THE WORLD OF DR. ILLTEAMS
(Crocodile) See preview this issue.
31 KNOTS, SHARKS KEEP MOVING, DILUTE
(Graceland) Portland prog rockers 31 knots just finished mixing a new full-length, due to hit the stores early in the spring of 2002. Called A Word Is Also a Picture of a Word, it will be released on Chicago's 54°40' or Fight! label. Until then, the band's got an EP out to tide over fans who can't get enough of the trio's smart, twisted take on one of the most reviled and respected genres of rock and roll. You could call San Francisco's dilute (another 54°40' or Fight! band) messy prog rockers, if there can be such a thing. Feedback, dissonance, and a howling lyricist meld together to create cantilevered structures of seemingly incongruent musical parts, making for a challenging yet rewarding listening experience. KATHLEEN WILSON
KIRK FRANKLIN & THE FAMILY CHRISTMAS SHOW
(KeyArena) As we all know, what's commonly referred to as gospel music is a relatively new musical form that's younger than jazz. Modern gospel was almost single-handedly invented by Thomas Dorsey, a reformed blues singer who, in the '20s, published hundreds of his songs and discovered Mahalia Jackson. Ever since, fervent cross-fertilization 'twixt gospel and popular musics has been the norm. The influence has been mostly one-sided, however--Paul Simon's rips of Swan Silvertones and Dixie Hummingbirds, a thousand and one soul singers replacing the word "God" with "baby" to achieve pop success, and Moby's jubilee gospel samples on Play spring to mind. Thank God for savvy modern gospel stars like Andrae Crouch, Fred Hammond, and Kirk Franklin. They've updated Rev. James Cleveland's rollicking organ-and-choir-based sound with more typically secular elements: rap, urban crooning, and serious throw-down funk. The enigmatic Franklin and his long-standing choir, the Family, are the real deal, and this special concert promises to be the most sweaty, booty-shaking Christmas show in town. MIKE McGONIGAL
DANNY BARNES & THEE OLD CODGERS, JO MILLER & THE BURLY ROUGHNECKS
(Tractor) A couple of years ago I noted in these here pages how dang lucky we are that Texas' Danny Barnes (of Bad Livers fame) was now living out here, and that his days of playing free pub shows were inevitably numbered. Indeed, now that he's warmed up his tunes and recorded a fine new album with Thee Old Codgers (Things I Done Wrong, on Terminus Records), Danny and company (bassist Keith Lowe and violinist Jon Parry) are ready for the big time--especially given that their down-home music is a brilliant modern-day extension of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? nostalgia that has swept the country like mad. Thee Old Codgers exude the charming demeanor and timeless virtuosity that has endeared so many to these inventive backwoods and front-porch traditions. Don't overlook these vets, especially if you've got a soft spot for Americana. JAMES KIRCHMER
NAUGHTY HOLIDAY PARTY
(Timberline) This will be a fun party for many reasons, but there's one reason in particular that towers above all the rest: Hipsters in snowsuits! The Naughty Holiday party, which features the extended Pho/Faux Bang family--Miss Sylvia O'Stayformore, Jackie Hell, Ursula Android, DJ Baby J, DJ El Toro, and the Gun Street Girls--is set to happen at the Timberline. You, hipster, may never have been to the Timberline. It's a gigantic fag bar with a barnlike, country-western-themed interior and strong drinks, where the gays and the lesbians often get together for line dancing. In short, it's a jewel of a bar! Tonight, however, wear your ski outfits and snow angel costumes, or devise something clever, so long as it fits with the party's "evening at a swingin' ski lodge at Christmastime" theme. Ursula and Jackie will put on a Christmas pageant, and there will be a costume party at midnight. There will also be a dirty Santa in attendance, on whose lap you can have your pictures taken. And, unless things have changed over the past week or so, Dirty Santa is that guy named Ian who dresses up like a caterpillar for those Money Tree commercials. I love that guy! He doesn't know who I am, but whenever I see him I like to say, "Oh my god, you're that Money Tree guy! I love your work!" I say it nicely, though, and he always laughs, because he's jolly like that. JEFF DeROCHE
THE WORLD OF DR. ILLTEAMS
(Crocodile) See preview this issue.
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE, DAMIEN JURADO, SELDOM
(Graceland) See Stranger Suggests.
(Paramount) Like compatriot Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow writes music that will endure as long as karaoke bars do. This is because the songs aren't too hard to sing, and after you've heard them just once, they will never, ever leave you. It's no revelation that Manilow's campy, charming, classic songs from the 1970s, like "Mandy," "Copacabana," and "I Write the Songs," are great songs. They're soaringly anthemic and so thoroughly soaked with sappiness that surely the classically trained former jingle-writer and arranger was in on the joke at the time. But even if he wasn't, it doesn't really matter; in this post-ironic age, what's the difference between sentiment and sentimentality, anyhow? Manilow's oeuvre is due for a serious critical reevaluation, placing the gentle, Jewfro-ed cheesemeister at the top of the list of folks most likely to be subject of a "Radical Jewish Culture" release on John Zorn's Tzadik label. MIKE McGONIGAL
DON'T LET YOUR SON GO DOWN ON ME
(Seattle Eagle) This Elton John theme night features DJ Mr. Smith and celebrates the winter solstice. I tried to think of something funny to say about it, but the name of the event trumped all my efforts. That's a first--I've been "trumped" at the Eagle thousands of times, but never by it. JEFF DeROCHE
ELLIOTT SMITH, ALASKA
(Showbox) See Stranger Suggests.
CHEB i SABBAH
(Baltic Room) See Stranger Suggests.
SWOLLEN MEMBERS, DJ J-ROCC, BOOM BAP PROJECT, ONRY OZZBORN, PALE SOUL, SLEEP, OLDOMINION, DJ B-MELLO
(I-Spy) See preview this issue.
