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Through Being Cool: A Night of Emo/Pop-Punk/Indie
Yeah, being cool is so over and angst is in. Good news, though: happy hour specials and the emo music that soothed your miserable teenagerhood will last all night, courtesy of DJ Hellbound and DJ Colin O. Snag some stickers, buttons, and other freebies as a souvenir of this sad, sad time.
Between the Buried and Me, Born of Osiris, Veil of Maya, ERRA, the Agony Scene
For the past 11 years, the Summer Slaughter Tour has brought together bands across all genres of underground metal, headlined by heavy hitters like Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth, Suffocation, and the Black Dahlia Murder. This time around, fans of prog metal will be delighted to see that Between the Buried and Me are headlining the fest. BTBAM play “kitchen sink metal,” blending everything from face-ripping riffs to delicate melodic passages into a heady mix. If you’re showing up to rage all day, you won’t want to miss these bands: the returning Agony Scene, technical wizards Soreption, and fan favorites Allegaeon. KEVIN DIERS
The Shivas, SSDD, Swamp Meat, DJ Mamma Casserole
The Shivas are K Records’ great psych-rock hope. The Portland group have cut three albums with the Olympia label since 2012—Whiteout, You Know What to Do, and Better Off Dead—and they’re mostly full of the sort of rollicking, reverb-heavy songs that flood your senses with feel-good juice. As is often the case with psychedelia, the tension between structure—even throwback girl-group-songwriting tropes—and chaos lends the Shivas’ songs their enduring allure. However, on 2016’s Better Off Dead, the Shivas strip things down, tidy things up, and write more conventional tunes, which is somewhat disappointing if you’re expecting to get your trip on. DAVE SEGAL
Neighborhood Watch: Neil Welch, Will Hayes & Abbey Blackwell
Neil Welch, who somehow manages to make the saxophone sound like a delicate sea creature creeping through the night, will perform his experimental compositions with support from doomy electronic artist Will Hayes and former La Luz bassist Abbey Blackwell.
DJ Quik & Suga Free, HI-C, Neema
Compton rapper/producer legend DJ Quik’s debut, Quik Is the Name, came out in 1991—a full 20 years before his most recent full-length, The Book of David—but the quality of his output has barely (if at all) faltered in that time span. He’s still producing all of his own classic Way-2-Fonky West Coast beats and still running circles around suckers with his effortless flow and rapid-fire, smooth-yet-sharp rhyme patterns. Quik’s refusal to let his game slip has rewarded him the kind of career longevity that very few rap veterans get to enjoy. Expect his live set to include nothing but hits and very few signs of aging. MIKE RAMOS
The Chicago label International Anthem has become a hotbed of ambitious, unconventional jazz, as releases by Jeff Parker, Dos Santos, and Ben LaMar Gay demonstrate. Add American drummer Makaya McCraven to that lofty roster, because his 2017 album Highly Rare brandishes edgy fusion moves from the ’70s into the ’10s with a brainy funkateer’s brashness. Graying hipsters may flash back to Bill Laswell’s New York ensemble Material, early-’70s Eddie Henderson, Don Cherry, or Art Ensemble of Chicago after hearing McCraven’s worldly peregrinations through jazz and funk’s most fecund seams of inspiration. This show is going to be amazing. DAVE SEGAL
Clairo, Garren Sean
Inspired by the twee, lo-fi bands on K Records, Clairo makes synth-y bedroom pop songs with titles like "Flamin' Hot Cheetos." She'll be joined by R&B/soul artist Garren Sean.
Rex Orange County, Cuco
Now that Mac DeMarco is a music-biz underdog success story, expect plenty of others to follow his lead. One such spiritual disciple is Rex Orange County, a 19-year-old from South London whose real name is Alexander O'Connor. His sound is retro-leaning, jazz-inflected soft rock; his lyrics are earnest and frequently lovelorn. How he sings is crucial to his appeal among kids to whom Chicago is just a city in Illinois: with a relaxed, free-flowing cadence that draws from contemporary R&B. One fan is Tyler, the Creator, who featured him prominently on last year’s Flower Boy, an early highlight of what looks like a promising career. ANDREW GOSPE
DAKHABRAKHA, Yaima, DJ Darek Mazzone
Ukrainian quartet DAKHABRAKHA, a name that means “give/take” in the old Ukrainian language, play what they describe as “ethno chaos," accompanied by traditional instrumentation of Indian, Arabic, African, Russian, and Australian origin.
