Seattle Men's Chorus: Jingle All the Way
In a landmark holiday event, the Seattle Men’s Chorus will perform dazzling tracks of the season, like their own revamped takes on “Silver Bells,” “Do You Hear What I Hear,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” and many more.
Celtic Woman, a heavily lauded group of Emerald Isle faerie queens, will perform folksy classics and traditional Irish music on their Best of Christmas Tour.
Charlie Hunter Trio
Innovative writer and bandleader Charlie Hunter is widely considered an authority on the seven- and eight-string guitar, and will showcase his practiced abilities with his trio, including Lucy Woodward and Derrek Phillips, in a set.
Deck the Hall Ball 2018
Radio station 107.7 ("The End") presents a stacked lineup for their annual winter music spectacle with a few PNW superstars this year, including Death Cab For Cutie, Young the Giant, Bastille, Billie Eilish, and Jenn Champion.
Fucked Up, Narrow Head, Dead Bars
In 2006, Fucked Up transitioned from an underground hardcore sensation that exclusively released 7-inch singles to embracing the opposite end of the spectrum with a series of long concept albums, from playing basement shows with a notoriously chaotic live presence to opening for the Arcade Fire. After four years away from the limelight, Toronto’s most thought-provoking punks have returned with another genre-bending album that’s equal parts strange and exciting. Dose Your Dreams has heady psychedelic influences, playful indie-rock ballads, electronic flourishes, and a whole lot of horns—all of which are complemented by vocalist Damian Abraham’s trademark raspy and tuneless bark. KEVIN DIERS
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic
Since the 1970s, funk fanatics have gotten their ass-clapping kicks through the George Clinton-groovy incarnations Parliament, Funkadelic, and P-Funk All Stars. All of us licentious listeners have been wandering in the desert for almost 40 years waiting for the promised land that is Medicaid Fraud Dogg—Parliament’s first record since 1980—which showcases a millennial-savvy Clinton. With the help of a stage full of seductive dancers (previously seen doing handstand backbends on monitors) and crooners with honey-throated pipes, being in a room with the King of Funk and his glamorous entourage is a humidifying shower of sultriness. ZACH FRIMMEL
For fans of conscious rap and the Twin Cities–based Rhymesayers imprint, this is a serious show featuring one of the brightest stars from the label’s roster, Brother Ali. Born Jason Douglas Newman, Brother Ali has been releasing blistering critiques of social injustice and uplifting raps for the past 18 years. Last year he toured in support of his sixth album, 2016's All the Beauty in This Whole Life. NICK ZURKO
Dave East, D. Mikey
Repping East Harlem, rapper Dave East has shown up on XXL's 2016 Freshman Class and been signed to Def Jam Recordings in part due to his attention-getting 2014 mixtape Black Rose. He'll perform tracks from that and newer works tonight with additional guests.
Even though he’s been on the comedy-film track for a while now, Ice Cube will always have serious street cred for his tenure in N.W.A. (he’s considered the founding father of gangsta rap), and for the fruitful solo hiphop albums that followed (AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted and Death Certificate in 1990 and 1991, respectively). His brash, pointed lyrical style is legendary, and he is releasing his first album in eight years: Everythang's Corrupt. It wasn’t out by the time of this writing, but if the cover art is any indication—a bloody hand gripping a $100 bill—it’s likely he’ll be tearing into the current political and social climate with trademark Ice Cube force. This is why we love him. LEILANI POLK
Red Bull will return to our fair city to present a showcase of the Pacific Northwest's stacked rap scene, with featured performances by Lil Mosey, Yung Nudy, Ghoulavelli, Bujemane, and additional guests.
Emma Ruth Rundle, Jaye Jayle
Louisville, Kentucky–based artist Emma Ruth Rundle glides between atmospheric goth and vibrato-glazed folk as her lyrics breathlessly fight against mind-aching spirals in “Fever Dreams” and “Control”—e.g., “Try ’cause we need to and laugh the life of hell right out of here.” Her fourth solo release, On Dark Horses, gives legs to psychedelic walls of sound that amplify in response to her towering vocals. Sargent House labelmates Jaye Jayle open the night. Their apocalyptic, folk-tinged release No Trail and Other Unholy Paths also features Rundle guesting with vocals and guitar for half of the record.
Patterson Hood, Guests
If you don't recognize the name Patterson Hood, let me toss a few more syllables out there: Drive-By Truckers. If you don't recognize Drive-By Truckers, maybe you're just not interested in balls-to-the-wall Southern rock paired with affecting and novelistic lyrics. Hood is one of the two central songwriters in the Truckers universe, alongside Mike Cooley. Admittedly, Cooley is the more melodic singer, but Hood's the more significant storyteller, often mixing great love songs with sympathetic tales about incest survivors, disgraced policemen, and friends getting hooked on crystal meth. Hood's date at the Abbey is a rare opportunity to see him as a solo artist without the Truckers backing him up. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Frank Zappa’s son is a guitarist, too. Dweezil Zappa has several albums’ worth of original material, but live he mostly plays his dad’s music, of which there is a stupendous amount. If you are a fan of Frank, you might love him and only know a thin sliver of his 111-album catalog (49 of which came out posthumously), and maybe it’s easier that way, because it’s a lot to digest, much of it complex prog-rock that’s not accessible to the average music listener, anyway. Dweezil sticks with the stuff fans love, set lists mixing well-known fare (“Valley Girl,” “Dog Breath,” “The Torture Never Stops,” “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow,” “Keep It Greasy,” etc.) with deeper cuts (“Cocaine Decisions,” “T'Mershi Duween”). LEILANI POLK
Tenacious D aren't for everyone. Hell, comedy rock isn't for everyone. But Jack Black is a silly fool of a force—obnoxiously delightful, like that friend you had in high school who’d do anything for a laugh, who you knew would do anything for a laugh, and yet, even while seemingly trying too hard, they still managed to get that goddamn laugh. Kyle Gass is funny, too, in a subtler, I’m-clearly-the-sidekick-but-I-have-a lot-to-offer kind of way. While his film career isn't as fruitful as Black’s, they’re evenly matched when it comes to music. Actually, you could give extra credit to Gass, who has a more active outside-of-the-D musical career, delivering three full-length records with his two solo projects. Also, Gass seems like he gives really good hugs, maybe because he bears a striking resemblance to a koala, and he's been rocking this white-haired beardy wise man look lately, which automatically gives him street cred over regular beardy Black. The acoustic guitar strumming and thrashing duo just dropped a new LP, Post-Apocalypto, their fourth, and arrive in town behind it. LEILANI POLK
The Maldoggies Family Christmas with Widower
Northwest indie rock and folk-pop stalwarts the Maldives and the Moondoggies will join forces for a family band Christmas series for two nights and will be joined by Widower.