HELIO SEQUENCE, MELODY UNIT, THE MINES
(I-Spy) See preview this issue.
THE MENTORS/THE NORTHWEST BREEDERS, THE SCHMIDTAHOLICS, ANGER MANAGEMENT
(Graceland) Even Graceland's booker couldn't tell The Stranger exactly what is meant to happen when the Mentors and the Northwest Breeders (apparently a Mentors cover band) take the stage, but it looks like the two bands will be playing together. Things we can guarantee: Il Duce, who is dead, will not be in attendance; there will be no shortage of stupid metal hilarity at this show; and, lastly, this will only be a good time for fans of big, stupid-but-glorified train wrecks. Hey, maybe Courtney Love and Tipper Gore will show up together and start taking people out. They've both got a good amount of free time on their hands lately, haven't they? JEFF DeROCHE
MOZART'S ARRANGEMENT OF HANDEL'S MESSIAH
(Meany Hall) Apart from spawning cacophonous sing-alongs, Handel's Messiah is a bread-and-butter gig for dozens of local chorales and churches. So what is a music director to do when faced with multitudes of Messiahs? Orchestra Seattle and Seattle Chamber Singers craftily selected Mozart's arrangement of Handel's ever-popular oratorio, whose "Hallelujah!" hook has remained in currency since Messiah's Dublin premiere in 1742. Think of this concert as the 18th-century forerunner of a DJ remix: In 1789, Baron Gottfried Van Swieten hired none other than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to plump up the score with additional brass and woodwinds. Would Handel have approved? The score of Messiah has such a convoluted history that invariably every ensemble performs the piece differently. The pairing of two masters, however, makes this one hard to beat. CHRISTOPHER DeLAURENTI
(Tractor) As Hanuman percussionist Jarrod Kaplan told The Seattle Times a year ago, "If music can bring a large audience together, then the world could be a better place." Sounds like a leftover scrap of radical jam-band ideology from the 1990s--the idea that extended bluegrass improvisation will bring about world peace. But is that idea still relevant today? A weekend I recently spent in Burlington, Vermont, the home of jam band behemoth Phish, provided arguments both for and against the jam-band-as-Buddha-Rama-Mohammed-Jesus theory. People in Burlington, where Phish is practically the only industry, do seem to be friendly and at peace; they smile, they eat organic, and they stop for pedestrians. But there's a growing counterculture of bitter Vermonters who call Phish "the machine," "the man," or less charitably, "those fucking hippies." So, while Hanuman, which tours incessantly and is constantly seeking to improve its already solid mix of folk and world music, might not like its mediocre notoriety, it's probably a good thing its members haven't become superstars yet. Free from the pressures of building a utopian society, Hanuman can concentrate on giving the people what they really want--live, local music on a Saturday night. NATHAN THORNBURGH
PHAT SIDY SMOKEHOUSE, MOTHER'S MILK
(Elysian) Phat Sidy Smokehouse plays full-bodied, dependable, unoriginal funk jams, which is the perfect formula for getting your beer-drunk on, so this brewery concert will go well. This past summer, however, I saw the formula go less than well. Phat Sidy Smokehouse was the opener at the surprise Roots concert at I-Spy (half of the famous Philly group had driven down from the Gorge show earlier that day). Phat Sidy was scheduled to open the show, and then actually back up the Roots. The excited openers ended up playing for hours, however, exhausting themselves and the audience, though I must say they did an impressive job of keeping the energy level at close-to-boil. At one point they began playing a single note rapidly, getting the audience hyped up, as if ready to introduce the Roots... the now-packed audience erupted into screaming and applause... the rapid buildup continued on... and... and... then it just sort of stopped. Nothing happened. Oddly, PSS frontman Ernest Pumphrey began talking about how this was all supposed to be "mellow," and the band began some rudderless funk jam, presumably to cool people's anger over the Roots' conspicuous absence. Then, someone from offstage said something in Pumphrey's ear. They exchanged what looked like some regretful words, and one by one the members of Phat Sidy left the stage. The Roots then came on stage with their own band. Phat Sidy, after hours of labor, and the anticipation of backing up one of the most famous hiphop groups ever, never even got a final applause. It was very disheartening. At the bars of the "phat sidy" of Seattle, however, the Smokehouse rules! BRIAN GOEDDE
ELLINGTON'S SACRED MUSIC
(University Christian Church) See Stranger Suggests.
It's two days before Christmas and bitches be broke.
(Benaroya Hall) Seattle is not known for funding the construction of big churches, but stadiums and concert halls. In accordance, the relatively non-religious but "spiritual" people of Seattle don't do much in the way of church until the holidays roll around. Tonight, the nondenominational (or as its members put it, "trans-denominational") Center for Spiritual Living sponsors a concert/service in the futuristic and huge S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, for FREE!! Rev. Dr. Kathianne Lewis will lead the Benaroya crowd in a series of prayers, and the musical guests will be Marco Cassone from the a cappella group M-Pact (Seattle's version of the bubblegum boy groups), and the Choir of Light, whose repertoire ranges from rock to classical to gospel. BRIAN GOEDDE
"Do they know it's Christmas time at all?" Seriously.
T'WAS THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS
(Graceland) Maybe you have an extra gift lying around, or you were given something that's not in line with your tastes. What you do is bring it down to Graceland tonight, toss it in a pile with other forgotten or misguided gifts, and when the magic moment comes, you draw a number and pray to Jesus you don't end up with something as useless as what you came there to get rid of. DJ Red Leather Chapstick will be on hand to spin the old-school hiphop, and DJ Frankie Chan, among others, will play some favorite music for the assembled Christmas survivors. KATHLEEN WILSON