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Graveyard, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats
It seems sometimes that the market for hard rock in America has become so twisted and corroded that in order for a solid amp-worship outfit to get an album out, they need to masquerade as a heavy-metal band. I'm talking about bands like Uncle Acid, and, of course, Graveyard. Graveyard are signed to Nuclear Blast, for no particular reason other than they happen to be Swedish and vaguely sound like Black Sabbath. In 1977 they would have been radio darlings—their riffs are catchy as well as skull-crushing, and their soulful vocal lines hide disaffected and paranoid political sentiments. More simply: Graveyard kick ass. JOSEPH SCHAFER
San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas
Michael Tilson Thomas is one of America's most renowned music directors. During his 24-year-long stewardship of the San Francisco Symphony, he was known as the man who made a home for contemporary symphonic music out west, championing American music over the old European repertory. (Though he and SFO are known for their Mahler, too.) On this trip to Seattle, the famed conductor will breathe new life into Beethoven's Eroica Symphony, one of the composer's most celebrated, emotionally complex, and consequential pieces of music. Thomas will also conduct his own composition, Agnegram. RICH SMITH
West Coast High 2019 with Cypress Hill and Hollywood Undead, Demrick, Xzibit
South Gate vets Cypress Hill, last seen in these parts as a supporting act in Snoop's Mount Kushmore, will return for a stop on their West Coast High tour with rowdy Los Angeles group Hollywood Undead.
Isaac Mizrahi: I&ME
Iconic fashion designer and television personality Isaac Mizrahi will show off his cabaret skills in this collage performance of songs, stories, and skits that will tell the tales of his life in vivid color.
Grammy-nominated, Cuban-born pianist Omar Sosa will perform with his Transparent Water Trio, featuring fellow Camagüeyanos Leandro Saint-Hill (saxophones, flute, vocals) and Ernesto Simpson (drums, vocals), plus Mozambique native Childo Tomas (bass, kalimba, vocals).
Deafheaven, Baroness, Zeal & Ardor
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. BRIAN COOK
Brooklyn indie-rock duo the Antlers will play an unplugged show on the 10th anniversary of their first album, Hospice.
Lucy Spraggan, Kate Lynn Logan
If you were watching the UK talent reality show X Factor in 2012, you may have seen Lucy Spraggan audition with her song "Last Night." The British musician will come to Seattle with support from local Americana artist Kate Lynn Logan.
Town Music: Talea Ensemble
Classical music group Talea Ensemble—who are "one of New York’s most reliably excellent new-music ensembles," according to the New Yorker—will perform their theatrical chamber music piece "Sideshow," which is centered on the themes of entertainment and spectacle regarding the dark and sometimes tragic sideshows on Coney Island's early 20th century amusement parks.
Wednesday Experiments: Sunwatchers, Mega Bog, Drama Bahama, Swamp Meat
NYC quartet Sunwatchers stand as one of America’s greatest bands of the 2010s. Their self-titled 2016 album on John Dwyer’s Castle Face label is a torrid blast of horn-powered rock shot through with the sinuous melodies of Ethiopian jazz and spiritual ache of Saharan desert psychedelic blues. Concerns about white Westerner appropriation fly out the window once you hear how Sunwatchers alchemize these elements into transcendental jams. Their guitar tunings are unusual and their timbres scalding, not unlike those of the fantastic Horse Lords and Cave. Sunwatchers’ new album, Illegal Moves, ups the ante even more, generating ecstatic mantric riffs that spiral skyward with a relentlessness that sounds and feels revolutionary. All this, plus a rapturous cover of Alice Coltrane’s “Ptah, the El Daoud.” DAVE SEGAL
Dave Mason & Steve Cropper
Whoa. Tonight we’re getting treated to a double dose of rock ’n’ roll heavies playing together: Steve Cropper, the guitarist of the famous Stax Records house band Booker T. & the M.G.’s, and Dave Mason, the Traffic and Blind Faith guitarist who also released a string of killer early-’70s hits. This show oughta be a good sing-along time, as the set list looks like a mix of both fellers’ radio hits, including “Green Onions” and “Time Is Tight” by Cropper, and “Feelin’ Alright” and “Only You Know and I Know” by Mason. MIKE NIPPER
Foals, Bear Hands, Kiev
“This Orient” might be one of my all-time favorite love songs that might not actually be a love song. It’s off Foals’ 2010 outing, Total Life Forever, the album that introduced me to the British rock band with dance-punk and art-rock tendencies. The song is fast-paced and urgent, but also sweet and entreating, and the chorus, “It’s your heart, it’s your heart / That gives me this western feeling” matches the sound, which has a vague western feeling. Foals just released their fifth full-length, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1. First single “Exits” has a commanding groove and compelling tone, while “Sunday” is lightly warped and meandering before amping it up with a galloping unz-unz-unz tempo segueing into a spacious climax. Can’t wait to hear the rest. LEILANI POLK
Nowhere is Low's zest for change starker than on Double Negative. Produced with BJ Burton (not the Danger Mouse guy), the songs often come coated with gritty distortion and electronic glitchery more common with the noise and IDM genres than the sensitive, methodical songcraft on which Low has built their rep. Paradoxically, Low's most "difficult" record has earned them a cover story with English magazine the Wire, eighth place in the Village Voice's Pazz & Jop poll, and an 86 Metacritic rating. DAVE SEGAL
Karl Denson's Tiny Universe
Singer and saxophonist Karl Denson will bring his band to town for a melding of energetic funk, soul, rock, jazz, and blues.
