A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.
Topic: Concert Preview
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December 12, 2013 at 5:33 AM
Seattle nightclubs stay jumping all year with quality local and international music. And that constant flow, like any frequent thing, can be taken for granted. But sometimes an exceptional cluster of shows makes you step back and consider how lucky we are to live here. This is one of those weeks. Here are three upcoming concerts less fortunate music fans in more obscure cities would kill to see.
Warning: these concerts are very hip.
The wildest young voice out of the London underground is the low-tenor belonging to Archy Marshall — a yelling, crooning, versatile weapon. The teenage rapper and hip-hop producer is fast gaining fame as a guitarist and singer, in a trio as King Krule. Debut album “6 Feet Beneath the Moon” dips into ska, singer-songwriter pop, and several indefinite, groovy genres. Live reviews have been uniformly positive.
King Krule performs with Willis Earl Beal at 8 p.m. Saturday at Barboza, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $12 (206-709-9442 or thethebarboza.com).
December 10, 2013 at 6:03 AM
The Coen Brothers’ splendid new film, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” set in the Greenwich Village folk-music scene of the early ’60s, has launched a welcome wave of interest in Northwesterner Harry Smith, whose 1952 six-LP set, “Anthology of American Folk Music,” was the folk singers’ bible.
“Without the Harry Smith Anthology, we could not have existed,” wrote folk singer Dave Van Ronk in his autobiography, “The Mayor of MacDougal Street,” which inspired the Coens’ new movie. “After a while we all knew every word of every song, including the ones we hated.”
This week, two celebrations of Smith are on tap — a three-hour radio show Wednesday, on KEXP, and a variety concert Friday at the Columbia City Theater. The anthology, still available on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, was where many budding folk artists first heard such blues players as Mississippi John Hurt and Blind Lemon Jefferson or country singers like the Carter Family. The compilation’s 84 tracks, recorded on 78 rpm records between 1927-32, came from what critic Greil Marcus later dubbed “the old, weird America”: haunting, nasal voices of Appalachia; dreamlike tales of murder and metamorphosis; work songs from seamen and sharecroppers; scraping dance floor fiddles and twanging banjos; shape-note and lining-out singing from possessed voices aimed heavenward; and wise and witty blues.
December 6, 2013 at 5:54 AM
When legendary singer-songwriter Joe Henry decided to book his first ever solo acoustic headlining tour, he selected just four cities. Seattle was lucky enough to rate, and on Saturday night he’ll play songs at the Triple Door from his dozen albums.
Henry chose Seattle not just because audiences here appreciate him — he was a radio favorite on the Mountain — but also because of a restaurant.
“I had to pick somewhere to play,” Henry said by phone last week. “So I chose cities where I have significant relationships with chefs.”
In Seattle, the restaurant is Brad’s Swingside Café, in Fremont.
“I’ve eaten there dozens of times,” Henry says, “and I’ve never once looked at a menu. Brad is just incredibly gifted.”
The same has often been said of Henry, who Paste magazine once said wrote songs “that don’t fit into an easily defined box,” an apt description of Henry’s entire career, which has encompassed many aspects of music. Though over three decades Henry has never scored a mainstream hit, his albums all contain a rare level of songwriting artistry. He’s also become known as a film composer, songwriter and producer.
Henry produced most of Bonnie Raitt’s recent “Slipstream,” Billy Bragg’s “Tooth and Nail,” the latest hit from Over the Rhine and also tracks by Taj Mahal, Solomon Burke and dozens more. He’s currently taking a break from producing to do these shows.
“I wanted to do these for no other reason than I’m a singer, and I feel compelled to play, to put myself out on the wire,” Henry said.
This isn’t Henry’s only Seattle appearance this season; he was just here last month on a book tour for his excellent new Richard Pryor biography “Furious Cool.” It’s an unusual book, more a grouping of stories on why Pryor was important and what made him who he was than a normal biography. But that’s exactly what you’d expect from Henry, who wrote it with his brother David. Ultimately, it is revealing and rewarding.
That same sense of creativity will no doubt inform Henry’s solo show. He said he picked songs driven by a “need for discovery.” To illustrate, he quoted the line from “The Waking” by Seattle’s Theodore Roethke: “I learn by going where I have to go.”
On Saturday, that need to be “out on the wire,” as he describes it, will take Henry onstage at the Triple Door. But you can bet that sometime during his stay in Seattle, he’ll be dining at Brad’s. He’ll be the guy who doesn’t need to look at the menu.
8 p.m. Saturday at the Triple Door, 216 Union St., Seattle; $25 (206-838-4333 or www.thetripledoor.net).
November 29, 2013 at 5:45 AM
While she was growing up in Rock Island, Ill., Lissie’s feistiness and outspokenness often got her into trouble with those in authority.
“If you grow up in a small town and you stick out or draw attention to yourself, you’re going to attract some unwanted people who try to put you in your place,” says Lissie, a fast-rising singer-songwriter whose real name is Elisabeth Corrin Maurus.
