Christian Hansen

Thursday 5/28

The Pack, Dyme Def, Onry Ozzborn & the Gigantics

(El Corazón) See preview.

The Music Always Matters
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Fatal Lucciauno, Dway, Bobby Hustle, Wizdom, Filejerks, 100 Proof, Cide, Swervewon

(Nectar) Shortly after Fatal Lucciauno was unceremoniously dropped from a hiphop show at the Crocodile in late April, DeVon Manier, the owner of Fatal's label, Sportn' Life Records, alleged that even Nectar, one of Seattle's most hiphop-friendly venues, was keeping Fatal out of its doors. The problem? Fatal performed at Chop Suey on the night that a gunman opened fire into the club, killing one man and wounding two. There was also the problem of his gangsta lyrics and his criminal record. Fatal Lucciauno, however, is an excellent example of the reforming power of hiphop. For him, the music and culture is about survival and making sense of a childhood that was spent on the streets, in deep poverty. See him once and you will be forever be impressed by the heaviness of his honesty. If indeed the doors at Nectar had been closed to Fatal, it is nothing but good news to see that they have been reopened. CHARLES MUDEDE

Night Canopy, Big Eagle

(Comet) I remember the first time I saw Night Canopy perform—it was at 20 Twenty in Ballard, on a sunny summer afternoon, during an art opening. There were beautiful cakes for a cakewalk to my left, racks of vintage clothes to my right, and the hot sun poured in through the shop's windows and doorway, beating on the backs of the crowd seated on the floor in a half moon around the timid but lovely Amy Blaschke. As she sang songs like "Seasick Casanova" in a summer dress and cowboy boots, her voice went from quiet whisper to a strong, romantic croon, and everyone in the room was mesmerized. Not long after that, Blaschke moved to L.A., taking her Night Canopy project with her, and I haven't had the chance to see her since. I'm so glad she's back in town, even if temporarily. MEGAN SELING

Friday 5/29

Chain and the Gang, the Hive Dwellers, Wallpaper

(Vera) See Suggests; preview, and Underage.

Gun Outfit, Milk Music

(Easy Street Records, West Seattle) See preview.

Built to Spill, Ra Ra Riot

(UW HUB Lawn, 3 pm) Just two weeks ago, the UW hosted Lawnapalooza—a free show on the lawn in front of the Husky Union Building with Hey Marseilles, Telekinesis, and the Cave Singers. "Why don't they do this more often?" I wondered. And wouldn't you know, the UW is doing it again! This time the show features Built to Spill and Ra Ra Riot, and once again it's totally free. Plus, it starts at 3:00 p.m. (the last one started at 11:30 a.m., and who goes to a rock show—even an outdoor rock show—before noon?), so it should be easier to excuse yourself from the office or class or the unemployment line to enjoy Ra Ra Riot's new-wave tinged orchestral pop and Built to Spill's classic Built to Spilliness. MEGAN SELING

Pela, U.S.E, Iran, Throw Me the Statue

(Neumos) Pela are a very likable indie-rock band from Brooklyn fronted by a handsome high-school dropout. The bass player (met while busking in the subway) is classically trained, as is the guitarist/keyboardist. Their MySpace profile photo happens to be a Polaroid of one of them holding a guitar in front of the Space Needle. Their rock is of the sweet, happy, pleasant-music-to-listen-to school, which makes them perfect for a bill that also features U.S.E (electro-pop dance anthems about unapologetic love for the Emerald City) and Throw Me the Statue (an extraordinarily pleasant bunch of guys from the Central District who sometimes throw in a horn section). CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

Mad Rad, the Tempers, DJ Darwin

(Comet) This just in: The Comet is a great place to see a show, particularly if the act you're seeing has a reputation for being feral. Mad Rad weren't raised by wolves per se, but they do seem a little unable to play by the rules. Their hiphop only barely sounds like hiphop. Their songs have all sorts of extra stuff in them—airplanes flying overhead, Santigold-ish wailing that turns out to be one of the guys' falsetto. They are three white guys in colorful clothes. There will be jumping around. Tables will be stood on. Things will be spilled. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

