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GWAR, Sacred Reich, Toxic Holocaust, Against the Grain
Since the mid-1980s, Richmond, Virginia’s performance-art and satirical heavy metal freaks—or rather, our ALIEN OVERLORDS—GWAR have been shooting jizz and blood, um, FAKE jizz and blood all over their audiences as they rage through the shreddiest of riffs while taking the piss out of our “society.” I think the first time I saw them was in 1990, and their stage show has evolved so very, very disturbingly far, while still being just as messy and fun. I’d bring a change of clothes if I were you. Also on the bill is NWOBHM thrashers Toxic Holocaust and killer headbangin’ jams from Against the Grain. MIKE NIPPER
Stoner metal band Witch (whose members—including Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis and King Tuff's Kyle Thomas—are from the historically witchy region of New England) will come to Seattle just in time for All Hallows' Eve.
Sera Cahoone, Tomo Nakayama & Friends
Kim Selling has written, "The soft, throaty Cahoone will bandage your wounds while examining her own fault lines, drawing attention to each facet of surface tension. We could all be better, we could all be more pure and good, and Cahoone's willowy, honest attempt to understand human nature uncovers more than you thought of your own experiences at first blush." This benefit for the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) will also feature sets from local songwriters Tomo Namayaka, Adra Boo, Betsy Olson, Dean Johnson, Shaina Shepherd, and Moe Provencher.
Whenever he’s not holding down the internet as the chillest guitarist in the band, producer-musician Steve Lacy is fiddling with his own music, famously making beats with his iPhone. Collaborating with artists like Vampire Weekend, Tyler, the Creator, Kali Uchis, and Kendrick Lamar, he’s become a near-ubiquitous fixture of the contemporary R&B and pop scene. While in his other work, Lacy owes much to neo-soul, his debut solo album, Apollo XXI, is decidedly less funky, shimmering instead like a collection of guitar-focused, lo-fi indie tracks. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Carrie Wicks Quintet CD Release
Carrie Wicks will sing some jazz tracks off her new album with pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Jeff Johnson, saxophonist Brent Jensen, and drummer D'Vonne Lewis.
LA-based German singer-songwriter Kim Petras is obsessed with Halloween (she's released two bop-filled EPs inspired by the holiday), which should grant her a very warm welcome in this spook-loving town.
I slept on Historian, the 2018 sophomore album from alt-rock singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus, because there’s just too goddamn much music out there. I dug the single that got some local airplay, “Addictions”—a clever ode about old relationship habits dying hard (“I’m just calling ’cause I’m used to it, you’ll pick up ’cause you’re not a quitter”). But I only took a chance on the rest of the album recently, and immediately realized my error. There’s something in her vocal quality that reminds me of ’70s AM radio, all velvety and polished and warm, while its emotive tone is conversely apathetic, resigned, or world-weary. She’s been dropping singles throughout 2019, which began with a lovely cover of “La Vie en Rose” right around Valentine’s Day, and most recently another cover, a fine reimagining of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark.” LEILANI POLK
Sara Bareilles, Emily King
High-powered mezzo-soprano songbird and pop titan Sara Bareilles will bring her award-winning discography to Seattle on the Amidst The Chaos Tour.
Eric Blu & The Soul Revue, Sensi Trails, Todd & The Toots
Eric Blu's sound is a return to classic soul with an emphasis on heavy bass lines, a turn at clever storytelling, and a full set of horns, flutes, strings, and percussion to back up his work. The 11-piece group will be joined by West Coast reggae bands Sensi Trails and Todd & the Toots.