“It motivated me to say, ‘I’ll show you. I’m going to get out of here and make something of myself.’”
Indeed she has.
On “Back to Forever” (Fat Possum), her sophomore album, Lissie’s teenage rebellion has evolved into a knack for sharp commentary about adult themes — unrequited love, dead-end jobs and environmental degradation. Her country-tinged folk-rock songs are filled with emotional urgency and huge pop hooks.
November 29, 2013 at 5:17 AM
Seattle’s longest-running alternative-rock station — 107.7 The End — has been putting on big holiday concerts for more than 20 years, showcasing a who’s who of modern rock.
The station’s 21st annual Deck the Hall Ball features perhaps the most international lineup in the event’s history with Vampire Weekend (New York); Phoenix (France); The Head and the Heart (Seattle); Alt J, Arctic Monkeys and Foals (England); Lorde (New Zealand) and Chvrches (Scotland). Chvrches replaces Tame Impala of Australia.
November 29, 2013 at 5:15 AM
By Todd Hamm
Special to The Seattle Times
In recent years, Toronto has given the world some of its most caffeinated noise rock (Metz), and most sensual R & B/rap (Drake).
Fellow Ontarians Dinosaur Bones, who play El Corazón Monday, play fairly traditional rock arrangements, but they probably land closer to the spirit of Drake’s personal musing — not only because their pace is generally relaxed, but because they’re so lyrically focused. Their songs are cleverly built around singer Ben Fox’s melancholy poetry, and the band wraps its sound around each turn of plot like a warm quilt of support.
November 29, 2013 at 5:03 AM
First thing on the phone, Atlanta hip-hop/pop star Future says he heard weed is legal in Washington state, and tells a story he’s told several other writers, about the time he and Snoop Dogg (and 15 other people) smoked two pounds.
If you imbibed like that, you might also forget you’d told the story a bunch of times.
Future opens for Drake on Wednesday at the Tacoma Dome, with the R&B singer Miguel.
Future is all about being spacey. In the video for “Real and True,” a ballad from his upcoming second album, “Honest,” he can even be seen on a spaceship with Miley Cyrus (a new collaborator aiding in his pop crossover) and singer Mr. Hudson. Future’s first album was called “Pluto.” He frequently chooses to treat his recorded voice with a severe application of Auto-Tune software, making himself sound like an android.
November 25, 2013 at 11:55 AM
Andrew Matson penned a penetrating story about Seattle rapper Sol, whose trip around the world from India to Haiti seems to have matured the world view of this socially conscious young man. Check out Andrew’s story here: http://seattletimes.com/html/musicnightlife/2022321348_solprofile1xml.html.
Sol appears with Sam Lachow and Dave B. at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., Seattle; $15-$18 (888-929-7849 or www.showboxonline.com).
November 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM
Comedian Mike Burns, who created the fictional Karl Welzien (@dadboner) on Twitter will read from his book, “Power Moves: Livin’ the American Dream, USA Style,” tonight at the Sunset Tavern.
“Power Moves” chronicles the decline of Welzien from a Dockers and golf-shirt wearing dad to pony-tailed party machine whose main goal in life is peepin’ babes, drinking cold ones and coming up with bold new ideas to cure a hangover.
For the past two years @DadBoner has tweeted more than 8,000 times and now has nearly 150,000 followers.
Gatorpagne: half champagne, half Gatorade, because hydration don't need a reason to celebrate, you guys. Is it in you?
— Karl Welzein (@DadBoner) May 12, 2012
That success and notoriety on Twitter landed Burns an agent and a book deal. Burns spoke over the phone recently about the character he created and how the popularity of the feed has taken him by surprise.
Q: How much of your own personality is in Karl?
A: The bad parts. Like when you lie and tell yourself everything’s OK, but really you’re at the bottom of a bottle and that OK feeling’s gonna go away really quickly unless you find another bottle to find the bottom of.
November 22, 2013 at 5:35 AM
New-soul singer John Legend’s “Made to Love” tour, which comes to town Monday, is named for the hit song from his current album, “Love in the Future.”
Before he went on the road in late October, Legend, a nine-time Grammy Award winner, released the sexy, romantic video of “All of Me,” the third single from “Love in the Future,” his fourth studio album. The video features Legend’s wife, Chrissy Teigen, and footage from the couple’s wedding and honeymoon in Italy.
Born John Stephens in Ohio, the future star began singing gospel and playing piano at age 5 and left home at 16 to start college. In 1998, he was asked to play piano on Lauryn Hill’s “Everything Is Everything.” It led to writing and session work for such artists as Janet Jackson, Kanye West and Alicia Keys.
One of sexiest singers in soul/R&B, Legend released his first album, “Get Lifted,” in 2004. First single “Ordinary People” led to a fast-rising career.
8 p.m. Monday at the Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St.Seattle; $47-$87 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).
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