Fun Fact: Even though people celebrate the virgin birth of Mr. Jesus with Handel's Messiah every Christmas, librettist Charles Jennens actually conceived of the piece as an Easter opera. That's because the last two-thirds of the composition cover the life, death, and resurrection of the Nazarene prophet. But traditions are hard to kick, and that "Hallelujah!" chorus still rules, as does the Seattle Symphony Chorale, who will surely be in rare form. RICH SMITH
Minus the Bear, Tera Melos
It’s been 17 years since Minus the Bear debuted their unique blend of idiosyncratic guitar work, dance-floor-ready rhythms, and crooned tales of leisure. In the time since, they’ve dabbled in prog gymnastics, IDM manipulations, yacht-rock forays, and countless other stylistic twists and turns. Through it all, there’s been a constant spirit of creative adventurism tempered by a healthy appreciation for a good hook, and an ongoing aura of nostalgia offset by forward-thinking instrumentation and production choices. Unfortunately, all things must come to an end, and so this Seattle indie-rock institution bids farewell with a three-night stand at the Showbox.
Join the North Corner Chamber Orchestra at their early winter show as they perform a program of pieces like George Handel's Concerto Grosso in B-flat Major, Wilhelmine von Bayreuth's Concerto in G Minor for Harpsichord Obligato and Strings, Antonio Vivaldi's Concerto in G Major, and Igor Stravinsky's Concerto in E-flat, with Byron Schenkman on harpsichord and Steven Morgan on bassoon.
Parisian producer/DJ Malaa is yet another dance-music figure who prefers to reveal little about his identity. He wears a ski mask when performing and his label reps, Fool’s Gold, don’t even know what he looks like. To cap it off, their last tour was called “Who Is Malaa?” Ooh, mysterious. The fact that Malaa’s done a remix for Major Lazer & DJ Snake’s massive hit “Lean On” indicates that he has a keen aptitude for populist grooves, but he also shows an intense focus on funky bass lines and ear-prickling textures that suggest comfort in underground-club zones. The man is highly adept at making house music that straddles the line between debauched and menacing, and that’s an impressive feat, ski mask or no. DAVE SEGAL
RJD2, Pressha, Indica Jones, DJ SolidSound
You’ve probably heard RJ Krohn’s music even if you don’t realize it. The veteran producer otherwise known as RJD2 famously wrote the theme for Mad Men, and “Deadringer” is one of those songs everyone’s heard somewhere, but few could actually name. There’s something both nondescript and timeless about Krohn’s sample-driven instrumental hiphop, which, for whatever reason, has never had the same critical cachet as similar acts like DJ Shadow or the Avalanches. His recent music retains a warm, homespun quality—the man knows how to flip a sample—but he works with vocalists and draws from vintage soul and funk instead of boom-bap beat work. ANDREW GOSPE
Freddie Gibbs, G. Perico, Caleb Brown
Two living legends representing two distinct regional rap traditions come to town in the form of Gary, Indiana, native Freddie Gibbs and the LA-raised MC G Perico. Gangsta Gibbs has been in the game for 15 years, striking critical favor following his tour of duty through the major-label system with unflinching lyrics that chronicle his years as an enterprising Midwesterner. Known both for his own solo work and his inspired MadGibbs duo with famed producer Madlib, Gibbs embodies the type of long-term success that West Coast revivalist G Perico seems to be staking out as he attempts to bridge early critical success with a more mainstream audience. A must-see for any self-respecting rap fan. NICK ZURKO
Grand Opening: Seattle Opera's New Civic Home
Whoop it up for Seattle Opera's new home with performances by Seattle Opera's Chorus and Teen Vocal Studio and members of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Also on the agenda: a rehearsal of Il trovatore, a dramaturgy talk, a Verdi sing-along, a costume presentation, and a self-guided tour.
Kurt Vile & the Violators, Jessica Pratt
Kurt Vile’s message in Bottle It In chronicles him as a songwriter’s songwriter who demonstrates that he can only unspool the most leisure-lazy, loungeable jammers. With his eighth studio album being one of his most unrestrained and weird—even for Vile—to date, the pimpin’ Philadelphian’s “Rollin with the Flow” demeanor, psychedelic wit, slow-melting vocals, and sarcastic pathos continue to be unparalleled. Collaborative credits on this record are stacked up with shamans Kim Gordon, Cass McCombs, Stella Mozgawa, and Mary Lattimore. Strap in Saturday night to also be serenaded by the dreamy lullabies of San Francisco’s Jessica Pratt. ZACH FRIMMEL
Cults’ sound is akin to their namesake: absorbingly catchy and deceptively bright-toned, with a vocal glaze of sodium saccharine. Their melodies feel perfect for swaying at a 1960s Sweet 16 party, but hidden within are themes of manipulation, desperation, and abandonment. Motels, the latest offering from guitarist Brian Oblivion and singer Madeline Follin, is a bliss-kissed EP covering three songs by ’80s-era new-wave band the Motels. Cults’ cloying pop turns the Motels’ emotive spunk into synthy, bittersweet bops. Munya weaves whispery synths through folk tales in French, resulting in coquettish songs such as “If I’m Gone Tomorrow (It’s Because of Aliens).”
Jazz in the City: Pat Wright and the Total Experience Gospel Choir
Ever since 1973, the Total Experience Gospel Choir, which originally formed at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Seattle, has been racking up awards and international recognition for their expansive musical talent. They'll be led here by Pat Wright, who has been referred to as "Seattle's First Lady of Gospel."
The English Beat
Perhaps the unofficial Hardest Working New Wave Reunion Band™, ska troubadour Dave Wakeling and his cast of horn-toting all-stars continue to tour the world as the English Beat with hits from the legends of 2 Tone ska themselves, as well as Wakeling’s other claim to ’80s fame—General Public—and songs from the Beat’s recently released record, Here We Go Love. This ’80s new-wave-obsessed writer can attest to the tears that will be superfluously streaming if either (or both? WAH) "I Confess" or "Tenderness" are played in this heart-wrenchingly gorgeous setting with life-affirming sound quality. With that said, you’ll probably be crying the tears of a clown if you miss out on this one.
