This week, our music critics have picked everything from weirdo-rockers Man Man to Flower Fest IV to Daymé Arocena. Follow the links below for ticket links and music clips for all of their picks, and find even more shows on our complete music calendar. Plus, check out our arts critics' picks for the 49 best things to do this week.
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Studio Jazz Ensemble and UW Modern Band
New England Conservatory of Music-trained Cuong Vu, who's received praise from publications including the New Yorker and the New York Times, will lead the University of Washington's Modern Band in innovative arrangements and original compositions. Plus, expect big band arrangements and repertory selections from the Studio Jazz Ensemble.
Adia Victoria, Dick Stusso
“I don’t know nothin’ ’bout Southern belles, but I can tell ya ’bout Southern hell,” Adia Victoria sings lightly and melodically over a hazy, menacing blues guitar line on “Stuck in the South” from her debut album, Beyond the Bloodhounds. It’s the sort of album that seeps into your tissue and fascia and then shakes you from the inside out. Comparisons to other artists are lame and reductive, I know, but Victoria’s vocals take me back to early Cat Power records, and her screaming guitar makes me want to drag my body across a dirt floor the way PJ Harvey’s does. The similarities go beyond sound, to the spell-like manner in which these women entirely transport you to their singular worlds. Victoria’s interior Southern soundscape has range, drawing from country and pop, but it also reaches back, deep and far, through darkness—to muddy Mississippi Delta blues, yes, but also the dusty groans of the genre’s West African roots. Go to this show and you’ll probably be haunted for days. ANGELA GARBES
Classically trained German composer/producer Nils Frahm has risen to rarefied heights for a minimalist electronic musician. Getting booked to play the Moore without the use of vocals and catchy choruses ain’t easy. It’s a testament to Frahm’s sheer craftiness that he’s parlayed highbrow compositions—albeit melodically attractive compositions—into expensive-ticket gigs in large venues. Using a diverse array of keyboards and effects, he combines melancholy tunefulness with patiently building dynamics in a manner that pleases both regular folks and academics. Dude also has a manic, percussive track called “Toilet Brushes” that you need to stream posthaste. DAVE SEGAL
Cradle of Filth, Wednesday 13, Raven Black
Nineties-formed gothic metal band Cradle of Fifth will come to town on their Cryptoriana World Tour, joined by Wednesday 13 (the frontman of Murderdolls) and carnival shredders Raven Black.
Pop artist Tiffany Young, a former member of the hugely popular K-pop group Girls' Generation, is taking on a solo career. Join her in Seattle on her Mini Showcase Tour.
Chasms, Somesurprises, Dead Spells
Experimental electro-pop group Chasms, the now LA-based duo of Jess Labrador and Shannon Madden, will return to Seattle with tracks from their last record The Mirage, and support sets from electro-dance outfit Somesurprises and new wave goth punks Dead Spells.
Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets
Fact: Pink Floyd is one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Seriously, they’ve lyrically plundered the depths of the human condition, experimented with sounds and textures and technology well before many of their era peers, and remained relevant more than five decades after their inception. Nick Mason was the drummer for the entirety of Pink Floyd’s tenure, both before and after the split of Roger Waters and David Gilmour. (He remained with the latter.) He formed his current Saucerful of Secrets project last spring with longtime Floyd/Gilmour bassist Guy Pratt, Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp (guitar, vocals), Blockheads guitarist Lee Harris, and producer/composer Dom Beken (keyboards). Their repertoire includes cuts from (IMO) the Floyd’s most intriguing embryonic period (1967-1972—Piper at the Gates of Dawn through Meddle). On the supergroup’s first-ever North American tour, expect to hear such gems as the heart-tugging “Fearless,” the sweetly meandering “Fat Old Sun,” and early tripped-out “Interstellar Overdrive” among so many other worthy deep cuts. Because really, everything prior to Dark Side of the Moon is a deep cut. Haven’t seen the expansive “Echoes” on previous setlists despite it being one of Mason’s few co-writing credits. Probably because it’s 23 minutes long. Nonetheless, one can hope… LEILANI POLK
Upright bassist and composer Evan Flory-Barnes, a Seattle treasure, will perform new original soulful jazz pieces with Tim Kennedy on keys.
Ruthie Foster, Nickel & Rose
The Grammy-nominated blues and gospel singer Ruthie Foster grew up singing in Texas church choirs and has toured with the U.S. Navy Band. She'll come to Seattle to perform a blend of soul, rock, folk, and R&B with support from Americana duo Nickel & Rose.