WEDNESDAY & FRIDAYROCK/POP
The legendary grunge band will return home for the first time in five years to play two very special shows aimed at raising awareness of homelessness in Seattle. Both concerts are sold out, but fans can also look forward to an art show featuring Pearl Jam posters by homeless artists, a MoPOP exhibit, and a glassblowing event.
Khu.éex: The Magic of Noise
Dave Segal has written, "Led by bassist [and renowned glass artist] Preston Singletary, large Seattle ensemble Khu.éex’ forge a unique fusion of robust funk, fiery, Pharoah-esque jazz, and Tlingit vocalizing and storytelling." Nights at the Neptune will screen a documentary on the fascinating musical group.
Jenn Champion, PSA, Stres
So it looks like Jenn Champion has gotten around to using her real name, after some stretches as “S” and “Jenn Ghetto.” The new album from the former Carissa’s Wierd singer uses her name and the title Single Rider. I dig the single “O.M.D. (I’m All Over It),” because the video playfully spoofs Olivia Newton-John’s video for “Physical,” and musically it feels cheerfully lost in the past, and I can’t even say which part of which past, just a wistful, looking-back sort of thing that you’d expect at 2:30 a.m. on a console radio by your bed. That stuff never goes out of style—or time. ANDREW HAMLIN
Novalima, Chancha Via Circuito, Y La Bamba, Edna Vazquez
Two of South America’s finest exports blending folkloric music with digital production will be landing for this double bill, both supporting peak-career new albums. Novalima is an Afro-Peruvian sound system whose latest, Ch’usay (“internal voyage” in the Quechua language), drags ancient Andean huayno into a 21st-century dub soup. Chancha Via Circuito is the nom d’artiste of Argentine producer Pedro Canale, whose joyous renditions of folk rhythms on his newest, Bienaventuranza (“Bliss”), combine for one of the highlight bookings of the summer. GREG SCRUGGS
The Cave Singers, Red Ribbon
Though the Cave Singers launched with a sound dwelling in meditative folk terrains, the Seattle outfit has done some evolving over five records, getting louder and incorporating striding rock and breezy psychedelic overtones into their songwriting. 2016's Banshee—their first album minus label backing and entirely crowd-funded by fans—feels as if it were produced beneath a prairie thundercloud; it’s vaguely dark and brooding, marked by washes of airy twanginess and strains of melodica, and with highlights in chugging, guitar-fuzzed lead-off track “That’s Why” and the slow strutting groove of “Strip Mine.” LEILANI POLK
Australian psychedelic folk singer Howard Eynon recorded his only album, So What If I'm Standing Still, in 1974. Join him as he performs the album in its entirety on this Seattle tour stop.
Lush Sounds 2
The Volunteer Park Conservatory will host another flora and fauna-filled fundraiser with libations and "lush" tunes from DJ J. Justice.
Los Angeles-based Australian artist Alison Wonderland uses her eclectic musical background to churn out thoughtful—yet festival-ready—pop bangers.
Joe Russo's Almost Dead
My friends can’t stop talking about Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, aka JRAD, which was supposed to be a one-off show featuring interpretations of Grateful Dead songs, but turned into a full-time touring powerhouse selling out shows nationwide. Joe Russo was originally the drums-and-percussion half of Benevento Russo Duo with Marco Benevento—also a member of JRAD—and his post-Duo efforts include work with Gene Ween, Cass McCombs, and Furthur, a Dead spin-off featuring Bob Weir and Phil Lesh. JRAD was conceived in 2013, after Russo’s stint with Furthur ended, and in addition to Benevento on keys, its current incarnation features Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz, and Scott Metzger and Tom Hamilton on vocals and guitars. By all accounts, they put on an epic, must-see show—recognizable as Grateful Dead music, but with its own heavier bend and heady persuasions. LEILANI POLK
Panic! At the Disco, A R I Z O N A, Hayley Kiyoko
Rehash the good old days of the late 1990s and early ’00s with Panic! At the Disco, whom I truly hoped were dead, but are in fact back to rock us once more with that flat-ironed, velvet-blazered Johnny Bravo aesthetic and stadium emo pop even your grandparents can enjoy (mostly because it’s completely toothless). KIM SELLING
South Lake Union Block Party
Every year, South Lake Union throws itself a party featuring diverse musical pleasures from local bands (Deep Sea Diver! Built to Spill!). There will also be food trucks, a beer garden, a free print-your-own-poster station, a "letterpress steamroller smackdown," and a "Community Village" featuring booths from local businesses. The event is co-sponsored by Amazon and will benefit a local charity.
