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Jane with the Seattle Symphony
Brett Morgen's 2017 documentary Jane is a remarkable portrait of primatologist Jane Goodall. It chronicles her early studies and field work on chimpanzees in Tanzania, but it is as much a vivid historical document as it is a profile of Goodall, made using a treasure trove of more than 100 hours of never-before-seen 16 mm footage. The gorgeous footage looks as fresh and vibrant as the day it was shot, and it is edited together so seamlessly by Morgen that it nearly feels like one stunning mosaic made even more spectacular by Philip Glass's original score. "A lot of directors feel that nothing is more powerful to affect the emotional landscape of a movie than music," says arranger/film composer William Ross, who led the orchestra that performed at the Jane film premiere at the Hollywood Bowl in 2017. He's excited to reprise his role with Seattle Symphony, which will provide live accompaniment during the screening event at Benaroya Hall. And if you're worried the symphony will drown out the audio of the film, don't. You are about to see Jane in an exquisite aural format, definitely a superior way to experience it than originally intended, and leaps and bounds better than watching a stream of it in your underwear while loafing around on the couch. Put on some pants already and go be awed. LEILANI POLK
All Star Opera, Guests
Multi-piece hiphop ensemble and artist collective All Star Opera has grown through the years from a two-MCs-and-a-DJ trio to a six-member live band that cranks out high-energy bohemian grooves. Proceeds from tonight's show will go to benefit Mary's Place.
American vocalist Kat Edmonson makes what she refers to as "vintage pop," a genre blend of jazz and swing with traditional pop, chamber pop, '50s rock, blues, bossa nova, country-inflected pop, and folk music. Her fourth studio album, Old Fashioned Gal, was recently released under Spinnerette Records.
Dreamcatchr, Cold Comfort, Forest Ray
Formed in 2015, dreamcatchr are a promising local indie unit featuring the intertwined vocal prowess of guitarist and founder Raven MacDaniels and Shannon Clark layered over catchy drum beats and crisp, pop-infused bass lines. You’ll find hints of Beach House and Tame Impala within their supple, bright melodies. AMBER CORTES
Greta Van Fleet, IDA MAE
Frankenmuth, Michigan, if my childhood memories hold true, is a town whose primary attribute is evoking a kitsch, antiquey vibe of a Bavarian village. My suburban Detroit family used to go there during the holidays when my parents wanted to give us a “special” treat. Now Frankenmuth is most famous for spawning the hugely popular and fabulously young Led Zeppelin superfans Greta Van Fleet. Their special talent is making classic rock sound as kitsch as their hometown looks and feels to people from the Motor City. Greta Van Fleet’s 2018 debut album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army, got yoked with a 1.6 rating on Pitchfork—and while that must sting, Greta Van Fleet can dab their tears with Benjamins. They’ve freakin’ sold out their opening night at the Paramount on their first national tour and had to add a second show. DAVE SEGAL
Andrew Duhon, Bucket Of Honey
Andrew Duhon will bring his New Orleans-style musical storytelling chops to Seattle with an opening set from local acoustic-pop/soul band Bucket of Honey.
Lusine, Trent Moorman, Natasha Kmeto, Vision Field
Seems like I’ve been writing about Lusine (aka Seattle electronic-music producer Jeff McIlwain) for—checks notes—about 15 years. The last few of them, I’ve been waiting for his quality control to decline, as it does with most musicians who’ve been in the game as long as he has (since 1999). But he refuses to fade. A trusty mainstay with the respected Ghostly International label, Lusine released the strong, song-based, quasi-techno charmer Sensorimotor last year. Bolstered by the nimble, funky drumming of Trent Moorman and coolly restrained vocals from a trio of singers, the album comes off like an introvert’s idea of a party-centric dance record. The thing is, Lusine is even better live than on disc; he’s a master of subtle dynamics and controlled, euphoric swells. DAVE SEGAL
No Years, New Ears: A Musical Event to Transcend Time via Sound
Seattle/Chicago multimedia artist Ambrosia Bardos (aka Morher) uses vocalization and biometric data in conjunction with analog sound manipulation to make cool improvised electronic tunes. Hear them live with support from Seattle's Astrament and DJs Veins (The Stranger's Dave Segal) and Sleeper Cell.