Conservative Dad, Pablo Trucker, the Torn ACLs

(Sunset) Tonight's show is an EP release for Seattle's own Conservative Dad. Didn't they just have an EP-release show three months ago? They did. Following the release of their debut full-length last year, the band decided to record four EPs over the course of 2009 to "make a snapshot of our songwriting every three months." While their mellow full-length sounds similar to mid-era Death Cab for Cutie (the guitar work of We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes, the hooks of The Photo Album), their first EP of the year, Mechanical (released in March), has a bit more bite. I like that side of them—the more assertive, less romantic daydreamer side. But don't get too attached. They promise May's EP will be "very different." That's the whole point of the project, after all. MEGAN SELING

Thee Emergency, Strong Killings, Sugar Sugar Sugar

(Funhouse) It's a bummer that Strong Killings haven't been playing out quite as often lately, but the relative downtime has been for a good cause: They're finally hunkered down in a studio and making a record (it's about time, dudes). According to drummer Mike Loggins, the album will be a self-titled long-player with 12 songs, recorded by Justin Cronk at the Toy Box studio, and it's due out sometime in late summer on Don't Stop Believin' Records. Shit, sounds like cause for celebration. Add to the equation a lineup including Thee Emergency—another Seattle outfit decidedly on top of its game—and Bellingham low-end scuz rockers Sugar Sugar Sugar, and we've got ourselves an appropriate party. GRANT BRISSEY

Saturday 5/30

Kaskade, the Crystal Method, the Prodigy

(WaMu Theater) See preview.

Black Celebration, Fascination Street, Love Vigilantes, This Charming Band

(Showbox at the Market) This would-be faux-'80s extra-mopey mini-Woodstock brings together four bands that play the music of other bands: Depeche Mode, the Cure, New Order, and the Smiths, respectively. I'm tempted to say "pretend it's 1985," except these bands would've never shared a stage in 1985. So pretend it's heaven, with '80s-themed cover bands, and hope no one takes their roles too seriously (I'm looking at you, fake Robert Smith and fake Morrissey). Also: The order of acts above also functions as a perfect worst-to-best listing of the source bands. (Though perhaps the last two should switch places.) DAVID SCHMADER

DaKAH Hip Hop Orchestra, Project Lionheart, the Let Go

(Neumos) Unlike the Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra of the '80s, daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra, which is based in Los Angeles, is an actual orchestra. It has a big sound, lots of horns, strings, and all sorts of percussion. The orchestra has 60 professional musicians and is led by Geoff "Double G" Gallegos, a composer and saxophonist trained at Boston's Berklee College of Music. The music, however, is so big that it works much better with soul singers than rappers. The feelings expressed by a singer tend to be universal, where as those expressed by a rapper tend to be very personal. The singularity of the rapper is easily overwhelmed by soaring strings and a thriving jungle of beats. Nevertheless, it's worth checking out the show for no other reason than to see and hear giant hiphop. CHARLES MUDEDE

Truckasauras, Pica Beats

(Healthy Times Fun Club) Local teens are hosting a fundraising concert for 826 Seattle, the nonprofit, free-for-students writing center started by Dave Eggers. Those kooky kids, they've named the show YUSOFYNE. Is that gangsta? A retro throwback to "Oh Mickey"? I'll tell you what it is: It's MISSPELLED. Thing is, I'm a volunteer tutor at 826, so I don't care that the headliners are top-quality locals Truckasauras and Pica Beats, or that The Stranger's own Michaelangelo Matos will be at 826's Greenwood center earlier in the day to dole out free writing advice to budding writers ages 14 to 18, because I'm too hung up on the spelling. Where'd I lead you guys astray? Still, I'll attend and hope that my $5 pays to teach my students how to write in freaking English. SAM MACHKOVECH

Sunday 5/31

J Dilla album-release party: DJs Topspin, Marc Sense, Rev. Shines

(War Room) See My Philosophy.

Jenny Lewis, the Sadies, Mimicking Birds

(Showbox at the Market) See preview.

