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Isenordal, Void Omnia, Addaura
Anyone who visited the first day of Northwest Terror Fest last year might have seen firsthand just how majestic and powerful the folk-influenced dark metal music that locals Isenordal conjure. They might have also witnessed the cosmic black-metal fury and shredding guitar leads that California's Void Omnia routinely record. Two great tastes that go great together, both bands are preparing a split album, and are touring behind it with locals Addaura bringing fierce and woodsy riffs in support. What has already been played live from Isenordal's half of the record is breathtaking, making this a hot ticket. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Joan Shelley, Marisa Anderson
Throughout her 2017 self-titled album, Louisville singer-songwriter Joan Shelley's supple alto dominates the proceedings as comprehensively as Vashti Bunyan and Linda Thompson on their intimate recordings—but with an Appalachian accent. Producer Jeff Tweedy, who plays guitar and bass, wisely builds everything around Shelley’s warm, expressive voice and clear-sighted lyrics. Skill and sensitivity combine in perfect measure to understated yet arresting effect (Shelley adds dobro and baritone ukulele to the mix). Some of that success is surely due to her chemistry with longtime collaborators Nathan Salsburg and James Elkington, supportive players with patient, intuitive styles of their own. KATHY FENNESSY
The Body, Lingua Ignota, Bloom Offering, Lye Feast + Scarcity
Doom-metal experimenters the Body command a rabid fan base, even though they seem to spend more time incorporating other bands into their creative process than working on their own material. This year is no exception: They're bringing the ascendant opera-singer-cum-industrial-screamer Lingua Ignota as support and accomplice. Her debut album, All Bitches Die, was a dark horse contender last year, a twisted metal fusion of Godflesh worship, triumphant vocals, and a timely lyrical focus about the struggles of surviving domestic abuse. Thankfully, it's about to be rereleased by the exceptionally curated Profound Lore Records. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Mega Bog, Olden Yolk, Guests
The rest of the world has started to discover Mega Bog, the project of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Erin Birgy. Until a 2015 move to New York, Birgy was a longtime fixture in the Olympia and Seattle DIY music scenes, where she played in dozens of bands and cultivated an inclusive, iterative approach to music-making. Last year’s striking Happy Together is a patchwork of soft rock, lounge jazz, and cacophonous psych excursions that doesn’t shy from complexity. ANDREW GOSPE
Har Mar Superstar Sings Sam Cooke
Har Mar Superstar, he of experimental rock and touching muscle pop, will take the stage for an evening of Sam Cooke classics.
GoGo Penguin are a UK jazz ensemble that use modern flourishes and incorporate elements of rock, classical, triphop, and electronic music into their compositions. Minimalist piano melodies often amp up the pace to chase, duel with, and mimic breakbeats and electro-inspired rhythms in urgent staccato key plunks and breezier dancing strokes. RIYL: The Bad Plus, Portico Quartet, Medeski Martin & Wood. LEILANI POLK
Sunflower Bean, The Paranoyds, Smokey Brights
Sunflower Bean have fab taste in covers. On their From the Basement EP, the Brooklyn trio tenderly interpret the Modern Lovers’ “Old World,” T. Rex’s “Life’s a Gas,” Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” and, best of all, Spiritualized’s gospeldelic classic “Shine a Light.” As for Sunflower Bean’s originals, they ramble and spangle with nonchalant panache, as bassist Julia Cumming’s vocals add a frosty sheen to the band’s B+ melodic indie rock. It’s supremely pleasant. DAVE SEGAL
The Totally Gay Sing Along
Sing along to over 25 queer cuts and classics from Broadway and beyond.
