Parody music paragon “Weird Al” Yankovic will make you forget the actual lyrics to songs at the Paramount this weekend.
Courtesy of the artist
This week, our music critics have picked everything from rock and roll geezers the Rolling Stones to lo-fi hip-hop artist Homeshake to boogie-rockers King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. Follow the links below for ticket links and music clips for all of their picks, and find even more shows on our complete music calendar. Plus, check out our arts and culture critics’ picks for the 44 best things to do this week.
Found something you like and don’t want to forget about it later? Click “Save Event” on any of the linked events below to add it to your own private list.
Jazz pianist Connie Han, whom the New York Times called “the rare musician with fearsome technical chops, a breadth of historical knowledge, and enough originality to write tunes that absorb your ear easily,” will perform.
Like the finest groups of the original post-punk movement, Washington, D.C. quintet Gauche ratchet up the tension in their songs with nuance. Fond of the vivacious keyboard tones that debauched the B-52s’ early releases, Gauche also proffer the exhilarating, pent-up rhythmic attack, tart melodies, and taut bass lines heard in the work of X-Ray Spex, Essential Logic, and Swell Maps. And if you want to vent against Pizzagate instigator/Infowars pariah Alex Jones—and who doesn’t?—check out “Conspiracy Theories,” which boasts some of the most unhinged “fuck you”s in music this year. Gauche’s new album, A People’s History of Gauche, is one of the most electrifying LPs that Merge Records has released lately. DAVE SEGAL
Wiz Khalifa, French Montana, Moneybagg Yo, Chevy Woods, DJ Drama
I recently texted my brother—a huge Wiz Khalifa fan—asking why the Pittsburgh rapper is worth listening to. He hit me back with this: “Why is any music worth listening to?” Good point, bro, good point. He went on to explain that Wiz is “unique in this rap game” and that “all he raps about is weed and pursuing your goals.” Wiz raps for the people who just wanna light up and have a good time. Which is most of Seattle. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Bad Books, Brother Bird
Indie-rock band Bad Books are back with their first album in seven years, which harks back to their early, folk-driven acoustic sound.
Nomadic Argentinian percussionist and producer Luis Maurette—formerly one half of electro-folk duo Lulacruza—fuses electronic and indigenous music in his solo project as Uji, using influences he’s picked up on his travels through South America. He’ll be joined by Seattle-based Argentinian band Terror/Cactus, whose sound Jasmyne Keimig has described as “cumbia on acid.”
Marquis Hill Blacktet
Witness the triumphant Seattle return of immensely skilled Chicago trumpeter Marquis Hill and his Blacktet, a group focused on reinterpreting jazz standards by incorporating spoken word and hiphop. The Blacktet includes Joel Ross (vibes), Jonathan Pinson (drums), and Jeremiah Hunt (bass).
The Black Lillies, WaterPenny
Bred in Knoxville, rootsy Americana-rock foursome the Black Lillies will dish out their bluesy twang in Seattle with support from local folk-rock trio WaterPenny.
The Piano Guys
Four dads armed with pianos and camera phones have brought their eight hands of talent to the Internet, and now to Marymoor Park, with an evening of melded classical and pop hits.
If you’re looking for a musical outlet with which to nurse the open wound of your breakup, or if you just love Australian accents, singer-songwriter Dean Lewis is your guy. He’ll return to Seattle for the second time this year on his A Place We Knew Tour.
O.A.R., American Authors
Jam-rock lifers O.A.R. will bring their summer festival-ready tunes to a downtown crowd with opening support from American Authors. Expect a lot of weed smoke and soft air guitar.
The Rolling Stones
Over the last 57 years, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Charlie Watts have made the journey from rock & roll bad boys to affable elder statesmen with as much panache as musicians can muster. From about 1965 to 1974, the Rolling Stones were among the 10 best rock groups on the planet—some scholars say the best. To be sure, they’ve written enough classics in many styles—blues, soul, funk, country, disco, electro, etc.—to coast on their vast catalog till they can’t walk anymore. And even then, Keef will probably find a way to coax out more of his indelibly raunchy and tender riffs. Come for “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” stay for “Heaven”—which they’ve never performed live, but maybe if you shout for it loudly enough, they’ll comply. It’s the least they can do for the hundreds of dollars you spent for this concert. DAVE SEGAL
Rajna Swaminathan’s Mangal Project
Led by percussionist and composer Rajna Swaminathan, South Indian improvisational jazz quartet Mangal will perform in Seattle. While you dance to their set, you can also buy art from L.Haz (aka Zahyr Lauren).
