THURSDAY 10/19

SHAWN SMITH, CARRIE AKRE, SAM DENSMORE
(Breakroom) Although he's probably best known for his work with Pigeonhed and Brad, Shawn Smith shines the brightest on his own. Few other vocalists are capable of conveying the pure soul that comes so naturally to Smith, which comes through even more brilliantly when he's alone with a keyboard or guitar. He's been busy working on new material, so treat yourself to his angelic voice and beautiful songs. BARBARA MITCHELL

ROBB BENSON
(Gordon Biersch) I know the frickin' Gordon Biersch is in a mall, and in a particularly loathsome one at that. But it doesn't excuse the lack of support for the good music that's going wasted on the cigar-chomping, fraternity-oriented clientele there. Tonight is a chance to check out former Nevada Bachelor Robb Benson's solo material for FREE, in a comfortable setting. Benson's voice has a delicacy to it that comes across even better in a stripped-down setting, and you'll be glad you went. BARBARA MITCHELL

THE FALL-OUTS, THE CRIPPLES
(Crocodile) An old co-worker introduced me to the Fall-Outs' 1992 self-titled release years back, and it remains one of my favorite albums of the early '90s. We would sweat over piles of dirty dishes for hours while this essential work soundtrack blasted from our tired little boom box. Brash and energetic, the album reminds me of the heady days when it seemed like you could catch a good garage rock show any night of the week. After five years on the "Whatever happened to them?" list, the Fall-Outs again grace our city. Welcome back. NATE LEVIN

THE RAZORBABES, THE HORRORS
(Sit & Spin) How bent it gonna get went! Uh... least, that's what I'm prayin' for 'cause, like, to tell you the truth, I ain't seen the Horrors perform, tho' I have heard 'em... that is, the shit they stomp, so... it's as a result of said aural experience my confidence, nay... my expectation, runs high. See, they play the trebellious "no-fidelity" 'R' and the 'B' much like our fallen brethren the Pussy Galore, Memphis' Oblivians, the ever soulful Gories, and the always well-reverberated Fireworks... and this, the Horrors do, all at the same time. And that's a good gotdamn thing. MIKE NIPPER

VAST, UNIFIED THEORY
(Showbox) Okay, maybe VAST's mastermind Jon Crosby is a precocious Robert Smith wannabe from the pothead oasis of Humboldt, California, but the guy does have a prodigious musical talent and a voice like early Bono. Music for People offers more straightforward pop songs than Crosby's solo debut, with the added benefit of new bandmates and more instruments. And if VAST's youthful, smarty-pants goth-pop weren't enough to get the young'uns out to this all-ages show, Unified Theory--featuring former members of Blind Melon and Pearl Jam--opens the show. MELODY MOSS


FRIDAY 10/20

CHRISTINA AGUILERA, DESTINY'S CHILD
(KeyArena) Oh, Christina, someone's not watching out for you like they should. Not only are your handlers crass enough to cash in on the Latin thing by getting you back to your "roots" with a phonetically sung Spanish album, they also left you up on stage alone for a performance with the lascivious Fred Durst at last month's MTV awards. Poor thing, you gamely warbled on as he checked out your underage booty like it was dinner. As for Destiny's Child, they've got three great singles, fabulous getups, a gloriously conflicted Jesus-lover/sexy-mofo image, and no discernible individual qualities--those girls will be just fine. LEAH GREENBLATT

NO. 13 BABY, RUSTON MIRE, DORKWEED
(Crocodile) The CD-release party for Dorkweed's My Motor should be good poppy fun. If you're anything like me, you may be resisting giving them a fair shake because the name of the band is irritating as shit. I finally got around to it, however, and found a dynamic collection of bright, smart, humor-injected pop songs that seem to be influenced by an array of musicians as diverse as the Pixies, the Presidents, and David Bowie. On "Alanis," vocalist Weed sings, "I wish you were Alanis Morissette/So I could hurt you/Again and again and again/Until you hate all men." He later wishes skin problems upon the song's subject. Like the Violent Femmes, Dorkweed use humor and melody to convey intelligence and an engrossing underlying anger. And I'm not just saying that because they gave me a cookie. It was good, by the way. JEFF DeROCHE

