by Stranger Things To Do Staff
Despite our current presidential election looming over this country as the ultimate in public theatre (and gruesome entertainment), we should all be allowed to take a break and cleanse our eardrums and brainwaves with some live music from local and touring bands. This week we've got everything from public fornication wizards, to pop-punk punning, to a high-note-belting queen of the RuPaul variety. Check out all the ways to distract yourself from our modern democratic process on our music calendar.
Chance the Rapper with Francis & the Lights
In scant years, the unsigned Chicago rapper Chancellor Bennett, son of a Chicago politico, has become the undisputed (young) people’s champ in hiphop—his earnest, optimist everybro stance and his nasal, half-sung SuperBall flow are in the DNA of half the under-22 rappers you hear. (The mini-universe of new Midwest talent sprinkled among his songs—folks like Smino, Noname, and Saba—all deliver compellingly on their own.) He sells out stadiums at home, makes online music retailers give his music away, and influences Grammy rules to change. His is a necessary check to the pervading darkness of the last few years in rap, favoring psychedelics and exploration over opiates and escape. His heavily sanctified 2016 LP Coloring Book bridges rap microgenres and drags them to church with him on Sunday morning, without sounding preachy, coming off All Lives Matter–y, or even really breaking a sweat. God help this man. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Gnash, Goody Grace, Quin, Triangle Park
Gnash, a fully emoting young up-and-comer, singer, and semi-rapper, brings his dream diary to the stage, with Goody Grace, Quin, and Triangle Park.
La Luz, The Shivas, DoNormaal
It's been a little more than seven months since La Luz moved away from Seattle. While it was sad to see them go, their dreamy doo-wop vocals and surf-inspired harmonies hinting at the strange and uncanny seemed like a perfect fit for their next destination: Los Angeles. Guitarist/vocalist Shana Cleveland, drummer Marian Li Pino, keyboardist Alice Sandahl, and bassist Lena Simon all moved together, but they haven't exactly settled in. They've been touring and rehearsing almost nonstop for their next album (to be recorded in November), and gearing up for a fall European tour. AMBER CORTES
M83 with Yeasayer
In retrospect, my 2004 feature on M83—led by LA-via-France multi-instrumentalist Anthony Gonzalez—turned out to be prophetic. “It doesn’t take Nostradamus’ prognosticating powers to predict M83 will become the next band to wow those who’d prefer to experience music in planetariums. After all, M83… named themselves after a galaxy, and their music aspires to transport you to distant realms while plucking your heart strings till they fray with the overwhelming sincerity and passion of it all.” Back then, M83 were playing Neumos; now they’re rockin’ WaMu. Since those early days, M83’s soft-focus, electronic-infused shoegaz(emo) has gradually devolved into candy-flossy lighter-wavers on their latest full-length, Junk, with production values harking back to ABC’s syrupy How to Be a… Zillionaire! Hard to believe M83 once cited Sonic Youth, Can, and Tangerine Dream as inspirations. DAVE SEGAL
Opeth with The Sword
It’s pretty safe to say the once-progressive Swedish death metallers Opeth have matured into a much softer and mellower beast. But it’s not like we didn’t see it coming. Damnation, released in 2003, was the first sign the band was shifting, incorporating clean singing and acoustic guitars, while simply adding layers of depth to their already well-loved sound. Thirteen years later, they’ve made the full transition. The recently released album Sorceress shows no traces of their past brutality, trading in their guttural screams for organ solos. For what it is, it’s incredible… but just don’t go in expecting to hear “Demon of the Fall.” KEVIN DIERS
Bad Religion, Against Me!, Dave Hause
I’m too old to have ’00s pop-punk/Epitaph nostalgia, so when I look back at my teenage years and consider Bad Religion, I never, EVER would have imagined they’d become hugely popular a full decade AFTER their first LP, or that they’d STILL be playing today AND the lineup would include former Minor Threat/Dag Nasty guitarist Brian Baker! Well, in the ’90s, Bad Religion codified their sound into a tight, clean version of early-’80s SoCal hardcore, and, along with grad-school thesis-level narratives, they simply continued on unflinchingly and successfully touring and recording new records. Not bad, fellers, way to keep from having to retire! Along for tonight’s action are alternative radio stars Against Me! and singer-songwriter Dave Hause. MIKE NIPPER
Ben Folds and a Piano
Generally likable neighborhood dad Ben Folds shows off his decades of indie rock pastiche in an intimate evening, just some guy and his piano. If he tries to reprise "Bitches Ain't Shit," you're allowed to leave.