Fred Frith Trio, Ha-Yang Kim
Oakland-via-England guitarist Fred Frith is an experimental-rock/avant-garde iconoclast who’s played in Rock in Opposition giants Henry Cow and Art Bears, and lethally noisy post-punk group Massacre while releasing several unorthodox solo and collaborative records with the likes of Brian Eno, John Zorn’s Naked City, Robert Wyatt, Aksak Maboul, and the Residents. He’s been a playfully subversive presence in the musical underground for five decades with no signs of blanding out. Frith’s current trio features bassist Jason Hoopes and drummer Jordan Glenn, so it’s a standard rock setup for extraordinary improvisational flights of fancy. The threesome conjures enigmatic vistas of ruthless, oddly angled rock that bears the ominous overtones of This Heat and, yes, Massacre. Come see a legend still pushing himself and his bandmates into exciting territory. DAVE SEGAL
Protomartyr, Preoccupations, Hurry Up
Joe Casey isn’t a natural frontman—he’s bookish, a bit awkward, and in the past has admitted to getting drunk before shows to cope with the anxiety of being onstage. But working in post-punk, a genre where it’s easy to posture, the Protomartyr singer has something to say. Casey had a working-class, Irish-Catholic upbringing in Detroit, and growing up amid that city’s decline leaves its mark on his band’s tense, caustic music, which feels like an outgrowth of Detroit’s rich punk tradition. June’s Consolation EP features the Breeder’s Kelley Deal on vocals and some of the band’s strongest songs to date. ANDREW GOSPE
The Music of "A Charlie Brown Christmas"
Because the Royal Room does the music of Charlie Brown every year, I every year have to write this love poem to the core tune, "Christmastime Is Here (Instrumental)," of this masterpiece of American culture. It is, I think, one of the most beautiful pieces of jazz ever composed. Listening to it is like watching falling snow through a window. The room is warm, something is roasting in the oven, and outside, the flakes are falling faintly through the universe and upon the trees, the hedges, the water gutters, the telephone poles, and the rooftops of a thousand apartment buildings. This is where you want to be forever. This is Vince Guaraldi's "Christmastime Is Here (Instrumental)." It opens with a trembling bass, like someone coming out of the cold, stamping their feet, brushing the snow off their shoulders, hanging their winter coat, rubbing and blowing on numb fingers, and entering the living room where there is a window, watching the flakes falling faintly upon all the buildings and the living. CHARLES MUDEDE
Redd Kross, Dale Crover
When they started out in the late-1970s, Red Kross’s Steve and Jeff McDonald were teenagers singing about teenagers like Lita Ford of the Runaways and Linda Blair, who inspired their 1982 debut, Born Innocent (the title of a TV movie in which she plays a victim of the juvenile justice system). Since the McDonalds have been bashing out the tunes for 40 years, it’s natural to expect the brothers to be running low on fuel—except they aren’t. They’re still releasing garage-punk gems like 2012’s Researching the Blues and putting on sweat-drenched shows with all the vim and vigor of players half their age. KATHY FENNESSY
Portland's favorite rapper is at last sliding through Seattle. Touring in support of ONEPOINTFIVE, his most recent EP/mixtape/album/whatever, Aminé’s concert is sure to feature flues, pretentious airs, and lines about girls being Björk cute “so she really fine/just sorta weird/and she got some cake.” This LA-dwelling rapper is proving himself to be an entertainer with that unique-and-vital combo of vulnerability and capacity to unrepentantly stunt; at once acknowledging and giving voice to his fears, but not letting them get in the way of a good time. Let’s give him a warm welcome back to the Pacific Northwest.
Bernhoft, Moorea Masa and The Mood
Norwegian producer and singer-songwriter Jarle Bernhoft will be joined by Portland group Moorea Masa & the Mood for a dreamy evening of subtle R&B grooves and sparkling pop moments.
On his studio recordings, Reykjavík-based singer-songwriter John Grant evokes Elton-John-by-way-of-Jarvis-Cocker with his heartfelt singing, wide-ranging keyboard sounds, and witty words about sex, addiction, and famous figures from Francis Bacon to Madeline Kahn (as if to drive the comparison home, he’s even covered John’s “Sweet Painted Lady”). Onstage, he’s also a raconteur, which comes across most keenly on 2014’s Live in Concert with the BBC Philharmonic, on which the tart-tongued singer behind uninhibited tracks like “GMF” (aka Greatest Motherfucker) confesses that he starts “to break in a rash if I don’t swear every 30 minutes or so.” KATHY FENNESSY
This one's for the lovers. R&B crooner John Legend eschews the production trickery found in most Top 40 slow jams these days—the Auto-Tune, the deep-sea minimalism—in favor of a more nostalgic, reverent take on soul. He's got the pipes to back up the retro fetishism and the Rolodex to remain radio-relevant, getting guest verses from the likes of Pusha T and Rick Ross. KYLE FLECK
Sera Cahoone, Ashleigh Flynn & The Riveters, Cumulus
Sera Cahoone’s innate language is that of heartbreak, of knowing what you have in this life is perfect, or as perfect as humans can access, and there’s no way it could ever last. No matter how many fairy circles you happen upon or gentle brooks lapping at your Chaco-nestled feet, this love will end, and in that finale lies your inevitable destruction. 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. KIM SELLING
Norman Brown, Bobby Caldwell, and Marion Meadows
Grammy-winning guitarist Norman Brown is known for being unusually adept at fusing strands of pop and jazz into lithe new shapes. He'll be joined by Bobby Caldwell and Marion Meadows on this R&B and jazz-centric "Joyous Christmas Tour."