VERY SPECIAL FORCES, HONEY
(Rainbow) Very Special Forces, a cult band comprised mainly of jazz and punk musicians, use music as a vehicle to stick, as Trey Spruance of Mr. Bungle says of them, "a sore thumb up the ass of pop." Their sincere riffs hook you from note one as the lyrics satirically question your genius. Honey, another aggressively sweet departure from pop, should also not be missed on this very special night. KREG HASEGAWA

THE DIRTY THREE, SHANNON WRIGHT
(Showbox) One of the few artists who measure up to the Dirty Three is opener Shannon Wright. Her solo work is stark, haunting, passionate, and gorgeous. If you want to be lazy, think of her as an American version of PJ Harvey. It's the kind of music that will literally give you goose bumps, so be sure to get to the Showbox early. See preview this issue. BARBARA MITCHELL

BÜTTHÜTT, CRAZYMAKER, HICKY
(OK Hotel) BüttHütt and Crazymaker both feature former members of local early-'90s band Get It Gurl, one of the most fun bands to ever grace our city. BüttHütt offers assault-weapon metal--a sound the band jokingly refers to as "asshouse" (asshaus?)--injected with strangely soothing vocal harmonies led by Guardian Alien's Guy Davis. BüttHütt's subject matter ranges from struggles with Catholicism, sending a package overseas, eating cookies, searching for the proper truck-fixin' tools, and bathing with a rubber ducky, to a way-too-close-for-comfort relationship with a dog. Power-rock trio Crazymaker spoons out crunching tunes with a good dose of pop marketability. MELODY MOSS

AKDENIZ
(Daughters of the American Revolution Hall) All apologies to bluegrass, but people from the Mediterranean do much better things with acoustic guitars than Americans. That's why you have to like Akdeniz, a new acoustic guitar trio anchored by Turkish émigré Yakub Trana. The trio's initial recording is a surprisingly cohesive mix of classical Mediterranean styles that are neither too muddled nor too breezy. NATHAN THORNBURGH


SATURDAY 10/21

FIVE GEARS IN REVERSE, TRANSMARINE
(Crocodile) Tonight is Five Gears in Reverse's going-away show--your last chance to check out these charming Bellingham transplants. Of course, you'll always be able to pop in their delightful album You're Not Asking the Right Questions when you need your fix of emotionally tinged indie pop, but you should still come on down and show them that good music doesn't go unappreciated in this town. BARBARA MITCHELL

ATTRITION
(Catwalk) Attrition bring their own brand of electronically induced nachtmusik to town in support of a recently released collection of remixes, The Hand That Feeds. Though not as widely appealing as some of their gothic brethren, they're undeniably creative and frequently fascinating to listen to, with a wider array of influences and sounds than many of their compatriots. They also deserve points for longevity; this group's been around, in one incarnation or another, since the early 1980s. Local favorites 3SKS (formerly Tri-State Killing Spree) open, so get there early. GENEVIEVE WILLIAMS

AKIMBO, BLÖÖDHAG, VERMILLION
(University Library) Remember those READ posters that adorned public libraries everywhere, featuring luminaries such as Yoda holding books and looking wise? I'm just waiting for the day when Blöödhag has such a poster. Meanwhile, if you want to brush up on your SF knowledge (that's science fiction, dears, not San Francisco), hear some kick-ass music, and support a good cause, check out this triple threat of extremely noisy rock and roll. And check out some books while you're there--that's what the libarary's for. The event is all ages, by the way. GENEVIEVE WILLIAMS

THE RUBY DOE, BETTY BLOWTORCH, OUR CITIES FINEST
(Gibson's) Some of Betty Blowtorch's greatest hits include "Fish Taco," "Party Til Ya Puke," and the sensitive ode to the consummation of a beautiful, loving relationship, "Shut Up and Fuck." They are straight-up punk. Seattle's own hard and tight rock band the Ruby Doe shall open for them, as well as Our Cities Finest, the a cappella police choir that covers Pat Boone originals and "We Are the World." JUAN-CARLOS RODRIGUEZ

RUBBERNECK
(Central) After repeated warnings that this band is too good to play the Central, Rubberneck continue to show up there. That means it's no longer a problem with the public--the Central has been packed and sweaty each time I've seen Rubberneck there. So the band must have lazy management, which is a shame. While sham bands like String Cheese Incident make millions of dollars, Rubberneck's danceable brand of funk, Latin, and soul (think Omar Torrez without the flamenco) continues to fall on drunken, nearly deaf ears. NATHAN THORNBURGH

