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15th Annual Blue Moon Christmas Pageant
I don’t go in the Blue Moon. It frightens me, that burnt sticky of every surface, and we won’t talk about the bathrooms. That being said, people sans friends and/or family, have a right to chug and whoop away this most stressful of seasons. The Moon provides and abides. The Best Band from Earth boast post-pop synths, sinister intonations, and 15 or so of their friends giving the finger to the camera. Spank Williams applies her creaky voice to liquor-and-drugs country. Even better, proceeds from the door go to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. ANDREW HAMLIN
Miracle On Howell St with Riz and Friends
The legendary nightclub/theater venue Re-Bar will be just as magical and wish-granting as Santa Claus at this party inspired by the holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street. Dance the night away to local DJs, including Reverend Doctor Riz Rollings, Kadeejah Streets, JENNGREEN, Bad Ginger, and Dane Gatfield Wilson. Dirty Santa will be played by Nicky Valentine.
I Hate X-Mas Karaoke: A Benefit for YouthCare
Christmas elf TV will host this night of karaoke in support of YouthCare, an organization that provides resources to LGBTQ+ youth.
Groove for Thought
Contemporary vocal ensemble Groove for Thought is a group of seven singers who have been performing together for over 15 years with an emphasis on jazz-influenced arrangements of both American songbook standards and their own original tunes.
Stas & Kass: Home for the Holidays
As far as local holiday bills go, this one looks like a bona fide treat. Stas THEE Boss is among Seattle’s choice hiphop makers, formerly one-half of futurist rap and R&B duo THEESatisfaction, currently a solo artist and producer, KEXP’s Street Sounds DJ, a leading member of Black Constellation artist collective, and frequent collaborator with Erik Blood and Shabazz Palaces, among others. Kassa Overall is a rather fine NYC-by-way-of-Seattle jazz musician, MC, and producer who juggles a lot of different projects (he’s currently heading up a residency at NYC’s Jazz Gallery with guests like Jon Batiste and Jason Moran). They’ll be coming together during his visit home for this showcase, which also features performances from Micstro and D. Mikey (who dropped a collab album, Cookie Jar, this summer), along with Evan Flory-Barnes, DJ Vitamin D, and DJ Young Strong. LEILANI POLK
Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven, Buffalo Jones
Nasally-drawling singer, songwriter, and guitarist David Lowery has enjoyed a fruitful music career in the more than three decades he’s been active, starting with Camper Van Beethoven, an influential DIY garage/alt rock band that formed in ’83, featured members on harmonica and fiddle, and drew heavily on elements of folk and roots rock, punk, jangle pop, ska, and world music in an era when most other like bands generally remained within favored genre ranges. (Camper V’s 1989 cover of “Pictures of Matchstick Men” was their only hit.) Lowery formed twang rock side project Cracker in 1990 with guitarist John Hickman (you know “Low”—the video has Lowery losing a boxing match to Sandra Bernhard), although it became his full-time gig when Camper V broke up later that year. They reunited in 1999, and you can catch both Lowery-fronted bands on this night. LEILANI POLK
Research: Carlos Souffront
While techno, electro, and drum and bass remain staples of forward-thinking club nights, acid is less common, a cultural signifier whose squelchy bass lines (the product of Roland’s TB-303 synth) and rickety drum machines evoke the warehouse parties of the pre-internet world. Carlos Souffront allegedly boasts one of the world’s deepest collections of rare acid records, and the San Francisco DJ has a way of making the genre sound fresh during his precisely mixed, rhythmically adventurous sets. A quintessential DJ’s DJ, Souffront is also a connoisseur of techno and plenty else. Two top-notch locals in Raica and Miles Mercer provide support. ANDREW GOSPE
Thievery Corporation, the Suffers
Few of Thievery Corporation’s 1990s-era down-tempo electronic contemporaries have shown the durability of core members Rob Garza and Eric Hilton. What they do isn’t innovative or revolutionary, but Thievery Corporation’s clever amalgams of classy lounge music, buttery triphop, dub lite, boho hiphop, chill bossa nova, and other styles from the international sonic bazaar cohere into a good time soundtrack that makes you feel much more suave and affluent than you actually are. And that’s good enough to sell out the Showbox, even at this late date. Thievery Corporation will be supporting their typically eclectic and tasteful recent album, Treasures from the Temple. DAVE SEGAL
Lullaby League, Slow Code, Githyanki, If Penguins Could Fly