Habitat: Riva Starr, Dosem
Studio 4/4's segue from Q Nightclub to Kremwerk/Timbre Room has gone smoothly. Another case in point is this strong bill. Riva Starr (London-based Italian DJ/producer Stefano Miele) is a purveyor of rugged, trippy house music who’s performed at mega-festivals such as Glastonbury and Fuji Rock. He’s also famous for collaborating with Chicago house deity Green Velvet and for his “Re-chunk” edits, which have included rad transformations of Daft Punk’s “Burnin'” and the Doors’ “The End.” Dosem (Spanish producer Marc Ramirez) should complement Riva Starr well with his spacey, good-time techno and house selections. DAVE SEGAL
Up-and-coming pop act Ella Vos has gathered acclaim for her viral hit "White Noise" and debut album, Words I Never Said, achieving a diaphanous soundscape with dreamy vocals and immersive visual sets.
Mark "BBQ" Sultan, Sinister Six, Sir Coyler & The Asthmatics
Solo rocker Mark "BBQ" Sultan (a member of the King Khan & BBQ Show, Almighty Defenders, and Ding-Dongs, among other bands) will headline with support from local garage rockers Sinister Six and "choogle-punk" Washingtonians Sir Coyler & the Asthmatics.
Malian singer-songwriter Fatoumata Diawara’s voice is absolutely captivating. It skips like a rock over water across different registers and has a sort of Sade quality. This year, she earned two nominations at the 2019 Grammys for Best World Music Album (for her Fenfo LP), and Best Dance Recording for “Ultimatum,” which featured English duo Disclosure. So obviously, Diawara has range. Coming out of France, Diawara’s music blends Wassoulou traditions of southern Mali with other musical influences and a dose of searing electric guitar. The result is a funky, folky, futuristic sound. All that being said, Diawara is truly an incredible artist, and her stop in Seattle is a big deal. Don’t miss it. JASMYNE KEIMIG
THURSDAY & SATURDAYCLASSICAL
Seattle Symphony with Wayne Marshall: Shostakovich Symphony No. 15
Prolific pianist and organist Wayne Marshall will join the Seattle Symphony in this performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15, which paid tribute to Johann Sebastian Bach in its theming and structural patterns.
Victor Wooten is a jazz fusion bassist at the top of his class who’s also well-versed in funk and bluegrass. He is a musician’s musician and an esteemed member of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones for that band’s entire nearly three-decade tenure. He's technically savvy, dexterous, and exciting, while also warm, breezy, and fun to watch, on both fretted and fretless bass. He deserves all the props he gets, because Wooten is the shit. Expect a lively and intoxicating four-night run. LEILANI POLK
If you want to get a little tipsy in Becky Benaroya's lobby and listen to musicians play music that sounds like someone kicking a piano down a hall, then this untitled show is your best opportunity to scratch that itch. In all seriousness, these concerts are full of surprises, and they're somehow both casual and posh at the same time. (Some people dress to the nines, some people DGAF—nobody cares either way.) And the two compositions on offer here are worth your time, too. Pierre Boulez’s Sur incises sounds like spring feels in the PNW, with colors popping out all over the place beneath an ominous, overlording monocloud. There's more room to breathe in Luciano Berio's meditative Circles, plus you'll get to hear Maria Männistö's haunting soprano. RICH SMITH
The Black Queen, SRSQ, Uniform
Alternative industrial electronica group the Black Queen will embrace the darker side of dance music on this Seattle stop with Dallas dream-pop artist SRSQ and Uniform.
