Escape from the aftershocks of neighbor-borne fire crackers and your creeping heat stroke with a night out at one of these shows picked by our music critics. This week, we've got everything from the future of new electronica genres (Elysia Crampton), to the return of everyone's favorite '90s girl group (TLC at I Love The '90s), to a way to finally take your gaming out of the living room (Video Games Live). Click through the links below for complete details and music clips, and find even more shows on our complete music calendar.
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The Bobby Previte Trio with Motel 7
In 2016, inventive jazz drummer Bobby Previte, keyboardist Wayne Horvitz, and violinist Alex Guy performed an improv experimental-electronic set that blew my mind. No matter that it was in front of a couple dozen people on a Monday night; the trio flexed the sort of virtuosic chops and shock-tactic moves that make for a singular listening experience, a rare feat in any genre. Since that night, I’ve made a mental note not to miss any Previte gigs. He’s an exceptionally adaptable player who’s worked with a wide range of upper-echelon musicians such as John Zorn, Elliott Sharp, Butch Morris, and Iggy Pop, and also formed the Voodoo Orchestra to interpret Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew. Previte excels at taking compositions or improvisations to fascinating places most drummers wouldn’t conceive of. Tonight he’s joined by guitarist Mike Gamble and saxophonist Fabian Rucker; Previte will also be sitting in with Motel 7, a large ensemble whose repertoire includes material from Horvitz’s catalog. DAVE SEGAL
Deck'd Out #1 - KEXP Showcase: Kid Hops, Alex & Sharlese
Local KEXP darlings Kid Hops, Alex, and Sharlese of Audioasis will take over the Monkey Loft for this year's first iteration of Deck'd Out, featuring a multi-DJ "Expansion" mix of many genres. Stretch your dance bod out beforehand with Yo Yo Yoga, and get the party started early.
Mutoid Man, Helms Alee, He Whose Ox Is Gored
This triple-stacked rock bill should get adrenaline pumping in a nerds-headbanging sort of way. Mutoid Man’s anthemic stoner rock operates with an air of controlled metal histrionics best identified as “gnarcissistic.” Records like their most recent, War Moans, establish them as a band able to execute the earth-shaking Lord of the Rings vibe—Van Halen–indebted, but made more than tolerable by their self-awareness. Seattle rock titans Helms Alee carved out a name for themselves over the past several years in the heavy music scene with thunderous riffs and Melvins-level seismic darkness. (Appropriately, the band opened dates on tour last summer for the Melvins. \m/) Locals He Whose Ox Is Gored are similarly veterans of the weird, riff-heavy, and loud, having morphed from a two-piece into a quartet for a more punishing sound that’s layered with experimental flourishes. BRITTNIE FULLER
Zen Mother, Mamiffer, somesurprises, DJ Veins
We can’t tell you exactly what to expect out of Zen Mother’s performance tonight, but we can assure you that it will be a cosmic experience. They might channel the nightmarish feedback-laden scourge of Caspar Brötzmann, the austere pulsating reverberations of Labradford, or the siren songcraft of This Mortal Coil. But given the restless adventurism and musical aptitude of core duo of Monika Khot and Adam Wolcott Smith, it’s likely to sound like something completely unrelated to any of those reference points. The same thing goes for Vashon-based duo Mamiffer, whose output draws from musique concrète, modern composition, noise, and first wave industrial, but still manages to belong to a world all its own. BRIAN COOK
The Second Annual Royal Room Psychedelic Festival
The Royal Room’s three-day psychedelic festival is subtitled “The Music of 1967, a 50 Year Celebration.” There’s a ton of great music from that year to celebrate! It looks like each night has a different lineup of period album tributes performed by an army of local players. For instance, tonight’s sets include music from John Coltrane’s Expression, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention’s Absolutely Free, The Velvet Underground & Nico, plus “Rarities and Oddities.” The oddities will mostly be music from, well, “peripheral” groups, those who were deeply important in 1967, but didn’t become canonized by “oldies” radio—bands such as the 13th Floor Elevators, Love, and the Seeds. The rest of the fest will spotlight key albums by Cream, the Who, the Doors, Grateful Dead, Aretha Franklin, Don Cherry, and Jefferson Airplane. MIKE NIPPER
Elysia Crampton, Nordra, Cruel Diagonals
Electronic producer and poet Elysia Crampton has termed the aesthetic she created on last year’s Demon City as severo. It’s not hard to see why: Piercing synths intermingle with garbled voices, mechanical clangor, and samples of maniacal laughter and car crashes. It’s a postapocalyptic vision of club music, one that she takes even further afield on this year’s Spots y Escupitajo. For all its complexity and bombast, though, it’s deftly arranged and structured, and subtle nods to grime and hiphop keep it somewhat grounded in the familiar. Crampton’s live appearances are as bracing and outré as her music, combining spoken-word performance, DJ work, and sound collage. Note: This all-ages show starts at 6:30 p.m. ANDREW GOSPE
Rising production star and DJ Esta., based in Southern California and a part of the Los Angeles imprint Soulection, will bring his sexy, smooth, and danceable beats to the Q decks, with local support from DJ100Proof, Blueyedsoul, and Jamie Blake.
