducing, psychedelic pop-type rock, while Marc Olsen's Sage is a bit tighter structurally. Carissa's Weird's intimate, loose style of space rock should open the bill nicely. JUAN-CARLOS RODRIGUEZ

(Crocodile) In my book, any Voyager One show is a reason to celebrate. However, tonight is an extra special occasion because it marks the release of V1's first proper album. From the New Nation of Long Shadows is an out-of-this-world, dreamlike affair that includes the druggiest version of "Daytripper" imaginable, plus nine epic, hallucinatory originals. If you haven't seen V1 before, you're in for a treat -- the band pays as much attention to visual atmospherics as it does to its music. BARBARA MITCHELL


(Fenix Above) Back in the late-'80s/early-'90s, bands like Fishbone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers made alt-rock fun, combining funk, metal, punk, and -- in Fishbone's case -- ska. They created some pretty kick-ass, danceable weirdness that appealed as much to jocks and frat guys as it did to hipsters. While the Chili Peppers went on to get big and serious, Fishbone seemed to implode, making it that much more surprising that they've got a new album to promote. They've always been better live than in the studio, so you might want to pass on the CD, but come out tonight to hear old faves like "Party at Ground Zero." BARBARA MITCHELL

(Auburn's Best Annex) The wisest among us would willingly travel to the ends of the earth to see Sunset Valley, but luckily they're kind enough to bring their Portland indie-pop radiance up to Seattle every couple of months. The delightful Herman Jolly and Co. have a legion of bold-face names in their Seattle fan club: Local rock stars from Peter Parker, the Melody Unit, Harvey Danger, and Death Cab for Cutie were spotted in the crowd at their last Crocodile show. And I've got their most recent release, Boyscout Superhero, programmed on my alarm clock. Waking up to the buoyant album opener, "I've Got Fair," every morning makes breakfast time seem more like Dance Party, USA -- if Dance Party, USA had ever played a decent song. ERIN FRANZMAN

(Graceland) San Francisco's Loud Family feature the songwriting talents of cult favorite Game Theory's Scott Miller -- and they're here on the heels of a recent release, Attractive Nuisance. L.A.'s Beachwood Sparks also have a fine new album out (on Sub Pop, no less), and their beguiling blend of Byrds-like beauty is also something to behold. Otto, who recently signed to Sub Pop, open the bill, giving you a chance to see what other good music the label's got up its sleeve. BARBARA MITCHELL

(I-Spy) The Make-Up is an awesome study in faking it. Ian Svenonious shakes it in his best imitation of Mick Jagger imitating James Brown. And now Beck has started imitating Ian imitating Jagger imitating James Brown. I guess we're all just trying to duplicate the experience of a James Brown show. ERIN FRANZMAN

(Monkey Pub) Five Gears in Reverse opened for Sunset Valley at the Crocodile last week (see above), and admirably held their own. The band's m.o. is pretty simple -- darling riffs treated with a straightforward appreciation for dynamics and contrast -- but it can be hard to tell one song from the next. Didn't we just hear this? Regardless, they pack some serious talent, so if you get into them now, it'll be that much more rewarding when they get big around here. ERIN FRANZMAN

(Moore Theater) Ah, the vagaries of being an "alternative rock" band on a major label at the turn of the century. Train are the folks whose hit "Meet Virginia," and its accompanying video -- featuring the Noxema commercial actress as a harried waitress who we can safely assume is the Virginia of the song's title -- are occasionally played on MTV. Mostly, though, it's the first video on 120 Minutes, when MTV feels like airing that poor, beleaguered show (try 2 am on Sunday, though that doesn't always work). And Stir are entirely indistinguishable from every other major-label alternative rock band, because the B-list celebrity in their video is just a recurring character on a WB sitcom. Poor Stir! ERIN FRANZMAN

(Sit & Spin) Our pals in Welcome have finally released Sun as Night Light, their dark and dreamy album on RX Remedy Records. You'll love Welcome if words have ever failed you, as their songs are insightfully inarticulate and emotionally deafening. This is an early, all-ages show, so plan some time to recover before going back out into the cold, cruel city. ERIN FRANZMAN

(Sit & Spin) This is pretty much a no-brainer: three of the best Seattle pop bands on the same bopping bill. Mountain Con. riff off of roots music with fun, accessible songs made that much cooler by the scratching of DJ Erik Blood. They're neck and neck with the Catheters to be the next Seattle band to sign to a major; both groups must travel through the miasma of A&R smoke, and we wish them both the best of luck in navigating those tricky waters. Publishing deals, guys, publishing deals. ERIN FRANZMAN


(Showbox) For us nightcrawlers who feel we don't exist if we're not in a smoky club, Sunday nights usually find us at the Cha Cha, all hollow-eyed and hungry for that sense of anticipation, that anything-can-happen feeling of live music. We drown our sorrows, hoping someone will get drunk and do something stupid, and wait until Monday or Tuesday when the shows start up again. But finally, the Showbox has acknowledged the nightcrawlers of Seattle and started up a Sunday night songwriters' series. The shows will feature a different group of singer-songwriters every week, and the fly-by-night atmosphere will encourage a little spontaneity, some covers, and some collaborations. Kicking off with the cream of the crop, this night features five outstanding fellows, but my heart belongs in particular to Marc Olsen's clear and lovely melodies. Look for Ken Stringfellow and Damien Jurado in upcoming weeks. ERIN FRANZMAN


(Crocodile) In the red corner, weighing in at 98 pounds but carrying a crowbar, from Detroit, Michigan: a newcomer, THE GO! And in the blue corner, from sunny Los Angeles, California, weighing 350 pounds and armed with lead boxing gloves: NEBULA! This should be quite a matchup -- two very different styles of rock, but each totally rockin' in its own way. Dress up flashy and represent for the Go. Get stoned and cheer for Nebula. This'll be a 15-rounder. JUAN-CARLOS RODRIGUEZ


(I-Spy) The titles of their albums say it all: Life in a Bubble Can Be Beautiful and But Sleep Came Slowly. Red Stars Theory are soothing but distant; it's music better listened to in the privacy of your own home than in a crowded room full of strangers, better suited to pensive moments alone with your own thoughts than at smoky rock clubs. Could it be that RST remind us that we're not the only ones who've ever felt that way, that someone out there understands and that there's a glimmer of hope after all? BARBARA MITCHELL


( Waldeck sounds like some new kind of marsupial, but actually they're proponents of the "Viennese sound." What does that mean? Well, the band's press release was full of so many stellar adjectives, I'm going to have to let them tell you: Waldeck is "melancholic porno funk," they produce "dope snail house," and damn, their "spaghetti dub" sound is the best kind of "underwater sci-fi soul." How's that? Bonus fact: Ringleader Klaus Waldeck received his post-graduate degree in London in copyright law, and his doctoral thesis was on music sampling. So expect the sounds you hear from Waldeck to be 100% legal and approved, my friend. LEAH GREENBLATT

(Moore Theater) Goth-metal? That automatically makes Type O Negative the mozzarella of modern rock -- the cheesiest of the cheese. Actually (miraculously, really), they somehow manage to pull it off, probably because the band seems to possess an all-too-rare sense of humor that elevates them above their more serious peers. Still, it should be interesting to see if singer Peter Steele's much-publicized spread in Playgirl a few years back brings out the ladies.... BARBARA MITCHELL

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