The 30 Best Music Shows in Seattle This Week: Aug 5-11, 2019

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This week, our music critics have picked everything from Concerts at the Mural with Cherry Glazzer to indie-folk songstress Feist to Flying Lotus. 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 & culture critics’ picks for the 41 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.


Jump to: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday


MONDAY

BLUES/COUNTRY/FOLK

An Evening with Laura Veirs
Portland singer-songwriter Laura Veirs sits most comfortably in the indie-folk camp, but her songs’ breezy, forward movement suggests her appreciation for good old four-four pop.

WORLD/LATIN

Altın Gün, WEEED
Gece and On, the newest albums by the Dutch/Turkish group Altın Gün, have accrued a decent buzz by giving listeners a decent buzz. Their funky psych-rock harks back to the aromatic trippiness of Turkey’s greatest exponents of Westernized Anatolian folk music from the ’60s and ’70s: Erkin Koray, Selda, Barış Manço, and Edip Akbayram. There is a distinctively Turkish melodic floridity that animates Altın Gün’s songs, and by dint of it being such an underground phenomenon in America, it retains a piquancy, even among people who’ve heard the aforementioned avatars. It would be great to see Altın Gün lead a revival of this fantastic sound in the West, as it’s one of the richest seams of rock that’s ever rippled an eardrum. DAVE SEGAL

TUESDAY-WEDNESDAY

JAZZ

Marcia Ball
Jazz and blues singer and keyboardist Marcia Ball brings her famed album The Tattooed Lady and The Alligator Man to life with band members Mike Schermer (guitar), Eric Bernhardt (sax), Don Bennett (bass), and Corey Keller (drums). Expect a Gulf Coast live wire performance with husky vocals and a double-fisted, piano-pounding approach.

WEDNESDAY

FUNK/REGGAE

An Evening with Ghost-Note
With Ghost-Note, Grammy-winning jazz percussion duo Robert Sput Searight and Nate Werth (of Snarky Puppy) bring forth irresistible funk beats without abandoning their jazz roots. 

ROCK/POP

The B-52s, OMD, Berlin
As ’80s nostalgia package tours go, this one’s pretty all right. The B-52s’ party-centric new wave has influenced thousands of bands, enshrining them in rock’s canon. Who knew B-movie kitsch could endure so long in a musical context? OMD are masters of immaculately produced and arranged synth-pop, with emotion-laden melodies to swoon for. These poised Brits have influenced nearly as many artists as the B-52s—although not as many as their major inspiration, Kraftwerk. Berlin’s music typifies the romantic and alienated electro-pop that burgeoned on the West Coast during the Reagan era, and a lot of people like it. “Metro” still slaps. DAVE SEGAL

Counting Crows
In celebration of their 25-plus years gigging around the country, early ’00s alt-rock stalwarts the Counting Crows will take over wine country for a summer evening of music.

WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY

VARIOUS

Doe Bay Fest 12
Doe Bay Fest’s grassroots festival weekend of camping, local music, food, and dancing in a little Orcas Island cove will return for its 12th year. Annie Ford, Beverly Crusher, Great Grandpa, NAVVI, Versing, and Tune Yards are just a few acts to look forward to on the 2019 lineup.

THURSDAY

BLUES/COUNTRY/FOLK

James McMurtry, Bonnie Whitmore
Americana singer-songwriter James McMurtry writes a lot of songs about classism and xenophobia in America, saying in an interview with the New York Times in 2017, “The image of the black welfare queen driving the Cadillac while good white folk drove Oldsmobiles was the boogeyman of the ’80s. Now I suppose it’s Mexican immigrants getting free health care.” He should have plenty of new material inspired by this Trumpian hellscape. (Plus some lovelorn ballads.) He’ll be joined by alt-country Texan Bonnie Whitmore. 