Monday 6/1

Clues, Aqueduct, Mount Eerie

(Neumos) Clues frontman Alden Penner was half of the songwriting team behind the wonderful, cartoonishly morbid indie-pop band the Unicorns (RIP), and while his new band often aims for a bigger, loftier sound, there's still something of that act's antic energy in his songs. Penner is supported by former Arcade Fire drummer Brendan Reed and a handful of other musicians, who provide percussive clatter (sometimes on dual drum kits), orchestral ominosity, and solid rock-and-roll ruckus to back up Penner's ranging voice, which flickers from a near-shout to a whisper to a falsetto. Clues can sometimes get bogged down in looming, slow-moving passages—but when the songs pick up and get poppy, it's like that old magical animal has been reborn. Mount Eerie is always a treasure. ERIC GRANDY

Peaches, Drums of Death

(Showbox at the Market) Peaches' 2006 record Impeach My Bush (ugh) spawned a couple good singles/remixes ("Boys Wanna Be Her" and the Simian Mobile Disco remix of "Downtown") but didn't make much of an impression. Her album before that, Fatherfucker, was just kind of a mess. Her new album, I Feel Cream, much of which was cowritten by Gonzales, is the best thing she's done since her debut. Peaches successfully tries out airy diva vocals over the title track's muffled rave synths and the twinkling keys and bass arpeggios of the Simian Mobile Disco–coproduced "Lose You." On other SMD coproduction "Billionaire," she's rapping monotone in fine, f-bomb-dropping form, bolstered by a breathless, brutal guest spot from Yo Majesty's Shunda K. "More," one of the album's few strictly solo joints, boasts a nicely buzzing synth line and Peaches whispering sweet-enough dance-floor nothings. The return to form is almost as surprising as that first time you heard "Fuck the Pain Away." ERIC GRANDY

Tuesday 6/2

Rye Rye, Tigerbeat, Champagne Champagne

(Neumos) Everything I've seen promoting this show bills Rye Rye as M.I.A.'s protégé—which she is, having toured and recorded with her and being the first signee to her record label N.E.E.T. But let's just take a minute to appreciate how rarely you hear that title in the realm of pop music these days. Has any pop icon since Prince really promoted a "protégé"? I can't think of one. So, Rye Rye has recorded with Diplo, Blaqstarr, and Count & Sinden. She raps with a raspy, kid-small voice over a variety of bassbin-rattling beat strains. Her songs, like "Bang," don't transcend party rap to become proper pop anthems in the way that her mentor's do, but they are at least top-quality, heart-palpitatingly rhythm-heavy specimens of club music. ERIC GRANDY

Beast Please Be Still, Man Rockwell, Sugar & Hate

(Chop Suey) Beast Please Be Still are experimental in a way that doesn't make you want to cut off your ears and feed them to chinchillas. "Mastodon March Smilodon Smile" is a five-minute fistfight that starts with a piano riff and transforms into a Pogues-ish stomp. Most experimental music doesn't make you happy you stuck around to listen to the whole goddamned thing, but Beast's music always does. Even their quieter compositions involve accordions and other interesting instruments atypical for the genre; they create compositions, not masturbatory messes. PAUL CONSTANT

Wednesday 6/3

Riverboat Gamblers, the Girls, Hollowpoints

(El Corazón) Local quintet the Girls do this glam-punk-power-pop thing right. Their massed vocals soar even as they assume a deadpan hauteur. Guitars and keyboards coalesce into a glorious, coruscating blare. Rhythms tighten their grip on your hips, coaxing you into a tense swivel. It's like Sweet, Devo, and Wire at their most accessible and brash, having a bash. Fellow Seattleites Hollowpoints have that breakneck chugga-chugga attack with hoarse, Stiff Little Fingers/Jake Burns–style vocals nailed the hell down. Punk rock like dear old papa used to make. Austin's Riverboat Gamblers fly punk's '77 4EVER flag with panache; it's like eating comfort food while traveling 120 miles per hour. DAVE SEGAL