Jump to: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Makeness
Multi-instrumental frontman/songwriter Ruban Nielson always sounds like he records Unknown Mortal Orchestra albums in a room with fuzzy shag-carpet walls. The 1970s-vintage film of warm fogginess is likely achieved using pedals, filters, and other effects on their blend of indie-pop and psych-rock, with Nielson’s silky falsetto injecting hints of austere R&B and soul. Sex & Love—the new outing from the Portland-by-way-of-Auckland outfit—maintains a sense of positivity and focus on life’s good things while offering abstract commentary on how fucking strange modern reality has become, from the crunchy, driving rock that is “American Guilt,” (“Land of the expensive / Even the Nazis are crying”), to the mellow, heady grooves of “Ministry of Alienation” (“Amoral but not evil / Sick of fake democracies”). Meanwhile, “Hunnybee” is a love song to his daughter disguised as a loose and yacht-y disco ode (he’s described it as “encoding some sort of fatherly advice for the future version of herself”). LEILANI POLK
George Ezra, Noah Kahan
Known especially for his hit single "Budapest," George Ezra has returned after a several-year hiatus with his new album, Staying At Tamara's. He'll be joined by Noah Kahan.
Lissie, Van William
California-based songwriter Lissie will bring her "sun-kissed, mid-70s West Coast melodies" to town, joined by Van William.
Sallie Ford, La Fonda, Mike Coykendall
Portland artist Sallie Ford on the bill is almost too good to take. Ford’s album Slap Back, on which she metamorphosed from very-good-singer-songwriter-with-a-country-bent to garage-soul-psych-rocker (who still writes fantastic songs), has made the past year a lot more bearable. SEAN NELSON
Kwon Min-Sik, under the handle Sik-K, has risen through the competitive ranks of South Korean rap, partially thanks to his role as a contestant on Show Me The Money 4. He'll play new material on this H1ghr Records tour through the United States.
For most of the 2000s, Steven Wilson led the progressive music revival as the singer-songwriter behind Porcupine Tree. In 2010, Wilson disbanded the outfit that made him an underground phenom and struck out as a solo act that embraced shoegaze, goth, minimalist electronica, and alt rock. For many fans, though, Wilson’s solo career hasn’t always delivered the goods that PT did. His latest album, To the Bone, however, is the most likable collection of songs he’s released post–Porcupine Tree. By focusing on his pop influences (there’s a lot of Prince love here), Wilson has rediscovered his old talent for delivering challenging lyrics in lovable, hummable packages. It doesn’t sound at all like what he used to do, but that just makes Wilson’s new material all the more exciting. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Whitney Lyman, Gabriel Wolfchild, Rory Van James
Cornish alum Whitney Lyman, who’s lent her airy, glittering vocals to the “livetronica” five-piece Theoretics and performed with ODESZA on KEXP and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, is a natural singer-songwriter who’s been drafting songs since she was six. Using a palette that draws from chamber pop, dream pop, folk, and indie rock, her voice unfurls like ribbons over swirling orchestrations, calling to mind artists like Jesca Hoop. Lyman recently recorded the album Pleasure/Pain, which features violinist Andrew Joslyn (Kesha, Macklemore), Hey Marseilles cellist Sam Anderson, Pollens drummer Adam Kozie, and Spyn Reset bassist Evan McPherson, at the legendary London Bridge Studio. At her Triple Door release party, Lyman will be joined by folk artist Gabriel Wolfchild, who’s appeared on season 8 of The Voice, and singer-songwriter Rory Van James. JULIANNE BELL
Joey DeFrancesco Trio
A keyboard prodigy who was playing in bands with Philly Joe Jones and Hank Mobley at age 10, with Miles Davis at 17, and with John McLaughin in his early 20s, Joey DeFrancesco makes the Hammond organ speak in dialects most of his peers can’t comprehend. He’s a prodigiously inventive player, full of masterly technique and soulfulness; his embellishments have filigrees and flourishes, and pretty soon his virtuosity turns your ears into spinning pinwheels of delight. To be within earshot of DeFrancesco in full flight is to know what a surfeit of aural pleasure is. DAVE SEGAL
Belanova & Moenia
Grammy-winning Mexican pop band Belanova, fronted by vocalist Denisse Guerrero, will stop in Seattle for a show with Mexican electronic synth group Moenia.
