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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

August 7, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Lady Gaga, Arctic Monkeys, Counting Crows, what a week! | Concert preview

Seattle has such a deep pop music scene — with local as well as touring acts — that even during a slow week, it’s difficult to decide what to write about.

But this week is just nuts. Hard on the spiked heels of the biggest concert of the year — Beyoncé and Jay-Z at Safeco Field — we are faced with a weeklong constellation of stars that includes no less than Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Counting Crows and Robert Cray. And those are just the big shows, never mind what’s out in the clubs.

Since there’s just no way we can cover all this in detail, here are some capsule updates to help you decide which artists you might want to see — if you haven’t already decided.

Arcade Fire (Guy Aroch)

Arcade Fire (Guy Aroch)

Though this cacophonously aggressive world-rock band from Montreal was snubbed at the 2014 Grammy Awards — and flamed online for a transgender character in the video for “We Exist” — the group has maintained a loyal following, especially in Seattle, where Arcade Fire was the most-played band on KEXP in 2013. Encouraging a Bacchanalian “party vibe” on the current tour — the band requests fans come in costume, and many do — it promises to cover a song unique to each locale it plays. “Purple Haze” on hurdy gurdy, anyone? (Friday, Aug. 8, Gorge Amphitheatre) More on Arcade Fire here.

A bad case of bronchitis forced the Great Gaga to cancel the Seattle stop of her artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball tour rather suddenly in May. Ms. Germanotta is back, reportedly in full voice. And while her new songs are among the least inspiring of her career, the show, as always, is a full-on spectacle with double-digit costume changes and some fun surprises, including one scene involving a clam shell. Some reviewers have lamented that Gaga leaves out evergreens like “You and I,” but even they concede she’s the goddess of showering self-esteem on her fans. (Friday, Aug. 8, KeyArena)

It will be interesting to see if Mars’ Gorge show sells well, since so many of his fans are tweens and teens whose parents likely would never let them go to the Gorge alone. But the “Moonshine Jungle World Tour,” with a roster of support acts that includes Aloe Blacc, Bebe Rexha and Afro-Norwegian pop duo Nico & Vinz, will certainly give fans their money’s worth. The Grammy-winning singer whose memorable performance at this year’s Super Bowl added extra excitement to the Seahawks’ historic win is still flying high with such songs as “Moonshine,” “Treasure,” “Money Make Her Smile,” “If I Knew” and “Runaway Baby.” And to think he began performing at age 4 as an Elvis Presley impersonator in his native Hawaii. (Saturday, Aug. 9, Gorge Amphitheatre)

Robert Cray (J. Katz)

Robert Cray (J. Katz)

With a blues heritage that goes back to Ray Charles and the Jackson Street heyday of the 1940s, it’s surprising the Northwest didn’t produce another national blues star until Robert Cray popped up in Eugene, Ore., in the late ’70s. With a smooth soulfulness reminiscent of Sam Cooke — and a saber-toothed guitar that cuts through the sweet spots — Cray is a keeper. He just released his 17th studio album, “In My Soul,” which kicks off with his signature, rolling feel on “You Move Me” and hits another high point on the Bobby Blue Bland tune, “Deep in My Soul,” which inspired the album’s title. Cray has sold 12 million albums to date and it looks as if the five-time Grammy winner and Blues Hall of Famer may add another digit to that total. Shemekia Copeland opens the show. (Sunday, Aug. 10, Woodland Park Zoo)

They may be called the Arctic Monkeys, but at the moment they are one of the hottest bands in rock. “AM,” which has been in the top 50 for nearly a year, was on many critics’ 2013 best-of-year lists. Lead singer Alex Turner always seems to put on a special show in Seattle, so their concerts Monday and Tuesday at the Paramount Theatre are highly anticipated. No surprise that they’re sold out. (Monday-Tuesday, Aug. 11-12, Paramount Theatre)

“One for sorrow/ Two for joy/Three for a girl/Four for a boy/Five for silver/Six for gold/Seven for a secret never to be told.” And 23 for how many years this Berkeley, Calif.-based band with a name derived from a mystical poem has been wowing fans of its rootsy rock. Performing songs on the road from its upcoming album, “Somewhere Under Wonderland” (due Sept. 2), lead singer Adam Durwitz — sporting a head of black hair sprouting in all directions — outdoes himself on the lyrical tune “God of Ocean Tides.” (Tuesday, Aug. 12 at Marymoor Park)


Arcade Fire
7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at the Gorge Amphitheatre, 754 Silica Road N.W., George, Grant County; $24.50-$64.50 (800-745-3000 or

Lady Gaga
7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, KeyArena, 305 Harrison St., Seattle; $35-$200 (800-745-3000 or

Bruno Mars
8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, The Gorge Amphitheatre; $43.50-$100 (800-745-3000 or

Robert Cray
6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10, at the Woodland Park Zoo, 601 N. 59th St., Seattle; $24 (206-548-2500 or

Arctic Monkeys
8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 11-12, at the Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; sold out (877-784-4849 or

Counting Crows
6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12, at Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., Redmond; $45-$75 (800-745-3000 or


Comments | More in Americana, Blues, Folk, Rock/Pop, World | Topics: Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Bruno Mars


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