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Emerging Artist: Lucia Micarelli
Equally known for her talents as an actress and a violinist, Lucia Micarelli has been a featured soloist in two of Josh Groban’s world tours, toured extensively with Chris Botti, and was a guest of Barbra Streisand’s 2013 international tour. She'll perform a program of her own original compositions.
Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, Sen Morimoto
Chicago-based Nigerian free-jazz experimentalist/rapper Nnamdi Ogbonnaya will come to Seattle, joined by alt-hiphop artist (and fellow Chicagoan) Sen Morimoto.
“Not Today Satan” is a phrase I love to chant in public, and it happens to be my go-to Molly Nilsson cut since her seventh studio album, Imaginations, dropped last year. Nilsson has been self-releasing her signature pop under her own label, Dark Skies Association, since 2008. Imaginations captures the veiled vocal darkness that the Berlin-based artist observed in her recent world travels from Mexico to Glasgow. She successfully covers up the world’s slimy demeanor by adding a touch of grace in the form of hopeful synths and honest storytelling in “Money Never Dreams” and “Let’s Talk About Privileges.” ABBIE GOBELI
Public Image Ltd.
John Lydon still has the fire in his belly and the bile in his brain, 40 years after starting Public Image Ltd. following a brief dalliance as punk rock’s most notorious anarchic agitator. PiL broke out of the gate strongly with three brilliant LPs—First Issue, Metal Box (aka Second Edition), and Flowers of Romance—that carved out a distinctive niche in post-punk’s first wave of innovations. Each of those records found novel ways to mutate rock, dub, and disco into grotesquely fascinating shapes. PiL’s catalog since 1981 has been erratically interesting, but onstage, Lydon and his band—including drummer Bruce Smith (Pop Group, Slits) and guitarist Lu Edmonds (the Damned, Mekons, Shriekback)—still storm the senses with a deep well of rabble-rousing anti-hits. However, Lydon was recently spotted in a MAGA T-shirt, so unless it was worn ironically, I cannot in good faith recommend this show. DAVE SEGAL
Dvořák & Schubert
Let Dvořák and Schubert haunt you with their darkly melodic pieces composed for a string quartet, which contemplate death and serenade life with a fever dream-like tone.
Blevin Blectum, Mini-Mutations, Marcus Price, Sacred Signs
Dave Segal calls Seattle-based experimental electronic artist Blevin Blectum "one of the world's most fascinating electronic-music producers," continuing, "Blectum's output toggles between the madcap and the menacing. If you love to have your senses overwhelmed, you'll dig Blevin Blectum's music." She'll headline this spooky Halloween show with fellow gothic, psychedelic, and experimental artists Mini-Mutations, Marcus Price, Sacred Signs, and DJ Blood Rhythms.
Exploded View, Darto, Advertisement
Exploded View’s Berlin-based frontwoman played Seattle in 2011 as Anika—one name with one “n”—but this date marks the first for Annika Henderson’s trio with Mexico City–based Hugo Quezada and Martin Thulin. Henderson still recalls Lætitia Sadier possessed by the spirit of Nico, but the band has more in common with Broadcast than the Velvet Underground. On Exploded View’s new record, Obey, the musicians construct elegantly eerie songs in varied shades of gray. If they never go full goth, they still manage to conjure the feel of a midnight stroll through twisty, rain-slicked streets—beautiful, elegantly ominous, and utterly beguiling. KATHY FENNESSY
FIDLAR, Dilly Dally
Greasy punx FIDLAR (it's short for "Fuck it, dawg, life's a risk") will graduate from headlining the Showbox for the past few years and move on to Showbox Sodo, with help from Toronto soft-grunge outfit Dilly Dally.
Molly Burch, Jesse Woods
Molly Burch has a faraway sound, as if it were the soundtrack of an elegiac montage in a wistful romance. She'll have opening support from folk artist Jesse Woods.
Leo Kottke isn’t as guts-crazy as his sometimes mentor, the late John Fahey. But who would want to be? Fahey first rewrote the book, and then wrote his own book when it came to six-string steel-string guitar on planet Earth, but didn’t seem to like Earth much. Kottke could outpace Fahey by a few decisive concert moves: (a) showing up, (b) showing up on time, and (c) not spending most of the gig talking and giggling with people who are not there. On the positivity flip, though, Kottke’s got pep, verve, nerve, and a dry sense of humor when he decides to sing. And he can get to the darkness inside of happiness. Even without words, he can evoke the void behind joy. Dark brightness. ANDREW HAMLIN
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Removed as they are from the modern moviegoing experience, silent movies possess a special kind of hypnotic otherworldliness. Few are stranger than Robert Wiene's 1920 expressionist masterwork The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Characters creep and scurry through a demented painted landscape in this tale of a malevolent fairground "doctor" and the sleepwalker who murders at his command. Watch this unique film with a live score by Ray Larsen, Alex Guy, Beth Fleenor, Wayne Horvitz, and others.