Cullen Omori, The Gloomies
Cullen Omori, the lead singer of indie rock band the Smith Westerns, will perform his dark pop-laden debut solo album, New Misery. He'll be joined by surf rockers the Gloomies.
Little Big Show #21: Nada Surf, Chris Staples
Classic indie rockers Nada Surf are back on the scene to celebrate the 15th anniversary of their seminal work Let Go at the 20th iteration of Little Big Show, with a support set by Chris Staples.
Queer pop artist Mary Lambert, who performed with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis on "Same Love," will perform tracks off her latest EP Bold. She's perfected a blend of snark and sincerity, so if you like smart lyrics and sunny hooks, go check her out.
Seattle Opera's production of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida is going to be massive. We're talking more than 150 performers, 200 costumes, innovative sets from graffiti artist RETNA (Marquis Duriel Lewis), complex choreography, and a wild story about an enslaved Ethiopian princess who falls in love with her Egyptian captor, who is himself betrothed to the pharaoh's daughter. This one is shaping up to be the production of the year from Seattle's largest opera house, and it's not to be missed. RICH SMITH
No performance on Thursday
Great Women of Country Tribute Series: The Music of Dolly Parton & Skeeter Davis
For this installment of a series that highlights prolific women country singers of the past and present, local musicians will reimagine the classic ballads of Nashville queens Dolly Parton and the late Skeeter Davis. Performers include Debbie Miller, Annie Ford, Carina Lewis, Robin Holcomb, Alex Guy, Leslie Braly, and Moe Provencher.
JACK Quartet with Joshua Roman
Babes of the contemporary classical music scene JACK Quartet will take the church world by storm in the most genteel way possible with their string-centered program of selections by Jefferson Friedman’s Quintet, Carlo Gesualdo, Joshua Roman, and more.
Nordic Nights: Jenny Hval, Iceage
Jenny Hval hails from Oslo and Iceage come from Copenhagen, but Nordic heritage is about all these acts have in common. In fact, this is one of the more bizarre bills to come along in years, since Hval is a whip-smart, fiercely feminist art rocker, while Iceage are a brooding post-punk quartet known for once attracting sieg-heiling audience members through their embrace of Death in June and other fascism-obsessed figures. They were teens then, and they reject white nationalism, but I hope they're taking notes from Hval about combining heady ideas and enticing sounds without stepping on the toes of the powerless. KATHY FENNESSY
Peter Hook & the Light
Noted curmudgeon and even more notable musician Peter Hook has the notable distinction of being an architect of not one but two of rock music’s most important bands. The bassist’s high-on-the-neck style and songwriting prowess were secret weapons in goth pioneers Joy Division. After that, he similarly took part in the electronic-rock crossover outfit New Order. Hooky isn’t in New Order any longer, but he still plays that band’s hits and rarities —almost three hours’ worth. “Blue Monday”? He’s gonna play it. “Love Will Tear Us Apart”? Yep. Plus, almost too many deep cuts to think about. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Youth, Equity, and Access to the Arts Benefit Concert
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Russell Wilson, and Ciara are joining forces with the Seattle Symphony for a one-night-only benefit concert to raise awareness and support of youth, equity, and access to the arts. The evening's proceeds will go toward the initiatives and programs of the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Equity Fund, Russell and Ciara's Why Not You Foundation, and the Seattle Symphony's Education Programs. Performers will include aspiring teen hiphop artists from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Residency, high school orchestra musicians who will join the Seattle Symphony in a side-by-side performance, and students from a local elementary school classroom who will represent the Seattle Symphony’s Link Up program.