Saint Patrick's Day Irish Festival
Due to their location in Post Alley, Kells Irish Restaurant can be a little touristy, but they throw one heck of a St. Patrick's Day party—this year will mark their 36th annual Irish festival. They'll set up a tent outside to make more room for their three live music stages, which will play host to local and Irish bands including STOCIOUS (from Country Antrim and Offaly, Ireland), Buck's Mhad Boys (Country Antrim), the Stout Pounders (Seattle), Servants of the Rich (Seattle), and Liam Gallagher (Belfast/Seattle).
Dan Joseph, Blevin Blectum
A student of Pauline Oliveros, Alvin Curran, and Terry Riley, New York’s Dan Joseph has made the not-so-common leap from 1980s punk drummer to contemporary electroacoustic composer/improviser whose main tool is the hammered dulcimer. Coupling that traditional instrument with electronic treatments, Joseph creates pieces influenced by early minimalism, ambient music, and “acoustic ecology.” He’ll be performing “Dulcimer Flight,” a beautiful work of gnomic drones and gentle tintinnabulation of the titular instrument: Dig its tantalizing tension. Highly regarded Seattle-based producer Blevin Blectum (aka Bevin Kelley) will be busting out some new creations. Her live shows of late have been spectacularly psychedelic and disorienting. The night will close with a spontaneous collab between Joseph and Blectum. DAVE SEGAL
Studio 4/4 Presents Habitat with Wehbba
São Paulo native Wehbba acts as one of Brazil's preeminent electronic music ambassadors to the world, with his own veteran take on techno and house. He'll be joined by local talents Sean Majors, Jason Woo, and Binah.
An Evening with OG McTuff Plus Horns
Move and groove to soulful funk with OG McTuff, who will supply a healthy dose of electronic organ and horns.
J GRGRY, Duke Evers, I Will Keep Your Ghost, Razor Clam
Have you seen that movie Velvet Goldmine? With Jonathan Rhys Meyers as a David Bowie stand-in, Ewan McGregor doing his best Iggy Pop impersonation, and a youngish Christian Bale trying to keep up with the punk/glitter rock of it all? Okay, well imagine if that film somehow birthed a band. I think J GRGRY would be it. In early performances, members of the LA-based outfit would wiggle around to their electro-pop dance music, covered in body paint reminiscent of that low-key fictionalized Bowie flick. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Last fall, Philly experimental rockers Man Man—who’d been mostly quiet after supporting 2013 album On Oni Pond—popped up on Facebook with a few live dates, a track on the Sub Pop Singles Club, and a six-date mini-tour, with Seattle as their second stop. Righteous. I once heard someone describe Man Man (which is creatively driven by multi-instrumental frontman Ryan Kattner, aka Honus Honus, and drums/percs/loops/sampler juggler Christopher Powell, aka Pow Pow) as pirate rock. I can only assume this is due to Kattner’s bellowing rasp, hilariously absurd lyrics, and the lively, offbeat, about-to-fall apart quality of their mix of doo-wop, avant-garde pop, and accessibly discordant weirdo-rock that bobs and bumps and weaves and roils as if on a turbulent sea. While at the same time, there’s something catchy and convulsively danceable about it. Man Man make some of my favorite sounds, ever. LEILANI POLK
Sub Rosa Series Presents Stephanie Anne Johnson and David Kelley
For this installment of the Sub Rosa Series, sway to the rich vocals of Northwest R&B singer-songwriter Stephanie Anne Johnson (who was featured on the 2013 season of The Voice).
Stripped-down songwriter Tori Kelly will return to Seattle on her North American tour with tracks from her latest acoustic album.
Lauded by the Wall Street Journal as "the best jazz and blues singer going today," Catherine Russell takes the stage for four straight days, with six shows worth of genre-blending elegance.
Original Blues Brother Curtis Salgado will break out a solo performance of his lifetime of blues curation.