Travis Thompson, Sylvan LaCue, Laza
That particular strain of fresh-faced everydude rap that is so beloved in Seattle has an unlikely new hero in young MC Travis Thompson, a stoner goofball who revels in cocky wordplay. He reps hard for the southwest side of town, even naming his 2016 debut tape Ambaum, for the street that runs between White Center, Burien, and West Seattle. He’s worked a bunch with Sol’s chief collaborators, Nima Skeemz and Elan Wright, so his sound tends toward the lean, live-band sound approach, though Thompson also fit in time to rock over a Jake One beat—all of which has helped dude’s SoundCloud hit more than a million plays. Good for him and great for White Center—too bad it wasn’t in time to save Muy Macho taqueria. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Sir Mix-A-Lot, Guests
Sir Mix-A-Lot did not rap like Ice Cube or Chuck D, nor was he swept up by the Das EFX fast-rap "-iggedy" craze of that moment. Sir Mix-A-Lot rapped only like Sir Mix-A-Lot. Sir Mix-A-Lot's hiphop was like a weird plant (purple leaves, red stem) growing under the blended and bending light of two distant suns. But most importantly, Sir Mix-A-Lot wasn't so fucking serious. "Baby Got Back," which opens with a conversation between two white girls disgusted by a black woman's huge butt, returned laughter to the hiphop charts and the dance floor. The record felt like a window being opened in a stuffy room. Finally, someone wasn't rapping about being shot, or shooting a nigga, or returning to Africa, or being proud about the color of their skin. "This," Riz Rollins explained to me, "was Seattle's big gift to black America. People remembered it was good to have fun now and then. And it could only happen in Seattle because we were so isolated. We were free to do whatever we wanted." "Baby Got Back" spent five weeks at the top of the Billboard chart. CHARLES MUDEDE
Thievery Corporation, The Suffers
A quick breakdown of Washington, D.C., duo Thievery Corporation's music into its three fundamental parts: The band's spirituality is drawn from the Rasta tradition in reggae/dub, their urbanism from black-American hiphop, and their cosmopolitanism (which is not the same as urbanism) from continental European chic or cool. These basic parts form a musical machine that processes Nigerian Afro-beat (the duo's album, Radio Retaliation, featured Fela Kuti's son Femi Kuti), Brazilian bossa nova (which is prominent on their third album, The Richest Man in Babylon), and Indian raga/classical (which is featured on their second and most successful album, The Mirror Conspiracy). From this multicultural sound rises Thievery Corporation's politics, which, because of its global scope, is a politics of what the philosophers Negri and Hardt call "the multitude." CHARLES MUDEDE
Beethoven Symphony No. 9
Things you may or may not know about Beethoven’s 9th: It was his last symphony. Other composers became scared of writing a ninth symphony because the ninth was his last. He was almost totally deaf when he conducted the premiere, so the performers had to ignore him entirely! He was so deaf he couldn’t hear the applause at the end—five standing ovations in all. A contralto named Caroline Unger had to turn him around so he could see the clapping hands and stuff thrown into the air. Caroline Unger was on the bill because Beethoven added singing to the final movement of this huge mother, which takes more than an hour to perform, post-to-post. Whew. ANDREW HAMLIN
Brittany Anjou with Evan Flory-Barnes & Matt Jorgensen
Matt Jorgensen (drums) and Evan Flory-Barnes (bass) will join forces with Seattle-raised but NYC-based pianist and composer Brittany Anjou. Like Vijay Iyer, Anjou is a philosopher-musician. She obtained a degree in jazz performance and philosophy from NYU, and plays not directly or effusively but reflectively. Hers is a jazz about jazz, a music about music. CHARLES MUDEDE
The Music of Aretha Franklin
Experience the expansive legacy of Aretha Franklin, the forever queen of soul music, with performances by Stephanie Johnson and Ayesha Brooks, among others.
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio: Definitely old-school Hammond B-3 funk! Rediscover the world through the surprisingly varied palette offered by the grand machine itself, complete with its gently psychedelic rotating Leslie speakers. ANDREW HAMLIN
Straight No Chaser
Straight No Chaser take their name from a Thelonious Monk blues song divided not into three four-measure segments, but two six-measure sections, because Monk couldn’t do anything the normal way, heaven cherish him. So Straight No Chaser are well-versed in not doing things the conventional way themselves. But they’re not afraid to throw in a medley of boy-band classics, spiked with Britney Spears for flavor. They’re also famous for the “12 Days of Christmas” video bit that landed in 1998, and, as of the afternoon I’m typing this, has tallied 20,723,331 views. So they’re a little white bread and they make all the percussion noises with their lips, which pisses off some people, but they’re talented, choreographed, and cute. Also, hey, Britney Spears. ANDREW HAMLIN
Cold Cave, Drab Majesty
There’s a video of Cold Cave playing Pitchfork Music Festival at the height of their popularity in 2011, the entire ensemble decked out in black leather despite what looks like a typically sweltering July day in Chicago. It’s a good summation of how committed Wesley Eisold is to his project’s very particular aesthetic: sleek, sad synth-pop with gothic and post-punk undertones, delivered with winking solemnity. Expect new music at this show: Eisold released an EP this year, which will be the first collection of new material from Cold Cave in more than seven years. ANDREW GOSPE
New Year's Eve with Thunderpussy and Red Fang
These four Seattle women—Molly Sides (vocals), Whitney Petty (guitar), Leah Julius (bass), and Ruby Dunphy (drums)—make rock music that's built for IDGAF id-liberating. Thunderpussy's songs make a beeline for your lizard brain and then impel you to bang the container in which said lizard brain sits. In this regard, they resemble the lubricious ruggedness of AC/DC, Led Zeppelin at their raunchiest, and the Runaways. No, it's not innovative, but Thunderpussy's hard rock slams with a classic AOR punchiness. DAVE SEGAL
Nappy Roots, The Bad Tenants, Hold in Fyah Ft. JMoe, New Track City, DJ Indica Jones
Speaking as someone on the older end of the millennial spectrum, I was not aware that I grew up during Southern hiphop’s first renaissance. When I was in junior high and Pharrell first made waves as part of the Neptunes mixing beats for acts like Clipse, I wasn’t aware that they were the tip of the first Southern insurrection against NY and LA. I just knew I loved the “Grindin’” beat. Of those first Southern invasion records, Nappy Roots’ Watermelon, Chicken & Gritz perhaps has aged the best. The Kentucky outfit were always more conscious than their twerk-and-cocaine-happy counterparts, and still knew their way around an indelible hook (see: “Dime, Quarter, Nickel, Penny”). JOSEPH SCHAFER
Steely Dan were one of the smartest bands to consistently rack up platinum records. They got away with singing blisteringly acerbic lyrics and executing complex key changes and tricky time signatures while accruing crazy air time on commercial radio, back when that meant something. So a band dedicated to paying tribute to Steely Dan has to be sharper than your typical homage outfit. Nearly Dan’s 12 members (who’ve played with Ray Charles, the Four Tops, the Temptations, Gladys Knight, and, most importantly, Huey Lewis) are up to the task, interpreting the hits and deep cuts with a professionalism that would impress Donald Fagen and the late Walter Becker’s accountants. DAVE SEGAL
Young south side Chicago sage Mick Jenkins will take on the hill with additional guests on tour in promotion of his latest album, Pieces of a Man.
JANE with the Seattle Symphony
Experience the world of acclaimed primatologist Jane Goodall with this screening of the National Geographic documentary JANE alongside the Seattle Symphony as they perform an orchestral score from legendary composer Philip Glass.
Greta Van Fleet
Michigan rock band Greta Van Fleet includes three brothers—Samuel, Jacob, and Josh Kiszka—among its four members (the fourth is drummer Danny Wagner), who blend metal, pop, blues, and grunge influences into their rock and roll. They'll perform youthful tracks off their debut EP, Black Smoke Rising.
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
The Animaniacs in Concert with Rob Paulsen and Randy Rogel
Relive the bizarre animated moments of your childhood with this concert celebrating the iconic voice work of actor Rob Paulsen and composer Randy Rogel as they wind their way through beloved cartoon show Animaniacs.