Leo Kottke isn’t as guts-crazy as his sometimes mentor, the late John Fahey. But who would want to be? Fahey first rewrote the book, and then wrote his own book when it came to six-string steel-string guitar on planet Earth, but didn’t seem to like Earth much. Kottke could outpace Fahey by a few decisive concert moves: (a) showing up, (b) showing up on time, and (c) not spending most of the gig talking and giggling with people who are not there. On the positivity flip, though, Kottke’s got pep, verve, nerve, and a dry sense of humor when he decides to sing. And he can get to the darkness inside of happiness. Even without words, he can evoke the void behind joy. Dark brightness. ANDREW HAMLIN
TUESDAY & THURSDAYROCK/POP
Black Belt Eagle Scout
At the Party with My Brown Friends is a mood to always aspire to. Born and raised on the Swinomish Reservation in Skagit County, Katherine Paul (who prefers to go by KP) cut her teeth in the DIY indie music scene of Anacortes, and that sensibility shows up her music. Her solo folk adjacent project, Black Belt Eagle Scout, balances the dark and the light, the present and the just barely there, a space where KP can explore her identity as a queer indigenous feminist. Her sophomore album, At the Party with My Brown Friends, explores queer desire and friendship over moody, introspective guitar and confessional, vulnerable lyrics. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Dinosaur Jr., Steve Gunn
Dinosaur Jr. are a blessed hard-rock institution at this point. True, their best work occurred in the last half of the 1980s, peaking with the one-two punch of You’re Living All Over Me and Bug. But J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph are still issuing robust guitar-hero showcases and blustery melodic gems. They’ve honed their formula to a science and, against odds, it’s still moving as hell. Chill psych-folk-rock artist Steve Gunn slowly but surely has ascended the indie-music food chain with several albums that pit lustrous, liquid guitar playing against flat yet appealing vocals. He’s a rare example of a quality musician gaining popularity on his own terms, without slipping creatively. DAVE SEGAL
Judah & The Lion
Exuberant Americana group Judah & the Lion will showcase their style of Southern grit for this stop of their Pep Talks Tour.
WEDNESDAY & SATURDAYROCK/POP
Y La Bamba, Brown Calculus
Portland-based Y La Bamba just keep getting better. This is no doubt a result of the artist behind the project, Luz Elena Mendoza, settling into her perch as a supreme storyteller and musician. Her vocals are craggy and beautiful, at once full of introspection and splendor, compelling you to move, emote, love. They’ve dropped not one but two albums this year—the full-length Mujeres back in February, and the Entre Los Dos EP in September. Where Mujeres feels expansive, the mostly Spanish Entre Los Dos is a bit looser. “Ocativo” plays like a piano ballad unspooling while “Las Platicas” retains a surf-rock, groovy sensibility. JASMYNE KEIMIG
WEDNESDAY & FRIDAY-SUNDAYOPERA
If you think opera is all bombast and tragic onstage death, the music of Gioachino Rossini will reveal the genre's capacity for outright bubbliness. Seattle Opera's Lindy Hume will take inspiration from English music hall comedy and Victorian decor for this extravagant-sounding production.
The Folks Project
The Folks Project, a side collective of local talents D’Vonne Lewis, Darrius Willrich, Evan Flory-Barnes, and Owour Arunga, pay tribute to the legacy of jazz culture and music that came out of the Central District, honoring artists like Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Ernestine Anderson, Floyd Sandiford, Buddy Catlett, and Anthony Ray, whom you may know as Sir Mix-A-Lot.
10 Years of Crunk Witch with Shubzilla X Bill Beats, Danger K, Steve
Husband and wife duo Crunk Witch will celebrate 10 years of electro-popping with Subzilla and Bill Beats, Danger K from Area of Defect, and Steve from Death Star.
New Zealand-Australian singer/songwriter and producer Jordan Rakei will stop in Seattle on his way down the coast for a night of soulful, jazz-tinged R&B supporting his latest album Origin.
Kero Kero Bonito
Listening to Kero Kero Bonito is like being trapped inside a bright, colorful arcade machine where every facet of sound and emotion is turned up to the nth degree. Based in London, the trio—whose sound is deeply rooted in J-pop and video-game music—is led by Sarah Midori Perry, who sings and raps in both Japanese and English, with multi-instrumentalists/producers Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled bringing the sounds and beats. Their interest in loud eight-bit sounds makes the act of listening to their music feel deeply rewarding, like you’ve just leveled up in a video game. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Tyler Childers, Courtney Marie Andrews
Kentucky singer-songwriter and storyteller Tyler Childers manages to make dusty backroad tracks about the old country sound new again, with a world-weary narrative helmed by his charcoal-accented vocals.
Annual high-key wild throwdown FreakNight, basically a Halloweentown Coachella, features a whole night of live music, dancing, a themed marketplace, and a darkly neon environment of scary circus attractions, bizarre sideshow marvels, and carnival rides. If all you want for Halloween is an opportunity to completely blow out all five of your senses, this is the spooky dance party for you.