Eilen Jewell, Gus Clark & the Least of His Problems
Sad, tale-spinning roots-music artist Eilen Jewell tends to brood and sulk in her minor-key-driven brew of folk, blues, honky-tonk, rockabilly, and gospel music. She deals in heartache aptly and more frequently than not—she’s issued nine studio LPs and at least two wear their unhappiness on their sleeve (2009’s Sea of Tears, and last year’s Down Hearted Blues). But she slides just as easily into noirish, western swing (“Voodoo Working”) and vintage country (à la 2010’s Butcher Holler: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn), crooning it all out in a sleek, sultry drawl that’s cool, languid, and so beguiling. LEILANI POLK
Louis Futon, Guests
Louis Futon (aka Tyler Minford) is on the road for the “Fall on Me” tour— and the good thing is, if you do fall, you will have a soft place to land. His newest single of the same name, which features the triumphant vocals of soul singer/songwriter BXRBR, will leave you feeling okay with walking in the rain to get to this show. Featured guest and Seattle-based producer Alex “Samurai Del” Lawrence brings Japanese culture and spirituality to tracks like “Dojos & Sandcastles,” but “Cold Hearted Killa” with Mista DC and Cole will get you grooving to your own beat while disavowing the haters. SOPHIA STEPHENS
Black Milk with Nat Turner, Hooligoons, B-Boy Fidget, Mr Hi-Def, Webb Wavvy, DJ Indica Jones
Curtis Cross is a producer first and a rapper second. The Detroit MC’s beats as Black Milk are things of understated elegance, crisp and clean instrumentals that bear the influence of classic-era boom-bap, but aren’t beholden to it. February’s FEVER features Black Milk’s finest production work yet, a graceful live-band rap and neo-soul record that operates with a light touch, rather than late-night-TV house-band theatrics into which many such projects devolve. As a rapper, Cross is more serviceable than spectacular, but there’s something to be said for knowing your limits. ANDREW GOSPE
The Decemberists, M. Ward
If Colin Meloy had his druthers, the Decemberists would exist in 1970s England, where they could share stage time and radio airplay with the psych-folk giants of the day: Fairport Convention, the Pentangle, and the Albion Dance Band. But, of course, as a modern-day musician, the closest Meloy can get is by paying tribute to artists who inspire him. Their influence can be heard on the Decemberists' rootsier moments and on his 2006 EP Colin Meloy Sings Shirley Collins. ROBERT HAM
Dirty Projectors, Still Woozy
Even at the height of their fame (2009, when Solange covered “Stillness Is the Move”), Dirty Projectors were essentially a conduit for Dave Longstreth’s overflow of ideas. Now that’s explicitly the case. Last year’s pointedly self-titled Dirty Projectors album is, conceptually, at least, a conventional breakup record, precipitated by a split from longtime partner and bandmate Amber Coffman. Like before, the music is neurotic art-rock and fidgety R&B, but with lyrics that border on mean-spirited, recounting his and Coffman’s relationship in uncomfortable detail. Here’s hoping Longstreth’s next Dirty Projectors endeavor, out in July, makes less spiteful use of his prodigious talent. ANDREW GOSPE
Shopping, French Vanilla, Clarko
London post-punk trio Shopping were in town two months ago making their constituents cavort to their Go-Gos-enthused dance riffs. Between Rachel Aggs’s guitar and socks-only aerobics, Andrew Milk’s furious beat-keeping, and Billy Easter’s bass lines that are like walking a beast on a leash, Shopping are a band you don’t mind—no, eagerly enjoy—seeing again and again. Joined by Los Angeles’ French Vanilla, who are just as locomotive and noodly, they’ll also put a bounce in any stoic showgoer’s stance. ZACH FRIMMEL
Kremwerk Complex Pride Week 2018
The Kremwerk Complex has established itself in recent years as a well-respected touchstone within our city's drag, performance, dance music, and DJ scenes, so, naturally, their Pride weekend events pull from all their strengths. Highlights from their stacked weekend lineup include a very special edition of Kiss Off on Saturday with celesbian DJ and pop purveyor Samantha Ronson stacking the decks alongside Kittens and Toya B, and the Pride edition of Cucci's Critter Barn on Friday, the most avant-garde drag night you'll ever witness. You can also stay soaked in sunlight (and booze) during the Day Drag: Pride Patio Party Series on the Timbre Room patio each early evening before the festivities begin. If you're a real night owl, stay late on Saturday for S L I P: Pride After Hours, a slinky party with our city's best drag and DJ talents that will keep you up through the morning.
Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Two-time Grammy-winning salsa and Latin jazz band Spanish Harlem Orchestra, founded by Aaron Levinson and Oscar Hernandez, has continuously set the standard for how hardcore New York-style salsa should sound. They'll play a four-night set in celebration of their most recently released album, which features jazz icons Chick Corea and saxophonist Joe Lovano.