A name change might be the best decision Preoccupations ever made. The Calgary post-punk band used to record as Viet Cong, until the usual backlash that justifiably accompanies insensitively named white guitar groups—think pieces, canceled shows, a Canadian music website running a daily counter until the name changed—precipitated a switch in 2016. That Preoccupations is a better name anyway is beside the point; more pertinent is how well it captures the foreboding churn of modern anxiety that characterizes the music. Based on this two-night run at Barboza, the not-racist new name maybe even helped boost their popularity. Who knew? ANDREW GOSPE
After blowing up the music-nerd blogosphere with lush remixes of tracks by the likes of Frank Ocean, Lana Del Rey, and Grimes, Canadian beatsmith Ryan Hemsworth finally got around to releasing his debut LP late last 2015. As someone who made his name remixing others, Hemsworth somewhat predictably struggled to find his own unique sound on Guilt Trips, despite uniformly stellar production and a well-curated roster of guest vocalists. Nonetheless, he remains one of the more consistently intriguing electronic musicians, combining woozy down-tuned synths, hypnotic vocal samples, and trap-leaning low end into heady concoctions of narcotized rump-shakers. If nothing else, his live material may provide a clue to where the chameleonic producer is headed next. KYLE FLECK
The Black Tones, Tres Leches, Moon Palace
Started by twin siblings, Seattle-based Black Tones describe their music as "a goody bag of BLUES, PUNK, and BLACK POWER." They'll be joined by local rock talents Tres Leches and Moon Palace for their video game and album release show.
Desert Daze Caravan II
Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler loves Ariel Pink’s music, and perhaps you should, too. The LA misfit has shifted from bizarrely blurred hauntologist to slick, streamlined pop technician, while honing his songs' earwormy charm. If early releases like The Doldrums and Worn Copy made listeners wonder if Mr. Pink was pulling an elaborate prank or purveying a postmodern commentary on “outsider” music, his more recent output—Before Today, Mature Themes—establishes him as a quirk-pop auteur who knows exactly what he's doing. Over the last 20 years, Ariel Pink's abundant melodic gifts have zoomed into sharper focus and his production values escalated, resembling how Marc Bolan transformed from Tyrannosaurus Rex to T.Rex. DAVE SEGAL
Lisa Loeb, a multi-platinum multi-hyphenate known mostly for her glasses, is back to promote her latest album and will go on an extended tour around the country to remind us all what alt-pop in the '90s sounded like.
End of the World Prom with Wiscon, Skates, Clutch Douglas, Gibraltar
Emerald City darlings Wiscon, whose new-wave rave nature has been described by Mike Nipper as "it’s hard not to hear, see, well… to simply KNOW THEY EXIST IN OUR UNIVERSE without emoji hearts popping out of my eyes at the thought," will be playing their last show ever at this "End of the World Prom," alongside Skates, Clutch Douglas, and Gibraltar. Grab a copy of their latest (and last) EP, The Finish Line, while you ease into the evening with opening DJ sets from Base Tan and Heather Hydra.
The True Loves, Crack Sabbath, Guy/Horvitz Duo
I reckon I oughta give fair warning to y’all about tonight, ’cause a casual glance at the lineup tells me it’s gonna be a shirt ’n’ blouse soaker on the dance floor: I’d bring your talcum and a change of clothes. So, dialing in tight, y’all’s get down first will be Guy/Horvitz Duo and Crack Sabbath. The Crack are well known for inciting dancers via their smooth, soulful instrumental jams. And then, of course, there ain’t no denying the True Loves, who will bring it ALL with their frenetic, groovy, and most funky instrumental soul. MIKE NIPPER
Harry Partch Festival
You either know and love the imaginative, avant-garde mastermind that is Harry Partch or you probably just haven’t heard of him yet. He’s like the Terry Gilliam of music—perfectly uncanny in every genius way. When you compose your own auditory theater made from meticulously self-invented instruments and neologistic microtones, you tend to leave behind a legacy. And UW continues to honor Partch’s through this festival, which goes all weekend long. Hear demos and talks, then experience goose bumps from sonic textures you’ve probably never witnessed before from instruments you’ve never even thought could exist in this age. ZACH FRIMMEL
Premier jazz vocalist Kurt Elling, who has been seen performing alongside the Branford Marsalis Quartet, will return to Seattle for a three-night run.
