This week, our music critics have picked everything from the 10th Annual Linda's Fest to fuzzy pop-rockers the Courtneys to the new music and arts festival THING. 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 and culture critics' picks for the 45 best things to do this week.
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Ancient Forest, Graduation, Darksoft, Sanguine Knight
There’s a fine line between mellow gold and tepid tin in the rock realm, and thankfully, Missoula, Montana, five-piece Ancient Forest align with the former. For every group in the Nick Drake/Pearls Before Swine vein of folky rock, there are dozens of dullards who mistake lassitude for gravitas. On their most recent full-length, 2017’s Richard’s Selections, Ancient Forest master an introspective strain of burbling songcraft that eases tensions and evokes the green sanctuary their name suggests. It’s full of deep, lo-fidelity pleasures. DAVE SEGAL
Max Weinberg's Jukebox
Max Weinberg is known as the former drummer for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and the bandleader for Conan O'Brien's Late Night and Tonight Show. And wouldn't you know it, he's also the dad of Slipknot drummer Jay Weinberg. He's a pro! Don't miss your chance to see him doing what he does best at this two-night Seattle gig.
Demons & Wizards, Lizzy Borden, Tyr
Power metal project Demons & Wizards will visit Seattle on their First and Only US Tour. They'll be joined by '80s-bred, LA-based metal band Lizzy Borden and Tyr.
Goatwhore, Ringworm, Locistellar
New Orleans' Goatwhore have been pulling members from the ranks of NOLA's metal elite since '97 with their unique heavy-metal melting pot. They'll be joined by Ringworm and Locistellar.
Lucifer, Spell, Sterling Serpent
Berlin-formed heavy metal band Lucifer, fronted by Johanna Sadonis, will bring their occult sounds to Seattle with support from Spell and Sterling Serpent.
Dreamdecay, Gen Pop, Puzzlehead, Casual Hex
This is, without a doubt, a Cascadia-rife bill that’ll sink you into dissonantly drowned-out oblivion. Having opened for living legends My Bloody Valentine and toured extensively with the psych overlords in Wand, the Seattle pariahs of Dreamdecay bestow droning lullaby after ominous lullaby through their dance-thrusting darkcore and cascadingly aggressive graininess. Olympia’s hard-and-fast punks Gen Pop and Vancouver B.C.’s chiller dissenters of Puzzlehead will bring some much-loved racket. Also, Seattle-born Casual Hex are back in town for their first show since recently becoming a bi-coastal band. Enjoy a slice of nightlife littered with discord and dreams. ZACH FRIMMEL
The Crocodile Presents: Giants in the Trees, Guests
Formed by ex-Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselić, new-ish local folky rock quartet Giants in the Trees (who spend most of their time on Krist's Wahkiakum County farm) will headline in the city.
Before he became a very successful schlockmeister with several vacuously effusive hits and maudlin ballads in the ’80s (“All Night Long [All Night]),” “Running with the Night,” “Endless Love,” “Truly,” etc.), Lionel Richie was a vital cog in Commodores. With that Motown group, Richie helped to promulgate a flashy and gritty species of funk that became sample fodder for many hip-hop tracks, while also dwelling in the charts; “Brick House,” anyone? Check out scorching, mid-’70s Commodores albums such as Machine Gun, Caught in the Act, and Movin’ On for proof that Richie had some street toughness in his songwriting and vocal delivery. If he dips into Commodores’ catalog beyond “Easy” and “Three Times a Lady,” this outdoor performance could be interesting. DAVE SEGAL
Iration, Pepper, Fortunate Youth, Katastro
Alt-reggae enthusiasts Iration rise out of the college town muck of Isla Vista to share their low-key sunny day grooves with the rest of the West Coast on their tour with support from Pepper, Fortunate Youth, and Katastro.
Shorty Fresco, Ambient Village, Bruce Bowden, Bali Ky
Shorty Fresco is Greg Cypher and Jamel Moxey. You might recognize Cypher as one half of Seattle hip-hop group Kung Foo Grip and Moxey from his most recently dropped EP, Rare Candy. Now, the two have joined forces to make a “supergroup” and released their debut record earlier this year. Grimeshine is an interesting mix of swirling, heavily indica beats on which Cypher and Moxey deftly dance around each other—it bodes well for this group’s future. Keep an eye on them. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Nicole Dollanganger, Infinity Crush
"Nicole Dollanganger marshals gothic disaster stories, death, and rending, to her little-girl voice," wrote Stranger contributor Andrew Hamlin. The Canadian singer will headline this all-ages show after an opening set from Infinity Crush.
Seattle Sounds Summer Concert Series
Sip wine and listen to live music from Seattle singer-songwriter Tekla Waterfield amidst Dale Chihuly’s glass creations.