TOM TOM CLUB
(Bohemian) Remarkably, the cool remove of Tina Weymouth's sing-songy, behind-the-glass vocals actually works on tracks like the Donna Summer disco classic "Love to Love You Baby," a cover on this year's The Good, the Bad, and the Funky. Instead of coming off like snotty art-school ironists, these Talking Heads expats sound like genuine James Brown fans enrolled in some kind of Norwegian funk-outreach program, gettin' down in their own sly, reserved Anglo way. At its best, the buoyancy of Tom Tom's synth-funk becomes transcendent, as on the '80s classic "Genius of Love." LEAH GREENBLATT


SUNDAY 10/22

THE FIXX, THE ALARM 2000
(Ballard Firehouse) The Alarm have recently released their entire catalogue via a nine-CD box set (available only through the Internet), which features a particularly fan-friendly innovation: a personally dedicated song of the buyer's choice, recorded at a live performance. Headliners the Fixx spent the '80s busily churning out hit after hit of slick, addictive new-wave pop with earnest lyrics on socially conscious topics. And while nuclear-paranoid tunes like "Red Skies at Night" and "Stand or Fall" may seem merely quaint now, 1988's "Driven Out" offers a strangely relevant message for the Tim Eyman Northwest: "Fueled by a fattening greed/Trees fall to the hatchet..../ Driving in my car/I used to be able to walk this far." MELODY MOSS


MONDAY 10/23

SEVEN PERCENT SOLUTION
(Graceland) Think the Verve in their heyday, Voyager One, Ride, or a sharp-edged Sky Cries Mary. Whether they are in the middle of an ethereal lull or the climax of a long, orbiting, guitar-drenched build, Seven Percent's music is big enough to fill an airplane hangar with sound. Since they're here from Austin, take the opportunity and go see this show. CHARLES REDELL


TUESDAY 10/24

WILLOW, JILL COHN, DREW DUNDAN
(Tractor Tavern) Jill Cohn's nearly constant tour swings through Seattle once again, bringing Cohn's own special blend of folk-infused pop. Pick a pop songbird--especially one who plays piano--and Cohn's probably been compared to her, but she has a style all her own that defies comparison. She's more sensual than most of her ilk, and she has an impressive voice that's capable of whispering or belting with equal impact. GENEVIEVE WILLIAMS

BILL FRISELL, LEE KONITZ, PAUL BLEY, HAN BENNINK
(On the Boards) Anyone who has enjoyed Bill Frisell's early recordings, but has been disappointed by the lack of ferocity in his current undertakings, should shed all excuses and come to this show. Han Bennink, fierce percussionist from Holland, will light a fire under Frisell's ass. KREG HASEGAWA


WEDNESDAY 10/25

MOONSHINE OVER AMERICA 2000 with CARL COX, JOHN KELLEY, CHRISTOPHER LAURENCE, CIRRUS
(Showbox) British superstar Carl Cox is known for the compulsive thump of his mainroom techno/hard-house workouts, which earns him all the more respect for the adventurousness of his '97 release F.A.C.T. Ii, on which he sneaks in a churning, almost industrial mix of Josh Wink's "Are You There" and a spare, funky take on Fatboy Slim's "Everybody Needs a 303." On the more recent Phuture 2000, he throws down the taut, flawless three-turntable action he's known for, and that's probably closer to what tonight's crowd should expect. LEAH GREENBLATT

SANTANA, EVERLAST
(Tacoma Dome) Carlos Santana and Everlast make an odd pair, with their seemingly ill-matched hippie Latin rock and white blues-rap. But there they are, appearing on each other's records (Everlast on Santana's Supernatural, and Santana on Everlast's new Eat at Whitey's). And somehow, this weird blend works. Santana's recent collaboration (on Supernatural) with all those usually boring pop stars includes some pretty catchy numbers. (Admit it: You secretly liked that song with Rob Thomas.) Everlast's last big hit, "What It's Like," offered us a much-needed lesson in social empathy, and the newly released "Black Jesus" provides a good dose of intelligent irreverence. MELODY MOSS

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