This week, our music critics have picked everything from the Northwest Terror Fest to HONK! Fest West to Brandi Carlile to Jurassic Park in Concert. 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 69 best things to do this week.
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Hiphop and R&B singer August Alsina will show off his melodic, hooky work with a live set.
Canadian rapper Nav (aka Navraj Singh Goraya), signed to the Weeknd’s XO label, will roll through town on his Bad Habits Tour with fellow Toronto rapper Killy in tow.
Canadian rapper and singer-songwriter SonReal (you know him from his 2016 hit "Can I Get a Witness") will perform songs from his new LP.
Snarky Puppy, Roosevelt Collier
Led by bassist, composer, and producer Michael League, this Brooklyn-based collective encompasses 19 members, though mostly they rotate in and out when on the road, with anywhere from 8 to 12 instrumentalists appearing onstage at any given time. Snarky Puppy have taken home three Grammys for their upbeat, brass-saturated (occasionally flute-stroked) take on groovy, funky, R&B imbued jazz fusion. It can get a little smooth at times, but it’s far more full-bodied than the sounds you hear from Kenny G types. Warming the stage is South Florida’s fine-sliding lap and pedal steel guitar player Roosevelt Collier. LEILANI POLK
Advertisement, Bad Blood, Matt Berry
Roll around with local rockers thanks to live sets by Advertisement, Bad Blood, and a solo set by Matt Berry.
Just One More Thing x Hardly Art
This month at the locally focused listening party Just One More Thing, hear music from Seattle's Hardly Art, the Sub Pop sister label whose acts include Chastity Belt, Dude York, Ian Sweet, Jenn Champion, La Luz, and other sunny pop-rock favorites.
J.I.D, Saba, Mereba, Deante Hitchcock
Dreamville rapper J.I.D will stop in Seattle on his Catch Me If You Can Tour, where he'll be joined by R&B singer Mereba and rapper Deante Hitchcock, both from Atlanta.
Local burlesque performers will strip sultrily while you sing your favorite songs in karaoke.
Thou, Panopticon, Slasher Dave
Pre-game for next week's Northwest Terror Fest with Baton Rouge punks Thou, Austin Lunn's black metal solo project Panopticon, and '80s horror-inspired instrumentalist Slasher Dave.
Jurassic Park 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 Jurassic Park (the original 1993 version about things going horribly awry at a dinosaur theme park) is the first of three to highlight John Williams’s exquisite movie music capabilities. The Empire Strikes Back and E.T. get the symphony treatment in June and July, respectively. LEILANI POLK
Ballard Jazz Festival 2019
The 17th Annual Ballard Jazz Festival, which highlights both the historic neighborhood and Seattle's vibrant jazz scene, is happening this year at locations including the Conor Byrne Pub and the Nordic Museum. Enjoy three days of live sets from local and national acts, a jazz walk down Ballard Avenue, and more.
Great Women of Country Tribute Series: The Music of Dolly Parton & Alison Krauss
For this installment of a series that highlights prolific women country singers of the past and present, local musicians (including Christa Wells, Joy Mills, and Naomi Wachira) will reimagine the classic ballads of country queens Dolly Parton and Alison Krauss.
Bellevue Jazz & Blues Festival: Sara Gazarek
Jazz singer Sara Gazarek—a Seattle native who went to Roosevelt High—will bring her acclaimed chops back to Seattle for some swoon-worthy vocals.
The Pharcyde, New Track City, DJ Indica Jones
Nineties-bred South Central hiphop crew the Pharcyde will dole out hits like "Oh Shit" and "Passing Me By" with support from Federal Way's own New Track City and Seattle gem DJ Indica Jones.
Northwest Terror Fest 2019
The third annual edition of Seattle’s underground heavy music festival features an impressive lineup of more than 30 bands over Northwest Terror Fest’s three days, plus several more at the pre-fest kickoff. Among the most notable headliners are elder statesmen of grindcore Pig Destroyer (Saturday); Swedish crusty d-beat punk makers Wolfbrigade (Friday); slow-building sludge and pummeling doom metal purveyors Inter Arma (Friday); and 1970s-spawned sword-and-sorcery-minded heavy-metal-turned-proto-doom-and-power-metal vets Cirith Ungol, who originally disbanded in 1992, but regrouped in 2016. The fest is held at Neumos and Barboza, with a preshow event on May 29 and after-parties each night at Highline. Get ready to get your thrash on. LEILANI POLK
Rainbow Kitten Surprise
Chart-topping North Carolina group Rainbow Kitten Surprise employ a Southern folk inflection in their indie alternative rock more subtle than their name, with neat harmonies and expansive instrumentation standing out as key methods.