ZZ Top, Cheap Trick
Classic rock relics and legendary beard connoisseurs ZZ Top will play an evening of hard-edged throwbacks and power chords on their summer tour with '70s radio rockers Cheap Trick.
Great Women of Country Tribute Series: The Music of Emmylou Harris & Gillian Welch
For another installment of the Great Women of Country Series, local musicians will take a more contemporary route with a tribute night to Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch.
Mal Blum, Nathan Reed, Guests
I’ve only seen Mal perform live once but it was a memorable evening at the Croc, with a headlining set by Mary Lambert (disclaimer: Mary’s an old friend whom I love very much). Every Mary show is Queer Prom—so many tears and hugs and shrieks, and always at least two non-str8 couples getting engaged. It’s an unhinged circus of emotion, which made it that much more impressive to me that Mal stood out. Their plainspoken but emotionally elevated pop pulls heartstrings like taffy, with a heavy resemblance to the softhearted-honesty-amid-maintained-weirdness of genre greats like Jonathan Richman and Arthur Russell. Their fifth album Pity Boy just dropped and is packed full of new LGBTQIA classics like “See Me,” which speaks to the oppressive and simultaneous erasure and overexposure of being trans in 2019. KIM SELLING
The Mikey-verse Vol.1: First Solo Release from Peter Richards of Dude York with Monsterwatch
Peter Richards, the guitarist for local singsong alt-pop band Dude York, will play songs from his highly anticipated solo album, which the organizers describe as "the first chapter of a cross-time inter-dimensional love story." He'll be joined by local favorite Monster Watch and other special guests.
Research Four Year Anniversary: DJ Stingray, Aquarian, livwutang
When you run an electronic-music night and want to celebrate an anniversary properly, you can't do much better than to book a Detroit producer/DJ. And that's what the savvy folks who head Research have done, tapping DJ Stingray (aka Sherard Ingram), one of the masters of innovative electro with Drexciya and Urban Tribe, to hail their fourth year of expanding minds and moving bodies. His own tracks are rhythmically quicksilvery and sinisterly atmospheric (epitomized by “Who's Watching the Watchers”), but he keeps his DJ sets funky and elastic without jettisoning the undercurrent of menace. Check out his BBC 1 Essential Mix from 2019 on YouTube for an example of Stingray’s wicked deck skills and storming selections. DAVE SEGAL
Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Marisa Anderson
The magnificent maelstrom of Montreal collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor draws on drone, post-rock, and chamber music. It may seem facile to compare their output to movie scores, but as with Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky, they make it unavoidable (all three have composed for films or appeared on soundtracks). Godspeed's tracks range from six to 29 minutes, and their arrangements call on dramatic tension and cathartic release, with every one conjuring crazy visions. Compared to the Canadians, Portland guitarist and lap steel player Marisa Anderson is a quieter, subtler proposition, but no less virtuosic in her skills. KATHY FENNESSY
Big | Brave, Deaf Kids, Into the Storm, Opponent
It’s difficult to pinpoint the sound of Quebec trio Big | Brave. You can project the grandiose sprawl of their post-rock Montreal peers, the roaring orchestral cacophony of Swans, the big riff principles of Southern Lord’s more abstract-inclined artists, and the bold beauty of PJ Harvey onto their music, but their sound is still entirely their own. It’s even more difficult to pick apart any reference points for Brazilian tour mates Deaf Kids, whose endless washes of delay-drenched vocals, fragmented crust-punk riffs, and hypnotic rhythm patterns yield a nightmarish delirium that’s at turns wrathfully exhilarating and morosely meditative. Two great bands; two singular visions. BRIAN COOK
Dim Desires, Bird & Shooter, Grand Arson, Harley Rose
Dim Support Ralph of local spoken-word rock trio Dim Desires by donating to their top surgery fund at this show with live sets by Dim Desires, Bellingham's Bird & Shooter, local alt-rockers Grand Arson, and Harley Rose.
Arizona-bred band Gin Blossoms have been jangle-pop-rocking since the '80s. If you think you don't know any of their other songs, you'd probably recognize their hit "Til I Hear It From You" from the Empire Records soundtrack. Catch them in town on their New Miserable Experience Live Tour.
Texas-based Latin pop songstress Gina Chavez, a nine-time Austin Music Award winner, will come to Seattle. Of her NPR Tiny Desk Concert recorded earlier this year, Felix Contreras wrote, "And like the eight other acts to perform in this special lineup, she tapped into the communal intimacy of the setting, finding magic along the way."
KEXP & Seattle Center Present: Concerts at the Mural
In true KEXP summertime fashion, the station will be partnering with Seattle Center to provide another enjoyable round of free family-friendly concerts this year at the Mural Amphitheater, located within the heart of Seattle Center. Wrapping up this year's series tonight is Helado Negro, who Jasmyne Keimig has said "marries mellowed-out synths with earnest, melancholic folk in a way that escapes with your heart." He'll headline with support from Archie (formerly known as PSA) and NAVVI.