I Love The '90s: The Party Continues
We all want an endless old-school lunch, but we can’t help being reminded—by this lineup out of our middle-school dreams—that death creeps ever closer. We’re born, we live, we die—this is how we do it. You already want to die every time your basic-ass officemates sing Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend”—are you prepared to hear an entire arena? Are you hoping those Eurodance acts are going to be front-loaded on the bill so you have time for a leisurely drive from the North- or South-End suburbs you got priced out to? Are you wondering what TLC, one of the all-time-great girl groups, are like without Left Eye? Are you gonna cry your eyes out and scream your throat raw for them anyway? Yes, yes, you are. Good talk. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Research Two Year Anniversary with Call Super
We should treasure electronic musicians like London DJ/producer Call Super (aka Joseph Richmond-Seaton), for they are never content to rehash genre clichés, instead striving to blend stylistic elements in order to create fresh mutations. Recording for respected labels like Houndstooth and Dekmantel, Call Super purveys a rhythmically complex, tonally vibrant brand of near-peak-time club music that meticulously avoids grid-like rigidity and tedium. It’s celebratory stuff that never descends to blatant pandering—a difficult feat that Call Super repeatedly achieves with casual brilliance. DAVE SEGAL
Sandrider, Dust Moth, X Suns
It’s been four years since Sandrider unleashed Godhead, a crushing 11-song album that featured enough riff righteousness to put them in contention for the title of Heavyweight Champions of Northwest Loudness. After this show, the band will be taking a couple of months off, presumably to finish their anticipated new album, Armada, which they are “80 percent done with” according to the band’s own February Facebook status. Enough about Sandrider, though. This night is all about local instrumental space-rock shredders X Suns, as they are celebrating the release of their new two-song 7-inch, Strawberry Mansion/Twelve Hours. KEVIN DIERS
Tennis, Chanti Darling, SassyBlack
Husband/wife duo Tennis burst onto the Pitchfork-led indie-blog scene in 2010 with runaway hit "Marathon," a simplistic, lo-fi, retro-sounding song that was all jangly pop chords and warm girl-group "oohs" and "ahhs." Though catchy as hell, the song seemed flimsy, and the band's merit appeared to be bolstered mostly by a conveniently marketable backstory (which always generates buzz regardless of musical quality) about some yuppie dream-vacation sailing trip the couple had just gone on. Six-plus years, three full-lengths, and a few EPs later, Tennis have yet to match "Marathon"—which was probably bitten from some obscure '60s cut anyway—but is probably a great band to see if you enjoy safe, "refined" things like tennis and sailing. MIKE RAMOS
Warren G, Dyme Def, Grynch, Anthony Danza, DJ Indica Jones
Honey-tongued hip hop legend Warren G (of Nate Dogg and Warren G) swings his weight around to the Nectar stage, with bill support from Dyme Def, Grynch, Anthony Danza, and DJ Indica Jones.
