Lisa Carson

Thursday 8/19

Oneida, Kinski, the Lights

(Sunset) At last year's All Tomorrow's Parties festival in upstate New York, long-running Brooklyn psych/kraut/noise/rock/etc. band Oneida spearheaded a 12-hour, nonstop jam session with members of Boredoms, the Flaming Lips, and others sitting in intermittently. (They're doing it again for ATP this year.) Not many bands have the sheer balls to attempt such a thing, the stamina to pull it off, or the chops to make it actually worth seeing—but Oneida do, as they've proven on album after album. Their latest, Rated O, is almost as ambitious a marathon, a triple album running just under two hours that progresses from dubby headfuckery to heavy, riff-sogged rock workouts to exhausted ambient noodling (with sitar, motherfucker!). Tonight, they'll play for only a fraction of 12 hours, but expect them to cram a grueling amount of action into even an hour or two. ERIC GRANDY

Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven

(Neumos) I got in the only notable car wreck of my life on a Sunday morning at the tender age of 16, driving my folks' Hyundai Excel at top speed (53 mph), not to church (where I was supposed to be going), but to the waiting arms of my teenage sweetheart while screaming along to "Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)" by Cracker. I think we were somewhere in the howling final verse ("What the world needs now/Is a new Frank Sinatra/So I can!/Get you!/In bed!") when I ran a country-road stop sign, T-boned a lawyer's clerk (nice one), and came to consciousness in a nearby lawn. The car had bounced out of the intersection, turned 180 degrees in the air, and landed in someone's yard. The car was crushed like a beer can, but Cracker was still blaring on the stereo. I tell you all this because some have disparaged Cracker's success, saying their stoned-but-energetic country rock wasn't real... or something. But I am here to testify that Cracker play the kind of music that teenagers scream along to while skipping church so they can go rub on their girlfriends and instead get in car wrecks. Cracker predecessors Camper Van Beethoven (of "Take the Skinheads Bowling" fame) are equally awesome: musically pluralistic, unpretentious, smart, and fun. Mope along to your obscure records at home, if that's your fancy. I'll be off having fun tonight. BRENDAN KILEY

Friday 8/20

JD Twitch

(Re-bar) See Data Breaker.

Digable Planets, U.G.O. Crew, Khingz, DJ 100Proof

(Neumos) See the Stranger Suggests, and My Philosophy.

Lisa Dank, Billy the Fridge, Dyslexic

(Columbia City Theatre) Billy the Fridge wears many hats. On any given day, you might catch him eating competitively, wrestling on the semipro circuit, or just being an all-around cool guy. Tonight, he assumes his most bombastic mantle, as Seattle's nerdcore (or bullycore, as he calls it) ambassador. Billy is not the best rapper, but I doubt he gives a shit, and I doubt you will either. He tears off pieces of gross-out rap, standup comedy, nerd references, and strip-club sleaze, and then he uses his man glue to make a collage that will either have you clapping or gagging. Fridge will be the testosterone-laced yang to Lisa Dank's glammed-out, sexed-up, estrogen-laced yin. Brace yourself. KALEB GUBERNICK

Summer Slaughter: Decapitated, the Faceless, All Shall Perish, the Red Chord, Veil of Maya, Cephalic Carnage, Decrepit Birth, Carnifex, Animals as Leaders

(Studio Seven) For the sake of clarity, let's ignore the subtle nuances that separate technical death metal, grind metal, old-school death metal, and progressive tech metal for one second and agree that this is hands down the best touring metal fest we've seen this summer. Forget your Warped Tour and Rockstar Mayhem, this year's Summer Slaughter offers an entire day of extreme metal inside an intimate venue for a fraction of the price of those festivals. Even if you aren't the biggest fan of the face-crushing brutality brought forth by Decapitated, Cephalic Carnage, and Decrepit Birth, you can surely drool at the über-technical guitar wizardry of Tosin Abasi, lead guitarist of upcoming D.C. instrumental prog-metal scholars Animals as Leaders. You won't even need to pretend like you know what he's saying. KEVIN DIERS

Black Happy

(Crocodile) Black Happy's Friendly Dog Salad was a staple among my mischievous group of high-school friends. Drunk Steve copped the record from his college-age brother, and it went on to fuel many a night of adolescent debauchery. An ardently atheist lot, we had no idea of the band's roots in Christian metal and Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Politics aside, Black Happy's later grasp of everything from metal to Americana to (tasteful) ska undertones placed them well above the Northwest frat circuit, which they were sometimes known to play. The band drew major-label attention after their second full-length, Peghead, but abruptly disbanded in 1994. In 2010, all my Black Happy records are long gone, likely loaned out drunkenly in the wee hours of the morning. GRANT BRISSEY

Saturday 8/21

Lady Gaga

(Tacoma Dome) See preview.