Deafheaven, Drab Majesty, Uniform
Deafheaven’s melding of shoegaze’s wall-of-sound with black-metal’s machine-gun tempos proved to be a surprise crossover hit with their intensely melodic sophomore album Sunbather, much to the ire of kvlt-metal bros. Their darker, grittier follow-up, New Bermuda, felt like an attempt to appeal to their initial audience, but their latest record, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, finds the pendulum swinging back into more melodic territory. As if to confirm the middle finger to the metal underground’s self-appointed gatekeepers, Deafheaven enlisted excellent darkwave performance artist Drab Majesty and New York’s caustic industrial outfit Uniform to round out the evening. BRIAN COOK
6th Annual Columbia City Blues Festival
The sixth annual Columbia City Blues Festival allows the Royal Room to do what it does best: spotlight important historical music developments and put them into contexts that 21st-century folks can comprehend. The event’s three nights will explore the crucial impact of certain cultural icons, with each night focusing on different themes and periods of their lives as legendary blues musicians. DAVE SEGAL
Doug Theriault, RM Francis
Shows curated by Gift Tapes/DRAFT label boss Jason E. Anderson never fail to shock you into new states of consciousness. Opening is Anderson’s right-hand genius, RM Francis, whose computer-generated sound design can swerve from Joan Miró magical realism to Jackson Pollock chaotic splatter within a couple of mouse clicks. Portland-based experimental musician Doug Theriault will perform “live cut up guitar improvisations using custom made electronics.” Check his most recent work on Bandcamp, Corpora Caelestia, where he transmits intriguing drones, spazzy fax-machine malfunctions, and whirlwind tone bursts recalling the best ’90s Mego releases. DAVE SEGAL
Daryl Hall & John Oates, Train, Guests
'80s smooth groove legends and eternal purveyors of the light-rock-less-talk genre, Daryl Hall and John Oates (of Hall & Oates, natch) will perform a set together with opening support from Train.
The Derelicts, Swallow, Blood Circus
The Derelicts, Blood Circus, and Swallow—all local late-’80s Seattle bands—are slated to shred, again, their now (ahem) “classic” sludgy post-hardcore sweat rock, aka “grunge” as it's now known. Um, I ain’t expecting these fellers to have much hair left to bang, and hope all will take care not to break a hip in the pit, but I reckon it’s gonna be something to see ’em playing their jams again! Oh, as these groups were once active on Sub Pop, but aren’t part of the SPF30 shindig on Alki Beach, I’ll assume THIS is the fuckin’ after-party. MIKE NIPPER
Pissed Jeans, Dreamdecay, Nasti
The Sub Pop-repped scallywags in Pissed Jeans have been making their subversive mark on the noisy punk scene album after album. Their fifth outing, Why Love Now, is truly guttural and greased with galvanizing grit out of some kind of a subcultural gutter in a Larry Clark film—let’s say Wassup Rockers. If you missed Seattle staple Dreamdecay in their last few shows, like opening for My Bloody Valentine in July, then do yourself a favor and get in their melodically harsh zone. Same with the local punk-feedbackers in Nasti. Get ready for a sloppy Saturday night. ZACH FRIMMEL
SPF30: Sub Pop’s 30th Anniversary Party
Sub Pop Records will celebrate their 30th birthday in West Seattle with live sets from bands on their label, food, booze, and a record sale. The current lineup includes Beach House, Clipping, Kyle Craft, Fastbacks, Jo Passed, Loma, LVL UP, METZ, Moaning, Mudhoney, Shabazz Palaces, and Wolf Parade, plus Caspar Babypants, the Not-Its, and the School of Rock West Seattle House Band.
107.7 The End Summer Camp 2018
Summer Camp is 107.7 The End's version of Warped Tour: all the bands you hear on your favorite Seattle rock station, but actually in the flesh on stage at Marymoor Park, playing all the hits. This year's lineup features AWOLNATION, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Manchester Orchestra, Robert DeLong, Elle King, Alice Merton, Dreamers, lovelytheband, Moon Taxi, and Pale Waves.