FUNK/REGGAE

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Dumpstaphunk, Fishbone, Miss Velvet & The Blue Wolf
For real, this might be the last time you have a chance to see George Clinton, the Frank Lloyd Wright of funk, on a stage. Too freaky for Motown, Clinton spearheaded the Parliament-Funkadelic hydra of greasy grooves and libido-liberating psychedelia, illuminating the late ’60s through the early ’80s with world-historical party music for mind and body. Warning: The last P-Funk show at Neptune Theatre was a cosmically sloppy mélange of immortal favorites and newer material that didn’t measure up to the classics. Clinton’s never run a tight ship in concert, but the debauched mess more often than not yields aural pleasures that’ll get you on the good foot. DAVE SEGAL

JAZZ

Nolatet: Mike Dillon, James Singleton, and Brian Haas
Just seeing the names of the musicians who make up Nolatet, without having much idea about what they’d be playing—jazz for sure, spastic and unusual jazz, maybe—I was on board. Jazz fusion punk extraordinaire Mike Dillon is among my all-time favorite beat keepers and vibes players (vibraphone is his primary instrument in Nolatet), and he comes here pretty regularly: Dillon’s in the Dead Kenny G’s and Critters Buggin with Seattle sax master Skerik, among other collabs. Brian Haas is the forward-thinking leader and keysman of super-heady post-jazz explorers Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey (their repertoire includes a long-form conceptual album based on the 1921 Tulsa race riot). James Singleton is a well-regarded New Orleans acoustic (upright) bassist whose main band is Astral Project with Nolatet’s fourth member and venerable NOLA drumming staple, Johnny Vidacovich. Their music is just out-there enough to be interesting, with some dirty, darker moments and a tendency to improv, but not so much that trad-jazz heads will be turned off. LEILANI POLK

ROCK/POP

The Drums, Tanukichan
Now just the solo project of frontman Jonny Pierce, the Drums will be bringing their particular brand of indie-pop to Seattle. Fresh-ish off the release of their fifth record, Brutalism, the latest tracks from the New York-based band are a mixed bag. At their best, the songs are bright, loud, energetic, and minimal, with Pierce’s near-British-sounding vocals singing breathily over it all like a “Pretty Cloud.” At its worst, the tracks are just boring and tedious—“626 Bedford Avenue” and “I Wanna Go Back” make me itchy. But it’s still good fun. If anything, definitely go see the opener, Oakland-based Tanukichan, whose fuzzy, shoegaze-inflected rock is dreamy and body-transporting. JASMYNE KEIMIG

Forest Ray, Damn The Witch Siren, Moon Darling, Vaens
Forest Ray are good at making the old sound new and the new sound old. As self-proclaimed believers in analog recordings, there is a strange physical component to their music—like you can almost hear the tape-thingy being fed through the rolly-thingy (I obviously know nothing about anything truly analog as a tail-end millennial. Let me know when someone releases an album on HitClips.) In any case, their distinct blend of psychedelic rock and folksy Americana—doused with a healthy bit of nostalgia for the 1960s—would make anyone want to smoke some grass and stare at a mesmerizingly patterned tablecloth. Check them out and float. JASMYNE KEIMIG

THURSDAY-SUNDAY

JAZZ

Jane Monheit with Michael Kanan, Neal Miner, and Rick Montalbano
Jane Monheit sounds like she took the persona of an opera diva (not a diva diva) and assumed the diva’s point of view, but toned it down just a few notches, singing in, let’s say, her bathroom, alone, just her and the sink and the shower and the toilet and maybe some ikebana. Private joy. Private sadness. But a diva, being a diva (even a diva diva), can’t help projecting. Can’t help putting it over. ANDREW HAMLIN