Sammy Hagar's Full Circle Jam Tour
Rock legend Sammy Hagar has decades worth of classic material, and he won't hesitate to break it all out on his 2019 Full Circle Jam Tour.
Perennial Starbucks-soundtracker Amos Lee will take his night of soulful singer-songwriter vibes to the next level by performing among the seductive groves of Woodinville.
Celebrating Aretha Franklin with Thadillac
Local R&B group Thaddillac will play Aretha Franklin's 1967 masterpiece I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You in its entirety. Belt out definitive classics like "Respect," "Good Times," and "Drown in My Own Tears."
Left at London, Guayaba, Reverend Dollars, Seaside Tryst
Be sure you're confident in your roller skating skills (or at least find a good skater to hands with) before stepping into the rink tonight—you'll be inclined to bust out some moves during live sets from a lineup of hometown heroes: Pop crafter Left at London, new wave industrial punks Seaside Tryst (who play songs about "ice cream," "trans panic," and "sometimes the ocean"), swirling cosmic crooner and arachnid protector Guayaba, and Reverend Dollars.
I have no use for Styx. Their overblown stadium nerf-rock for poodleheaded fules was anathema to me during the band's heyday and life's too short to revisit them for a revision. However, hearing "Lorelei" by chance in the old Cha Cha in 2006 stunned me into appreciation for a song I'd probably heard and quickly clicked off on the radio dozens of times. But I had an epiphany that night. Styx wowed me with the way "Lorelei" builds anticipation with those plinky Phil Glass for Dummies synths and then accelerates into that damnably catchy, uproarious chorus, finally zooming into the stratosphere with the realization that you've found the person with whom you want to live forever. DAVE SEGAL
Jerry Garcia Celebration with Andy Coe Band
Dave Segal has written, "The world teems with Jerry Garcia acolytes, but few channel the late Grateful Dead guitarist’s preternaturally liquid, radiant style with more facility and feeling than does Seattle’s Andy Coe." As he does every year, the artist and his band will pay tribute to the Grateful Dead frontman with a night of covers.
The powerful men charged with sexual assault in the #MeToo era are doing just fine. Seattle Opera's production of Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto is here to show us it was ever thus, and that it shall ever be so long as we continue to uphold longstanding social and political norms around consent, harassment, and male power. Rigoletto is a classic opera based on a Victor Hugo play called Le roi s'amuse. The story follows the Duke of Mantua on his various sexual conquests. He loves cuckolding courtiers while his court jester, Rigoletto, mocks the cucks. But shit hits the fan when the Duke goes after Rigoletto's own daughter, Gilda. To exact revenge, Rigoletto puts out a hit on the Duke, but it all goes horribly wrong. Director Lindy Hume updates Verdi's opera by replacing jolly old misogynists in codpieces with men in suits in executive offices, calling greater attention to the violence against women and the power imbalance. The aesthetics and tone of Hume's production, she says, were inspired by Silvio Berlusconi's "bunga bunga" sex parties, which were detailed by national outlets in 2013. RICH SMITH
Haute Sauce: Spinderella
Grammy-winning DJ and rapper Spinderella, who began her career as a member of the iconic hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa, will be the special guest at this edition of Haute Sauce, "Seattle's home for hip-hop and dance music." Resident DJs Semaj, Catch24, and Tab will provide additional support.
S L I P
After your Saturday-night disco nap, party even further into the wee hours with DJs Cay Horiuchi, Gag Reflex, and Bricks. Local late-night queens Amoania, Lüchi, and Cucci Binaca will be performing.
10th Annual Linda's Fest
Last year, Stranger music contributor Joseph Schafer wrote, "Capitol Hill brunch-and-brews institution Linda’s Tavern continues to give back to the community with a yearly sample of free local music. And while the average income of the restaurant’s neighbors continues to change, the sonic fare of Linda’s Fest does not—heavy, rhythmic, and loud continue to be adjectives of consequence. Because, really, what is the sound of brunch? It is the aural equivalent of that which quenches the hangover: grease, carbon, caffeine, and further blood-borne ethanol." This year's lineup features punks both hard and soft, including Fucked and Bound, Gag, Lisa Prank, Tacos!, and Dyed.