Porgy and Bess
The setting: Charleston, South Carolina. The time: long ago. The story: Porgy is a beggar ("I Got Plenty o' Nuttin"); Bess is a loose woman ("Bess, O Where's My Bess?"). The two are part of a love triangle completed by Crown, a rough and manly longshoreman. Early in the opera, a craps game happens. But the pleasures of gambling do not last long. A fight erupts. Crown kills another man, Robbins. Crown flees before the police arrive. Bess, who is hated by the other women of the ghetto, moves in with the only man, Porgy, who will offer her protection from the law. Porgy falls in love with her; Bess fails to fall totally in love with him. The opera has a sad ending. But the George Gershwin opera provided jazz with two giant standards: "Summertime" and "I Loves You, Porgy." It's also considered by many as the United States' only legitimate contribution to the opera canon. CHARLES MUDEDE
Nikki Lane, Davidson Hart Kingsbery
Claiming the identity of a "modern-era Wanda Jackson," Nikki Lane has been busy crafting neu-country out of trademark sass.
Dylan Carlson, Mary Lattimore
Guitarist, vocalist, and Earth frontman Dylan Carlson has been releasing music since 1991. Much of that music—such as Hex or The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull—is among the best extreme guitar music the region has produced. A cursory search reveals that as of last year, he’d released three EPs and 10 studio albums among his various projects, and that’s not including splits, live records, or collaborations. All of which makes it unusual that it took Carlson so long to drop this year’s Conquistador, his first solo project released under his birth name. Conquistador isn’t a radical reinvention or genre-bending revolution. Rather, it’s Carlson doing what he does best: big, fuzzy guitar licks guaranteed to put you into a meditative and enlightened mind state. This high-plains drifter, as always, delivers the goods. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Cameron Stallones’s musical alias hews too close to avant-garde jazz cadet Sun Ra, but he does harbor similar aims to leave Earth behind on space-bound vessels of sound. Being a psych-rock guitarist in the defunct California band Magic Lantern and an aficionado of dub who’s collaborated with reggae greats the Congos and new age legend Laraaji, Stallones (aka Sun Araw) imbues his expansive sonic journeys with a spiritual glow that reflects his staunch religious faith—albeit in non-proselytizing ways. His latest LP, 2017’s The Saddle of the Increate, bizarrely deviates into cubist/minimalist country. No, really. Stallones is one of the deepest cats in the US underground and he rarely travels our way, so shake your Sunday malaise and soak in Sun Araw’s healing aural light. DAVE SEGAL
I was young, and it was good to feel part of something bigger than me. My friend Brian disdained most rock, but he bonded instinctively to Belly. And we enjoyed the band’s intoning “sour mash” as a giggly private code. Brian quit returning my signals years ago, but Belly are back with an album called Dove and a mystical, spiritual approach, with ladled-on Mellotron sounds that I don’t remember from their drier, bangier classic act. I don’t mind this approach at all—we should rightly think about blessings, and spiritual life, especially as we approach our expiration date. I hope Brian is still out there somewhere, spiritual or nay. ANDREW HAMLIN
Hop Along, Thin Lips
If Philadelphia four-piece Hop Along had emerged at the height of the college-rock era, they would have fit in neatly between Bettie Serveert and the Breeders. They’re no throwback act, but Frances Quinlan’s rhythmic, quasi-jazzy phrasing brings Carol van Dijk and Kim Deal to mind. If it’s possible to sound relaxed and excitable at the same time, she’s mastered the trick. While their first two records were a little exhausting, this year’s Bark Your Head Off, Dog reveals a band at greater ease in addition to surprising new moves, like nods in the direction of power pop and baroque folk. KATHY FENNESSY
An Intimate Evening with David Foster
Heavily lauded producer David Foster has won almost every industry award throughout his four-decade career. He'll show off some of his greatest songs on his Hitman Tour.
Phillip Phillips, Gavin DeGraw
American Idol winner Phillip Phillips will hit Seattle for a night of earthy guitar-fueled rock and all-ages singer-songwriter fun with support from easy listening lifer Gavin DeGraw.
The famous movie about Rodriguez, Searching for Sugar Man, turned out to be not entirely factual. That’s too bad, and I have to take note. In fairness, though, the man deserved a movie, and more money! Imagine the eeriness of Lee Hazlewood without the sleaze. Imagine the tartness of Arthur Lee without the sad visions of Martians on the streets of Los Angeles. Imagine Leonard Cohen with a more matter-of-fact, practically aw-shucks attitude. Imagine if Paul Simon had never had the self-consciously poetic phase that mars the early Simon & Garfunkel albums. Or heck, just buy a ticket! ANDREW HAMLIN
An Evening with Seal
Seal's chart-topping baritone vocals will resonate throughout Puyallup and beyond.