Eighty and Ninety: Stuart Dempster and Bill Smith
Long a professor at the University of Washington, Stuart Dempster’s a circular-breathing trombone maven who can hold a drone note for a whole hour and possesses chops so tight he can play bebop through a garden hose! Dempster’s friend Bill Smith is a clarinet demon who can play multiphonics all night long. Should you think that no great shakes, just try playing all night long, let alone several notes at once on an instrument not designed for any such thing. So these two old men can each rip shit up, and they’re going to go at it all night long—did I mention that Dempster is 80 this year, and Smith is 90? Bonus: drones on didgeridoo and video art. ANDREW HAMLIN
The Orb, Vox Mod, R-Pal
For more than a quarter century, the Orb have been floating in their own peculiar, stoned orbit, bringing ambient house and Dadaistic dub to a demographic that still digs escaping reality, even as it enters middle age. (Key member Thomas Fehlmann and founder Alex Paterson are both nearing 60.) At their best, the Orb manifest fantastical aural playgrounds that enable minds to roam unfettered by earthly concerns, even as they sneak in sociopolitical commentary. Some fans think the Orb peaked early with albums like Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld, U.F.Orb, Orbus Terrarum, and Orblivion. But Paterson and Fehlmann have actually maintained high quality control well into this century, as they guide the mothership into gently trippy dubbed-out techno and schaffel deviations. The Orb bill their new album, COW/Chill Out, World!, as their most ambient work to date, and it’s true. This heavenly bliss fest is a late-career highlight. Anyone have leads on herbal ecstasy? DAVE SEGAL
Screaming Females, Moor Mother, Listen Lady
In the definitive transcendental ranking of New Jersey rock bards, I’d put Marissa Paternoster at number two, just behind Bruce Springsteen, but way ahead of Bon Jovi (gimme “You Give Love a Bad Name” and keep the rest). Paternoster’s muscular indie-rock trio, Screaming Females, showcases her as a triple threat: a talented lyricist with a distinctive vibrato, as well as a powerful guitarist. After years of relentless touring, she’s developed into a formidable riff machine. Under the tube amps, though, Screaming Females have a knack for pop, too: They’ve covered both Taylor Swift and Patti Smith (in collaboration with Garbage) with equal aplomb. JOSEPH SCHAFER
DJ Spooky: The Hidden Code
The recordings, live performances, and DJ sets of DJ Spooky (Paul D. Miller) always come freighted with substantive concepts and science-fictional expansiveness. Known for his sonic eclecticism, Spooky has rewardingly sojourned into dub, drum & bass, hiphop, jazz, musique concrète, and the late, lamented ’90s genre illbient (which is due for a comeback). For his latest endeavor, The Hidden Code, Spooky strives to intersect art and science and give us “a new concert experience” using electronics, saxophone, spoken word, and visuals. Judging by the YouTube trailer, The Hidden Code seems like a cross between a physics lecture, an episode of Cosmos, and planetarium-friendly, futuristic jazztronica. Looks like a heady trip, in more ways than one. DAVE SEGAL
Contemporary jazz saxman Gerald Albright will headline a four-day performance stint, focusing on classics and covers from his sixteen albums and showing off his talents as a bassist, and tenor, baritone, and soprano sax arranger. (Through October 30)
Fred and Toody Cole, Jesse Sykes & Phil Wandscher
Fred and Toody Cole are, in a word, indefatigable. Far before many of us were dragged into this world, they were screeching through walls, blasting through graveyards, and exposing the Northwest region to what could be your life if you just paused at an Oregonian club to flirt with a local waitress. For decades, this twosome has released album after album with the same rugged yet tender passion for freeform psychedelia and hard-won punk rock. You want the gritty heart of a regional music scene that’s outlasted each fad for which this place is known? The Coles are it. KIM SELLING
Ic3peak, Youryoungblood, Force Publique
Russian duo Nick & Nastya make up Ic3peak, an experimental electro-pop project headlining at Kremwerk, with Youryoungbody, and Force Publique.