Black Happy

(Crocodile) See Friday.

No Depression Festival: The Swell Season, the Maldives, Sera Cahoone, Chuck Prophet, Alejandro Escovedo, the Cave Singers, Lucinda Williams

(Marymoor Park) The lineup kind of says it all: a sweet cavalcade of country music for people who aren't idiots (it's a little disappointing that we still need to qualify country music that way, isn't it?). The Maldives bring their classic sounds of slide guitars and lightly yodel-cracked vocals. The Cave Singers sound like a bunch of boys who've been locked away in a barn for a few with a bunch of instruments, a few pounds of pot, and maybe an early demo by Fleetwood Mac. (Don't believe me? Listen to "Dancing on Our Graves" again and tell me I'm wrong.) Alejandro Escovedo is just a top-notch American songwriter in the Springsteen lineage, though Escovedo seems nimbler and smarter. (One of my favorite lines of his, from "Sad and Dreamy," a midlife crisis song for elementary-school kids: "I hit the big 1-0/I feel so old/Candy doesn't taste as good anymore.") You get the idea. Bring a flask, a joint, and a big jug of sun tea. BRENDAN KILEY

Black Francis, Rachel Flotard and Rusty Willoughby

(Triple Door) Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV, aka Frank Black, will probably always be remembered as Black Francis, the wild and howling, horny and weird, UFO-friendly frontman of indie-rock titans the Pixies. This is as it should be; the Pixies are godhead. But Francis, under alternating appellations and with fluctuating accompaniment, has also built a prolific post-Pixies solo career. This year, he's released two albums, The Golem, his score for the 1920 silent film of the same name, and NONSTOPEROTIK, which includes a song called "When I Go Down On You" (we did mention horny and weird, right?). Neither is going to rock your world like the first time you heard "Where Is My Mind" (I've always felt like the buildings-exploding scene at the end of Fight Club pretty well visualizes how that feels), but Francis remains a singular artist, and we're lucky to have him. ERIC GRANDY

Crack Sabbath

(Sunset) Crack Sabbath play hard jazz, speed funk, and organ- and sax-based improbo jams. The man known as Skerik is their resident Lord of Saxophone. He has a sixth finger on his left hand (a second index finger), which enables him to create his signature dervish of sound. Skerik's sax is outfitted with an extra key for this extra finger. It's the sax version of dual kick drums. Recently, Skerik and Seattle Seahawks wide receiver T. J. Houshmandzadeh went to Dublin to partake in a six-month intensive study of dance under Riverdance's Michael Flatley. It's not unusual for wide receivers to study dance—it bolsters their aerial wherewithal and improves vertical leap. For sax players, it's the same. Their training culminated with the pirouette-heavy performance Houshmandzadeh Mandata. Skerik had hops before, but now he's through the roof. TRENT MOORMAN

The Crystal Method

(Last Supper Club) Last week, I was at a new sushi joint on Capitol Hill (the nice one, not the conveyor belt one) when the Crystal Method's 1997 single "Busy Child" came on over the restaurant's sound system. This was the L.A. electronic duo at the very height of their powers, bending Eric B. & Rakim to the wide-eyed, teeth-grinding will of the rave massive, and here it was relegated, at Muzak volume, to score the consumption of "crazy" rolls. (Like a lot of their ilk, their songs have also been licensed to advertise everything from cars to khakis.) The Crystal Method have stayed, ahem, busy in the years since, releasing a series of negligible follow-up albums featuring increasingly wack collaborations (I see you, Scott Weiland), but they've never been able to recapture their moment at the peak of rave's American heyday and "electronica"'s popularity (although their Community Service mixes aren't bad). You can only redose so many times before you run out of steam or serotonin. ERIC GRANDY

Layne Staley Tribute & Benefit: My Sister's Machine, All Hail the Crown, Villains of Yesterday, Gunn and the Damage Done

(Showbox at the Market) It's been eight years since Layne Staley, the frontman of Alice in Chains, overdosed on a mixture of heroin and cocaine in his University District apartment. He was 34 years old. (Eerily, it happened on the ninth anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death.) Many still warmly remember the frontman for his many years of making music with both Alice in Chains and Mad Season. Tonight, fellow grunge rockers My Sister's Machine will reunite to celebrate his life, along with All Hail the Crown (featuring Shawn Smith of Brad), Villains of Yesterday, and Gunn and the Damage Done. Proceeds from the show will benefit the Layne Staley Fund, a nonprofit organization that offers services to families who are affected by alcohol and drug abuse. MEGAN SELING

Sunday 8/22

Black Happy

(Crocodile) See Friday.