KNKX Presents The Alex Monfort Trio
Parisian pianist Alex Monfort will pay a visit to Seattle to complete a trio with drummer Matt Jorgensen and bassist Michael Glynn. Expect some high-quality jazz.
Antonioni, Salt Lick, Velvet Q
This Chop-hop and Pacific Northwest lovefest serves as the release party for The Odds Were All Beating Me, the sophomore album from Antonioni. Out on local cassette label Den Tapes, the EP features indulgent sound confections baked by the Seattle-based band: dream-pop cakes glazed with grunge and new wave layers atop a ’90s alternative crust. First single “Easy Listener” oozes with catchy surreality and lead singer Sarah Pasillas’s decadent vocals. Opening the night will be Velvet Q, an alt-punk trio reminiscent of 7 Year Bitch, and Salt Lick, whose angst-driven shoegaze culminates in tracks like “Dying to Party.” AJ DENT
Contemporary acoustic jazz guitarist Peter White will hit the stage for four nights with his full band in support of his last album release Groovin’, his third collection of guitar-centric interpretations of classic compositions from the '50s through the ’80s.
Jesse Myers: Glass Half Full
If you're one of those people who like to get delightfully blazed before concerts, then, first of all, hello. Second of all, you should strongly consider grabbing a blanket and a pillow, and heading out to Chapel Performance Space to listen to local pianist Jesse Myers play about half of Philip Glass's 20 etudes. A light show synchronized to the music will dance all over the walls and ceilings, offering an immersive, visually stunning experience—regardless of any chemical assistance. Glass composed the etudes over the course of his long and successful career, and they're some of the best pieces of minimalist music ever devised. You'll leave feeling contemplative and a little hungry. RICH SMITH
Robert Walter's 20th Congress with McTuff
Robert Walter juggles multiple projects as deftly as he fingers the keys on his B3 Hammond organ, hands flying across the ivories and executing soulful, funky ass grooves that require you to bring your A-game on the dance floor. Or at least try to execute a few moves. A founding member of the Greyboy Allstars—his airy SoCal jazz-funk outfit with sax player/flutist/singer Karl Denson—and lively player in Mike Gordon of Phish’s solo band, among various other projects, Walter also leads his 20th Congress. They are currently on the road behind the exploratory, improvisation-laden Spacesuit, which he’s said was inspired by “early fusion, krautrock, dub reggae, the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Stanley Kubrick, and the images of Chris Foss, Moebius, and H.R. Giger.” Deep. LEILANI POLK
All Star Opera, Cosmos, Tres Leches, Gypsy Temple
Multi-piece hiphop ensemble and artist collective All Star Opera and cannabis/hiphop collective Respect My Region will partner up to bring you a weeklong "community music series" highlighting local artists in support of Mary's Place. In addition to a set from All Star Opera, expect live music from Cosmos the Band, Tres Leches, and Gypsy Temple.
The Animaniacs in Concert
Blending clever but sometimes ridiculous humor, slapstick, and pop-culture references in an animated comedy show that often seemed aimed at adults (and those of us who were teens but felt as if we were adults during its peak in the mid-’90s), Animaniacs featured a large rotating cast of characters led by the havoc-wreaking Warner brothers, Yakko and Wakko, and sister Dot. Live, it’s apparently a sort of musical variety show starring lead voice actor Rob Paulsen (Yakko, Pinky from Pinky & the Brain) and Emmy-winning Randy Rogel (behind much of the Animaniacs music and writing) on vocals and piano, performing some of their favorite numbers from the series, and sharing stories and video clips throughout. LEILANI POLK
Howlin' Rain, Garcia Peoples, the Kingdom Boogie Band
Howlin' Rain nailed a lofty, robust strain of cosmic Americana on their 2006 debut self-titled album, a Bob Seger/Allman Brothers/Quicksilver Messenger Service amalgam that tie-dyed your muttonchops right quick. Leader Ethan Miller’s eloquent guitar heroics and brawny, soulful voice sound eternal and utterly comforting, like a monument to unabashed rock and roll, but without any of the corniness you’d expect from such familiar elements. Garcia Peoples give away the game in their name: sunshiny, ambling homages to the Grateful Dead at their most melodic and mellow. Check out their 2018 album Cosmic Cash for (mostly) concise tributes to the granddaddy of all jam bands. DAVE SEGAL
Moon Palace, Neon Bloom, Belva
Seattle quintet Moon Palace will bring their hypnotic, nature-focused psychedelia to Beacon Hill for a night out with Toronto-based synth-rockers Neon Bloom and Belva.
