Best Music Shows

The 29 Best Music Shows in Seattle This Week: July 8-14, 2019

Necking, Cate Le Bon, Timber!, and More Music Critics' Picks
July 7, 2019
Post-punk quartet Necking will play at Victory Lounge on Saturday with Seattle's Emma Lee Toyoda. (Courtesy of the artists)

This week, our music critics have picked everything from Timber! Outdoor Music Festival to Beck to Cate Le Bon. 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 critics' picks for the 61 best things to do this week.

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2019 Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer Festival
The Seattle Chamber Music Society is, once again, throwing its Summer Festival, with free informal recitals and full orchestral performances for all ages throughout the month of July. The cabal of esteemed artists involved this year will include Andrew Wan, Jonathan Vinocour, Jeewon Park, Tessa Lark, Yura Lee, and many more. Plus, don't miss the Music Under the Stars series, during which a student ensemble sets up in a park and plays to whoever shows up, often folks with picnic blankets in tow and maybe a surreptitious bottle of wine, after which Benaroya Hall pipes in whatever festival performance is happening that night.



Nauticult, Guayaba, Fucked and Bound, So Pitted
Experimental punks Nauticult are out with a new concept album about humans using other humans for "violence, war, technology, religion, group thought, resources, manipulation, sex, abuse, and healing." They'll celebrate its release with a live set preceded by all-star openers Guayaba, F***ed and Bound, and So Pitted. Plus, shop from vendors Wearewitchy, Concuss, and Noise Noise Ouch Stop Records.


Beatrix Sky, RVBY MY DEAR, Soultanz
Synth-pop/dark-wave musician Beatrix Sky’s music snatches you right up. One moment, you’re firmly planted in bed, scrolling the Endless Feed, and the next, you’re floating calmly above it all, bathed in warm light, humming along to Sky’s dreamy tunes. The Seattle-based musician has a voice that’s as wistful (and defiant) as Lana Del Rey. I legit levitated to “Love Drug,” a song that murkily spins over synths. She’ll be joined by New York dream-pop outfit RVBY MY DEAR and the ever infectious, seriously groovy, and forward-thinking Seattle electronic duo Soultanz. JASMYNE KEIMIG

There are some groups that inspire the respect of people you admire, earn rave reviews in well-regarded publications, and record for renowned labels, and yet you just never get around to listening to their music. That’s the case with me and Jawbox, who’ve reunited after a 10-year hiatus. I’ve no valid reasons for ignoring this DC band, which made a lot of rock fans’ 1990s a wild time to be alive. Now that I’m finally hearing Jawbox’s music, I get it. Their surging, coiled songs carry a heroic uplift, punching above their weight like SST-era Hüsker Dü or Helmet with a keener melodic sensibility. I should’ve been heeding all those recommendations from former Stranger music editor Eric Grandy, damn it. DAVE SEGAL

The Struts, The Glorious Sons, The Pink Slips
U.K.-bred classic rock and embroidered velvet revivalists the Struts will show off their British rock 'n' blues flavor on this stateside tour stop with opening support from the Glorious Sons and the Pink Slips.



E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in Concert
These Seattle Symphony + film matchups are a great way to enliven a cinematic chestnut while drawing in more diverse audiences than what you traditionally find at a classical music concert, pairing a screening with the symphony’s live performance of the film score. This presentation of the 1980s classic—about a sweet lil’ big-headed alien who’s stranded on Earth and the children who are tasked with hiding him while helping him get home—is the next in a series highlighting John Williams’s exquisite music-movie capabilities. LEILANI POLK



Alvarius B. with the Invisible Hands
In 2017, Alvarius B. poured years' worth of brainstorming into the three-volume With a Beaker on the Burner and an Otter in the Oven. Tapping members of his Egyptian bands, as well as players from Seattle's Master Musicians of Bukkake, Bishop created his masterpiece. Over its sprawling length, he proves that his delicate, burnished psych-folk songs deserve canonical status. Covers of Lee Hazlewood's "Dark in My Heart" and Johnny Cash's "Wanted Man" further sharpen the album's glorious despondency and earned cynicism via Bishop's revised lyrics. DAVE SEGAL



Roni Size, Kid Hops, Pressha
I'll admit, I didn't think UK drum & bass producer Roni Size was still in the music game. Like many, I assumed he faded out after 2000’s In the Mode, the slightly disappointing, rap-heavy follow-up to 1997’s D&B paradigm-shifter New Forms. Don’t get me wrong: In the Mode is a solid record with a grip of club-friendly burners. But compared to its world-beating predecessor, it couldn’t help seeming underwhelming. On New Forms, Size and his beat-savvy cohorts in Reprazent (Krust, Die, Suv, drummer Clive Deemer) brought a jazzy, virtuosic feel to the typically utilitarian condition of much jungle; check “Brown Paper Bag” for one sterling example. Reprazent’s large-band live shows supporting New Forms exemplified D&B’s status as electronic music’s vanguard genre in the late 1990s. It’ll be interesting to see if Size can rekindle that mercurial rhythmic brilliance two decades later. DAVE SEGAL


Jazz: The Second Century
Jazz: The Second Century is a long-standing program by Earshot Jazz that invites Seattle musicians to creatively consider the future of jazz, and what that could look like, in resulting performative interpretations. Each night showcases original compositions by Seattle artists (this one features Friends & Heroes and DX-Tet), and is curated by different peer groups within our local music community through a blind jury process from responses to a general call for submissions.