Haunt & Gather with Felix da Housecat
Chicago '90s house music pioneer Felix Da Housecat will headline this year's Haunt & Gather, brought to you by local techno impresario Dave Pezzner’s Hunt & Gather record label, featuring two rooms of DJs spinning eerie tracks to keep you dancing into the witching hour. Support at Kremwerk will include H&G residents Michael Manahan, Pezzner, and Doza, plus special guest Jesse Lear—Brit Hansen, J-Justice, and Atlee Treasure will be upstairs in the Timbre Room.
Noise Complaint: Are You STILL Afraid of the Dark?
Monkey Loft will be transformed into a den of freaky dancing with two rooms filled with local DJs, interactive art, and lots of spider webs at this Halloween edition of Noise Complaint.
Sorsari + Mrkryl: The FALL Tour 2019
Canadian electronic duo Sorsari and Mrkryl will come to Seattle on their Fall 2019 Tour with stellar support from TW1GZ, Murkish, and Mnemosyne.
Tyshawn Sorey Sextet
Tyshawn Sorey is an in-demand jazz pianist, trombonist, drummer, and composer who’s played with some of the boldest names in the genre, including Charles Gayle, Steve Lehman, Vijay Iyer, and Marilyn Crispell. An idiosyncratic avant-gardist, Sorey creates intelligent mischief with whichever instrument he decides to use. He deconstructs music spontaneously, like a wily minimalist, unleashing a circuitous stream of shocks to your expectations. Joining Sorey will be vibraphonist Sasha Berliner, bassist Nick Dunston, pianist Lex Korten, and tenor saxophonist Morgan Guerin. Bookings such as this one contribute to the feeling that the Earshot Jazz Festival is one of Seattle’s crowning cultural achievements. DAVE SEGAL
Casual Hex, Patti, Fine
It's true that I once bought a Mort Garson T-shirt from Casual Hex vocalist/guitarist Erica Miller, but this Seattle trio has much more to recommend them besides great taste in analog-synth legends. As their 2018 album Zig Zag Lady Illusion demonstrates, Casual Hex evoke post-punk’s disgruntlement with chronic sociopolitical ills, its caustic textures, and its jagged song structures with a severity that’s undeniable. When you feel as if there’s too much pressure from the catastrophically bad news, sometimes the best way to cope with that is to listen to music that absorbs those tensions and repurposes them into dissonant slices of panicky catharsis. Casual Hex excel at this, on record and onstage. DAVE SEGAL
The Best You've Ever Seen: The Addams Family with Dark Smith, Da Qween, T.Wan
Every month, Parliament Tavern hosts The Best You've Ever Seen, a mash-up event that brings together one band and one DJ to collaboratively reimagine a score for whatever movie they've chosen to screen that night. For October, the TBYES crew is pulling together queer punk group Dark Smith, TUF standout T.Wan, and hard femme wordsmith Da Qween to breathe new life into the spooky classic The Addams Family. This rowdy costume party and live show will also host the visuals of Morty Arts and Blazinspace.
Built to Spill, Prism, Sea's Apprentice
Built to Spill was the band that all my dude friends in junior high said they listened to before they started a band of their own. In that way, maybe Built to Spill are the West Coast’s answer to the Velvet Underground. Okay, I’m mostly kidding about that one, but now that I’m thinking about it, 1999’s Keep It Like a Secret seems to be the progenitor of so much of modern indie rock’s sound, that it’s almost like I’ve seen the band live before. But I haven’t. Go and luxuriate in the sounds of flannel, beanies, and earnest angst. JASMYNE KEIMIG
The Cave Singers, Galactic Gold, somesurprises
Though the Cave Singers launched with a sound dwelling in meditative folk terrains, the Seattle outfit has done some evolving over five records, getting louder and incorporating striding rock and breezy psychedelic overtones into their songwriting. 2016's Banshee—their first album minus label backing and entirely crowd-funded by fans—feels as if it were produced beneath a prairie thundercloud; it’s vaguely dark and brooding, marked by washes of airy twanginess and strains of melodica, and with highlights in chugging, guitar-fuzzed lead-off track “That’s Why” and the slow strutting groove of “Strip Mine.” LEILANI POLK
Classically trained tenor and composer Jeremy Dutcher blends his Wolastoq First Nation heritage into his unique, genre-shifting music.