Shelby Earl, Matty Gervais
There’s something ethereal yet earthy about the vocals of Seattle singer-songwriter Shelby Earl—they can be delicate and sultry or given to powerfully piping serenades. Her sound is easygoing, melodious folk-rock flavored with elements of dusty Old West Americana, urgent driving indie-rock, and even a bit of gospel-tinged soul. I’m reminded of Carole King, not because they sound anything alike, but because they have a similar effortlessness to their music while infusing it with something indescribably their own. This “Songs for Singing 2” performance by Earl finds her performing a stripped-down set list in American Songbook style, accompanied by Matty Gervais of the Head and the Heart. LEILANI POLK
Free at The Frye: Pacific Duo
In this free and all-ages ongoing series, voice and guitar twosome Pacific Duo will present a program that showcases their specialized repertoire, with works by well-known composers like de Falla, Argento, and Schubert, as well as pieces by some lesser-known Mexican and Latin American composers.
Portland Cello Project: Radiohead's OK Computer
The all-star collective of cellists (joined by the odd brass and woodwind players, a rhythm section, and guest vocalists) deliver music you don’t normally expect to see performed on cellos, like Radiohead. This concert will feature two 50-minute sets; the first set is TBA (possibly an artist or artists related to Radiohead, possibly more Radiohead, possibly a mix of both), while the second set features the Portland Cello Project’s deftly arranged orchestration of the UK art rock band’s 1997 third album, which they’ve been performing and perfecting for the past five years. LEILANI POLK
The first month of 2019 brings an all-new, all-queer BeautyBoiz dance night with live dance-pop, hiphop, house, and nu-disco sets from DJ Essex and Reverand Dollars. Local drag favorites Arson Nicki, Britt Brutality, Cameron Hollingshead, Gypsy Leo, Michete, Christian Raddler, and Strawberry Shartcake will join you on the dance floor.
Constant Lovers, SSDD, Bad Blood
Enjoy a night out with Seattle grunge punks Constant Lovers, Italian post-punk band Steal Shit Do Drugs, and metal band Bad Blood.
Fórn, Worm Ouroboros, Isenordal, Cavurn
Gorgeous isn’t a word that’s often associated with metal, a genre that’s usually described as punishing or brutal. But Seattle’s Isenordal isn’t your average metal band, as their use of cello, organ, acoustic guitar, piano, and viola push them outside many of the self-imposed genre restrictions. The band balances their neo-folk influence with fierce vocal shrieks, blast beats, and crushing doom riffs. It’s fitting they are playing right before two more forward-thinking metal bands, the Bay Area’s left-brained purveyors of artsy sludge Worm Ouroboros, and an incredibly heavy band from Boston called Fórn that have damn near perfected the brown note. KEVIN DIERS
SUMAC, Divide and Dissolve, Tashi Dorji
Northwest supergroup SUMAC (Aaron Turner of Mammifer and Old Man Gloom, Brian Cook of Russian Circles, and Nick Yacyshyn of Baptists) fuse infernal power with brainy dynamics to create a thinking person’s heavy metal. While their sound is riddled with massive, cantankerous guitar/bass interplay, ghoulish yowls, and rambunctious drum fills, SUMAC aren’t averse to entering the spare terrain of Slint in ominous-quiet mode. North Carolina–based Bhutanese guitarist Tashi Dorji had to cancel his 2017 Seattle show due to a family emergency. Thankfully, he’s back to display his expansive approach to an instrument rarely used to surprise or challenge anymore. Dorji is a maestro of minimalist finger-picking and fragmented noise sculpture, ranging from Giacometti-like arabesques to abrasive, chromium roars that Jackson Pollock the stereo field. DAVE SEGAL
Fluung, Advertisement, Tourist Activities, YOY
Of all the months in the calendar year, January seems to be the one most lusting for life, as our feeble figures finally outpace the anxiety and excess of the holidays, plus everyone is either too busy with their healthy New Year’s resolutions and/or practicing “Dry January” to go out much. But after you’ve risen from your holiday hibernation and you need that source of life, that rock ’n’ roll fire back in your belly to feed you, warped garage riffers Fluung—who just released their debut full-length, Satellite Weather—and their high-octane openers will be there for you. ZACH FRIMMEL
Said it before, will say it again: You should view any major-label rock band in the 2010s with utmost skepticism. Yes, there are some good ones toiling with the corporate behemoths, but not many. Most are direly uninspiring. So what about KONGOS? The four members have the good fortune to be sired by South African rock star John Kongos, who wrote “He’s Gonna Step on You Again,” which Happy Mondays famously resurrected for a baggy-pantsed generation in 1990. KONGOS’ first three albums are packed with songs that aspire to fill arenas and get hips shaking while striving to stir big emotions with naive lyrics. None has the quirky charm of dad’s best-known tune in America, but their records do sound expensive. DAVE SEGAL
Red Ribbon In-Store!