The King Khan & & BBQ Show, Paint Fumes, DJ Kave-In
King Khan makes me do things I wouldn’t usually entertain on a non-weekend. At the double-digits amount of King Khan & BBQ Show shows I’ve attended over their last 13 years of off and on band activity, I’ve punched men in the face, broken up with idiots, slept with strangers in venue bathrooms, and one time put out a cigarette on the chest of someone I love (that may have been a La Luz show—alcohol won’t let me remember). Anything that comes out of frontman and renowned nutbar Mark Sultan’s mind results in the highest of psychedelia, the sloppiest of Skinemax, the rowdiest of rock and roll. He’s a flying id with all the charm of a backcountry cult preacher, and the decades of live-music experience to convince you of just about anything. Leave your hand sanitizer at home, and walk forth into Neumos to be blessed by his sweat. KIM SELLING
Sunflower Bean, The Lemon Twigs
Sunflower Bean have fab taste in covers. On their new From the Basement EP, the Brooklyn trio tenderly interpret the Modern Lovers’ “Old World,” T. Rex’s “Life’s a Gas,” Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” and, best of all, Spiritualized’s gospeldelic classic “Shine a Light.” As for Sunflower Bean’s originals, they ramble and spangle with nonchalant panache, as bassist Julia Cumming’s vocals add a frosty sheen to the band’s B+ melodic indie rock. It’s supremely pleasant. The rare American band signed to England’s 4AD label, the Lemon Twigs have mastered the art of sounding like a shit-hot, flamboyant ’70s pop-rock combo; think Big Star, Sparks, Something/Anything-era Todd Rundgren, Badfinger, et al. Yes, many current bands go for this sort of power-pop/glam resurrection, but the Lemon Twigs’ songwriting chops surpass most others’. Check their Jonathan Rado–produced debut album Do Hollywood for proof. DAVE SEGAL
Adore Delano with Guests
Do you remember that drag queen Adore Delano? Rather cute and kinda sassy? She appeared more than 22 million years ago in the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race, which nobody cares about anymore because there aren't any Seattle queens on it this year. She's singing with a live band, from her debut album, Till Death Do Us Party, and her latest work #AFTERPARTY. ADRIAN RYAN
Blitzen Trapper with Sera Cahoone
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
BowieVision: The Ultimate David Bowie Tribute
The local tribute group Bowievision—featuring members of Dudley Manlove Quartet and Purr Gato, plus saxophonist Brian Bermudez—replicate as faithfully as they can the chameleonic British singer/songwriter’s hits, with a light show and video backdrops for bonus dazzlement. DAVE SEGAL
Jethro Tull with Ian Anderson
Ian Anderson, the legendary flautist and vocalist behind Jethro Tull, celebrates 48 years as an international recording and performing musician. He takes the evening to produce a resurrection of Tull's best-known albums for the Moore audience.
The Sonics, Tom Price Desert Classic, Ayron Jones
The point of garage rock has always been to get in, raise a ruckus, and split the scene. The genre will never die, but the musicians tend to move on as they age, while rambunctious youngsters step in to take their place. The Sonics, on the other hand, were always a breed apart. In the 1960s, they rocked the hardest, wrote the punchiest songs, and wore the best damn fuzzy sweaters. After three decades of fragmentation, they roared back to life in 2007. Since then, they’ve collaborated with Mudhoney, gotten name-checked by LCD Soundsystem (“the Sonics, the Sonics, the Sonics, the Sonics”), and put out a shockingly fine return-to-form, This Is the Sonics, in 2015. Not bad for a little indie band from Tacoma. KATHY FENNESSY
The great Polish modernist composer Witold Lutoslawski (died 1994) was a formal experimenter during a time of great social upheaval. When he wrote the work Chain 1 in 1983, making use of phrases and figures that move along in a chain-like fashion, linked but evolving perpetually forward, it was in the middle of martial law in Poland, imposed from 1981 to 1989. He wrote the second, more conservative yet lovely piece on this program, Chantefleurs et Chantefables (Songflowers and Songfables), for a premiere in 1991, and here it will be performed by Agata Zubel, who was born in 1978 in Poland. She’s also a composer (the New York Times dubbed her a “musical threat”), and she’ll complete the night with her own composition adapting of Chapter 13 from the story of The Little Prince. She plays both parts, the dreamer and the businessman. JEN GRAVES
Young the Giant, Ra Ra Riot
Los Angeles-based post vibe alt rockers Young the Giant manifest their dreams in their third album, Home of the Strange. They're joined by equally wide-eyed indie rock group Ra Ra Riot.
Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, Black Bone Exorcism, Summoned By Giants, Guest Directors
If you received advance knowledge of an impending apocalyptic event, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth would be the band you would hire to play your apocalypse party. In the same way coastal communities gather together for hurricane parties to celebrate life during ferocious storms, BOTSC celebrate the power of life as we march toward our inevitable, explosive end. You can certainly feel our crushing demise in their down-tuned epics, but in listening to their self-titled, debut full-length from last year, you’re also given the feeling of a triumphant reemergence, if you can weather the storm. Supposedly the final show before frontman/guitarist Tad Doyle and gang retreat to the studio to lay down more earth-shaking psychedelia, this grimy, intimate (tickets are limited to 100) throw-down at an underground venue is best-case scenario for any fan of heavy business. TODD HAMM
Halloween Bash Benefit for Astra Elane
Over the summer, the Gods Themselves vocalist/guitarist Astra Elane broke up a tussle between her dog and a pit bull, badly injuring two of her fingers in the process. Awful news for a musician, obviously, and health care ain’t cheap in this country. Ergo, Astra’s reuniting her popular Shocking Blue tribute band the Daemon Lovers and enlisting other great homage-happy rock acts to help raise funds for her medical bills. The Daemon Lovers do serious justice to the Dutch psych-pop masters, while Underworld Scum reanimate the Misfits’ goth-punk shenanigans with scary authenticity. The Velveteen Rabbit Hole totally inhabit the sonic and sartorial aura of the Velvet Underground, an ever-fecund font of radical rock ideas. Real talk: Astra’s one of the most talented and nicest characters in Seattle’s music scene. Help a sister out—and have some damned fun while doing so. DAVE SEGAL
Iron Lung, Gas Chamber, Endorphins Lost, Newlywed
Here’s how it typically goes with hardcore: A few dudes with a passable grasp on their instruments come together, play some shows, put out a record, do a few tours, and either break up or evolve. That last step is the clincher: Longevity is difficult to pull off in hardcore. Why? Because either you burn out on slogging through the underground’s trenches or you learn more about your instrument and push beyond mimicking your heroes. This is why hardcore is full of great 7-inches and sophomore slumps, but short on lifers who evolve without watering down their sound. This is also why Seattle’s Iron Lung is a national treasure. After 17 years and countless releases, the powerviolence duo continue to push their sound into exhilarating new realms of harsh dissonance and adroit musicianship. BRIAN COOK
Khu.éex’, Roger Fernandes
Led by bassist Preston Singletary, large Seattle ensemble Khu.éex’ forge a unique fusion of robust funk, fiery, Pharoah-esque jazz, and Tlingit vocalizing and storytelling. Their sonic integrity was further verified by the inclusion of the late Funkadelic/Talking Heads/Praxis keyboardist Bernie Worrell, who appears on their 2016 debut LP, The Wilderness Within, which was engineered, mixed, and co-produced by Randall Dunn. The album’s an intense suite of songs that soars with a profound spirituality and exudes celebratory vibrations. Local sax maniac Skerik contributes searing solos and Worrell delivers his trademark groovy/churchy swells and baroque vamps; the whole thing has the air of a ritual that encourages both sacred and hedonistic urges. It’s astounding to ponder that Khu.éex’ cut so much material with Worrell that they’ll be releasing a triple LP next February, They Forgot They Survived, along with three more double albums. This show should be a moving manifestation of Bernie’s formidable, funky legacy. DAVE SEGAL
King Dude with Guests
Some may know local singer-songwriter TJ Cowgill best from his stint as the singer in local metal band Book of Black Earth. Others may recognize his name as a driving force behind the creepy-cool clothing label Actual Pain. But Cowgill’s alter ego, King Dude, is a brooding and occult-aligned pop-rock lothario walking the line among Nick Cave, Elvis Presley, and the mad monk Rasputin. Hot on the heels of a successful summer European tour, King Dude is about to release a new album titled Sex, his second in as many years, and this de-facto release party on the weekend before Halloween ought to be one to remember. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Maceo Parker with the Jones Family Singers
Soulful saxophonist Maceo Parker has spent decades exploring and rewriting the history of funk in collaborations with icons like James Brown, George Clinton, and Prince, while simultaneously honing his own brand of creative showmanship. He'll be performing alongside the Jones Family Singers.
