Best Music Shows

The 21 Best Music Shows in Seattle This Week: March 9-15, 2020

Gill Landry, Palehound, and More Music Critics' Picks
March 9, 2020
Dance to Boston-based trio Palehound's soulful, jangly indie rock at the Sunset Tavern this Friday. (Artist photo)

This week, our music critics have picked everything from Gill Landry to Acid Tongue to Tamino. 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.

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PSA: As you're making plans to go out in Seattle, remember that it's important to always wash your hands and stay home if you're sick. In light of the coronavirus, King County Public Health is recommending that people at higher risk of severe illness should stay home and away from large groups of people as much as possible. Several events in Seattle have been canceled already, so it's a good idea to double-check event websites for cancellations or postponements before leaving the house.



Pup, Screaming Females, The Drew Thomson Foundation
Pup will return to Seattle and bring their Toronto bodega lifer punk to the stage, with guest sets from New Jersey indie-rock trio Screaming Females and the Canadian indie-popper Drew Thomson Foundation.

The Strokes, Alvvays
I recently learned about the “20-year rule” used by clothing sellers to determine whether or not they can label an item as “vintage.” And I think the Strokes—at least as they exist in popular imagination as young disaffected indie dudes—are rapidly approaching vintage status, thus picking up a new layer of cool. I, for one, wouldn’t mind a small resurgence of catchy-garage-meets-pop-meets-’70s-swagger. Though the band has gotten distracted with their own side projects over the past few years, they've announced a new album, The New Abnormal. At a Bernie Sanders rally in New Hampshire, no less. I think it’s high time for zoomers to discover “The Modern Age.” JASMYNE KEIMIG



Young M.A.
Young M.A. burst onto the scene in 2016 with her song “OOOUUU.” Full of boasts, bravado, and queer desire, the New York rapper seemingly bypassed rap’s assumed male audience to speak directly to queer/women listeners. And it worked. The song received hundreds of millions of streams, propelling her career forward as one of the few openly gay rappers in hip-hop at the moment. Her most recent record, Herstory in the Making, solidified her talents as a rapper with broad appeal in cuts like “She Like I’m Like” and “BIG.” Young M.A. is even an accomplished entrepreneur, recently releasing a strap-on starter kit—you can’t say she doesn’t care! JASMYNE KEIMIG


Neal Francis
Chicago-based keys-playing musician Neal Francis churns out music that’s deeply derivative of the 1970s, a combination of the Band at their rootsy-grooviest, the boogie-woogie side of Dr. John, and Billy Preston’s upbeat soulfulness. Francis adds a dash of Chicago blues and R&B to the sonic stew, some wah-wah guitar and claved-out funkiness, and pits his mild, tuneful vocals against it all. It grooves, it rolls, it saunters, it strolls, and it is inherently likable and head-bobbable. His fantastic 2019 outing, Changes, was produced by analog maestro Sergio Rios (Orgone, Monophonics), and Francis lands in town in support. LEILANI POLK


Marc E. Bassy, Gianni & Kyle
Yanking heavily from the Weeknd-style section of the R&B canon, Marc E. Bassy crafts airy, slinky club hits ripe for a late-night summer basement party. He honed his sound composing hits for Wiz Khalifa, 2 Chainz, Chris Brown, Allen Stone, and PIA MIA, and he's coming to Seattle on his PMD Tour with pop-hop duo Gianni & Kyle in tow. 



Byron Westbrook, N Chambers
In the crowded field of drone-based ambient composers, Los Angeles’s Byron Westbrook stands as one of the most rigorous and interesting. One long-form piece he did, Threshold Variations, manifested, in his words, an “immersive environment” in which drones and field recordings wax and wane like aural mirages, inducing sublime dream states. For this gig, Westbrook will perform Surface Variants, an extended composition using analog and digital synths, field recordings, and tape manipulations to examine the concept of the “sonic afterimage.” The excerpt I heard contains abrupt transitions and episodes ranging from quiet animal sounds to corrugated noise bursts. Seattle’s N Chambers is returning to the live fray after months of cancer treatments. He remains, as I've been yelling at you for years, one of America's most engrossing synth composers. Hit for hours of sonic enlightenment. DAVE SEGAL


Lauren Sanderson
Join up-and-coming LA-based hip-hop artist Lauren Sanderson on her Midwest Kids Can Make It Big Tour. 


Brent Amaker Death Squad, Razor Clam, Smoker Dad
Even if Brent Amaker & the Rodeo couldn't hit a note, their shows would be a hit on pageantry alone. The backlit stage, the fog, the men in all black, and Bunny the burlesque dancer are a recipe as rich as a meal made entirely of desserts. The fact is, though, that the sound is amazing; guitarist Tiny Dancer builds perfect melodies, with Jacque's synth and vibes to complement the chugging rhythms built by bassist Cinderella, rhythm guitarist Ben Strehle, and drummer Bryan Crawford (who drums standing up, like Moe Tucker), and Brent's deep bass vocals ring out clear and strong. SEAN JEWELL



Gill Landry, Thunderstorm Artis
Louisiana singer-songwriter Gill Landry, previously of Old Crow Medicine Show, will present a night of musical storytelling, weaving together tales of the South with new American mythology. He'll be joined by Thunderstorm Artis, featured on The Voice.