Genre-bending dark-pop band Red Ribbon will play tracks from their well-received debut album, Dark Party, live at Easy Street while you shop for records.
Breaks & Swells, Mirrorgloss, Soultanz
Seven-piece Seattle band Breaks & Swells have been described by us as "soulful, classy, expressive, percussive" — for this performance, they'll be joined by Tacoma dance-pop duo Mirrorgloss and local jazzy hiphop duo Soultanz.
School of Rock Bellevue: Motown vs. Stax Tribute
These School of Rock shows are always fun, ’cause the kids just go for it! Right, well today’s show is soul themed—Motown versus Stax. COOL!!! Um, as something of a soulie, I can’t imagine a more classic label-versus-label clash than these two, as they were easily the highest charting and most influential soul labels of the 1960s and ’70s. And these kids are so young, this music ain’t oldies for them, and the songs will feel fresh and exciting. I’m praying they’ll “Do the Dog” or the “Funky Chicken,” and get us “Dancing in the Street”! MIKE NIPPER
KXSU, Seattle University's student-run radio station, will host a winter concert with excellent local talent La Fille, Coach Phillips, DoNormaal, i///u, and Beat Connection, complete with raffle prizes and games.
Mark Hummel 2019 Southern Harmonica Blowout
Mark Hummel laid into harmonica as a teenager and never quit the blues, traveling the world and backing up legends. On his Southern Harmonica Blowout tour (first mounted in 1991), Hummel crowds the stage with fellow harp blowers to create an all-harmonica front line. This time around, guest artists include Bobby Rush, James Harman, Kenny Neal, and Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone—each one steeped deeply in the tradition. Can a chorus of harp-honkin’ carry two nights of performances? Should be great fun to find out… ANDREW HAMLIN
Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore is famous for one of the silliest plots in all of opera—no mean feat—but also for its rousing choruses, gorgeous coloratura arias, and heroic numbers. The production involves a love triangle, a long-simmering revenge arc, and an old witch who's accidentally thrown her own baby on a pyre.
Indigo Mist with Bill Frisell
Renowned Seattle-area jazz guitarist Bill Frisell is one of the music world’s most reliable providers of sublime virtuosity in an almost subliminal manner. While he’s sporadically enjoyed bursts of noisy bombast in his career (think of his stint in John Zorn’s Naked City), Frisell’s most at home picking out contemplative streams of plangent notes and chords that exude tranquil, complex beauty while covering much stylistic ground. Indigo Mist—featuring trumpeter Cuong Vu, pianist Richard Karpen, drummer Ted Poor, and electronics manipulator Juan Pampin, all UW faculty members—released a fascinating album in 2014, That the Days Go by and Never Come Again, that revels in bold improvisations and inventive covers of standards. On this night, they’ll bust out a program of all-new, original music. DAVE SEGAL
Nao, Xavier Omär
Nao is in the 23rd century, in terms of what her vision for R&B looks and sounds like. The London singer’s music takes its cues from electro, funk, and soul, fusing them all together and pitting her distinctive falsetto over it to create sounds that she terms “wonky funk.” She’s worked with everyone from Mura Masa to the so-elusive-that-I’m-not-even-sure-they-are-real—but genre-vital—Paul Brothers, forging a new global R&B soundscape that’s sensual but also club danceable. Xavier Omär joins her on tour with his quasi sad boy, soulful crooner music serving as a good weight against Nao’s often frenetic and vanguard-advancing tunes. JASMYNE KEIMIG