I'm sure the Seattle Symphony would argue that all their concerts would delight "the common man," but Copland's Third Symphony actually contains bits and pieces from the composer's triumphant Fanfare for the Common Man, which was written in the early stages of WWII as a celebration of the regular guy who fought in WWI and was now being called upon again to fight against the Nazis. It seems fitting to experience this primo example of musical populism at the symphony's "Untuxed" night, a no-intermission version of the main stage show where everybody wears jeans and the orchestra only plays the headlining piece. You'll be in and out of there in an hour, feeling enlivened by the big brassy finale. RICH SMITH
serpentwithfeet, Katie Gately
Baltimore-born Josiah Wise, aka serpentwithfeet, is the modern primitive manifestation of musical impulses that make sense together even if no one's acted on them in exactly the same way. On his full-length debut Soil—following collaborations with Haxan Cloak and Björk—the Pentecostal-forged queerness of Sylvester meets the gossamer harmonies of P.M. Dawn’s Prince Be and the sexualized spirituality of Prince. It's rich and full, yet as intimate as a prayer. On "Mourning Song," the newly single Wise confesses that he doesn't "want to be small, small sad" even as he grows in strength from song to song, bruised but hardly unbroken. KATHY FENNESSY
Primus, Mastodon, JJUUJJUU
Legendary oddballers Primus have been at it for roughly a quarter of a century, hacking away at their mud-on-your-tires carnival punk all the way. The band’s new album, The Desaturating Seven, a conceptual take on the Italian children’s book The Rainbow Goblins by Ul de Rico, sounds a little like a slap-bass-reimagined Green Jellÿ with Mike Patton at the helm, which, to be fair, is what Primus seem to have been shooting for the whole time. Still, Les Claypool and gang take their vision all the way, so prepare for a scene weird enough to fit the concept. TODD HAMM
D'Vonne Lewis Quartet
D'Vonne Lewis is many things, but most importantly (to us, anyway) he is a graduate of the Roosevelt High School jazz program, a Stranger Genius, and Charles Mudede's favorite drummer. He'll be joined by his quartet for the evening.
Brent Amaker & the Rodeo, Spesh, Research, DJ Steve Davis
Even if Brent Amaker & the Rodeo couldn’t hit a note, the show would have been a hit on pageantry alone. The back lit stage, the fog, the men in all black, and Bunny the burlesque dancer, were a recipe rich as a meal made entirely of desserts. The fact is though, that the sound was amazing; guitarist Tiny Dancer built perfect melodies with Jacque’s synth and vibes, to compliment the chugging rhythms built by bassist Cinderella, rhythm guitarist Ben Strehle, and drummer Bryan Crawford (who drums standing up, like Moe Tucker), and Brent's deep bass vocals rang out clear and strong. SEAN JEWELL
Everclear, Marcy Playground, Local H, DJ Art Alexakis
If you got into Everclear during their heyday of the mid to late ’90s, you were probably a stepdad with a longboard, or you spent most of your time getting high in your neighbor’s Impala behind the Costa Mesa Circle K—or both. They’ve petered out pretty hard in the ensuing years since heavily circulated singles like “Santa Monica,” “Father of Mine,” and “I Will Buy You a New Life” ruled the alt-rock-radio airwaves, but Everclear will live on forever in the hearts and minds of scraggly Central Coast kids stuck in the bleak midsummer of their own lives. With respect to their tour partners, the only thing I can really say about Marcy Playground is that “Sex and Candy” still slaps, and it’s the only track of theirs that does or ever did. KIM SELLING
New Zealand-born, Los Angeles–based Gin Wigmore has gained mild fame in the United States via “Kill of the Night,” a song with the same sort of finger-snapping sexy, swishy-strutting jazz-ish kind of feel as “Fever” (made most famous by Peggy Lee), but more provocative (“I wanna taste the way that you bleed”). She also has a distinctive snotty, high-toned rasp whose commanding and seductive tone lends her pop-blues and folk a sassiness. She arrives in town with a fresh studio LP, Ivory, named for her daughter with former letlive. member Jason Butler. LEILANI POLK
Kings of Leon, Local Natives
Kings of Leon's effort, Only by the Night, features the unstoppable song "Sex on Fire," on which Caleb Followill's vocals absolutely soar. "Yooouuuuu, your sex is on fiiiyaaah." Ears are held in the honey and strength of his vocal grip. The song goes off. The rest of the album, however, lacks that fire. It falls into a midtempo rut. KOL have said they're upset by lack of sales in the U.S. compared to those in Europe. Maybe if their albums were more full of the fire, sales would increase. We Americans like fire. KOL still need to be seen, though. They're carrying the Southern-rock torch. TRENT MOORMAN
Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds
R&B singer/songwriter Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds has won 11 Grammys since he started writing and producing music in the '80s. He's worked with everyone from Bobby Brown, Karyn White, Pebbles, and Paula Abdul to Michael Jackson and Sheena Easton, but tonight he'll perform his very own stuff.
Arlo Guthrie will stop by Bow, WA, to play a concert on tour for the 51st anniversary of Alice's Restaurant, and in honor of the countless classics he penned throughout his prolific career as America's country-crossing bard.