Dar Williams, Lindi Ortega
Dar Williams fits short stories into song, assesses the moral magnetic compass of the Xer generation, at least, and stays so catchy that you barely realize you’re being tested. Until you get the CD home and check out the lyrics. ANDREW HAMLIN
The local Depth crew’s imprimatur guarantees high-quality techno. Headliner Developer is a Los Angeles producer/DJ and label owner (Modularz) who’s been on the scene since the early 1990s, pushing a subtly ominous and weird strain of techno that blasts away your biases about LA vacuity. DJ Bricks (aka DJ Louise Croff Blake), as I've been telling you for the past few years, is among Seattle's foremost selectors of deep, after-hours techno and house. Sone (Seattle’s Brian Sonnleitner) records for and manages the Bay Area’s stronghold of dark, hard techno, From 0-1, so you know he’s legit. DAVE SEGAL
Hound Dog Taylor's Hand, V. Vecker, Fraktal Phantom, Noel Kennon & Dave Abramson
Long one of the city’s most incendiary and interesting bands, Hound Dog Taylor's Hand—guitarist Jeffery Taylor, bassist John Seman, and drummer Mark Ostrowski—have found myriad ways to integrate Hendrixian pyrotechnics and tenderness (Jimi was a softy at heart) with Sonny Sharrock–ian and James Blood Ulmer–esque jazz brut. It’s highbrow, high-intensity music that doesn’t neglect the body, and it thrives in the divey atmosphere of places like the Blue Moon and the old Comet. DAVE SEGAL
Rebirth Brass Band
The New Orleans-based, Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band (who made a musical appearance in HBO’s Treme) will reinvent your party mood with their incredible improvisational skills.
Starbucks Hot Java Cool Jazz
In case you didn't already know, the Seattle area has some absolutely dynamite high school jazz bands. Hear several of them tonight, thanks to a support partnership between Starbucks and STG. Edmonds-Woodway, Garfield, Mountlake Terrace, Shorewood, Bellevue, Newport, and Roosevelt high schools have all played in the past, and a few of them will return to perform and raise money for their music programs.
Sun of Goldfinger
In the 1970s and ’80s, ECM Records—the German company run by producer Manfred Eicher—set the gold standard for a solemn, austere brand of jazz and chamber music that wrings profound poignancy from minimalist methods. ECM still puts out excellent recordings, as evidenced by Sun of Goldfinger, the self-titled new LP from the group that includes guitarist David Torn, alto saxophonist Tim Berne, and drummer Ches Smith. They create a highbrow species of spy jazz that singes the subgenre’s well-worn tropes, disperses them into the ether, and breaks through with something altogether more intriguing. Torn told Earshot magazine: “This isn’t jazz music or rock music… it’s just music made by people who care deeply about what we’re expressing and how we’re expressing it, however abstract it may feel on first listen.” Come watch these avant-garde masters make some strange magic. DAVE SEGAL
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, flor, Grizfolk
Andrew McMahon (of Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin fame) will come to Seattle with his chart-topping solo work with support from alt-rock bands flor and Grizfolk.
An Evening with Burt Bacharach
Legendary composer, performer, and godfather of pop Burt Bacharach will share his decades of experience with an evening of jazz and classic chamber pop.
Mike Doughty Plays Soul Coughing’s "Ruby Vroom"
When I talked to Mike Doughty seven years ago, the ornery, deep-croaking singer-songwriter was pretty emphatic that he’d never feel good about Soul Coughing, that he just had no positive relationship with the music he wrote with his first band, and the notion of being proud of it, or even being neutral about it, “is something I can’t comprehend. But who knows what the future will be like?” At least he admitted to the possibility of changing his mind. Because Soul Coughing were way ahead of their time, their brand of alt rock more like dark, reflective post-jazz with hiphop and electro production qualities and surprising moments of catchiness. It’s nice to see that Doughty has finally come to appreciate the work he did with them—his own fucking work. Because 1994’s Ruby Vroom (which he now calls “the sonic embodiment of lower Manhattan in the early 1990s”) is perfect, fan-fucking-tastic from start to finish, confident, loose, grooving, and just plain fun. Excited that Doughty is playing the entirety of it for its 25th anniversary, and with a full band in tow. Also, I feel old. LEILANI POLK
ALO, Scott Pemberton Band
Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO) has been California chilling since the late '80s. They promise to bring "heartfelt lyrics" and danceable grooves to Seattle, after a set from funk-blues outfit Scott Pemberton Band.