Sadistik, Kid Called Computer, JFK, Kristoff Krane, Clockwork, Sarx

(Nectar) As an MC, Sadistik isn't much for bravado. He's more the type to just let his music show you the blood, sweat, and tears he puts into his records. A prominent but often overlooked fixture in Seattle's hiphop scene, Sadistik shovels emotive imagery and a fixation with the intangible into his words. His newest effort, an EP titled The Art of Dying, finds little-known but massively talented producer Kid Called Computer taking production duties. KCC has a killer ear for dripping, melancholy madness to match Sadistik's morose angst. If you're looking for something to lift you up, pass right by Sadistik. But if you're looking for something to cushion your fall, he'll be there. KALEB GUBERNICK

Gentleman Jesse and His Men, the Barreracudas, Primate 5, the Vexx

(Funhouse) Gentleman Jesse, aka Jesse Genteel, aka Jesse Smith, used to play a mean bass for Atlanta punk outfit the Carbonas. Now he sings a much kinder and gentler tune with His Men, a rich and more melodic brand of retroactive power-pop, with well-mannered songs that sound more like young Jonathan Richmond with his Modern Lovers. First time out, Jesse and His Men toured with fellow Georgians Black Lips, and fans of the Lips and other baby-faced Southern sweethearts like the Coathangers, Thomas Function, and Dan Melchior will no doubt go and fall in love with this show. Then light a cigarette and politely thank Jesse when it's over. KELLY O

Monday 8/23

Burning (Mogwai film)

(Northwest Film Forum) Scottish score rockers Mogwai make such a good soundtrack for almost anything (see Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait) that it almost seems like a shame to see a film that merely sets their expansive, mostly instrumental aches to images of them playing live—that is, a concert documentary. Still, it's a beautiful film, shot in dramatic black and white, with the camera alternately coming in close on the musicians so that only a partial glimpse of them is seen (hands on a keyboard, a grimace on a face) and hanging back with a sense of unobtrusive, observational distance, catching a street scene outside the concert venue or the sway of a couple embraced in the audience, their eyes shut, their faces lit up. And Mogwai's songs sound ripping good here. It just needs more head-butting. ERIC GRANDY

Boris, Red Sparowes, Helms Alee

(Neumos) It's no surprise that Boris are a cult phenomenon. The slew of rare releases, the exoticness of hailing from Japan, the collaborations with artists ranging from Ian Astbury to Merzbow, and the multidecade history of musical experimentation have all played a role in fostering their rabid underground fan base. But the most crucial factor involved is their ability to turn standard rock cliché into something resembling fine art. Few bands could tackle Boris's expanses of ethereal drone, their sloth-paced riffs, their soft-spoken psychedelic pop segues, or their paint-peeling hair-metal guitar solos. Even fewer could pull off the double-neck guitar, gong, arena-ready wall of amps, and incessant plumes of fog. Boris take these excesses and create something that borders on a religious experience. It's one cult worth joining. BRIAN COOK

Tuesday 8/24

Greg Davis, Stella Haze, Aures, Mind Over Mirrors

(Gallery 1412) See Data Breaker.

Jackie Hell Presents: Ex-Girlfriends, the Navins, In Cahoots

(Comet) I cannot believe Ex-Girlfriends are "in cahoots" with—on the same bill as—the Navins! I mean, most of the seven members of Ex- Girlfriends, a new early-Velvet-Underground-meets- Funhouse-era-Iggy-Pop-sounding Seattle band, work at Smith up on 15th Avenue. And EVVV-reeeeee-ONE knows that Smith has a long-standing beef (I think over a fried-chicken recipe) with City Market down on Bellevue and Olive, where one of the guys in the Navins works. I think he's even the one who draws those crazy pictures on those sidewalk sandwich boards! I'm all for supporting local music, but I can't help but wonder if this show is gonna end with fried chicken flying around the room. Oh, and did I mention mayonnaise-shooting, drunk-grandma-makeup-wearing drag sensation Jackie Hell is performing and acting as MC for the night? It's gonna get messy. KELLY O

Wednesday 8/25

Wavves, the Pharmacy, Broken Nobles

(Neumos) If Nathan Williams's 2009 breakout Wavvves is The Terminator, then his high-wattage follow-up, King of the Beach, is Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Whereas Wavvves was squelchy, raw, and full of impressive-but-unglamorous F/X, King of the Beach is glossy, ambitious, and way more generously produced—a real summer blockbuster. Both records are similarly cocksure (John Connor: "If someone comes on to you with an attitude, you say, 'Eat me'"), but King of the Beach ups the surprisingly confessional and self-effacing lyrics (the Terminator: "Why do you cry?"). It also boasts the talents of Williams's new backing band, who add extra punch to the record and are sure to mitigate some of the middling buzz that used to surround Wavves' live sets. After a streak of brawls, boos, and bad-mouthing, Williams has triumphed in the face of blogworld backlash (Sarah Connor: "The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it, for the first time, with a sense of hope"). JASON BAXTER See also preview.

This story has been updated since its original publication.