Pony's Bloodlust night focuses on the darker and sexier end of the spectrum, with goth, industrial, and new wave reigning supreme. For Halloween, they've recruited Old Witch and The Lady Bob as hosts, DJs, and performers, with resident Dee Jay Jack adding support on the decks. Of course, there will be a finale costume contest to close it out.
Halloween with Mark Hosler, Monster Planet, Mini-Mutations
Mark Hosler hails from the Bay Area, but logged some time along the I-5 corridor. He’s best-known as a co-conceptualist/sound-manipulator of Negativland, a part-rock, part-radio-drama revue devoted to proving the United States is every bit as strange, sinister, deep, self-contradicting, and scary as any soul could imagine. Expect him to advance along those lines for this Halloween show with plenty of humor and shtick while forcing us to face facts. The monsters are real, and hard as it is to face, some of them are us. ANDREW HAMLIN
Warren G, Grynch, DJ Indica Jones
The OG of the G-funk era who collaborated so effortlessly and classically with Nate Dogg (RIP) on numerous tracks including “Regulate”—a fine paradigm of hiphop and one of the greatest hiphop production tappings ever of Michael McDonald's soft-rock anthem “I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You’re Near)”—is landing in Seattle. Warren G’s catalog isn’t large, but what he lacks in quantity he makes up for in quality. Spend the day listening to him on Spotify, and you’ll see what I mean—he gets flow, rhythm, and how to build a nice funky groove and make it sinister, sexy, or serious. Did you know he was instrumental in helping shape the sound of Dr. Dre’s The Chronic? Peep Warren’s new YouTube doc, G-Funk, to learn more about how significant he was to West Coast hiphop. Then go get your head bob on with him on this night. LEILANI POLK
Halloween Experiments: Great Spiders, Fungal Abyss, Drama Bahama, TERMINATor, DYED
Skate yourself to death among the living dead at this séance, which will slay harder than Freddy Krueger and rapture your sonic soul diabolically faster than the dark lord himself. Evil magic will be upon the macabre and mascara’d showgoers as local luminaries ooze out psycho-ambience from their fungal skulls, contort your spine with great lo-fi haunts, dye your mind with ghoulish grooves, and exterminate you with femme-fatale reapers. And let’s hope Drama Bahama won’t get booed off the stage during their exorcism, as this gathering will act as the releasing of their album into the spirit world and beyond. ZACH FRIMMEL
La Luz, Shy Boys
Reliably excellent surf-rock group La Luz will return to their hometown for a rowdy Halloween show with support from psych-pop band Shy Boys. You may be thinking: "What is so spooky-scary about surf rock?" Well, dear reader, the answer can be found in the low thrum of their bass line, the cicada-like buzz of their guitar, the pulsations echoing from the telltale heart of their drum kit. Follow their enticing sounds and find your way into a spookier mood.
Be the Cowboy, Mitski’s fifth LP, lyrically feels like her definitive fame album. An outpouring from that manic-panic period when a musician realizes they just may be “making it.” Though this theme has been heard before, the classically trained singer-songwriter remains sharply unpredictable, as dazzling and decimating in her mournful pop as a car windshield shattering in your face. Cowboy’s compositions climb like switchbacks, the rough sobs of Mitski’s guitar distortion suddenly curving into accusatory piano plinking. Opening duo Overcoats offer melted folk-pop, their nearly identical voices bringing to mind First Aid Kit, New York City club style. AJ DENT
Brighton-born singer-songwriter Mike Rosenberg performs as Passenger and is on tour promoting his sixth studio album Whispers. He'll most likely play more than just "Let Her Go," with additional guests as show support.
Tacocat, Mirrorgloss, Sleepover Club
It’s been pretty dark lately, huh? Weeks (months, years…) of deeply impactful, negative news plastered everywhere you look can really drag a person down. I think we all deserve to feel lighter, more mobile, more buoyed by the season. Tacocat can raise you to that level. I’ve been attending their shows for a decade now, and I can attest to the health benefits of witnessing their neon-candy punk-pop explode through an ecstatic crowd. Join them and local power cuties Mirrorgloss and Sleepover Club for a wild night out, and don’t forget your costume—these bands will surely be decked out in some Technicolor fantasy looks. KIM SELLING
The True Loves, Mother of Pearl, Emerald City Soul Club
Eight-piece instrumental soul crew the True Loves, often seen backing singer Grace Love, focus on tight grooves and modern soul motions influenced by the generations of the genre before them. They'll throw some spooky stank on their sound this Halloween for a special soiree, with support from local alternative soul quintet Mother of Pearl and Emerald City Soul Train (Emerald City Soul Club's holiday alter ego group).