THIS!: Stacey Pullen
Second-wave Detroit-techno royalty who was schooled by legends Derrick May, Juan Atkins, and Kevin Saunderson, Stacey Pullen has been a tireless advocate for the highest-flying techno as a disc jockey, producer, and boss of Black Flag Recordings. In his own releases and in DJ sets, Pullen (aka Kosmik Messenger) favors funky techno that travels the spaceways bad and beautiful (reference to proto-Afrofuturist Sun Ra intended). Most Americans tend to take Detroit-techno veterans for granted, but you should make it a priority to catch artists such as Pullen when they make their rare Seattle visits. They have so much wisdom and musical history to impart—and they've been moving dance floors like champs for three decades. DAVE SEGAL
USC Events' annual spring festival, and the biggest shamrock-themed EDM party in Washington, will come to Tacoma for the eighth year of green and gold everything. Break out your glow sticks and prepare for "a Celtic-inspired land where whimsical creatures, boundless providence, and good fortune abode"—or, at least, heavy-hitter headliners like Galantis, Adventure Club, 3LAU, Ganja White Knight, Eptic, Zeke Beats, and many more.
Flower Fest IV
Coming all the way up from Monterrey, Mexico, alt-rock group Piramides will be headlining this night bill on Capitol Hill with their dizzying synthesis of psychedelia, electronica, ambient, and Latin music. Their latest EP, Superficie de Uso Mixto Vol. 1, sounds exactly like the soundtrack to a 22nd century film that follows a teenager through space. Interpret that however you like. They’ll be joined by other notable indie rock acts: Somesurprises, Weeed, Pleasures, Ah God, Sundae Crush, Swamp Meat vs. Killer Ghost, Sei Still, and Baywitch. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Metric, Zoé, July Talk
Metric may not be the most popular act to emerge from Canada's storied Broken Social Scene—that would probably be unlikely iPod darling Feist—but they're certainly the most winningly poppy and polished. One of their past albums, Fantasies, is another fine collection of impeccably catchy, synth-tinged rock songs, kicked off by the truly killer single "Help I'm Alive," in which frontwoman Emily Haines sings about her heart "beating like a hammer," like some divine echo of the Breeders. Haines's voice is as alluring as it is authoritative, and her veteran band's arrangements are airtight. For big, glossy, whip-smart pop rock, you can't do much better. Best of all, Haines onstage is like a bag of Pop Rocks washed down with soda pop: sweet but dangerously combustive. ERIC GRANDY
Cuban star Daymé Arocena is a quintuple threat as a singer, composer, arranger, choir director, and bandleader. She'll show off her charismatic presence with an evening of Afro-Cuban jazz and neo-soul.
The Isley Brothers
Iconic Cincinnati-based group the Isley Brothers have been rocking and doo-wopping since 1954, having collaborated with Ice Cube, R. Kelly, the Notorious B.I.G. and many others. Catch their two remaining members, Ronald Isley and Ernie Isley.
Space Owl, Johnny and the Moles, WilloW, Goodtime Hustle
I’m impressed by this lineup. St. Paddy’s is traditionally a big booze-it-up night—and Substation has enough bands on lock to ensure NO ONE who makes it till close will make it to work the following Monday! Headliners Space Owl will be laying down an easy vibin’ Grateful Dead tribute set, but only after swingers Johnny and the Moles, who will hopefully BRING THE TUBA, swing their swangin' and Goodtime Hustle have played their mid-tempo, melodic “folkadelic con-fusion.” Oh, tonight is also “introducing”—like, I think it’s their first show—the band WilloW. Good luck, boozy groovers!!! MIKE NIPPER
Byron Schenkman & Friends: Mozart Violin Sonatas
Renowned harpsichordist Byron Schenkman always organizes his evenings of chamber music around a theme, pairing more well-known male composers with lesser-known female composers. Hear three Mozart sonatas (K. 302, K. 454, and K. 526) in conversation with Francesca Lebrun's Sonata in D Major, which makes you feel like you're hopping around some German field trying to catch butterflies in a net and laughing a lot. I have heard that the nerdiest of classical music nerds attend these concerts. If you have any questions about what's going on, don't be afraid to ask the person sitting next to you. They'll likely have plenty to say on the matter. RICH SMITH
Sultana: Music of the Sephardic Diaspora
Woodwind players Nina Stern and Daphna Mor will join their talents for a performance of pieces that engage in the lush musical traditions of the Sephardic diaspora, with eclectic and improvisational Eastern rhythms.
Sasha Sloan, Laura Aquilina
Singer-songwriter Sasha Sloan first achieved success cowriting for pop stars like Charli XCX and Camila Cabello, and lending her velvety vocals to tracks by Odesza and Kygo. Now she's striking out on her own, dropping indie-pop singles like "Ready Yet," "Normal," and "Fall." Catch her in Seattle with British singer-songwriter Laura Aquilina.