God Save The Queens
Prepare yourself for a night of up-tempo Anglophilia as Seattle Men's Chorus performs 50 years of rock, pop, and jazzy tracks from across the pond, including classic hits by the Beatles, Sting, Eurythmics, Adele, and many more.
Marc Bamuthi-Joseph and DBR: Blackbird, Fly
I don't think I could describe Blackbird, Fly any better than poet and arts activist Marc Bamuthi-Joseph: "It's two Haitian men born in America; one a poet who speaks with his body, and one a violinist who uses one instrument in probably 50,000 ways." That violinist is Daniel Bernard Roumain, and his instrument sings and dances along with Bamuthi-Joseph's gorgeous and intimate stories of self discovery. RICH SMITH
BTW Pride Party: Adore Delano, Willam, Eddie Danger
Of the many memorable divas to emerge at least semi-triumphant from RuPaul's Drag Race, Adore Delano has stood apart, mostly because she can actually sing for her life, rather than just lip-sync. In her most recent album drop, she's branched out into thrash-heavy rock and pop punk, so make sure to apply a setting spray to your looks, because this set at the BTW Pride Party is bound to get more than a little sweaty. Hear her latest chart-topping cuts, along with performances by famously disqualified Drag Race queen (and actor, and model) Willam, and Eddie Danger with the muscled men of Stag PDX, and dance party selections by DJs Harmony Soleil and Bret Law.
Hipp-E, Subset, Pezzner, Tokita
For the last 20 years, West Coast DJ/producer Hipp-E (aka Eric Galavis) has been causing house-music heads and asses to bump, grind, sway, and sweat under the stars and in warehouses and swank clubs worldwide. His tracks typically encompass uplifting samples of soul-diva singing, fundamentally funky rhythms, generous psychedelic tone warpage, and an aura of endless good times and nonstop motion. They’re ideal for the sort of hedonistic Saturday night afterhours parties in which Monkey Loft specializes. DAVE SEGAL
Gail Pettis Quartet
Earshot Jazz-acclaimed 2010 Vocalist of the Year Gail Pettis will perform a program of jazz standards that show off her silky retro vocal talents with her quartet.
At his pinnacle, Buddy Guy’s probably the most amazing electric guitarist living. I say “at his pinnacle” because his albums sometimes skew uneven, and live, he tends to take breaks mid-set, turning the spotlight over to sidemen. But when he’s on, when he’s in the middle of an electric flurry, you hear an invocation, a summoning. Something invisible, formless, comes alive in the fusillades of bent notes. Something lives. Something walks. Guy’s worth following and worth shelling out for, on even the chance that some summoning might happen. ANDREW HAMLIN
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
Frankie Valli, lead singer of the Four Seasons, has been making music since the early 60s. But you probably recognize his story from the 2005 Tony-winning musical Jersey Boys, which chronicles the singer and his group. As the show enters its third year on Broadway, Frankie himself will bring his classic tunes to Seattle on his US tour.
Girl Trouble, Head, the Shaken Growlers
Tacoma’s Girl Trouble—one of the last standing, proper PacNW garage-rock bands—are now frugging, swimming, and/or monkeying into their 35th year. HOLY MOSES. Time sure flies when you’re doing time in Tacoma! Also on for tonight’s Trouble bubble are Seattle’s favorite punks, Head, and solid rock and rollers the Shaken Growlers. By the way, I highly recommend a visit to Girl Trouble’s wonderful web page; it’s an amazing scroll back to web design circa 1998: wig-out.com. MIKE NIPPER
I never forgave Lloyd Cole for that silly and offensive “She’s a Girl and I’m a Man,” complete with that thing with one leg he did all over the video. Thankfully, he’s done plenty to redeem himself both before and after: “Forest Fire” comes in on organ drone to tell a scary story, while “Mr. Malcontent” switches to burbly electronics to sketch a man who wouldn’t be comfortable even if he hadn’t been born. Cole’s soulful, innovative in arrangements, prone to moody whispering, and probably still malcontent. Just leave the leg on the floor, where it belongs. ANDREW HAMLIN
The Paramount 90th Anniversary Celebration: The People's Theatre
The historic “People’s Theatre” will hold a free anniversary celebration featuring tons of great local performers. The main attraction, a free Death Cab for Cutie concert hosted by Hari Kondabolu, is sold out, but, before that, polymath Nancy Guppy will host a free street celebration outside. There will be performances from SassyBlack, the Lieu Quan Lion Dance Team, Apna Bhangra Crew, NW Tap Connection (with music by Shakiah Danielson and Levi Ware), Ten Man Brass Band, Seattle Kokon Taiko, and Seattle Women’s Steel Pan Project, plus a cash bar and viewings of the Re:definition gallery inside.