KEXP KYR & Veracity Presents: Hellaween
On Halloween, join killer local pop artist PSA and hiphop favorites Koga Shabazz and DoNormaal (as well as DJs Atticus and Josiah French) for some spooky revelry.
Tokyo Police Club, Fleece
Canadian indie rock lifers Tokyo Police Club are back after a long session of churning out new work for a season-long tour crossing their home turf as well as the West Coast, with opening support from Montreal psych-rockers Fleece.
People who hate on Drake argue that he’s soft—he raps too much about his feelings, he didn’t have a rough enough upbringing, he used to be an actor in Canadian teen drama Degrassi. They say he’s not “black enough” (his mom is a white Jew, his dad is a black Catholic, and longtime beefer Pusha T claims Drake trots out his dad for a sense of authentic “blackness”), he overflexes his money, his rap style and flow aren’t original, and his music has too much R&B influence. Maybe Drake doesn’t have street cred, but he has chops, and he put a double album’s worth of his goods on display this year in Scorpion. I didn’t realize Migos, the Georgia hiphop trio behind such hard-thinking odes as “Versace” and “Bad and Boujee,” could co-headline an arena tour with Drake, but there you go. LEILANI POLK
Lil B, Keyboard Kid, Macntaj, WholsKi
For someone whose iconoclasm and boundless creativity caused so much hand-wringing among hiphop purists, it’s a bit ironic that Lil B ended up making an old-school rap record. The Bay Area MC’s long-rumored, labored-over Black Ken mixtape sports production that honors regional traditions as well as some of his most focused, least fanciful rapping to date. It’s a relatively straightforward rap album that could score Basedgod some new fans, something Lil B might care about more if he didn’t already exert an undeniable influence on what rap sounds like in 2018. Joining him at this show is local producer and longtime collaborator Keyboard Kid. ANDREW GOSPE
Forward, Long Knife, Nasti, Lexicon
Odds are the words “Burning Spirits” don’t mean anything to you, dear reader, otherwise you would have already purchased tickets to this show. Since 1988, the Burning Spirits scene (a series of venues that became a lifestyle) has kept the unique flame of pure Japanese hardcore-punk alive. Simultaneously tougher and more glamorous than UK/US crust, the bands of Burning Spirits blend the D-beat of Discharge with victorious guitar work that would make Eddie Van Halen and George Lynch nod in approval. And Forward? They’re one of the scene's longest-running and best-known acts. That they’re playing the United States is a rare treat. JOSEPH SCHAFER
My mother was in town over the holidays for a ridiculous amount of time, and one night over dinner she asked what I was working on. I told her I needed to write up a thing about Smokey Robinson’s upcoming show, and she and my sister immediately cooed in unison: “Smokey, our favorite!” There’s no other appropriate reaction to this man. You either love him with your whole heart, deeply appreciate his foundational influence and industry-altering contributions to soul and pop, and generally melt for his lilting honeyed tones, or you know nothing about anything. Openly cherish this national treasure while he’s still around. You never what 2018 has in store for our favorites. KIM SELLING
Hailing from Puerto Rico, reggae and Latin trap singer Ozuna (aka Juan Carlos Ozuna Rosado) is known for hits like "Si No Te Quiere," "No Quiere Enamorarse," and "Dile Que Tu Me Quieres." He'll stop in Seattle on his Aura Tour.
Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 2
Russian soloist Alina Ibragimova has established herself as one of the most expressive and nuanced players of her generation. She's sure to pour all that talent into Shostakovich's melancholic and autumnal Violin Concerto No. 2, which sees heavy rotation on my "Music for Living Under a Dictatorship" playlist. RICH SMITH
Earshot Jazz Festival
This year at the Earshot Jazz Festival, there is an emphasis on youth and women. Not saying that the festival has neglected young and female players. It has not. And the 2018 edition of Earshot seems to feature less huge names and more names you may not have heard of and need to discover. For example, there is harpist Brandee Younger, who’s worked closely with Ravi Coltrane and is certainly influenced by the musicians John Coltrane worked with in the last period of his musical career (1965–1967). Younger plays the kind of music that clears your brain and soul. Then there is Jane Bunnett and Maqueque. Bunnett is a pretty well-known Canadian saxophonist, but Maqueque, a superb band of Cuban women, is not. And there is also Helen Sung, a pianist who plays with a mesmerizing (and at times mind-boggling) mix of density and clarity. There’s the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra, Samantha Boshnack, Sarah Manning, Madison McFerrin, and SassyBlack (formerly of THEESatisfaction). And there is much, much more. CHARLES MUDEDE
Top shows this week: Harriet Tubman the Band (Thurs); Vernon Reid's Band of Gypsys Revisited (Fri); Tia Fuller Quartet (Sat); Jane Bunnett & Maqueque Cuban Women’s Ensemble (Sun)
Tower of Power
Oakland’s fabulous funk and soul-jazz heavies Tower of Power return for yet another Seattle residency. Reports from the most gushing-est of fans claim that every TOP show is a killer dance party, but then they are the “Hipper Than Hip” from “Bump City” and would obviously know how to dig it deep “In the Slot”! That they keep killin’ it time and again is REALLY saying something, as Tower of Power have been active for 50 years and show no signs of getting up from all their serious getting down! MIKE NIPPER
The Feast: A Symphony of Food
Music, food, and film converge for this unique synesthetic feast, in which the Northwest Symphony Orchestra will score five short documentaries starring a farmer, a winemaker, a baker, a server, and chef Tom Douglas, examining the labor of love each puts into their respective crafts. Before the performance, VIP guests will sit down to a multicourse meal prepared by Douglas himself. Donations support Seattle Children’s Hospital. JULIANNE BELL
UW Symphony with Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir
Join UW faculty cellist Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir and the University Symphony in a program of music by Brahms, Bloch, and Hindemith, with conductor duties for the evening split between Seattle Symphony Music Director Ludovic Morlot and faculty artist-in-residence David Alexander Rahbee.
Depth: Silent Servant, Minimal Violence
Silent Servant (aka Juan Mendez) works out of Los Angeles, but his severe techno tracks sound like they emanate from a far less sunny and tropical place. As you’d expect from a key member of Sandwell District, Silent Servant purveys a foreboding strain of dance music that drops you into the inferno in swift and stern 4/4 time. His sonic fatalism feels so damned satisfying on a big sound system. Vancouver’s Minimal Violence (A. Luk and Lida P.) create techno whose menacing atmospheres skew it toward the industrial end of the spectrum, but not without forfeiting the funk. To quote Curtis Mayfield, right on for the darkness. DAVE SEGAL
Bread & Butter, Autogramm, Needles//Pins
Tighten up them power-pop mops, y’all, ’cause tonight is your chance to bust out them skinny ties and striped shirts for a proper new-wave rave! Autogramm, who are continuing in the fabulous Canuck tradition of making GREAT power-pop, are playing, um, something like an album-release party along with their fellow Canucks Needle/Pins, who are gonna be bashing out even MORE guitar-driven, power-filled pop. Sandwiched in the middle will be Seattle’s best soundin’-like-the-mid-’70s-rock-as-it-tipped-into-power-pop heads, Bread & Butter. MIKE NIPPER
I’d be okay if Croz just busted out the golden troubadour psychedelia of If I Could Only Remember My Name in its entirety, and then encored with some Byrds songs he wrote or cowrote (e.g., “Eight Miles High,” “Everybody's Been Burned,” “I See You,” “Draft Morning,” “Why?”). But of course he'll dip into the hit-heavy catalog of Crosby, Stills & Nash, because enough sweet, mellow jams reside there to keep a theater full of Boomers and their offspring content for hours. While he may not hit those high, silky notes as gracefully anymore, Crosby's voice has weathered the decades well. Come for the timeless, glowing melodies, stay for the tales of ye olde rock aristocracy from the '60s and '70s. DAVE SEGAL
How is it even possible to be as unbelievably catchy and ebullient as Kyle Craft? And how is it that the instant some people open their mouths or play a few notes on a slapped back piano you’re suddenly sucked up into a sweet, sad tornado of Badfinger, Emitt Rhodes, Harry Nilsson, Shoes, Velvet Crush, et al? And what happened to the days when you could see a different proper power pop band every night of the week in Seattle? Don’t answer. I know what happened to those days. SEAN NELSON
This all-star bill features singer-songwriter LeRoy Bell (who charted two hit singles for Elton John), Seattle-based reggae singer Clinton Fearon, former Seattle busker Whitney Mongé, Dirty Revival PDX's Sarah Clarke, and R&B artist/rapper Wanz.