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
An all-star collective of cellists (joined by the odd horn players, a rhythm section, and guest vocalists) that deliver music you don’t normally expect to see performed on cellos, like Radiohead. This concert will feature the Portland Cello Project’s deftly arranged orchestration of the UK art rock band’s 1997 third album, which the Project has been performing and perfecting for the past five years. LEILANI POLK
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
London producer/vocalist Nao’s stark brand of funk skews just weirdly enough to cut through the bland gauze of modern R&B. Her conventionally pretty voice bears the heavenly soprano timbres of the sainted Minnie Riperton, contrasting wonderfully with the staunch low-end foundation and clipped, clap-enhanced beats. Nao’s 2016 debut full-length, For All We Know, is loaded with classy, minimalist funk showcases that simmer soulfully like D’Angelo circa Voodoo and sometimes like Jamie Lidell during his Multiply days. Based on this evidence, it seems certain Nao could do a killer cover of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing,” too. She’s a rare talent. DAVE SEGAL
If the fact that Baroque revivalist and Bach expert Jeremy Denk is a recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant isn't enough to make you want to go to this, then take the word of the New York Times: "Mr. Denk, clearly, is a pianist you want to hear, no matter what he performs."
Nigeria-born, England-based singer Jacob Banks crafts modern soul music steeped in honesty and deep personal consideration that is influenced by the years spent teaching himself guitar and songwriting.
Brahms Symphony No. 3
Conductor Andrey Boreyko comes to Seattle from Naples, Italy, to lead the Symphony for Brahms' momentous third symphony. Sofia Gubaidulina’s contemporary classic Offertorium will also be reimagined by violinist Vadim Gluzman.
An Evening with Chris Botti
Amidst career high points like playing alongside Sting and Paul Simon, Grammy Award winner and pop-jazz performer Chris Botti will head back to Seattle with his trumpet and backing band for ballads and jazz and Americana songbook standards.
Though he boasts he’s “the only one that made it out the West without Dre” (a delightfully bold line from “Twist My Fingaz”), Keenon Daequan Ray Jackson, better known as Compton rapper YG, can be found soaking in the same musical hot tub as the breakthrough 1990s artists from his neck of California. Classically wonky G-funk production and heavily slurred slang directly from the front steps of the Blood side of town have come back around to the mainstream some 25 years later, like acid-wash jeans. And despite some of the misogynist viewpoints that apparently still come with the wah-wah bass lines, YG has proven to be an insightful street-level journalist, weaving racial politics and Donald Trump shots between club anthems on his sophomore LP, Still Brazy. TODD HAMM
Seattle Chamber Music Society Winter Festival
The Seattle Chamber Music Society will present its winter season program with a two-weekend festival of six concerts flanked by free pre-concert recitals. Twenty acclaimed musicians are featured this year, including internationally renowned soloists, principals with major US orchestras, and top competition winners like violist Rebecca Albers, pianist Andrew Armstrong, cellists Edward Aaron and Ani Aznavoorian, and violinists Tessa Lark and James Ehnes.
Toro Y Moi
Chaz Bundick’s Bull & Me albums always sound like—all joking aside—a really beautiful Tumblr. You’d scroll past pics of beautiful strangers throwing up peace signs in front of some Judd sculptures in Marfa, $45 beanies that would make you the envy of the cafe, and light shooting through venetian blinds in an artful way. Over the last several years, Bundick [of Toro Y Moi] has ridden the chill wave to the distant shores of synthy hiphop and lite funk. His record, What For?, really begs the answer, but ultimately provides incredibly serviceable, unassuming indie rock-ish music. What’s going to happen is you’re going to go to this show and he’s going to play “Empty Nesters” and you’re going to think, “You know, this song has a few more surprises in it than I initially thought!” and you’re going to have a good time. RICH SMITH
Itzhak Perlman — Bruch Violin Concerto
Grammy- and Emmy-winning violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, who's played a concert at the White House to honor Queen Elizabeth II and who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, will perform an evening set of Bruch's Violin Concerto.
Andre Nickatina a.k.a. Dre Dogg
San Francisco-based rapper and Fillmore thizz legend Andre Nickatina will return to Seattle for an evening with additional as yet unannounced guests.
Since 1997, this Japanese musical/visual art collective has only played one concert in the world per year, and this year they've chosen to unleash their deeply strange improvisational performance on our fair city. Marginal Consort mixes homespun electronic instruments, found instruments, and traditional instruments to create sound environments that are both unsettling and meditative. Sometimes the noises made by the individual members coalesce into a kind of profoundly beautiful music, but most of the time it sounds like a tornado ripping up a fence. RICH SMITH
Timbrrr! Winter Music Festival
This event in Leavenworth—the infamous German-themed town/tourist attraction nestled in the Cascades—looks like the coziest mid-winter music festival, filled with beardo-magnet amenities like skiing and snowboarding, a hot-toddy garden, wine tastings, and festival-branded flannel shirts. The weekend’s musical offerings are generally varied, with numerous local and national acts ranging from indie rock to hiphop. This year's roster is no exception, boasting sets by Shannon & the Clams, Kyle Craft, the True Loves, Parisalexa, Jenn Champion, Tres Leches, and many more. BRITTNIE FULLER
Emerging chart queen Emily King layers electronic riffs with soft yet strong vocal harmonies for a lush glimpse into the futures of pop and R&B music.
Seattle Symphony will perform their annual Celebrate Asia concert, which has celebrated traditions of Seattle’s Asian communities for 11 years now. This year's concert will feature music by famous Korean composers.
JANUARY 31–FEBRUARY 2CLASSICAL
Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 3
This program offers two landmarks of classical music literature and one world premiere that will likely be very good. Shostakovich composed his First Symphony when he was 18 years old, and the piece is full of all the cartoonish humor and aimless ambition you'd expect from a genius teen. Though Beethoven's third Piano Concerto is a common addition to any symphony's season, I could listen to the second and third movements every day for breakfast and feel right with the world. That's why I'm so excited to hear pianist Jonathan Biss play Caroline Shaw's world premiere this evening. According to press materials, Shaw, a founding member of Grammy-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth and the youngest person to ever win a Pulitzer Prize for music, composed the piece "as a response to Beethoven." RICH SMITH
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Immerse yourself in a brassy evening of traditional and contemporary New Orleans jazz, soul, and funk with Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue.
New Yorker singer-songwriter and self-styled "rock rebel" LP is all about brash honesty and soulful, stripped-down yet spirited rock. She'll showcase her latest work on this Heart to Mouth Tour of 2019.