Post Animal, Slow Pulp
Youngish Chicago quintet Post Animal play easily digestible psych-rock about as well as anyone else doing it these days. Their songs have relatively interesting dynamics, memorable hooks, and production values that translate well to outdoor festival scenarios and clubs with capacities over 1,000. Based on the evidence of their solid 2018 album, When I Think of You in a Castle, Post Animal could, with a few breaks, find themselves opening for Tame Impala—or at least King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard—by year's end. DAVE SEGAL
Tissue, Great Spiders
Consisting of local power couple Gabi Page-Fort (former saxophonist/vocalist with Stickers, now playing guitar) and Dean Whitmore (drummer/vocalist with Unnatural Helpers), Tissue write songs that blend both groups' stylistic traits— clamor and tunefulness playfully tussling with each other. But on their new album, A Pick of Twins with Matching Dogs, Tissue tilt more toward Stickers' side of things, deploying unusual dynamics, torqued rhythms, and Fort-Page's deep, wry, and swooping vocals to articulate a brooding, art-rock worldview. The 12 songs on Matching Dogs lightly allude to the Fall, Helium, Areski-Brigitte Fontaine, and Salem 66—all bands that take the serpentine route less traveled to reach interesting destinations. DAVE SEGAL
KEXP Presents GAYEXP
This extra-queer KEXP concert will celebrate Pride with live performances by beloved locals Sassyblack, Sashay, and Guayaba, plus sets by DJs Mister Sister and Fishlure. Enjoy craft beer and specialty vodka cocktails while you dance around.
Michael Franti & Spearhead, John Butler Trio
I once did an interview with Michael Franti shortly after his appendix burst. He spoke from his hospital bed, and despite his ailment, he was just as bright, upbeat, and optimistic as his music implied. The dreadlocked, barefoot vegan delivers life-affirming messages of love, hope, peace, and friendship against a synthesis of hiphop, funk, reggae, world-beat, folk, and rock. Franti has a whole “Stay Human” philosophy—it’s the name of his 2001 studio album, as well as a new doc released earlier this year about several regular people he met in his travels who are trying to improve the world. (He’s called it “a 90-minute commercial for optimism.”) The musician is also dropping an album of songs inspired by the film (Stay Human 2), and you’ll likely hear some fresh tracks on this tour with his band Spearhead, alongside treasured favorites. LEILANI POLK
Even if you aren’t even a remote fan of the pop-classical genre, you've undoubtedly heard the strong, soaring tenor of Italian vocal great Andrea Bocelli, arguably the most famous opera singer to reach more mainstream audiences. Part of it is sheer flooding of the market—he has 15 studio albums to his credit, not to mention comps, live albums, collaborations, and opera recordings—but it’s also savvy duets with both mega pop stars (Celine Dion, Ed Sheeran, Jennifer Lopez) and luminaries of the stage (Sarah Brightman, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo). LEILANI POLK
ZZK Records Tour
Curious about what's percolating in the Latin underground music scene, from Buenos Aires to Seattle? This bill has the answer, with Argentinean producer King Coya bringing his Andean dub stylings, self-described "folklore for the dance floor," to Barboza. Putting local alt-cumbia darlings Terror/Cactus on the undercard was a brilliant booking choice, proving that even in the far Northwest we are clued in to what's happening in the bubbling music scenes of the Southern Hemisphere. GREG SCRUGGS
Buckethead is the shred guitarist late of Guns N’ Roses and many other bands, boasting a hockey mask and the bucket hat. Buckethead should be loud and coruscating, as well as manic, and has been clocked as one of the fastest guitarists in the known universe, going so far as to commit shred heresy. That’s right, he actually slows down. ANDREW HAMLIN
Amy Ray and Emily Saliers are still Indigo Girls (the band's approaching 33!) and still folk-rockin'.
Michael Rault, Advertisement
It’s rare for a Daptone Records-affiliated label to dabble with rock musicians, so eyebrows rose and ears pricked up when Michael Rault’s It’s a New Day Tonight came breezing through my headphones. Instead of throwback soul, Canadian guitarist/vocalist Rault plays a laid-back strain of slightly psychedelic, subtly funky rock that sounds like it should’ve been dwelling at #189 in the charts circa 1972. The production on It’s a New Day Tonight diametrically opposes many modern rock records’ zeal for compression; mercifully, it refuses to compete in the Loudness Wars™. This sage decision unlocks a spaciousness in Rault’s winsome songs that allows them to luxuriously spread their wings, claw your heart, and fly away with it to a more peaceful plane of existence. DAVE SEGAL