Galactic, Erica Falls, Lyrics Born
New Orleans instrumental ensemble Galactic have been pushing out jazz and funk infused with the sonic flavors of their hometown for over two decades, as fueled by the skins-pounding prowess of Stanton Moore and the sax-and-harmonica-howling of Ben Ellman. The trick to their longevity seems to be inviting guests to help them execute a particular vision: 2007’s From the Corner to the Block found them collabing with alt-hiphop artists Boots Riley and Chali 2na; in Ya-Ka-May, they paid tribute to their city’s diverse influences, from bounce to R&B, with Big Freedia and Trombone Shorty, among others; Carnivale Electricos continued this idea, but with a full conceptual Mardi Gras rendering and guest appearances by Ivan Neville, Mystikal, and David Shaw; and 2015’s Into the Deep featured artists they’ve made connections with over the past 20 years, ranging from soul queen Mavis Staples to greasy Southern backwoods rocker, JJ Grey. LEILANI POLK
The debut studio album of Puerto Rican reggaetón and Latin trap icon Bad Bunny, X100PRE (a Spanish abbreviation for “por siempre,” or forever), has an eye on it. Did you see it? Bad Bunny also has his hair shaved in a way that it points to where that third eye would be. Or is. X100PRE dropped right before Christmas last year, and in many ways it feels like the gift that keeps on giving. From the pensiveness of “Estamos Bien” to the beat-switch in “La Romana,” el conejo malo seems to know exactly what we need without us knowing what we want. Maybe there’s something to that eye, after all. JASMYNE KEIMIG
DoNormaal, Ormus, Avola, Kole Galbraith
Third Daughter, DoNormaal's sophomore LP, was easily one of 2017's best albums. The hometown MC has a knack for adroitly advertising her slurred wordsmithing over cosmic beats, which are crafted by about a dozen different producers. ZACH FRIMMEL
Bronze Radio Return, Wildermiss
You may have heard Bronze Radio's songs in commercials for Nissan and Starbucks. Catch them in Seattle to hear what they call "one part dance party and another part roots-rock."
Snuff Redux, Spesh, Chris Cheveyo
Seattle lo-fi garage-rock four-piece Snuff Redux are the kind of band that sings about Lou Reed. On the song “French Press,” off their most recent outing, Denim American, lead singer Skyler Ford recounts sitting on a bench with the aforementioned coffee brewing device on the day Lou Reed died, wishing that he was Paris again, thinking about love, etc. Snuff Redux will be joined by the fun, dancey Spesh and the dreamy Chris Cheveyo. JASMYNE KEIMIG
W Music Spotlight: Whitney Mongé
Local alternative soul artist—and former Seattle busker—Whitney Mongé will fill your eardrums with a voice that Stranger contributor Andrew Hamlin has called "understated but emphatic."
18th Annual More Music at the Moore
More Music features young musicians collaborating and playing in a variety of styles. The program provides them with mentorship by music industry folk, production and promotional support, and a chance to connect with local musicians. Past music directors for this group have included Sheila E., Robert Glasper, Meshell Ndegeocello, Daniel Bernard Roumain, and Michael Shrieve.
Maren Morris, Cassadee Pope
Listen, not everyone has a soft spot for massively overproduced basically, technically country pop around these here parts, and I don't know if I do either. But I do know that Maren Morris' "'80s Mercedes" is the kind of hit you'll claim to hate for a year before realizing that, in fact, you secretly loved it all along. You can just picture that mega chorus floating on the breeze as you wander through Seattle with the sun hanging late in the spring sky. Unless it's raining. Either way, good luck getting that thing out of your head any time soon. SEAN NELSON
Contemporary Music Marathon
Perhaps the highlight of the spring schedule is the Contemporary Music Marathon. Its three acts—Nightfall, Dreams, and Daybreak—will feature works by more than 50 living composers and will be performed nonstop for 24 hours. Given the sheer scale, it's impossible to describe every promising performance, obviously, but some highlights might include avant-jazz drummer Tyshawn Sorey's Trio (for Harold Budd), electronic/found-sound composer Annea Lockwood's In Our Name, John Luther Adams's songbirdsongs, Piano Piece No. 3 from Frederic Rzewski (of improv giants Musica Elettronica Viva), versatile jazz-funk keyboardist Wayne Horvitz's Music for Mixed Quintet, master violinist Annie Gosfield's Long Waves and Random Pulses, and pieces by minimalist legends Terry Riley (G-Song) and Philip Glass (String Quartet No. 6). DAVE SEGAL
Seattle Classic Guitar Society - David Russell
Highly lauded and Grammy-winning classical guitarist David Russell takes the stage for a night of virtuosic acoustic goodness.