FRIDAY

HIP-HOP/RAP

Digable Planets
There’s a Libra in my life that listens to “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” to calm down, requesting it at kickbacks and hangouts. I guess it makes sense—there’s a sense of balance within Digable Planets’ mellow, jazz-rap catalog that could appeal to Libras and non-Libras alike. The hip-hop trio, along with groups like A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, laid the foundation for alternative hip-hop, combing steady flows over funky, jazzy tracks. Even though the trio—Craig “Doodlebug” Irving, Mariana “Ladybug Mecca” Vieira, and Seattle’s Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler—initially split in 1995, they’ve been intermittently reuniting ever since, and will be playing to an expectedly sold-out Neptune with a live band. JASMYNE KEIMIG

ROCK/POP

Great Grandpa, Baby Jessica, Apples with Moya
Here are Sean Nelson’s words on Great Grandpa: “Everything about this band is a complete joy. Their 2017 album, Plastic Cough, remains one of the best releases by a Seattle band in recent memory. The lyrics are sharp, the loud guitar tone is the friendliest kind of distortion, the melodies stick in your brain like a pickax, and the influences are pleasingly familiar to 1990s indie rock adepts without going over. If you’re young, they’re just an excellent band. But if you’re old, Great Grandpa is like bumping into an old friend you haven’t seen in years, only to discover that it’s actually their kid.”

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 sunny-fuzzy punks Cherry Glazerr, local rockers Red Ribbon, and dream-pop outfit Antonioni filling out this week’s bill.

Mumford & Sons, Portugal. The Man
Massive British folk-pop band Mumford & Sons have toured the world with their four albums’ worth of easy listening tracks since 2007. They’ll be joined tonight by the peppy, retro-grooving Portugal. The Man.

FRIDAY-SATURDAY

ROCK/POP

Echo in the Canyon: Screenings and Live Show
In the 1960s, Laurel Canyon was a hot spot for bands making the transition from folk to electric, from the Byrds to the Beach Boys to the Mamas and the Papas. After a screening of Andrew Slater’s documentary Echo in the Canyon, stick around for a Q&A with the Slater, musician Jakob Dylan, and producer Eric Barrett, plus live performances from Dylan, Jade Castrinos, and the EITC Band.

SATURDAY

BLUES/COUNTRY/FOLK

The Avett Brothers, Lake Street Dive, Trampled By Turtles
Folk familiars the Avett Brothers will break out their woo-woo approach to Americana this summer, their years of work heavily driven by pleasant harmony-riddled messages of good and evil, banjo and fiddle. They’ll be joined by Lake Street Dive and Trampled By Turtles.

Dirty Cello
San Francisco’s Dirty Cello takes the classical instrument and places it in the realm of boot-stompin’ blues and bluegrass. 

FUNK/REGGAE

Monophonics, Real Don Music
I’m a sucker for grimy, heady funk and psychedelic soul, and Monophonics, from San Francisco, cracked my brain open like an egg when I discovered their Stax-nasty jams—thick or crunchy or fuzzy bass textures, funky wailing organ, wet wah-wah guitar and trippy rock riffs, a lead singer whose soulful howls get you on board from the get-go, a Morricone-channeling cinematic drama—about seven years ago. Live, the music embraces and engulfs, spurring an immediate stank-face get-down. And by that, I mean, you can’t help but move your ass. RIYL: Adrian Younge, Sly & the Family Stone. LEILANI POLK

JAZZ

Christoph Irniger’s Pilgrim Quintet
Following their well-received 2016 live album Big Wheel, Zurich-based tenor saxophonist Christoph Irniger and his Pilgrim Quintet will stop in Seattle with new songs from their latest album, Crosswinds.