WEDNESDAY & SATURDAY-SUNDAY OPERA
The powerful men charged with sexual assault in the #MeToo era are doing just fine. Seattle Opera’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto is here to show us it was ever thus, and that it shall ever be so long as we continue to uphold longstanding social and political norms around consent, harassment, and male power. Rigoletto is a classic opera based on a Victor Hugo play called Le roi s’amuse. The story follows the Duke of Mantua on his various sexual conquests. He loves cuckolding courtiers while his court jester, Rigoletto, mocks the cucks. But shit hits the fan when the Duke goes after Rigoletto’s own daughter, Gilda. To exact revenge, Rigoletto puts out a hit on the Duke, but it all goes horribly wrong. Director Lindy Hume updates Verdi’s opera by replacing jolly old misogynists in codpieces with men in suits in executive offices, calling greater attention to the violence against women and the power imbalance. The aesthetics and tone of Hume’s production, she says, were inspired by Silvio Berlusconi’s “bunga bunga” sex parties, which were detailed by national outlets in 2013. RICH SMITH
Taj Mahal, Marc Cohn, Blind Boys of Alabama
Listen to Taj Mahal sing “Celebrated Walkin’ Blues,” which he lifted from Robert Johnson. He starts out with nothing but shoes and proceeds to survey the landscape in those lyrics and a great deal about the universe with that mandolin. Macrocosm in microcosm. Joy from deep in a rut. We need those. ANDREW HAMLIN
The Blood Moon Orchestra, Purr Gato, Screens, Melissa & the Fun Machine
All-female improv band the Blood Moon Orchestra will sync up their talent for a night of audience-inspired songs on their Full Moon Tour after opening sets from Purr Gato, Screens, and Melissa & the Fun Machine.
Eastern Souvenirs, La Fille, Stephanie Mae
Sway to an equal blend of guitar and synth with Eastern Souvenirs at their EP Release Show, where they’ll be joined by local power-poppers La Fille and Stephanie Mae.
Canadian alt-pop project Lights is on tour promoting the acoustic version of her fourth record, Skin&Earth, and will be joined by support act tiLLie at this Seattle stop.
Secret Superpower, Mamalarky, Black Ends
Like their similarly named buds the Black Tones, Seattle’s Black Ends are poised to transcend local-hero status and bust into national consciousness. It’s only a matter of time. Guitarist/vocalist Nicolle Swims is too much a distinctive force of nature not to make waves in the underground-rock system. Black Ends’ 2019 Sellout EP is anything but. Rather, its four songs carve fabulously weird shapes into your mind, bolstered by Swims’s muted, Chrissie Hynde-esque voice, radically strange guitar tones, and surprise-laden song structures that recall early Throwing Muses. Seattle trio Secret Superpower create charming, off-kilter indie-pop with understated vocals by guitarist Paige and bassist Kira. If you’re into the low-budget, scrappy-yet-dignified rock approach that K Records and Simple Machines propagated in the ’80s and ’90s, you’ll embrace Secret Superpower’s self-described “post wave ice cream pop” songs. DAVE SEGAL
Seattle Sounds Summer Concert Series
Sip wine and listen to live music from neo-soul songstress Whitney Mongé amidst Dale Chihuly’s glass creations.
The Hold Steady
The Hold Steady’s boozy, swaggering, late-’70s radio rock has always been a bit of a tough sell for the general public. But their charm stems from Craig Finn’s boisterous storytelling, which manages to address sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll in a capacity that is neither glamorous nor cautionary. Over the course of their last three albums, the Hold Steady have gussied up their sound with bigger choruses and stronger production, tapering Finn’s revelatory rambling into more traditional songwriting. This bodes well for the band’s accessibility, but it also diminishes the impact of their strongest asset. Still, for listeners reading along with the lyric sheet at home, songs like “We Can Get Together” are as poignant as anything Finn did in their early years, provided you can see past the glare of the high-gloss production. BRIAN COOK
Skilled guitarist Ana Popovic brings a rock edge to her jazz fusion guitar, pulling in blues and funk traditions as well to add to her electrifying live shows.
The 7th Annual Columbia City Blues Festival
Local musicians will pay tribute to a group of very different, equally influential blues artists: Hank Williams, Patti Smith, and John Coltrane.