Lullaby League are headlining a show, but they haven’t played a live date before. Strange? Maybe, but unusual is par for the course when it comes to these musicians. Contrary to their gentle and somnambulant name, the band features ex-members of mind-bending local death-metal outfit Evangelist, who split up after releasing their second album in 2011. Bassist Lee Neuman sports an even more interesting résumé—they currently handle four-string duties in celebrated folk-rock outfit King Dude, and once did the same in sadly-defunct noise outfit Pink Muscles. Together, they promise an evening of unorthodox riffage aimed at the heart of freaky-but-heavy music fans. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Grace Love, Stephanie Anne Johnson
I know it’s the holiday season and its prolly been a long week, but PROMISE me y’all ain’t gonna miss this show!! If you don’t already love Grace Love, I swear YOU WILL by the end of her set! Lord, can she sing, and she’s a big deal all over, as I’ve written before, Love, “both with the True Loves and solo, has excited casual listeners and dance floors across the globe… a bumping testimony” to Seattle soul. And as if Grace Love weren’t enough, pop singer-songwriter Stephanie Anne Johnson—the local contestant from The Voice—is also on the bill. MIKE NIPPER
Beethoven Symphony No. 9
Things you may or may not know about Beethoven’s 9th: It was his last symphony. Other composers became scared of writing a ninth symphony because the ninth was his last. He was almost totally deaf when he conducted the premiere, so the performers had to ignore him entirely! He was so deaf he couldn’t hear the applause at the end—five standing ovations in all. A contralto named Caroline Unger had to turn him around so he could see the clapping hands and stuff thrown into the air. Caroline Unger was on the bill because Beethoven added singing to the final movement of this huge mother, which takes more than an hour to perform, post-to-post. Whew. ANDREW HAMLIN
Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band
Playing seven shows over four nights at Jazz Alley, the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band offer plenty of chances for you to shimmy and shake to their warm, slinky, percussive-fueled rhythms. Mexican American namesake Sanchez has been rapping, tapping, and slapping congas for crowds since he played his first ever set in the mid-1970s with renowned vibraphonist Cal Tjader, with whom he played until Tjader’s death in 1982. Sanchez went on to release more than 30 albums as a solo conguero (backed by a full band that currently includes players on timbales, bass, trumpet, sax, trombone, bongos, and piano), and has built on his Latin-jazzy sound with elements of R&B, soul, cha-cha, and salsa music. LEILANI POLK
Kuinka, Dirty Revival, Guests
Defiantly alternative string band Kuinka make "backyard folk" elevated to an almost orchestral level with input from classic string band instrumentation, weighty percussion, the integration of electronic sound production, cello, and six-string ukulele.
In the late 1990s and early ’00s, English DJ/producer Lee Burridge filled his sets with a hard, driving, and strange brand of techno, deep house, and breakbeat that would feature tracks by the likes of Marshall Jefferson, Photek, and Ricardo Villalobos. Nowadays, Burridge prefers a lighter, fluffier, more melodic approach that’s geared for Ibiza beaches and Burning Man rather than dark, low-ceilinged bunkers. An authoritative veteran selector like Burridge will surely take you on an epic journey, but don’t expect it to go anywhere too weird tonight. DAVE SEGAL
The Polish Ambassador, Yaima, Wildlight
Electronic-music producer David Sugalski, aka the Polish Ambassador, hails from the Bay Area. And while he may not be an official diplomat, he does bring together the sounds of hiphop, dub, and funk with electro, breaks, lounge, and glitch to create dance-music harmony—hip-shaking and head-bob-inducing jams that are bright and fun like Sugalski’s trademark neon jumpsuits. Sugalski executes live sound mixing at his concerts, using a combination of computers and MIDI instruments to reproduce tracks. Here, that will includes cuts off two brand-new joints that came out in 2018: the bass-driven Twilight Safari and worldly instrumental collab Land of the Lush. LEILANI POLK
Brittany Anjou with Evan Flory-Barnes & Matt Jorgensen
Matt Jorgensen (drums) and Evan Flory-Barnes (bass) will join forces with Seattle-raised but NYC-based pianist and composer Brittany Anjou. Like Vijay Iyer, Anjou is a philosopher-musician. She obtained a degree in jazz performance and philosophy from NYU, and plays not directly or effusively but reflectively. Hers is a jazz about jazz, a music about music. CHARLES MUDEDE
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 support band for the evening.