Hawaii’s prodigious ukulele virtuoso has pushed the boundaries of what seems possible on four strings for a few decades, jumping through genres (jazz, rock, funk, classical music, folk, bluegrass, and even flamenco), and mixing original compositions with covers that have his own personal stamp of uke agility and adventurous originality; 2018’s The Greatest Day finds him backed by a three-piece band, and amid original material, you’ll find covers that include a spacy yet spirited, psych-jazz take on Jimi Hendrix’s “If 6 Was 9” featuring Jerry Douglas on dobro. LEILANI POLK
Here is one way of looking at indie rock in the ’00s: The lead singer of Vampire Weekend, Ezra Koenig, recalls Paul Simon (of the ’80s, that is), the lead singer of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Alec Ounsworth, recalls David Byrne, the lead singer of the Walkmen, Hamilton Leithauser, recalls Bono (particularly his early, good stuff), and, finally, the lead singer of Interpol, Paul Banks, recalls, of course, Ian Curtis (on a chair, legs crossed, cigarette burning between fingers). Interpol do have a masterpiece. It’s the track “Untitled” on their debut album, Turn on the Bright Lights. CHARLES MUDEDE
Despite Gene Simmons' political fanaticism and the band's many schisms over the years, iconic make-up metal group KISS is still gigging hard and will hit the Pacific Northwest this winter on their End of the Road World Tour, marking the chosen finale of their tenure as a band.
The Rape of Lucretia
Benjamin Britten's chamber opera The Rape of Lucretia is an impactful piece and considered iconic within the genre. This tale of an ancient Roman noblewoman, whose rape by an Etruscan prince spurred a rebellion that overthrew the Roman monarchy, was first performed in 1946 and will be reimagined here with the cultural context of everything that has happened regarding these themes of hubris and suffering over the last 73 years.
Croatian classical populists 2Cellos, otherwise known as Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, became famous in 2011 after their version of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" went viral and they were subsequently featured on Glee. They'll return to the Seattle area on their national Let There Be Cello tour.
Kinan Azmeh and the Silk Road Ensemble
Kinan Azmeh will be joined by members of the Silk Road Ensemble and the Seattle Symphony for the world premiere performance of his clarinet concerto, as well as Vijay Iyer’s City of Sand, Edward Perez’s Latina 6/8 Suite, and another world premiere by Chen Yi.
Inuk experimental artist and throat singer Tanya Tagaq was probably best known as one of Björk’s supporting players on the Medulla album before she won the prestigious Polaris and Juno prizes—not necessarily because people care about awards, but because her awards performance in front of a list of Inuit survivors of domestic assault went viral. Tagaq combines traditional throat singing with electronic arrangement, punk attitude, and some death-metal vocal flourishes to create dramatic music with a political slant. JOSEPH SCHAFER
King Tuff, Tropa Magica
Judging by his newly bred full-length, The Other, it seems King Tuff has dashingly dropped the headbanger garage rock and is gracing us with something a little more synth-buttery smooth, a little more shimmery (like his album cover portrait), a little more situated in the hypno-pop arena. ZACH FRIMMEL
Harry Partch Ensemble
The opportunity to hear the wholly idiosyncratic music of Harry Partch performed live rarely occurs, so prioritize this event. Blessed with an outsized sonic imagination, Partch also built his own assemblage of bizarre, gargantuan instruments (Chromelodeon, Cloud-Chamber Bowls, Zymo-Xyl, and Spoils of War, etc.) tuned to a microtonal scale (43 unequal tones per octave, bro), which allowed the itinerant American composer to create disorientingly beautiful works that sound as if they’re beamed in from another universe. This program will also include performances of pieces by John Cage, Erik Satie, Arvo Pärt, Luciano Berio, and Charles Ives. DAVE SEGAL
Justin Timberlake, Guests
Recently rustic pop star Justin Timberlake will drag his critically panned new album Man of the Woods around the country on his tour of the same name.
The Delfonics with Greg Hill
Shake right in to this throwback jam night with the most dramatically charged band in the Philly soul scene, the Delfonics. Original member Greg Hill will lead his group through a review of the Delfonics' greatest hits from the golden years of soul.
Jesse McCartney, the pre-pubescent crush of so many millennials, will perform his fun R&B-tinged pop-rock on this Seattle stop for his 2019 Resolution Tour.
Gail Pettis Quintet: Love Goes to the Movies
Earshot Jazz-acclaimed 2010 Vocalist of the Year Gail Pettis will perform a program of romantic movie themes and jazz standards featured in classic films with her quintet and a special feature by Dmitri Matheny on flugelhorn.
Sprightly Scandinavian singer Aurora haunts the Showbox with a night of dark, electronica-tinged pop music, and will be joined by Talos.
Smooth English singer-songwriter Ella Mai has been heard all over the world this past summer since her single "Boo'd Up" hit the airwaves. She'll travel back to the West Coast on her "Debut" tour this winter.
Prokofiev Symphony No. 7
An evening chock-full of violins, playfulness, and nostalgia. Paul Dukas's The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which you'll remember from Disney's Fantasia, will give way to Prokofiev's sweeping and yet wistful Seventh Symphony. Violinist Aleksey Semenenko will also tackle the challenging but downright jaunty solos in Sibelius's one-and-only Violin Concerto, colloquially known as the "Polonaise for Polar Bears" due to its icy texture and pounding rhythm. RICH SMITH
A Bowie Celebration: The David Bowie Alumni Tour
Now that the winter is slowly passing, it’s time to revel in some palate-cleansing joy. Seattle Symphony has decided to host an evening of tributes worthy of glam rock god David Bowie with his friends, former bandmates, and acclaimed musicians including Mike Garson and other amazing Bowie band alumni. Feel free to zazz your face up with a lightning bolt and cry/dance in the corner with the rest of us.
SRJO's Basie Bash: I Got A Right to Sing The Blues
Revisit the legendary collaborations of Count Basie's career with many of history’s greatest jazz singers, such as Joe Williams, Frank Sinatra, and Billie Holiday. The Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra will perform some of his greatest hits like "Too Close for Comfort," "Honeysuckle Rose," and Sarah Vaughan’s version of "I Got a Right to Sing the Blues."
Alex Cameron & Roy Molloy
At first glance, Alex Cameron’s music leans heavily on shtick. The twentysomething musician playacts as a sleazy, past-his-prime, lounge-lizard type, a bit that’s conceptually similar to the louche Laurel Canyon showman that Josh Tillman inhabits as Father John Misty. But on second album Forced Witness, Cameron’s formidable ability as a songwriter gets equal billing to the sad-sack persona he’s adopted. Killers singer Brandon Flowers is a friend, and judging by Cameron’s slick synth-pop (albeit with a schlocky adult-contemporary veneer), he’s an influence, as well—though it’s a safe bet that the notoriously Mormon Flowers played little part in songs like lecherous online dating ode “Studmuffin96.” ANDREW GOSPE
Kacey Musgraves, Soccer Mommy
Texas troubadour Kacey Musgraves' third studio effort, Golden Hour, is among the year's best. It’s the kind of lovingly crafted work that feels like the warm embrace of a good friend, as she sings about sisterly love and fading romance. KATHY FENNESSY
Miya Folick, Barrie
Los Angeles artist Miya Folick has an eerily Arcadian sound that wouldn’t be out of place at Lilith Fair 1997—if Lilith Fair took place on the bridge of a pastel grid space station. Folick’s music is tender and emotionally candid without being precious; each song showcases a diamond-sharp vocal tone, and many harbor almost Heartless Bastards–adjacent moments with throaty power vocals and heart-thumping atmosphere. KIM SELLING
The Bad Plus
A Minneapolis jazz trio of impeccable taste and talent that are inching towards two decades together. The Bad Plus have a dozen albums to their credit, their catalog heavy on avant jazzy reimaginings of indie rock, pop, and electronic music. Go find their take on Aphex Twin’s “Flim” right now. Then, listen to their most recent outing, It’s Hard—“I Walk the Line” (Johnny Cash), “Maps” (the Yeah Yeah Yeahs), “The Robots” (Kraftwerk), and “The Beautiful Ones” (Prince) all get the Bad Plus treatment. LEILANI POLK
Kris Kristofferson & The Strangers
Country Music Hall of Famer and brilliant facial hair-cultivator Kris Kristofferson showcases a career of mature Americana pop and lilting country hits to an audience of light-rock-less-talk enthusiasts.