Grails, Nathan Bowles, Abronia
Grails stand as one of America's deepest reservoirs of psych-rock transcendence. Anyone who's had their mind split open by albums such as Take Refuge in Clean Living, Burning Off Impurities, Doomsdayer's Holiday, or Black Tar Prophecies can attest to the Portland ensemble's Morricone-on-peyote rambles. They haven't released anything since 2017's slightly mellower but still magisterial Chalice Hymns, so perhaps we'll get some new Grails material this time. You also should not miss Nathan Bowles (formerly of magnificent folkadelic/drone explorers Pelt, current member of Black Twig Pickers), a percussionist/banjo player who elevates Appalachian folk music to sublime summits. DAVE SEGAL
The 188.8.131.52's, The Boss Martians, Girl Trouble, The Cutthroat Brothers
As the Portland Mercury noted in a recent listing, "Japanese surf/rockabilly trio the 184.108.40.206’s are probably best known to American audiences for their appearance during the House of Blue Leaves sequence in Kill Bill, Vol. 1. Make sure that beehive is perfectly coiffed, and get ready to twist and boogaloo the night away with their insanely fun brand of retro garage rock." The band will share a bill with the Boss Martians, Girl Trouble, and the Cutthroat Brothers on their visit to Seattle.
The Courtneys, Ian Sweet, Versing
Before you ask, no, the Courtneys are not all named Courtney. Hailing from Vancouver, B.C., the trio deal heavily in the fuzzy guitar-powered rock of the early ’90s and Kiwi rock with sugary-sweet, harmonic vocals that kind of remind of Blink-182 (lol). There’s a hint of power pop in the mix, too, a mess of power chords over straightforward, catchy lyrics. “Tour” demands body convulsions with its beating drums and rhythmic guitar riffs. “25” is equal parts angsty and upbeat, reflecting on a night out: “Is it you I want/or is it you I wanna be/what am I running from?" JASMYNE KEIMIG
The Vibrators, The Drolls, The Disorderlies, Bitter Ex Lovers
First-generation UK punks the Vibrators, who played at the Roxy in 1977, are hitting Seattle! And, damn, these yobbos are STILL touring after having been around for well over 40 goddamn years! But y’all know this AND how they rock, ’cause as I said last time they came through, every punk ever owns a copy of their first LP, Pure Mania. MIKE NIPPER
An Evening With Josh Groban
Operatic heartthrob Josh Groban takes his inexplicably successful "Bridges" tour on the road, providing two evenings rife with intimate lounge pop and showtune classics.
With Sasquatch! cancelled after a 17-year run, fest founder and STG chief programming officer Adam Zacks is attempting to fill that void with a new arts festival called THING, which will include music, comedy, film, visual arts, dance, podcasts, food, and even a mentalist. "It's shaping up to be a pretty relaxed affair, and that's not a bad thing. In fact, that's part of the allure," writes The Stranger's Leilani Polk. "This is smaller, more thoughtful, and alluring in a way that a festival hasn't been in a while." The full lineup is "a refined, wide-ranging combo of buzzy indie selections like Japanese Breakfast and Tank and the Bangas with heavy-hitting headliners in older school vets like Jeff Tweedy, Violent Femmes, and De La Soul," plus celebrities like Todd Barry and Lindy West. It all goes down on three main stages, including a decommissioned zeppelin hangar (McCurdy Pavilion), the art-deco Wheeler Theatre, and the Parade Grounds near Puget Sound—not to mention the beautiful on-site hiking trails and beaches available for independent exploration.
The Wood Brothers, Colter Wall
Chris Wood is the bassist of exceptional avant-jazz and space-funk makers Medeski Martin & Wood. But he also plays in a band with his elder brother, Oliver. Their sound differs greatly from MMW’s; it’s a mix of folk-blues and gospel-tinged Americana—warm, upbeat, and made for driving on dusty rural roads or nursing whiskey on a back porch at twilight, as crickets serenade you from the shadows. Chris’s fat, buoyant double-bass grooves complement his brother’s easy-going guitar strums, choppy slide work, and velvety country-soulful vocals, while drummer/percussionist Jano Rix holds down the rhythms, but also provides occasional accompaniment on shuitar (a guitar modified into a percussion instrument), keys, and vocal harmonies. The trio hit town last year behind their sixth full-length, One Drop of Truth, which Oliver calls “the most purely Wood Brothers’ album we’ve ever made.” LEILANI POLK
Eyelids, Jay Gonzalez, Jonathan Segel & Victor Krummenacher
Ye olde indie-rock is in capable hands with Portland quintet Eyelids. Featuring current and former members of groups such as Guided by Voices, Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, and Decemberists, Eyelids channel insouciant power-pop melodiousness to create rock thrills that are no less enjoyable for seeming so familiar. Subtly tweaking classic songwriting formulas is a storied musical tradition, and these vets excel at it. You might say that Eyelids are the Pacific Northwest’s Teenage Fanclub—and their members probably wouldn't even punch you for doing so. Openers Jonathan Segel and Victor Krummenacher also play in Camper Van Beethoven, so get there early. DAVE SEGAL