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August 21, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Eastside punk, South End rap – something in common? | Concert preview

Ten years ago, a raucous post-hardcore quintet from the Eastside suburbs called The Blood Brothers was making local music history, gaining a national following and spawning a legion of sound-alike bands. On Friday, the band is performing at the Showbox — its first local show since 2007.

A half-mile away, at the Crocodile, Nacho Picasso, a South End-bred rapper at the forefront of Seattle’s underground for the last few years, may be building the kind of legacy that years from now will also deserve a reunion celebration.

Though these artists don’t share much in the way of sound, image or background, there is a common thread — an overarching regional dreariness typical of the Northwest, which resonates with local youth.

The Blood Brothers’ complex, technical, pummeling rock attack— punctuated by political and social criticism in the form of ferocious yawls and screams — is an exorcism of the kind of teen angst that built up during the Bush years.

The band’s lyrics revile suburban wealth and phoniness, as on “Love Rhymes with Hideous Car Wreck,” from the album “Crimes”: “There’s a housewife in a cage that vacuums all day/There’s a boy in a toupee speaking in resumes.”

By contrast, Nacho Picasso’s hardened perspective and dark humor come from a turbulent family life and tough upbringing in the inner city. On “Little Red Ridinghood,” from his “Trances With Wolves” EP, he raps: “Little Red Ridinghood / Big, bad, violent hood / Didn’t have a childhood / Didn’t treat a child good / Didn’t know the child would grow to be a wild wolf.”

Dark, yes, but the Seattle rapper also lightens everything up with a millennial, ’80s/’90s junk-culture referential humor that’s all today’s nostalgia.

Just as The Blood Brothers moved a multitude of young punk or emo kids dissatisfied with complacency 10 years ago, Nacho Picasso’s brand of druggy, gloomy antihero rap has made him a figurehead to plenty of local youth.

Some of these kids are from similar situations. Likely even more aren’t. But none of them can identify with Seattle rap’s positivity and frivolity (think Macklemore).

Nacho Picasso’s Friday show will be his last for a while, before he’s off to New York to film a video for “Sex, Drugs & Rock-n-Roll,” the first single from his much-anticipated fourth collaborative album with Seattle/Bay Area production duo Blue Sky Black Death. Then he’ll embark on a short tour through Europe.

It should be a crucial push in his career, and an opportunity to expand upon the name he established with his 2011 breakout.

Blood Brothers
9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, at The Showbox, 1426 First Ave, Seattle; $20-$22 (206-628-3151 or

Nacho Picasso
8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, at The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave, Seattle; $12 (206-441-4618 or


Comments | More in R & B/Hip-hop, Rock/Pop | Topics: Concert Preview, Crocodile, Nacho Picasso


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