Does anyone else find themselves tuning into the “lo-fi hip-hop study beats” tracks on YouTube? You know, just to calm down and write, or whatever? These tracks are good because they don’t demand active listening and aren’t distracting. Homeshake has the same sort of vibe. This is a compliment, by the way. Montreal-based Peter Sagar’s music is definitely more specific, but still very stoned, very noncommittal, very bedroom. That’s honestly sexy to me. The sounds are synthy, the beats kind of funky, and Sagar’s voice mopey. Listen to “Just Like My” off his most recent release, Helium, when you feel lightly high and horny, but don’t want leave your couch. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Gail Pettis Quartet
Vocalist Gail Pettis has been boosting Seattle’s jazz communities for over two decades. Once the owner of her own successful orthodontist practice, she sold the business in 2006 to focus on her burgeoning musical craft. Since then, the Harvard grad has both toured internationally and invested deeply in the Pacific Northwest’s jazz scenes, distinctive for her interactive performances and satiny song delivery. As Tula’s is set to close at the end of September, this show will likely be your last chance to luxuriate in Pettis’s rich alto and the quartet’s nimble instrumentation amid the intimate confines of the Belltown staple. AJ DENT
Herbie Hancock & Kamasi Washington
Few people look to outdoor summer concerts for their adventurous-music fixes, and it’s especially surprising to see 79-year-old jazz legend Herbie Hancock with rising fusion saxophonist Kamasi Washington at the 5,000-capacity Marymoor Park, a Redmond venue that usually skews to more mainstream and innocuous sounds. This pairing spotlights jazz’s storied recent past and its resurgent present, and should provide exceptional sonic fireworks, with Washington on the ascendant and the nearly octogenarian Hancock showing only minor signs of decline. Think of it as an interesting, intergenerational clash—that of a young gun vitally reviving some of jazz’s most powerful tropes and an eclectic legend flaunting a stunning panoply of game-changing styles. DAVE SEGAL
An Intimate Evening with Jackie Venson
Texas guitarist Jackie Venson was the first black woman to win Best Guitarist at the Austin Music Awards for her soulful blend of R&B and pop. Catch her in Seattle on the heels of her latest album, Joy.
KEXP & Seattle Center Present: Concerts at the Mural
In true KEXP summertime fashion, the station will be partnering with Seattle Center to provide another enjoyable round of free family-friendly concerts this year at the Mural Amphitheater, located within the heart of Seattle Center. Local and touring artists are included in each year’s lineup, with New York’s Weyes Blood bringing lovely soft-hitting rock with support from Seattle’s Versing and Whitney Ballen this week.
New Age Healers, Red Shift, This Blinding Light
New Age Healers will “[pick] up where Echo & the Bunnymen, Love and Rockets, and the Jesus and Mary Chain left off with just a touch of punk to make the ladies swoon.” Join them at their show with additional sets from Red Shift and This Blinding Light.
Space Daze, The Very Most, Charles & Ethan from Math And Physics Club, Revel
Seattle’s Space Daze (aka Danny Rowland) makes hushed, intimate folk-pop reveries that achieve the difficult feat of triggering pleasant thoughts and twinges of melancholy. Rowland’s working within narrow parameters, but in them he generates a frosty warmth with his ASMR-inducing croons and delicately spangling guitar. The 2019 album Too Mystical opens a portal into his misty-morning, pastel-hued songcraft. DAVE SEGAL
‘Filibus’ with Johann Wagner and Sage Fischer (Dolphin Midwives)
Seattle’s newest movie theater will screen Mario Roncoroni’s 1915 Italian silent film (based on a story by science-fiction writer Giovanni Bertinetti) Filibus, which follows the exploits of a “cross-dressing futuristic sky pirate who pounces on her prey from a zeppelin manned by a crew of loyal henchmen.” Johann Wagner and Sage Fischer of Portland’s Dolphin Midwives will provide a live soundtrack.
“Weird Al” Yankovic
Because of Weird Al, I’ll never know the words to Don McLean’s “American Pie.” The first time I heard that melody was in Weird Al’s parody of the song, “The Saga Begins,” which focused on the Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace plot line instead of “the day the music died.” “My my, this here Anakin guy / may be Vader someday later, now he’s just a small fry” plays on a continuous loop in my brain. In the early-ish days of YouTube, my mom would cry-laugh while watching “White & Nerdy”—a spoof on “Ridin’ Dirty.” There’s not a lot of space afforded to parody music these days, but Weird Al is important—he’s been doing this for more than four decades! JASMYNE KEIMIG
Symphony for Climate Change
Discover Arts in the Park will present Terra Nostra, a multimedia piece featuring music, film, poetry, and dance to educate about climate change, and there will be local scientists, artists, and activists there to inspire community engagement in helping the Earth.
Seattle Reggae Scene Anniversary Celebration
Seattle Reggae Scene, which hosts events that celebrate Caribbean culture, food, and music in Seattle, will celebrate their anniversary with a night of reggae with DJ Kentucky—traveling all the way from Jamaica—and local DJs Veteran, Y2K Sound, and Element.