BeautyBoiz go BOO, pt. 5
Make your Halloween as queer as possible with Forward Flux and BeautyBoiz, featuring a "Drag Spooktacular," a dance party with DJs PAPA.WAV and Cookie Couture, and an open runway with a photographer immortalizing your style.
Cumbiatón: A Brujxs Ball
Talented DJ J-Na$ty from local music collective Women.Weed.Wifi will be a part of this West Coast-centric dance party that centers on femme DJs, womxn of color, people of color, and LGBTQIA communities all set to the tune of some excellent Afro-Latinx music. Forgo a Halloween costume for semi-fancy attire and shop from a night market.
Halloween Booootie Seattle
The mashup DJ dance party will get the Halloween treatment. Show up in your costume for the chance to win cash prizes.
Opulent Temple: Gothica
Opulent Temple, a West Coast dance music organization that started at Burning Man, will host their fourth annual eerie gothic bacchanalia at a new Sodo venue this year. Let them guide you into an intimate zone of haunting music and dancing provided by DJs including Brian Peek, Brian Williams, and Chris Tower, all amidst the trappings of a dark and dreamy underworld costume party.
Spellbound: A Halloween '80s Themed Dance Party
Add an '80s-inspired element to your Halloween costume (free idea: Go as yourself 30 years in the past) and bop around to hits of the big-hair decade with DJs Evan Blackstone and Micheal & Michael - The Mike Drop. There will be a costume contest.
Quality German techno export Steve Bug will head up this Halloween house show with support from lots of local ghouls (Wesley Holmes, Derrick Deep, and Alfonso Tan among them). In the next room, drum and bass DJs like KEXP's Kid Hops and San Francisco's UFO will create an atmosphere for hyped zombies.
Acclaimed by notable sources like Pitchfork and NPR, indie rock band Big Thief favor twisted guitars, fuzzy reverb, and grounded yet lyrical storytelling in their current output.
When a band sells its sound as psychedelic art rock, I step on board the wagon and take a ride. Guerilla Toss kept me in my metaphorical seat with an idiosyncratic style that was head-scratching novel in just the way I like. Disco funk, post-punk, experimental rock, psychedelia, prog, weirdo pop, dance music—it’s all there, with the musicians hopping between stylistic vibes or fusing them together into one delicious sonic hoagie, adding squirts of goofiness and absurdity for flavor, while frontwoman Kassie Carlson’s vocals never really follow a straight line or melody. “Magic Is Easy” is carried on funky, wet bass lines and sci-fi noodling synths, while in “Jesus Rabbit,” Carlson’s quasi-religious, conversational verses are interrupted by a singsong dissonant chorus and bouncy offbeat instrumentals. Both are tracks off Twisted Crystal, the Boston band’s 2018 full-length, though they’ll arrive in town on the heels of releasing a fresh five-song EP, What Would the Odd Do?. RIYL: Deerhoof, Melt-Banana. LEILANI POLK
Brockhampton, 100 gecs
In the beginning, comparisons between Brockhampton and Odd Future were inevitable. On the surface, these comparisons have some validity—both are large, rambunctious supergroups featuring talented young-adult rappers. But the similarities end there for me. Because, oh my God, Brockhampton’s recent release is really good. Like, surreally good. Dropped in August, Ginger is a compact 45 minutes with swirling, rowdy tracks. A personal favorite is “Heaven Belongs to You,” which features the punk drawl of rising British rapper slowthai. American electronic duo 100 gecs will warm up the crowd with their brand of brash, synth-heavy indie pop. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Up-and-coming LA-based hip-hop crew Shoreline Mafia will come back to town, this time as headliners. (They were in town this past summer supporting $uicideboy$.)
The Legendary Pink Dots, Orbit Service
Thirty-nine years into their existence, the Anglo-Dutch troupe Legendary Pink Dots have willed themselves into a Grateful Dead–like entity, traveling the globe and releasing tons of studio and live recordings to a devoted cult following. LPD leader Edward Ka-Spel and long-time keyboardist Phil “the Silverman” Knight have honed a spacious, meandering strain of gothadelic rock that launches you onto spooky, Pink Floydian trips. Ka-Spel is more of a Lewis Carroll–like narrator than a singer, and his lugubrious tones contrast well with the eerie fantasy world conjured by the band. DAVE SEGAL
Russian indie-rock quintet Mumiy Troll describe themselves as "Far Eastern evergreen romantics." They'll be in town to play tracks off their last release, East x North West.