Oregon-born multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Laura Gibson will play experimental folk songs off her new album with support from indie folk Portlanders Horse Feathers and cellist Takénobu (a composer for NPR's Invisibilia podcast).
Kentucky singer-songwriter and storyteller Tyler Childers manages to make dusty backroad tracks about the old country sound new again, with a world-weary narrative helmed by his charcoal-accented vocals.
Puget Soundtrack: Sailor Moon R
Puget Soundtrack invites musicians to create and perform a live score for a film of their choosing. Sundae Crush, the Seattle-by-way-of-Denton, Texas, dreamy pop electronica band, have aptly chosen Sailor Moon R: The Movie for their turn at the series. The sweet, sentimental, stubbornly spacey band is a perfect fit for the cult anime. CHASE BURNS
Assembled from an online-forum casting call, Brockhampton are an explicit callback to Odd Future’s push at the beginning of this decade, with all their punk ethos and internet savvy, but with an aim to improve on the model. Instead of the OF dynamic of having both homophobic shock lyrics and queer members, Brockhampton ringleader Kevin Abstract, who is gay, is lyrically upfront about his sexuality. The crew’s mix of melancholy, motivation raps, and misanthropy has a pretty, melodic pop sheen that feels as post-Neptunes as their Odd forebears’ does, just a whole lot friendlier. Their Saturation series of albums is a map of their quick growth and deepening chemistry. While their individual members aren’t household names, and only a couple stand out, their collective vision is surprisingly compelling. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Goo Goo Dolls
Relive the glory of the '90s with the orchestral alt-rock of the Goo Goo Dolls as they venture out on their 20th anniversary tour in celebration of their seminal album Dizzy Up The Girl.
Wimps, Lithics, Hayley and the Crushers
A bill of cream-of-the-crop punk classics—all fronted by womxn, so all the more solid. You can’t get much more California surf-pop-punk than Hayley and the Crushers. You can’t get much more Portland post-punk than Lithics. And you certainly can't get much more Seattle punk rock than Wimps. The Kill Rock Star labelmates have 2018 gifts for us: Lithics’ sophomore studio album, Mating Surfaces, demonstrates dancey, deconstructed riffs, and Wimps’ third thrasher, Garbage People, showcases their Dead Milkmen–timbred, power-chord charm. A lineup like this happens once in a greasy moon, so crawl through your pizza-box-graveyard apartment and enjoy. ZACH FRIMMEL
Prototypical California dreamer, Bob Dylan's career-starter, and queen of the protest song Joan Baez will grace us with her magnanimous presence on her nationwide Fare Thee Well Tour.
Karl Blau, The Easy Leaves, Gus Clark & the Least of His Worries
Hailing from Anacortes, Karl Blau is one of Washington’s wayward gems. In his own golden spirit and style, he conjures a mercurially modern Arthur Russell or Moon Dog with his playful outsider approach to whatever genre (rock, alt-country, synth-jazz, etc.) or “Songles” he decides to bedazzle us with next. Blau recently dropped his 10th studio album, Out Her Space, and it commemorates his 20th year of making records under his eponymous solo project. ZACH FRIMMEL
Of Montreal, Reptaliens
Of Montreal have been out-“of Montreal”ing all of you quirky jerks for years, so listen up. With a catalog that stretches back almost 20 years, and spawned from the sweet, chiming bosom of the Elephant 6 collective, of Montreal, anchored by songwriter and mystical thesaurus Kevin Barnes, has been shape-shifting for years without missing a beat. He’s cited influences like Sylvia Plath and the psychedelic movement of the ’60s for past records, and the 2015 studio release Aureate Gloom draws directly from the CBGB heyday, with Patti Smith and Television at the helm. Live shows with Barnes dolled up like David Bowie, and bacchanalian onstage dance shows promise to leave you wondering where the hell you are and why the hell you would ever want to leave. KATHLEEN TARRANT
Thrice, the Bronx
While they’re just now starting to get traction on commercial-rock radio, Thrice have been putting in work for the past 20 years, rising from the Southern California underground all-ages scene to release 10 albums. They’ve evolved from playing the breakneck metallic hardcore anthems of their early years to a much more straightforward, melodic rock sound. For a couple years, though, vocalist Dustin Kensrue called the Eastside home, as he was gospel leader for the Bellevue Mars Hill Church location before abandoning ship in 2014 as the controversy surrounding infamous pastor Mark Driscoll came to a head. KEVIN DIERS