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

September 24, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Your week in Seattle music: Sam Smith, Elton John and more

Also featuring a British synth-pop group on the rise, a country superstar at the Gorge and two very different guitar-and-drums duos.

1 Sam Smith

6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, at The Paramount, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $28.75 (360-467-5520 or With Broods

For Americans, there have been two main entry points into British singer Sam Smith’s music thus far, and they could hardly sound more different. Syrupy adult-contemporary ballad “Stay With Me” and garage-house banger “Latch” (a Disclosure song he sings on) were both top-10 hits this summer, and all they have in common is his silky-smooth voice.

2 Clean Bandit

9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, at Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $25 (206-709-9442 or With Kim Ann Foxman, Little Daylight, Kevin Kauer

Expectations are high for electronic-pop quartet Clean Bandit on the heels of “Rather Be,” a No. 1 hit in the band’s native United Kingdom. With its folksy violin motif and vaguely populist uplift, the song plays into EDM trends these days. Fortunately, the group’s debut album “New Eyes” has plenty of more-interesting moments indebted to house and UK garage.

3 Taking Back Sunday

6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, at the Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., Seattle; $29.50 (360-652-0444 or

Taking Back Sunday and The Used, who co-headline this show, reached the apex of their popularity and saw the majority of their Warped Tour appearances in the mid-2000s. Both bands have put out albums this year, maintaining a rock sound inspired by post-hardcore punk but with a prominent pop backbone.

4 El Ten Eleven

9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, at The Showbox, 1426 First Ave., Seattle; $26.50 (206-628-3151 or With Yppah, Blue Hawaii, Vox Mod

El Ten Eleven is a guitar-and-drums two-piece, but unlike many bands with that configuration, its music is highly technical. The rare rock act booked for Decibel Festival, Kristian Dunn loops a double-necked guitar/bass through a litany of effects pedals while drummer Tim Fogarty metronomically keeps pace.

5 The Grizzled Mighty

9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, at the Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., Seattle; $10 (206-784-4880 or With Gazebos, Legendary Oaks

On the other hand, The Grizzled Mighty deliver the exact sort of fuzzed-out blues licks and pounding drums we’ve come to expect from drums-and-guitar acts. (Think a pre-fame Black Keys.) This performance is part of the opening week of shows at Ballard’s newly renovated Sunset Tavern.

6 Elton John

8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, at Key Arena, 305 Harrison St., Seattle; $35–$155 (206-684-7200 or

The pianist and pop-rock superstar released 31st album “The Diving Board” last year. This show is part of the 10-city “All the Hits” tour, named for what fans were probably expecting anyway: a selection of popular songs that span his long career.

7 Zac Brown Band

7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Gorge Amphitheater, 754 Silica Rd., Quincy, Wash.; $33.50–$73.50 (509-705-6262 or

Zac Brown has achieved success in the country music by staying traditional, building his songs around his skilled acoustic guitar playing and rootsy songwriting tropes. Live, Brown and his band are known to venture into pseudo-jam-band territory and cover songs like Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” and Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”

8 Hercules & Love Affair

8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 29, at Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $18 (206-709-9442 or With Navid Izadi, Bright Light Bright Light, DJ Nark

Hercules & Love Affair only released one album on DFA Records (founded by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy), but it might be the band most representative of that label’s dance-punk sound. The New York group offers art-damaged interpretations of house and disco; it’s a lean, synth-driven sound, comparable to what LCD was doing before its breakup.

9 Conor Oberst

7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30, at The Showbox, 1426 First Ave., Seattle; $29.50 (206-628-3151 or

In recent years, Oberst has moved on from his best-known project, in the indie-rock band Bright Eyes, to focus on his solo material. Newest album “Upside Down the Mountain” was inspired by the ’70s Laurel Canyon folk scene and features vocals from Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit.

10 Blue Rodeo

8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, at Benaroya Hall, 200  University St., Seattle; $27.50 (206-215-4800 or

Though not as popular in the United States as it is north of the border, Canadian band Blue Rodeo would feel right at home in the Pacific Northwest. Its sound—winsome, country-inflected folk music, buoyed by vocal harmonies—has long been a staple in Seattle.

(Heather Pollock)

(Heather Pollock)

Comments | More in List | Topics: Blue Rodeo, Clean Bandit, Conor Oberst


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