THIS! 12 Hour with Osunlade
Plenty of superfans gush that music is a spiritual thing. For New York-based DJ/producer Osunlade, it literally is: He is a priest of the West African religion Ifá and named his record label Yoruba after the ethnic group that practices the faith. But dancers looking for an all-night summertime fix shouldn’t just put their faith in the fact that Osunlade answers to a higher power. With a roster of production and remix work for the likes of Roy Ayers, Patti LaBelle, Freddie Jackson, and Masters at Work, this soulful selector has two decades of chops. Not bad for someone who started his music career with Sesame Street. GREGORY SCRUGGS
Mayer Hawthorne is the LA-based singer, songwriter, producer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist behind a mix of some of the creamiest blue-eyed and most finely wrought vintage-hued soul, funk, and R&B you’ve ever damn heard—see “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out” and brand-new cut “The Game”—and enjoyed his rise during the soul revival that bubbled up a decade ago. Jake One is Seattle’s own forward-thinking hip-hop producer and songwriter, a Rhymesayers artist with a vast résumé that includes work with Danny Brown (“Evil Friends” with Brown and Portugal. The Man is the fire), MF Doom, Brother Ali, 50 Cent, Wale, and Future, among so many others. Together, they’re Tuxedo, pushing dance-floor-ready, ’80s-vibing electro-funk, R&B, neo-disco, boogie, and soul. This show celebrates the release of third LP Tuxedo III, preceded by singles like party-starting “The Tuxedo Way” and sexy slow jam “Toast 2 Us” with Benny Sings. LEILANI POLK
Ramona, Elway, Sam Russo
Influenced by everything from “hardcore punk to hip-hop to indie-pop,” Seattle transplants Ramona will headline with support from Elway and Sam Russo.
Nas: Celebrating 25 Years of Illmatic
Beloved at the time of its release, Nas’s lithe 1994 debut, Illmatic, has since earned a permanent place near the top of any list of best hip-hop albums of all time. Tonight, Nas takes the stage for a special live performance of Illmatic in its entirety, as well as all of his hits from his 25-year career.
The Appleseed Cast, Muscle Worship, X Suns
“Even the quietest moments sit with jagged nerves and lingering tension,” Pitchfork wrote of Kansas-bred outfit Appleseed Cast’s latest album, The Fleeting Light of Impermanence. The band will make a tour stop in Seattle with support from Muscle Worship and X Suns.
On the Road with Madagascar’s Daughter, Razia Said
New York-based, Madagascar-born singer Razia Said brings her multicultural background to the stage with jazzy harmonies, R&B, rock, and African rhythms, often tackling the environmental challenges facing her homeland.
Daniel Caesar, Koffee
When Canadian crooner Daniel Caesar dropped his velvety, luscious, I-think-I’m-literally-pregnant-listening-to-this slow jam “Get You” in 2016, he seemed poised for a total takeover. Its B-side, “Japanese Denim,” is more understated, but equally sexy. His subsequent soulful R&B album, 2017’s Freudian, was a revelation, and Caesar’s duet with H.E.R., “Best Part,” was another baby-making masterpiece. But after getting thoroughly skewered by Black Twitter for defending “culture vulture” YesJulz and retweeting black conservative commentator Candace Owens, there’s a bit of a damper on this singer’s come-up. That said… “Get You” still gets me. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Conversation around the Field usually begins with From Here We Go Sublime. Axel Willner’s 2007 debut still holds up, and it’s something of a high-water mark for minimal techno’s mainstream appeal—a balmy, slyly melodic spin on what’s often standoffish music, it garnered festival slots and praise from the music press and the world overall. The Swedish producer’s recent music is more aggressive and less immediate, drawing from his background in punk and drone by delving into darker sounds and live-band arrangements. Last year’s Infinite Moment is among his best work. ANDREW GOSPE
311, Dirty Heads, Dreamers, Bikini Trill
Get that sun-drenched alt-reggae-rock sound from 311 and Dirty Heads as they tour through the Northwest this summer with support sets from the Interrupters, Dreamers, and Bikini Trill.
Valerie June, Caitlin Jemma
Memphis multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter Valerie June has a voice that’s tenderly sweet and bright like liquid gold yet somehow imbued with a wise, old-soul quality. She had her national “coming out” with 2013’s Pushin’ Against a Stone, partially produced by Black Keys heavyweight Dan Auerbach; it landed on several year-end best-of lists, including that of Rolling Stone and American Songwriter. Its follow-up, The Order of Time is just as warm, effortless, and ethereal as you’d expect, and the mountain-hewn soul and rural-blues elements are still intact, though it’s definitely heavier on the classic country, bluegrass, and gospel-soaked folk influences. Additional cred: The hard-to-please Bob Dylan has given Valerie June his seal of approval. LEILANI POLK
King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
Melbourne, Australia’s King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard are always a chameleon-stunning sight and crowned sound to behold. For proof, just this year, you can hear and watch the psych rockers in an experimentally colorful form coasting along with some new ZZ Top-channeling boogie rock off their Fishing for Fishies LP, which was released in April. Plus, in true King Gizzard fashion, we’re all waiting with bated breath to hear more of their summoning of the darker lords on upcoming metal-cloaked outing, Infest the Rats’ Nest, which will drop two days before they bring their pandemonium to Seattle. Molt and melt yourself in glory. ZACH FRIMMEL