Greyson Chance, Fleurie
Ex-teen sensation Greyson Chance is now an adult and touring the country on the wave of his new popular singles (notably, Shut UpYours, and Timekeeper). He'll be joined by Nashville singer-songwriter Fleurie on this tour stop.

Momma, Emma Lee Toyoda, Black Ends, 36?, Emily Yacina
“Momma” is what I call my mother; it’s equal parts affectionate and deferent. The Los Angeles–based indie-rock duo of this name makes quiet, lo-fi tunes that maybe remind me of Girlpool or, like, a less intensely sad Elliott Smith. Their songs are earnest and simple, unspooling and unassuming. “Sidewalk” is both catchy and melancholy, and “Caterpillar” a cute extended metaphor. Seattle’s favorite “sad soft punk” Emma Lee Toyoda will be joining Momma onstage. Black End’s sorta bizarre but earwormy rock and 36?’s “pop-punk-neo-jazz-fusion soul music from heaven and hell” will be rounding out this stacked lineup. JASMYNE KEIMIG


Nights at the Neptune: A People's Theatre Joint
The Neptune will lend its stage to speakers, dancers, and artists who address the most urgent social and racial issues of our time. This week, look forward to International African Stage, a One Vibe Africa concert featuring great musicians like Naomi Wachira, DJ Topspin, Yirim Seck, Silas Blak, Yaddi Bojia, Simon Okelo, Ancient Robotz, and Djeliyah Band.



Timber! Outdoor Music Festival 2019
Timber!, Artist Home's popular outdoor music festival thrown out in Carnation, is back for its seventh year with a very full weekend of crowd-friendly folk, rock, and pop performances, and all-ages activities like camping, kayaking, and stargazing. This year's lineup includes San Francisco punks Oh Sees and grunge legend Mark Lanegan, and local stars like Chong the Nomad, Hibou, and Haley Heynderickx.



50th! Great Records of 1969: Nick Drake's 'Five Leaves Left'
The Royal Room’s ambitious Great Records of 1969 series attains a peak with this night dedicated to British folk-rock genius Nick Drake’s debut LP, Five Leaves Left. Essentially, Drake was a soul man and a love poet of utmost understatement. The album’s 10 songs amble into earshot, mollycoddle your tenderest feelings, and ice your brain with gentle melodic beauty and hushed vocal delicacy. For this show, Darren Loucas will lead a band through Five Leaves’ subliminally jazzy folk balladry, leading us on the way to blue. Bring a hanky. One last thing: All evidence points to Nick Drake having died a virgin at age 26 from an antidepressant overdose, yet his music has helped countless people to get laid. Bittersweet irony. DAVE SEGAL

Queen with Adam Lambert
This bill is utterly wrong, of course. Sure, Adam Lambert has a great voice, a great face, and a great body. The former American Idol contestant is out and has taken his lumps for it. What Lambert does not have is what RuPaul called the TP, the Total Package. The TP in this case concerns the late Queen vocalist Farrokh Bulsara, who turned himself into Freddie Mercury, dazzled the world, dosed the faithful and anyone else within earshot with excess, and buried his non-Caucasianness deeper than his queerness (on the latter, he’d drop hints with a wink or the aesthetic equivalent—but no one could ask him about family). Mercury hid in plain sight, signified in plain sight, and died from AIDS in shame. Go to this concert if you want spectacle. You’ll get it, but you won’t get history. ANDREW HAMLIN

Revel, Laura Hickli, Porpoise Parade
God, I’m a fuckin’ sucker for dream pop. And Seattle band Revel are peak dream pop. Though less distorted and hazy than you might expect, with a bit more jangle, their music is bright and whirling. Latest single “You Didn’t Stay” is sugary sweet with Arika Santana’s voice threading through the fuzzy guitar and synthy bars. Canadian singer-songwriter Laura Hickli will be bringing “baroque art pop” to the bill, and Seattle indie-pop guitarist Mitch Etter will be performing as Porpoise Parade. JASMYNE KEIMIG


Smokey Robinson
My mother was in town recently for a ridiculous amount of time, and one night over dinner she asked what I was working on. I told her I needed to write up a thing about Smokey Robinson’s upcoming show, and she and my sister immediately cooed in unison: “Smokey, our favorite!” There’s no other appropriate reaction to this man. You either love him with your whole heart, deeply appreciate his foundational influence and industry-altering contributions to soul and pop, and generally melt for his lilting honeyed tones, or you know nothing about anything. Openly cherish this national treasure while he’s still around. You never what 2019 has in store for our favorites. KIM SELLING



Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban in Concert
The Seattle Symphony will take on the cultural phenomenon with a performance of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, providing the audience with a chance to relive the magic of the film in high-definition on a giant screen amid John Williams’ unforgettable score.