The Gods Themselves, Fruit Juice, Mirrorgloss
From the looks of this lineup, I think the New Year's Eve fireworks might be going off early—and in goddamn Ballard!?! Seriously, though, it’s gonna be a hot one, so make sure you arrive early to dig the openers: Mirrorgloss, a killer contemporary synthy rhythm and boogie duo from Tacoma, and Oly’s Fruit Juice, an instantly engaging, surgery bubblegum dance pop group. Delivering tonight’s crescendo is the glam and glittery get-down crisco disco of the Gods Themselves. I’d bring a change of clothes tonight, ’cause I'll bet you’re gonna get sweaty dancin’ that ass off. MIKE NIPPER
Ritual Veil, Nox Novacula, Youryoungbody, DJ Sharlese
Portland trio Ritual Veil "take the familiarity of new wave, post punk, and synth pop and throw a sex beat and goth subculture cloak over it." Experience the hodgepodge for yourself with Ritual Veil and support sets by Nox Novacula, Youryoungbody, and DJ Sharlese.
Seattle Rock Orchestra's 10th Anniversary Concert
It’s getting to the point where we can comfortably deem Seattle Rock Orchestra an “institution.” Ten years of doing anything is impressive; a decade of lending vibrant, lush string/woodwinds/brass/percussion arrangements to consensus-favorite rock albums for subtle recontextualization is a proud achievement. For this 10th anniversary celebration, SRO will tackle one of the most sacred bovines in rock history: Pink Floyd’s eternally chart-dwelling 1973 magnum opus The Dark Side of the Moon. You better believe the musicians will rise to the occasion for this opulent display of Roger Waters’s thoughts on time, greed, and old bandmate Syd Barrett’s psychological issues. DAVE SEGAL
Chanti Darling, SassyBlack, Guayaba
The voice of Chanti Darling’s Chanticleer Trü sounds so fucking expensive—rich and deep. Like the popping of champagne bottles on ice, the opening of a tin of caviar, colored laser bouncing off mirrors in a dark club, or the sweat dripping down the small of your back. The self-described retrofuturist, electro-soul musician from Portland takes all the best bits of house, disco, and boogie funk, creating a new vibrating mixture of sounds and rhythms, transporting you back to the ’80s. Paired with SassyBlack’s jazzy, otherworldly space-age croons and Guayaba’s clever rhymes—which weave together Spanish and English—this show isn’t for those who fear a black planet, but for those that embrace the many possibilities of one. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Remembering Aretha Franklin
It sure looks like we’re going to be mourning/celebrating Aretha Franklin’s music until the end of time, as we’re doing with that of Prince and David Bowie. And it would be madness not to, especially under the current (mis)administration. When DJ Riz recently hailed the Queen of Soul’s rich, voluminous catalog at Clock-Out, it was a glorious deep dive into her empowering and powerful expressiveness, and singular vocal fireworks. For this show, an ad-hoc band featuring keyboardists Wayne Horvitz and Darrius Willrich with other players will pay respect to Aretha’s 1967 classic, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, with vocalists Stephanie Johnson, Ayesha Brooks, and Melissa Montalto striving to fill those royal shoes. A bonus set of miscellaneous, beloved Franklin jams will complete the night. DAVE SEGAL
Candi Pop NYE: A Bubblegum Pop Dance Party
If you own several glitter chokers and routinely take Buzzfeed "Which Spice Girl Are You?" quizzes, the Candi Pop dance night is for you. The Candi Pop crew will be beefing up its usual party platter for the special New Year's Eve occasion, with a stacked lineup of Top 40 DJs in a shiny disco setting. Feel free to embrace all your guilty pleasures and spread that unicorn rainbow girl power magic around town to kick off 2019 in style.
New Year's Eve with Craze
There are a ton of DJ nights happening this New Year's Eve, but Craze will most assuredly be the only DJ spinning in Seattle that night who has won the DMC World DJ Championships three times over, has been named "America's Best DJ" by Time magazine, and was personally selected to be Kanye West's tour DJ. He'll be supported by local talents Famous, Catch24, and Lourawk.