ROCK/POP

Blondie, Elvis Costello & the Imposters
Blondie is, of course, the punk/rock/new wave ’70s/’80s-era band led by sublime cooer Debbie Harry and known for incorporating elements of pop, reggae, disco, and even a little rap (if you can call what Harry did “rap”). They originally broke up in 1982 after releasing six albums, reunited in the late ’90s, and have been enjoying repeat comebacks into the collective consciousness with each release since; the last outing to get Harry onto stages was 2017’s collaborative Pollinator. Venerable rock/power-pop songwriter Elvis Costello had a similar come-up, as least as far as the era goes, and while he never charted like Blondie—barely at all in the U.S.—he’s as well-known as an underground artist can be, is many times more prolific than his Harry-led peers (2018’s Look Now was his 30th studio LP), and more forward-thinking (“Pump It Up” and “(I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea” were way ahead of 1978), and he’s just plain cool. This seems like a sure sell-out. LEILANI POLK

Mon Laferte, Ambar Lucid
Mon Laferte is a superstar—though most Americans wouldn’t know it. The singer (born Norma Monserrat Bustamante Laferte) is enormously popular in her native Chile. Her latest record, Norma, which was produced by Omar Rodríguez-López of the Mars Volta fame, finds the singer dabbling in Latin fusion, blending folk-pop with a rock sensibility. And after a stellar performance at Coachella this year, Mon Laferte is kicking off her U.S. tour here in the Emerald City. Bilingual bedroom pop singer-songwriter Ambar Lucid will be opening. JASMYNE KEIMIG

Treepeople, Red Rumsey, Itchy Kitty
I’ve loved [Treepople] since I first heard their melodic, colliding dual guitars, forlorn vocals, and knowing side-eye narratives as they banged it out with unflinching immediacy. These fellers were undeniably the closest Boise/Seattle would ever get if either city had been capable of germinating its own Revolution Summer. Nothing about Treepeople was typical for the Pacific Northwest—and then when it ended, it was as if their idea threads were knotted up and no band that retraced their sonic narrative could push those ideas further. MIKE NIPPER

VARIOUS

107.7 The End Summer Camp 2019
Summer Camp is 107.7 The End’s version of Warped Tour: all the bands you hear on your favorite Seattle rock station, but actually in the flesh on stage at Marymoor Park, playing all the hits. This year’s lineup features Walk the Moon, the Revivalists, Oliver Tree, Joywave, IDK How But They Found Me, SHAED, and Skating Polly.

SATURDAY-SUNDAY

OPERA

Rigoletto
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

SUNDAY

HIP-HOP/RAP

Flying Lotus
Flying Lotus has a new album out, Flamagra. Like his other work, his sixth studio outing is, in essence, a restless search for new ideas, new modes of feeling, sounds, and beats that either break with the past or completely revise it or revere it in new ways. The wonder is that Lotus, despite his fame, still maintains a fidelity to non-commercial hip-hop innovation. David Lynch is on this record, in a track called “Fire Is Coming.” It’s pretty out there. CHARLES MUDEDE

ROCK/POP

Feist, Rhye
Listen, the folky and introspective Leslie Feist could have taken her iTunes money (do you remember hearing “1234” every time you turned on the TV?) and run off to the Canadian wilderness somewhere, never to be found again. But she didn’t. Pleasure, which came out in 2017 and marked her first album in six years, is strongest when consumed as a whole, listened to on a long bus ride somewhere. The record ranges from the lush, fully-fleshed-out “Get Not High, Get Not Low” to the stark, hungry “I Wish I Didn’t Miss You.” Rhye will be supporting—prepare to plunge into the depths of your feelings. JASMYNE KEIMIG

Lord Huron, Shakey Graves, Julia Jacklin
LA’s Lord Huron have issued two albums of luminous folk pop that feels breezily effortless and expansive, their sweeping anthemic drive imbued with a Springsteenian/War on Drugs-like indie-rock appeal. Instrumentals are marked by cascading, Afrobeat-influenced guitar melodies and lush percussive textures, with an infusion of languid, salt-stained Cali sound qualities on 2015’s Strange Trails, while frontman Ben Schneider’s ethereal lead vocals soar over or intertwine with those of his bandmates to ascend in exquisite multi-voice chorales or stirring calls and cooing harmonies. LEILANI POLK