For the second consecutive year, ’Mo-Wave is upon us — the Capitol Hill music, dance and art festival with a punk edge that draws heavily on the five letters L, G, B, T and Q.
That’s Q for “queer,” a more inclusive word than “gay,” though organizers stress that any gender or orientation is welcome to attend.
The event’s name itself is a play on “homo” — meant in an insider way — and on “no wave,” the weirdest strain of 1970s New York City punk.
Practically speaking, ’Mo-Wave is a neighborhood festival where you can walk between four venues in five minutes and instead of dancing to the usual DJ dance music (not that there’s anything wrong with that), catch three days of rock, hip-hop, noise, torch songs, physical performance and visual art — all from non-straight or staunchly LGBTQ-allied artists.
Of them, headliner Zebra Katz, who plays Saturday at Chop Suey, is not to be missed. A fashion-forward New York City rapper best known for the underground hit “Ima Read,” Katz raises an eyebrow at lame competitors and employs a frozen deadpan delivery. Fans of local sci-fi/rap group THEESatisfaction will find a lot to love in Katz. Expect a show revolving around sex and death, clean lines, futurist style and heavy bass.
Also at Chop Suey Saturday, local upbeat rock quartet Tacocat, Seattle’s most on-fire guitar band at the moment. Fresh off a national tour of packed rooms and rave reviews, the feminist group ought to play songs off “NVM,” its recent album, which makes a star out of singer Emily Nokes.
’Mo-Wave also includes ace storytellers like Justin Bond (Sunday at Chop Suey), who has a new power ballad dedicated to sex workers, and Jordan O’Jordan (Saturday at Pony), a local banjo player and spinner of complicated yarns.
As for visual art, which starts Thursday, April 10, local photographer Frank Correa’s candy-colored prints, on view at the True Love Art Gallery, are among the most exciting in the city.
There is a lot of entertainment at ’Mo-Wave, but none of it’s included only because it’s related to queerness or fair treatment, say festival organizers.
That said, Capitol Hill is reportedly less queer-friendly these days.
“People are coming to the bar with black eyes and broken arms,” says Marcus Wilson, speaking about the clientele at Pony, the gay dive bar he runs.
Recently, the well-known drag performer Ade was attacked while walking home from Pony.
Jodi Ecklund, who books Chop Suey, adds she was called derogatory names on the sidewalk in Capitol Hill, noting nobody’s called her those names in 15 years.
Here’s hoping ’Mo-Wave goes off smoothly and increases the peace.
Thursday-Sunday, April 10-13, and Friday, April 18, at Chop Suey (1325 E. Madison St., 206-324-8005), Pony (1221 E. Madison St., 206-324-2854), Velocity Dance Center (1621 12th Ave., 206-325-8773) and True Love Art Gallery (1525 Summit Ave., 206-227-3572); $15-$40 (mowavefestival.com).