London group Haelos begin their debut album, Full Circle, with a sample of British philosopher Alan Watts speaking about “the spectrum of love” over a poignant ambient piece. They let you know instantly that you may need a hanky or two as you progress through their collection of emotionally fraught, dancing-while-choked-up-on-remorse tunes. The prevailing mood is despondent, but buoyed by rhythms—including a sample or blatant facsimile of James Brown/Clyde Stubblefield’s “Funky Drummer”—that insist you bounce out of the doldrums, despite your setbacks. Lotti Benardout’s sullenly pretty voice dominates the songs, which will appeal to fans of Portishead, Massive Attack, and Lamb. With Full Circle, the inevitable triphop revival has yet another rallying point. Let’s pout, but funkily. DAVE SEGAL
Methyl Ethel, TEEN
Two synthesizer-fueled psychedelic bands land in town under one bill. Australia-brewed Methyl Ethel’s singer and musical leader Jake Webb has that asexual vocal quality—could be a man, could be a woman, à la Rhye’s Mike Milosh, a high-toned tenor that doesn’t hit falsetto notes but has a very smooth, malleable feel. Methyl Ethel lean more on the surrealist art rock/psych pop spectrum of trippiness, with definitive grooviness and very light krautiness. The 4AD-repped band is supporting just-released third record Triage. Brooklyn’s TEEN lean more to straightforward synth-pop tones, sisters Lizzie, Katherine, and Teeny Lieberson trading dulcet vocal harmonies over bouncy jams. They’re on tour behind self-produced Good Fruit, an upbeat breakup record. LEILANI POLK
Gamelan Pacific & Darsono
Gamelan is traditional ensemble music from Indonesia that relies heavily on mallet-struck metallophones and drums called kendhang, with other sounds emitting from bamboo flutes, xylophones, and the bowed instrument rebab. It can sound chaotic yet regimented or serenely mellifluous, but it is never less than mesmerizing. Gamelan Pacifica have long been Seattle’s foremost practitioners of the style, and for this concert, they’re collaborating with Central Java musician Darsono (making his Seattle debut), as they perform pieces from his region’s repertoire. In addition, Stranger Genius Jessika Kenney will lend her vocals to the proceedings. DAVE SEGAL
Citizen Cope, G. Love & Special Sauce
Long-time touring musician and student of Americana musical traditions, Citizen Cope will treat his fans to an intimate evening of his latest work with a support set by G. Love & Special Sauce.
An ambient R&B-fused electronic artist from England who’s broken into the mainstream in the past few years via collabs with big name artists like Kendrick Lamar (“ELEMENT” off DAMN.), Vince Staples (“Stop Trying to Be God” and “War Ready” included), and Beyoncé (he wrote the lyrics and sang on Lemonade’s “Forward”), among many others. His fourth and latest, this year’s Assume Form, features his delicately velvety, finely-spun falsetto both solo and soulfully paired with guests that include Scott, Andre 3000, and Moses Sumney. LEILANI POLK
Mike Baggetta with Mike Watt and Stephen Hodges, Dan Phelps
New York guitarist Mike Baggetta’s new album, Wall of Flowers, features bassist Mike Watt (Minutemen, Firehose, Iggy Pop and the Stooges) and drummer Jim Keltner (John Lennon, George Harrison, Gábor Szabó, etc.). (Stephen Hodges—who’s worked with Mavis Staples, Tom Waits, and David Lynch—sits in for the latter at this live gig.) That’s mucho firepower for a musician many probably haven’t heard of. The thing is, Wall of Flowers doesn’t really sound like any of the artists with whom Watt and company have played. Rather, the album’s eight tracks spangle, clang, and shimmer in the noirish-jazz/no-wave nexus where Joe Morris, Robert Quine, and Robert Fripp at his mellowest and most minimal dwell. What I mean is, there’s no way this won’t be great. DAVE SEGAL
Angel Du$t, Bugg, Skourge, Result of Choice
Baltimore pop punks Angel Du$t will bring their "fast-paced acoustic guitar chords, speedy vocals, and sunny melodies" to town on their Pretty Buff Tour, with support from grungy rockers Bugg, Houston's Skourge, and Florida punks Result of Choice.
The Bright Light Social Hour
Moody Texas punk/soul group Bright Light Social Hour, who started out as a college "art-rock collective," will visit Seattle.
Donna Missal, Samia
Singer-songwriter Donna Missal has opened for popular acts like King Princess, Bishop Briggs, and Sir Sly, and now she's headlining her own tour in support of her debut album, This Time. She'll be joined by solo popper Samia on this Seattle stop.
Nina Nesbitt, Plested, Sophie Rose
Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt, known for her Top 40 single "Stay Out," will headline this acoustic show with support from Plested and Sophie Rose.
Join Indian singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad, best known for his 2015 album In tokens and Charms.
Wet, Kilo Kish, Helena Deland
Brooklyn-based band Wet and LA-based artist/musician Kilo Kish have teamed up to coheadline this tour. Like wine and cheese, popcorn and chocolate, pizza and salad, these artists pair well together. Wet have more of an indie-pop vibe, with lead singer Kelly Zutrau’s vocals sounding like they could fit just as well on a twangier tune as they do on the band’s synth-rocking songs. Kilo Kish, who has collaborated with rappers like Childish Gambino and Vince Staples, is much more singular, with her delicate voice soaring over beats you could easily hear pulsing outside a nightclub. JASMYNE KEIMIG