Though they’ve kept a low profile since the mid-1990s, the pop classicists of Teenage Fanclub never went away. The Scottish outfit simply took a longer break than usual (six years) between albums. It did them good, since Here ranks among their finest since 1991’s Bandwagonesque. In the interim, Teenage Fanclub have turned down the volume and burnished their melodies to a warm, coppery glow. KATHY FENNESSY
Masters of Hawaiian Music: George Kahumoku Jr, Nathan Aweau, & Kawika Kahiapo
George Kahumoku Jr, Nathan Aweau, and Kawika Kahiapo bring the island vibes to the main stage with a two-evening set of slack-key and slide guitar, ukulele, and songs from traditional and contemporary Polynesian musical eras.
Seattle Festival Orchestra: Eroica
Enjoy the triumphant glory of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, Eroica, as it is performed alongside Richard Strauss’s Concerto No. 1 for Horn and Orchestra by the Seattle Festival Orchestra and international horn soloist Andrew Palletier.
Sharon Van Etten, Nilüfer Yanya
After many years, singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten will return to Seattle on her Remind Me Tomorrow Tour with up and coming pop artist Nilüfer Yanya in tow and the emotionally resonant folk-pop for which she's famous.
FEBRUARY 23–MARCH 9OPERA
The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs
Contemporary opera probably isn't the most intuitive delivery system for the life story of the CEO of the world's largest tech company, but in some ways it kinda makes sense. Jobs was a major mythical figure for geeks, a reportedly tyrannical boss who basically wore a costume all the time, and a literary enthusiast! Regardless, the opera, which was written by Mason Bates and librettist Mark Campbell, has been getting great reviews since its premiere in Santa Fe last year, thanks largely to its state-of-the-art, "visually stunning" projection sequences. RICH SMITH
Beirut, Helado Negro
Many Beirut albums sound like letters from Zach Condon telling you how much he’s enjoying his study abroad program. His soft-serve orkestar arrangements don’t inspire confidence in the depth of his study, and his lazy vibrato is a transparent attempt to make up for his low expressive range. FINE. But somebody has to keep the troubadourin’ Eurostar dream alive! And what Condon lacks in lyrical and musical depth he makes up for in breadth. Across several albums he’s incorporated brass from Mexican folk and the Balkans, as well as fuzzy, poppy synth. The recent album, No No No, lays maudlin vocals over bright horns, mixes memory and desire, and reminds me of cobblestoned streets I never walked. RICH SMITH
Habib Koité and Bassekou Kouyate
Two of Africa’s biggest musical stars breeze into town to liven up the elegant Triple Door. Senegal-born Malian guitarist Habib Koité and his band Bamada’s 2014 album Soô (translation: “Home”) weaves delicately gorgeous male/female vocal harmonies, vibrant hand percussion, and spangly guitar motifs into spare, folky songs of deep pathos. It’s the kind of aural warmth you’ll crave in late February. Fellow Malian musician Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba—who released their Grammy-nominated I Speak Fula album for Sub Pop subsidiary Next Ambiance—traffic in more uptempo, undulant songwriting that skillfully balances euphoria and bluesiness while keeping your hips swaying. Listen in awe as Kouyaté flaunts a Hendrixian mastery of the African string instrument, ngoni. DAVE SEGAL
The Coathangers, SADGIRL
Atlanta psycho-pop trio the Coathangers are three bands in one, which sounds like hyperbole until you dig into their discography, including 2016's swell Nosebleed Weekend on Seattle’s Suicide Squeeze. On stage, the self-described crazy-ass ladies trade instruments and lead vocals, much like Beat Happening before them. Guitarist Julia Kugel brings salty-sweet riot-grrrl attitude, drummer Stephanie Luke brings metal power and fury, and bassist Meredith Franco brings no-wave-meets-new-wave spirit. It’s as if Bikini Kill–era Kathleen Hanna joined forces with members of the Shangri-Las and Girlschool. To add to the party vibes, the Coathangers go by goofy nicknames (Crook Kid, Minnie, Rusty), sprinkle their lyrics with brand names (Nestlé, Adderall), and wear matching girl-gang outfits (white T-shirts, black leather jackets) when the mood strikes. KATHY FENNESSY
FEBRUARY 28–MARCH 2ROCK/POP
To hear Billy Bragg extol the practical value of socialist principles—which is to say, collective provision as a necessary function of any democratic government worthy of the name—is invigorating. Songs may not change the world, but they can grease the gears. And unlike so many people making noise about this subject right now, Bragg (armed with an unimprovable East London accent) makes it sound not only like common sense, but like it’s right around the corner if we only pull together. There’s no greater asset in an age that invites cynicism.
His certitude—powered by 30 years of experience—really helps ease the disorienting sense that you’re the only sane person left in the fucking world. Which is also what the best pop music has always done. Though you can’t really separate the message from the messenger, it’s also worth mentioning that Bragg is one of the most charismatic, entertaining, and hilarious performers on the circuit. It’s not like there’s ever been a bad time to see a Billy Bragg show. But at the moment, it feels like there’s never been a better one. SEAN NELSON
FEBRUARY 28–MARCH 3CLASSICAL
Sir András Schiff Conducts & Plays
Returning to Seattle to make his orchestral debut as conductor, legendary Hungarian pianist Sir András Schiff will lead the Seattle Symphony from both the keyboard and the conductor's podium through renditions of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, Bach’s Piano Concerto No. 3, and Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra.