NYE Funktion with Emerald City Soul Club & DUG
Worried about the umpteen ways your cherished version of Old Seattle will bite the dust in 2019? Then make your night out the Lo-Fi, where you can ogle the Dubai-like growth of South Lake Union from the endangered perch of a divey performance space with a damn fine soundtrack of funk, boogie, disco, and, of course, soul music full of stories about love and loss so you can drown your changing-city sorrows. GREG SCRUGGS
Apply that new Fenty highlighter over your entire body for the Kremwerk/Timbre Room complex's fourth annual New Year's Eve party dedicated to all things that shimmer and shine. The music across three stages will run the gamut from upbeat house to dark techno to alternative hiphop and club music, with Chris Tower, Frida K, Funn Dipp, Mike Devlin b2b Dowsk, Pinky Promise, NoRecall, and Soon(ish) on the decks at Kremwerk. Timbre Room will host a Citrus Room Squeeze Takeover with G-Lo, Monching Mixes, and 91Reyz b2b YO! ADRIAN, and Hherb and Snapdragon will keep the party going out on the patio.
Wicked Karma: Bollywood New Year's Eve
Wicked Karma will throw its Bollywood vibes across every available reflective surface. Shake it out all night to DJs Gabbar and RDX playing Seattle's best Bollywood and Top 40 tracks, with a midnight champagne toast, a Desi food feast, party favors, and even more seasonally appropriate treats.
Resolution is an annual end-of-the-year electronic music bash that gathers extremely popular and mainstream EDM and nü-rave artists into an arena-like space and unleashes their energy onto a throng of writhing young adults. This year's lineup includes massive figures in the scene like Diplo, Porter Robinson, Seven Lions, and Borgore.
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio: Definitely old-school Hammond B-3 funk! Rediscover the world through the surprisingly varied palette offered by the grand machine itself, complete with its gently psychedelic rotating Leslie speakers. ANDREW HAMLIN
Straight No Chaser
Straight No Chaser take their name from a Thelonious Monk blues song divided not into three four-measure segments, but two six-measure sections, because Monk couldn’t do anything the normal way, heaven cherish him. So Straight No Chaser are well-versed in not doing things the conventional way themselves. But they’re not afraid to throw in a medley of boy-band classics, spiked with Britney Spears for flavor. They’re also famous for the “12 Days of Christmas” video bit that landed in 1998, and, as of the afternoon I’m typing this, has tallied 20,723,331 views. So they’re a little white bread and they make all the percussion noises with their lips, which pisses off some people, but they’re talented, choreographed, and cute. Also, hey, Britney Spears. ANDREW HAMLIN
Bread & Butter, Wild Powwers, the Rare Forms
You know what you’re getting with Bread & Butter right away: glammy power pop with smart, memorable hooks played with precision and concision, all in service to make you feel better than you did before you arrived at the club or hooked yourself up to a listening device. They’re pure pros whose music may not offer many surprises, but it delivers familiar pleasures with gusto and skill. You can—and will—surely drink to that. Wild Powwers conjure a slightly psychedelic strain of hard rock that emphasizes emotive songcraft amid their instrumental pyrotechnics. Powerful drummer Lupe Flores and robust-toned guitarist Lara Hilgemann add passionate vocals, and mass air-punching ensues. DAVE SEGAL
Cold Cave, Drab Majesty
El Corazon is the place to be to welcome 2019 if you prefer your celebrations on the morose side. Drab Majesty’s name is an on-the-nose hint at project mastermind Andrew Clinco’s goth-gaze sound, which sure makes a critic’s job easy. If you dig lugubrious, chiming guitar and drum-machine beats with glum male vocals, and perhaps have many Chameleons and Legendary Pink Dots records in your collection, you’ll tingle to Drab Majesty’s magnanimous moping. Cold Cave (LA producer Wes Eisold and collaborators) creates coal-black synth music for people who like to dance with grimaces on their faces and think optimism is for suckers—although their more recent releases lift the veils of gloom a bit. Put some absinthe in those champagne glasses, y’all. DAVE SEGAL
Freakout New Year's Eve