MxPx with Five Iron Frenzy and Slick Shoes
MxPx’s best-known cut, “Chick Magnet,” told my story! No, really! I was always sitting there, unable to even get a woman to talk to me. And the guy next to me scored at will, and I could never figure out why or how. As I got older (not necessarily wiser), I met other fellows who thought MxPx were singing their song, too. And so I learned my story isn’t so special. A few years ago, I met the Chick Magnet (my Chick Magnet) on a bus platform. I’d noticed him back in town, wasn’t sure whether to talk. He was divorced, he said. He never saw his children. A few years later, his son died. And so I learned that even Chick Magnets live with what they conceal and they muster through. A painfully human moment sprung from punk-pop. ANDREW HAMLIN
In a genre where all but the avant fringes utilize the exact same type of beats, flows, and worldview, grown people who still enjoy the hypnotizing, war-chant quality of contemporary rap have to find what they like along the spectrum (a term popularly swiped from the mental-health world and appropriately appropriated here). Maybe you can’t fuck with most SoundCloud bottom-feeders and their lo-fi, mainstream trap reenactment society. Or maybe you, like me, can’t really stand Uzi but find that “South Atlanta goon” Playboi Carti more smoothly deploys that effort-free “ooh-yah” filler-flow, without the artificial sweeteners. As a far better MC once said: “So we internalize that, but then we customize that.” LARRY MIZELL JR.
Video Games Live
Blend together the dedicated communities of music lovers and gamers with a concert playing to both demographics. Video Games Live will present a live music performance of the scores of the most popular video games of all time, with synchronized video footage and music arrangements, synchronized lighting, famous internet solo performers, and live interactive segments.
Nite Jewel, Geneva Jacuzzi, Harriet Brown
Since 2008, LA’s Ramona Gonzalez has been chasing a distinctive style that takes the pop-vocal stylings of Euro singers like Annie and Robyn and affixes it to chugging, Kraftwerk-meets-Metro-Area disco beats, often coproduced with partner Cole M.G.N. Gonzalez’s debut album, Good Evening, brought her to a national audience before she signed to indie-rock powerhouse Secretly Canadian. Some of her best work occurs in her collaborations with artists like indie-rock conceptualist Julia Holter and LA boogie king Dâm Funk (the latter under the name Nite Funk). In 2016, Nite Jewel released Liquid Cool on her own Gloriette label, while this year she’s already issued a collaborative 12-inch with Detroit techno don Omar-S, plus a new album and EP. She’ll be joined by Ariel Pink collaborator and fellow LA popsmith Geneva Jacuzzi for a night of soulful, dance-ready pop music. NICK ZURKO
Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Trannysaurus Rox, Rocknho
My ex-roommate, an experimental-avant noise musician who ran a DIY nonprofit multiuse art space in St. Petersburg, Florida, once admitted that he sat down and cried after seeing Quintron and Miss Pussycat for the first time. The New Orleans–based weirdo fringe duo—who have put out 14 albums over nearly two decades—were one of his favorites because their shows featured an arsenal of sound-making devices (keys, synths, and electronic instruments invented and built by Quintron), and puppets as created by Miss P (who also shakes maracas when she isn’t staging puppet sideshows during their sets). Though their sound defies standard genre labels, they’ve dubbed it “swamp tech”: essentially dark, propulsive, bizarrely distorted dance rock. The live spectacle is definitely worth witnessing—and the music is good, too. LEILANI POLK
R.LUM.R with Blossom
Nashville-based singer-songwriter R.Lum.R has been slowly rising up the ranks of his local music scene in a stylistic transition from a classical guitarist background to his current buzzy R&B vibe.
Up and coming Atlanta artist Russ earns the title of triple threat through showing off his work as a rapper, singer, and producer. He'll return to Seattle this summer on The Wake Up Tour, as part of the Marymoor Park Summer Concert Series.
The latest babyfaced pop sensation on the scene Shawn Mendes brings his YouTube crooning to KeyArena on his first headlining arena worldwide tour.
Thou, Cloud Rat, False, Moloch, Great Falls
The bayous of Louisiana have bred more than their fair share of sludge-metal celebrities. Most of the familiar names come out of New Orleans—Eyehategod, Down, Crowbar—and yet the Big Easy is hardly a hot market on the underground touring circuit. Eighty miles west, however, the old morgue-turned-venue Spanish Moon draws much larger crowds. Baton Rouge might not have the tourist draw, but it has the active scene. Consequently, hometown sludge champions Thou exude more of the subterranean urgency, menace, and desperation of the crust-punk community than their more media-friendly compatriots in the neighboring city. Yeah, grandpa, your Eyehategod shirt is cool and all, but are you down with Thou? BRIAN COOK
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