Joey Alexander Trio
In my review of Don Cheadle's recently released biopic of Miles Davis, Miles Ahead, I complained that it was very disappointing to see one of the most brilliant American musicians "characterized as a gangster and not an intellectual." My point is that the mastery of jazz takes years upon years (what I call aristocratic time), which is why the 15-year-old jazz pianist Joey Alexander is so freaky. How did he pack into himself so much information in such a short amount of time? But one of the things that jazz does is transform musicians into intellectuals. An intellectual is simply someone who has absorbed a large body of knowledge—such a body is jazz. CHARLES MUDEDE
Emerald City Music: 18 Musicians
This is the most exciting development in minimalist-composition news since Terry Riley orchestrated a live rendering of In C outside of SAM in 2013. Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians ranks as one of history’s most universally revered long-form works of minimalism. Originally released via ECM Records in 1978, the 59-minute piece evokes an ever-regenerating sense of hope and lofty aspiration as it cycles through its 12 busy, intricate movements. Its cumulative effect is to create the illusion you’re ascending to a realm of heavenly beneficence and rejuvenation. This staging is being billed as “a wander-through concert experience,” and it will involve an international ensemble of vocalists, percussionists, pianists, and chamber musicians. DAVE SEGAL
In 2007, the Swedish pop star Robyn enjoyed a huge, Kleerup-produced hit called "With Every Heartbeat." The hit is about her in the position of a young woman who has decided to leave a bad but still loved man. Because the past and the present do not change, regarding this lover, she is moving on and will not look back at him or their relationship. Robyn puts her whole heart into this tune, which has a Euro-disco beat, a few flowery strings that surge near the end, and standard sonic effects. We really feel, as we dance to it in a living room or a club with the bright and swirling lights, the deep pain of someone who is departing what is known and heading into a possibly very unhappy future. “Still I’m dying with every step I take, but I do not look back” (almost makes you want to cry as you boogie). Robyn’s biggest hit, however, is “Dancing on My Own.” CHARLES MUDEDE
Sir András Schiff In Recital
Legendary Hungarian pianist Sir András Schiff will play a solo program of pieces from Bach, Bartók, Schumann, and Janáček.
(Im)migration: Music of Displaced Peoples
In this quarterly series that highlights music by composers affected by diasporas and migration, UW piano professor Robin McCabe will lead UW music students as they perform multiple works, with a pre-concert lecture by UW Music History faculty member Jon Hanford.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Ladysmith Black Mambazo have a whole bunch of guys singing bass. That’s the secret to their success. Okay, Paul Simon “found” them, and that’s been the secret to their success in what we loosely term “the West.” By 1986, though, when Ladysmith Black Mambazo recorded and performed with Simon, they already had more than 20 albums in their native South Africa. Now they have more than 50 albums. They never stop touring, and they’ve outlasted the racist apartheid system under which the older members grew up. They’re still ambassadors to South African culture. And they make people happy—boldly, unironically, and enthusiastically. I just finished hearing more terrible news about you-know-who, ugh. We need happy like we need fucking food and air right now. Respect. ANDREW HAMLIN
Marissa Nadler, Hilary Woods
While she kept it low-key, Marissa Nadler was one of the more interesting and unpredictable of the Pitchfork-approved “freak-folk” artists. While Joanna Newsom tried to weaponize her rasp and Andrew Bird tried to make everything he touched sound like a Disney soundtrack, Nadler collaborated with black-metal artist Xasthur and mined some deep pathos for her songs. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Herb Alpert and Lani Hall
Wild trumpeter Herb Alpert will play his legendary brass for three nights of hits from his classic album Whipped Cream & Other Delights and later projects for an evening of Latin-inspired instrumental jazz and pop, with retro tracks and '60s soundtrack notes, and support from his wife, Grammy-winning vocalist Lani Hall.
Joshua Bell — Mendelssohn Violin Concerto
Renowned violinist Joshua Bell will perform Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto and Haydn’s Symphony No. 102 with the understated skill accumulated throughout his 30-plus-year career as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist, and conductor.
At the Showbox, the hook-laden British dance-pop group Jungle will bless their dedicated fan base with more exotic-hypnotic soul than this city is used to. The smooth and lean athleticism of their enjoyable 2014 eponymous debut combines Massive Attack’s warped perceptions, D’Angelo’s seduction, and Hot Chip’s dance-floor charm to keep your heart full and legs limber to jogger-friendly tempos. The common thread is a retro-UK-groove that keeps the songs moving to motivational, ecstatic heights, while inlayed textures and stylistic treatments keep them interesting and moving forward. Catch the fever. TRAVIS RITTER
If you ever fooled yourself that contemporary hiphop couldn’t be tender, soulful, and non-corny, pick up Telefone, one of 2016’s best rap albums, the debut release of Chicagoan Fatima “Noname” Warner. She sits squarely in the constellation of heartfelt, populist Midwest hiphop artists who orbit (and are technically more interesting than) Chance the Rapper. Noname’s sharp-but-susurrant murmur recalls Chano, Jean Grae, and even Lauryn Hill’s smoother moments on the mic—flowing, sometimes spilling over the banks of the beat, warm and comforting as Day One in times of crisis. First heard on Mick Jenkins’s Trees & Truths tape, then on Acid Rap’s “Lost,” Noname has had an organic ascent into a headliner. She’s a blissfully hype-light success story. Extra credit: Jamila Woods’s Noname-featuring “VRY BLK” (from Woods’s also essential HEAVN) bubbles over with a delicate, childlike joy in being melanin-rich. Purest Black Girl Magic. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Pacific MusicWorks: Scottish Folk & Baroque
Inspired by the natural beauty and lush heritage of Scotland, internationally renowned Scottish fiddler and violinist Brandon Vance will join harpsichordist and guitarist Henry Lebedinsky for a program featuring the intermingling of art and folk music throughout 18th century Scotland, with sonatas by Oswald, MacLean, Munro, and Marshall alongside traditional reels, jigs, marches, and more.
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.
“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 pianist Nils Frahm merges pensive sonatas with percolating electronics into a minimalist soundtrack for the modern age. Armed with banks of vintage synths, effects machines, and multiple pianos, Frahm’s heavily wired stage plot recalls the early incarnation of electronic pioneers Tangerine Dream, though his aspirations feel deliberately less cosmic and more rooted in the melancholy of the industrialized world and the steadily thumping pulse of neon urban life. BRIAN COOK
Joe Lovano Trio Tapestry
Grammy-winning saxophonist and composer Joe Lovano has conquered both large and small group jazz in his career, from heavily lauded solo symphonic work to his position as the Gary Burton Chair of Jazz Performance at Berklee College of Music. Over the years, he has won awards for Multi-Reeds Player and Tenor Saxophonist of the Year from the Jazz Journalists Association and Tenor Saxophonist of the Year from DownBeat Magazine, and has somehow found the time to release 23 albums on the legendary Blue Note record label.
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.
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.
Cuban star Daymé Arocena is a quintuple threat as a singer, composer, arranger, choir director, and band leader. She'll show off her charismatic presence with an evening of Afro-Cuban jazz and neo-soul.
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.