Majid Jordan with DJ TJ
If all your favorite tracks begin with “Hey, girl,” then Majid Jordan are here for you (, girl). Their shit is smooth like butter, airy like a sexy nighttime breeze, and truly low-fat—maybe so nonfat that the would-be substance of their music ceased to exist even before your hormones started thumpin’. Their median point consists of softboi Drake-isms (sometimes featuring actual Drake) with the crooning lecherousness of the Weeknd, smoothed out by an electro-club sensibility. A central line from the lead track of their 2016 self-titled release lilts: “I always thought you were a person of substance, but then when you left you had nothing to say.” Strangely on point, as that was how I felt after finishing their album. Majid Jordan are quite affecting, if you’re not really paying attention. KIM SELLING
Sum 41, Senses Fail, As It Is
Pop punk hold-outs Sum 41 resurrect themselves and hit the ground running on their a-little-too-on-the-nose "Don't Call It A Sum-Back" Tour, with support from Senses Fail, and As It Is.
VHS, Sioux City Pete & the Beggars, Dealer, Celluloid
Up-and-coming Seattle four-piece VHS (Violent Human System) recently released a sickeningly sweet new record, Gift of Life, via Suicide Squeeze. The 25-minute bout of noise-punk malaise is hospital-themed, with bleak rockers like "Wheelchair" and "Binge Everything" artfully criticizing a perpetually sick culture. This record, with its agonizingly bent guitars and metallic punk luster, is proving to be one of the year's best local releases. BRITTNIE FULLER
Hilary Hahn in Recital
Hilary Hahn may only be 34, but she has already garnered many awards of renown, and has been an international violin sensation for years. On this tour, she performs selections from Bach to brand new commissions—baroque to contemporary.
Nik Turner's Hawkwind, Federsieben, Fungal Abyss, Trannysaurus Rox
Holy Technicolor blotter paper and sugar cubes, y’all! Here we have the last of a kind—the blessed king of freaks—Nik Turner, his lysergic, baptized saxophone, and a merry band of like-minded, pulsing, unhinged, and dingly-dangly weirdos known as Hawkwind! If you haven’t experienced their level of VIBRATION, get here, ’cause I reckon tonight will be some kinda freaked-out space-rock circus; Hawkwind’s reverberations, once unleashed, cannot be tamed. Kick-starting the trip will be German group Hedersleben, classic-style proggies whose song narratives are, of course, based on sci-fi novels; locals Fungal Abyss, with their atmospheric progressive metal; and Trannysaurus Rox to bring some hessian theater. I can’t imagine a more perfect pre-Halloween-night show! MIKE NIPPER
Questionable ethics-holder and falsetto crooner R. Kelly hits the Xfinity stage on his Buffet Tour, with fourteen albums worth of R&B and neo-soul to go around.
Zion I, Lafa Taylor, Pure Powers
I know that Zion I are still very active, still dropping new science, still making fresh beats and productive collaborations. The Bay Area duo (DJ AmpLive and MC Zumbi) are still not loving the police, still about the keeping the peace, still spreading the love, and still finding harmony within. Yes, Zion I are not stuck in the past. Nevertheless, it's impossible to separate this duo from that important moment in the late 1990s/early '00s that witnessed the emergence of hiphop's underground. The West Coast gave us crews like Lootpack, Planet Asia, and Rasco; the East Coast gave us Black Star, Company Flow, Aesop Rock, and Scienz of Life. To not see Zion I in the light of that vanishing world is to miss their essence, their reason for being here. CHARLES MUDEDE