The Hawkins Snow Ball '84: The Season Three Edition
Immerse yourself in the finale set of your favorite TV show (it'll be fresh in your mind since the new season has newly dropped on Netflix) with this '80s-themed prom decked out with a photo booth, balloons, classic dance tracks, a disco ball, and more. Dress up in your best retro prom outfit (or best Stranger Things costume) and come dance all night, or at least until the Mind-Flayer comes for us all.


Mark Redito
Los Angeles-based producer and DJ Mark Redito will come to Seattle with hyper-dance- and J-pop-inspired bangers.


August Burns Red, Silverstein, Silent Planet
Long-gigging Pennsylvania metalcore band August Burns Red will bring their perennially sold-out show on the road this summer, with support from Silverstein and Silent Planet.


Beck, Cage the Elephant, Spoon, Starcrawler
I might not always love what Beck Hansen does (I prefer the groove-hawking, alt-hip-hop experimenter and upbeat art-pop pusher to the somber, introspective songwriter), but I respect him deeply and I've been digging on his latest output—2017’s Colors had some hot joints, including “Wow” prior to its oversaturation, and latest single, the dance-funky-banjo-sampled vocal-oohhing “Saw Lightning,” is a fine bopping collab with Pharrell Williams that precedes the release of his 14th album, Hyperspace. Co-headliner Cage the Elephant are one of those garage-and-psych-vibing alternative bands picked up by mainstream rock radio that I can’t help but like—“Trouble,” “Come a Little Closer,” “Cold Cold Cold”? Those dudes write mean hooks and catchy riffs. They also teamed up with Beck for the dub-thumping “Night Running” off new Social Cues LP, which has likely been spurring live onstage collabs on their current tour. Austin’s fine Britt Daniel–led indie rockers Spoon support, and LA punk outfit Starcrawler open the show. LEILANI POLK

Cate Le Bon, Conscious Summary
Right from her first album, 2009’s Me Oh My, Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon established herself as a distinctive force in underground rock. As I wrote about her sophomore album, Cyrk, Le Bon, like the late Trish Keenan of Broadcast, “radiates a stern, enigmatic charisma that never wears out its welcome.” There’s also some Sandy Denny–esque pastoral grace to Le Bon’s voice, which enhances her bittersweetly melodic art-rock songs. As with Pavement’s, her tunes carry both familiar and skewed elements that enable them to sound fresh in a genre where freshness is not exactly rampant. Le Bon is on tour supporting the new, lushly beautiful Reward LP. DAVE SEGAL

Necking, Emma Lee Toyoda
“Fuck me / Tell all your friends you’ve got me / Can’t make me come, so I made you leave / Way hotter in your memory.” Vancouver-based Necking’s “Big Mouth” clocks in at 2:45 and packs a fucking punch. The post-punk quartet is gritty, loud, and unafraid to get confrontational. They’re riding off the high of latest album Cut Your Teeth, which dropped in early July and is a riotous mess of tracks. Seattle hometown hero Emma Lee Toyoda and their vulnerable (but fun) brand of punk will open. JASMYNE KEIMIG


Rodrigo y Gabriela
Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela Quintero have been pushing out instrumental-guitar-driven duets, mostly minus a full band, for more than 18 years. They both wield acoustic axes, and employ choppy technicality and stylistic qualities that complement each other—Rodrigo is the quicksilver picker and fret-jumper, Gabriela the strummer with intense rhythmicality, and both bust out beats on the bodies of their guitars. While their sound is clearly rooted in the flamenco of their Mexico City home, both were weaned on rock, heavy metal, and jazz—and elements from all three come out in their playing and the covers that show up on their albums (like Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” off their self-titled LP) and live performances (e.g., a medley of Metallica’s “One” and Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”). LEILANI POLK



Avi Kaplan
Avi Kaplan, a former member of the popular a cappella group Pentatonix, has happily branched out on his own with a new folk record. He'll stop in Seattle on his The Other Side Tour. 


Slightly Stoopid, Matisyahu, Tribal Seeds, HIRIE
The seven-piece Ocean Beach group Slightly Stoopid, plus Matisyahu, Tribal Seeds, and HIRIE, will generate their big-rock, reggae-inspired, canna-happy vibes for the Marymoor Park Summer Concert Series.


Twiztid, Guests
Join freaky Detroit hip-hop duo Twiztid, recognizable for their toned-down ICP-esque makeup, on their 25th anniversary tour. 


Bad Religion, Dave Hause & The Mermaid
I’m too old to have ’00s pop-punk/Epitaph nostalgia, so when I look back at my teenage years and consider Bad Religion, I never, EVER would have imagined they’d become hugely popular a full decade AFTER their first LP, or that they’d STILL be playing today AND the lineup would include former Minor Threat/Dag Nasty guitarist Brian Baker! Well, in the ’90s, Bad Religion codified their sound into a tight, clean version of early-’80s SoCal hardcore, and, along with grad-school thesis-level narratives, they simply continued on unflinchingly and successfully touring and recording new records. Not bad, fellers, way to keep from having to retire! MIKE NIPPER