Freakout Records hosts this mind-expansive NYE party headlined by its Brooklyn/Seattle garage outfit Acid Tongue, who purvey a heady-tasty mix of psych rock, experimental folk, and AM radio soul. Check out “Humpty Dumpty” off 2017 debut Babies—it uses the title of that old nursery rhyme as the inspiration for a “romantic” ode (“Can you crack me open / Drop me in the pan / Watch my insides sizzle / Hold me in your hand”). Also of note: the languorously lovely psychedelia of the Shivas from Portland. LEILANI POLK
Great Grandpa, Sloucher, Whitney Ballen, Salt Lick
It’s a New Year’s Eve lineup of righteous locals. Sean Nelson called Great Grandpa’s 2017 album Plastic Cough “one of the best releases by a Seattle band in recent memory. The lyrics are sharp, the loud guitar tone is the friendliest kind of distortion, the melodies stick in your brain like a pickax, and the influences are pleasingly familiar to ’90s indie rock adepts without going over.” Sloucher deliver a grungy, discordant mix of fuzz and reverb done perfectly right, à la Nirvana, but with less angst and different influences (they sound-checked Tom Petty before launching into their set at Bumbershoot). Whitney Ballen has a child-high, saccharine-sweet vocal quality, indie rock that feels elegant and lush, and darkly adult imaginings on full display on her 2018 debut LP, You’re a Shooting Star, I’m a Sinking Ship. Languid, dissonant, femme-led alt rock five-piece Salt Lick round out the night. LEILANI POLK
New Year's Eve with Love Vigilantes & She's Lost Control
Make it a New Wave new year by dancing to New Order and Joy Division tribute bands Love Vigilantes and She's Lost Control.
Seventh Annual Artist Home New Year's Eve Celebration
For the seventh year running, Artist Home, the Seattle-based talent-buying, event-promoting, and artist-consulting collective, will host a New Year's Eve bash featuring artists with whom they've worked. Dance your way into 2019 with live sets from eclectic Seattle greats across the rock, soul, folk, and pop genre spectrums like Whitney Mongé, the Black Tones, Emma Lee Toyoda, Acid Tongue, Naked Giants, the Moondoggies, Hobosexual, Shelby Earl, and Hey Marseilles.
Stardust NYE Bash with BowieVision & S.O.S
Seven-piece tribute group BowieVision will pay tribute to the ever-missed Thin White Duke/Goblin King/etc. with glam costumes and covers of all your favorite Bowie hits and deep cuts. They'll be joined by S.O.S., a tribute to Police (not ABBA), on New Year's Eve.
Thunderpussy, Red Fang, the Black Tones
If you like to rock out with your id out on New Year's Eve, you could do a lot worse than Thunderpussy and Red Fang. The former are a foursome of fierce speed queens who are the rare Seattle rock group signed to a major label. Their self-titled debut LP revamps familiar classic-rock power moves and hard-rock hooks to put some led in your zeppelin and some depth in your purple. The four dudes in Portland’s Red Fang play sludgy metal that triggers the sort of hedonism that goes with new annum celebrations like Jack and Coke. A quality headbanging hangover awaits you. DAVE SEGAL
New Year's Eve — The Doo Wop Project
Witness the Seattle Symphony parade through the New Year side by side with the Doo Wop Project, as they play orchestral interpretations of foundational doo-wop and soul classics. After the performance, stick around for a party that will include a glass of champagne, another live performance, and dancing into 2019.
New Year's Day with Bach and Pancakes
Treat your hangover as local musician Erin Jorgensen plays unique renditions of Bach compositions while the audience enjoys pancakes.
The Breakfast Club: New Year's Day 2019 with Egyptian Lover
Professional nightlifers know that New Year’s Eve is amateur time—no party worth its salt peaks at midnight—and that discerning crowd is precisely who the Monkey Loft is catering to with its standard bearer New Year’s Day party. They will be ringing in the New Year from 4 a.m. onward with an intriguing blast from the past. Egyptian Lover was a relatively obscure pioneer of 1980s electro who helped carve out a niche for heavy synths and 808 drum-machine beats in the LA rap scene. That sound came back into vogue this decade, and the artist, aka Gregory Broussard, has ridden the nostalgia wave to new heights. When you hear him play live, you’ll understand the Beastie Boys lyric “’cause nothin’ sounds quite like an eight-oh-eight.” GREG SCRUGGS