Starlight Collective with Mark Pickerel
Local music cohort the Starlight Collective will welcome drummer Ben Smith (Heart), bassist Andy Stoller (Tracy Chapman), guitarist Jeff Fielder, and special guest Mark Pickerel (the Screaming Trees). 



The Gothard Sisters
Greta, Willow, and Solana Gothard are Edmonds natives who have brought Celtic music onto the local scene and have won Best New Irish Artist in the Sixth Annual Irish Music Awards. Join the folksy trio for some Eire classics.


Blackbird Blackbird
Mikey Maramag emerged as Blackbird Blackbird in summer 2010, more or less at the height of chillwave, when seemingly every emerging producer was dealing in narcotized, hazy beatwork. Since then, the San Francisco-based artist’s music has evolved in fits and starts. Maramag’s more recent work sits on the more tasteful end of the EDM spectrum alongside the likes of Flume or Giraffage—pitched-down vocal samples, rippling synth arpeggios, drums that more aggressively recall hiphop. It lacks the personality of his early work (he’s excised much of the singing and guitar), but makes up for it in energy and production acumen. ANDREW GOSPE


Emma Horton Band
Enjoy the lush vocals and jazzy instrumentation of Emma Horton and her band.


Acid Tongue, Monsterwatch, Fronds
With two EPs, a couple world tours, and 2017 debut full-length Babies under their belt, the fuzzed-out garagesters of Seattle’s Acid Tongue are set to drop nine more tabs of psych-pop anthems in their upcoming sophomore melter Bullies. In order to substantially flambé their album-release party, Acid Tongue have dynamically rounded up the local punk horrors of Monsterwatch and the dream-pop tranquilizers of Frond to concoct a mind-blending cocktail of stage-warming. Extrapolating from the “Follow the Witch” and “Walk Don’t Run” singles—and especially the LP’s title track—Bullies reveals the continued mastery of Guy Keltner and Ian Cunningham’s blistering, tastefully-nostalgic-yet-now sound and idiosyncratic wanderings into some overarching commentary on society at large. ZACH FRIMMEL

Palehound, Adult Mom, Emma Lee Toyoda
Led by vocalist and guitarist Ellen Kempner, Boston-based trio Palehound make soulful, jangly indie rock. Kempner’s lyrics are sincere and intimate. On the bedroom-vibing, guitar-driven “Room,” she croons: “She come over / Growing like a clover / In my rooooom.” Their most recent release, 2019’s Black Friday, is sonically more fleshed out with the addition of synthesizers, drum machines, and reverby old West guitars on songs like “Killer.” Bedroom-pop project Adult Mom and local favorite Emma Lee Toyoda open. JASMYNE KEIMIG



Mary Gauthier, Jaimee Harris
Folk singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier will perform songs from her album co-written with and for wounded veterans. She'll take the stage after an opening set from Jaimee Harris, whom NPR described as "a slightly edgier Emmylou Harris for the younger generation."


An Evening with the Skerik Band
Virtuosic saxophonist Skerik is so simultaneously prolific and left-field that his life's work has been dubbed something new altogether: saxophonics. He'll perform tonight with his band.


PUNK BLACK Seattle Fest
Punk scenes are composed of far more diverse crowds than just angry white kids, but the latter demographic tends to get the most mainstream credit for the birth and evolution of the genre. Here to debunk that myth are POC acts Maya Marie, the Black Chevys, Chiiirp, Hostilities, and Dark Smith.


Califone, Windoe
If you equate “roots” music with staid traditionalism, Califone will change your outlook. For the last 22 years, the Chicago collective has been fraying said roots into songs that spring out of folk, blues, and rock, yet they become otherized through guitarist/vocalist Tim Rutili’s skewed sensibility. Not too different from that of his old band, Red Red Meat, Califone’s music is redolent of the urban junkyard, the Alan Lomax archives, the orch-rock ghetto, and morose troubadourism. Rutili’s weathered drawl adds a crucial grit and pathos to these alluringly rickety compositions; low-key, he’s one of rock’s most soulful singers. Califone’s 12th album, Echo Mine, is another subtle tweak of the unconventional methods that brought them to this poignant point. DAVE SEGAL

I was drawn to Belgian model, singer, and musician Tamino because his voice reminded me of Thom Yorke—haunting, elegantly emotive, able to reach falsetto heights with seeming ease. The artist otherwise known as Tamino-Amir Moharam Fouad (grandson of renowned Egyptian singer and film star Muharram Fouad) can carry an entire track on the strength of his exquisite vocal, which has a more velvety quality than Yorke’s and can hit rather low notes too. His singing is backed by restrained instrumentals with classical ambient-electro embellishments. The beats are often languid but can rise in urgency, and occasionally reflect the influence of his Arabic background. Amir, his full-length debut, is subtle, dark, and mesmerizing. Listen to “Habibi” and fall in love. LEILANI POLK


Leslie Odom, Jr.
Grammy winner Leslie Odom Jr. is an acclaimed singer and dancer who has found mainstream recognition through his star turn as Aaron Burr in the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. He'll come to Seattle for a live performance.