Courtney Marie Andrews, Old Coast
Courtney Marie Andrews has performed backup vocals and guitar with the likes of Jimmy Eat World and Damien Jurado. Not surprisingly, she also writes her own material, for which she won the title of "International Artist of the Year" at the UK Americana Awards. She'll play songs from her latest album, May Your Kindness Remain, with local support from Old Coast.
What could be a mind-blowing battle royale between world-renowned pianists is actually a delightful event to raise money for children's music education, as 10 performers astride a baby grand apiece play selections from every genre.
Pioneering triphop artist Tricky has produced works of staggeringly sensual genius since his 1995 solo debut, Maxinquaye, and breakaway from Massive Attack. With ethereal-yet-brooding eroticism, his songs are a tease enveloped in sinuously smooth, half-whispered vocals and darkly lit beats that creep into your consciousness with tremendous urgency. Although most heralded for this groundbreaking album (which he called his “fuck you to the world”), Tricky has continued to mesmerize audiences, with 13 solo studio albums to his name. His most recent release, last year's ununiform, effortlessly blends hiphop, deep electronic, and moody-pop sounds—and it still translates into a spellbinding live show. BRITTNIE FULLER
Haute Sauce: Biz Markie (DJ Set)
Long Island-born rapper Biz Markie (known also as the "Clown Prince of Hiphop" for his funny ways) got his start in the late 1980s, and has collaborated with Juice Crew, Beastie Boys, Digital Underground, Diamond Shell, and Roxanne Shanté.
MGMT, Molly Nilsson
The road signs pointing to MGMT’s post–Oracular Spectacular transformations could be read by those interested in 2007—in the bleak lyrics at war with the tantalizing melodies of their massive acid-pop hits, the deranged music videos, and the experimentalist urges that surfaced on Oracular’s album cuts. The simultaneous mainstream drop-off and boost in cult following that has accompanied their three albums since seem to be simply the intended outgrowth of those seeds. This year’s 1980s-pop-soaked Little Dark Age reclaims a bit of that early accessibility, but, of course, it’s on their own darkly comedic, delightfully backhanded terms. TODD HAMM
Joey Bada$$, Boogie, Buddy
While hiphop may currently encompass nearly the entirety of mainstream pop music, if only as a rough production aesthetic and set of vocal tropes, if not as a genre proper, that doesn’t mean all successful young rappers are interested in making pop music. Brooklyn's Joey Bada$$ is only 23, but his take on the genre is an almost fetishistic re-creation of the hiphop’s late-’80s/early-’90s golden period. Which isn’t to say that he raps like George H.W. Bush is still the president. “If you got the guts, yell fuck Donald Trump!” he roils on “Rockabye Baby” from his latest LP, All-Amerikkkan Bada$$. Right there with you, Joey. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Unconventional Japanese guitarist Miyavi, widely presented as an artist who represents a new wave of Asian music, will showcase his "slap style" on the North American leg of this world tour.
P!nk is not ashamed, and this is reflected in Beautiful Trauma, last year’s studio album release (this is her seventh). I mean, when was the last time that P!NK was ashamed of anything? Whether she’s singing the national anthem, at the Grammys, or on any stage in the world, P!nk delivers earth-shattering performances that are equally sensitive and powerful. One thing is for sure: Her show will stay with you long after your ears stop ringing from screaming back the chorus of “Raise Your Glass.” SOPHIA STEPHENS