ManDate, Creature 2 Creature, Whisper Hiss
Seattle limpwave grunge band ManDate consists of Clyde Petersen, Corey J. Brewer, Marc Mazique, and Lori Goldston—a lot of talent packed into one quartet. The post-punk outfit is forthrightly political, focusing on subjects like gentrification, HIV/AIDS, the safety and survival of queer people, the murder of people of color and transgender people, and cultural oppression. Okay, it sounds heavy—and it is—but it’s also fun. Sometimes you need to thrash because the world feels unhealable. Joining ManDate are Portland punk and post-punk bands Creature to Creature and Whisper Hiss. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Pure Bathing Culture
Elegant indie pop group Pure Bathing Culture recently returned to the pop culture fore with their latest Infinite Companion release, Night Pass, which explores themes of love and loss via dewy, dreamlike sounds. KIM SELLING
Silversun Pickups Acoustic In-Store Performance
I first heard Silversun Pickups when their song “Panic Switch” was the only good thing about the trailer to the movie Sucker Punch. (Does anyone remember that movie?) After purchasing that record, Swoon, I discovered that the band had a less-than-stellar reputation in critical circles. Screw the critics, I later thought, watching the band open for Metallica in Detroit. They’re energetic and driving live, even though singer Brian Aubert has a somewhat delicate voice. Every one of their records has at least a handful of excellent chrome-plated-but-plaintive rock songs, and 2015’s Better Nature is no different. JOSEPH SCHAFER
HONK! Fest West
The 12th edition of HONK! Fest West lands in White Center (Sat), Columbia City (Sun), and a brand-new site in South Park (Fri). All feature three stage areas located within close walking distance of each other, and more than 25 Pacific Northwest–area bands are set to appear. They range from the official sports-pro sounds of Seattle Seahawks Blue Thunder Drumline and the 43-member Seattle Sounders FC band Sound Wave, to Eugene's Samba Ja, a 30-member bateria (percussion ensemble) specializing in Afro-Brazilian beats, to Seattle's punk-kicking havoc-raising renegades Chaotic Noise Marching Corps, which HONK! Fest West president Steve Roberts described as a "very interactive mosh pit of musicians and listeners." LEILANI POLK
Brandi Carlile, Emmylou Harris, Neko Case
The experience of listening to Brandi Carlile’s 2018 album By The Way, I Forgive You is similar to that of listening to Carole King’s Tapestry or Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks; it’s a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, and a lot of hard truths about the human race. Carlile’s talents lie in her tone, a dusky alto that swims around confessions of heartbreak and lifelong efforts to love and be loved with the deftness of a much more senior troubadour. Her star has only recently begun to rise, but it’s her obvious staying power that’s impressive. KIM SELLING
Joe Russo's Almost Dead
My friends can’t stop talking about Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, aka JRAD, which was supposed to be a one-off show featuring interpretations of Grateful Dead songs but turned into a full-time touring powerhouse selling out shows nationwide. Joe Russo was originally the drums-and-percussion half of Benevento Russo Duo with Marco Benevento—also a member of JRAD—and his post-Duo efforts include work with Gene Ween, Cass McCombs, and Furthur, a Dead spin-off featuring Bob Weir and Phil Lesh. JRAD was conceived in 2013 after Russo’s stint with Furthur ended, and in addition to Benevento on keys, its current incarnation features Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz, and Scott Metzger and Tom Hamilton on vocals and guitars. By all accounts, they put on an epic, must-see show—recognizable as Grateful Dead music, but with its own heavier bend and heady persuasions. LEILANI POLK
Black Marble, Froth, DYED
When Black Marble’s album A Different Arrangement came out in 2012, I was hooked immediately. I played it every day, walking to work in the sunshine, feeling each bass line pulse like light off my face. Their throwback synthwave guns for a Suicide-meets-New-Order core, with the irrepressible bounce of Scritti Politti, and has been updated with slightly more modern trappings in their latest, 2016’s It’s Immaterial. This album builds on the band’s 1980s origin sound with explosive eight-bit, lashing synth, and heavy reverb that clouds the senses like a fog machine. I know none of us want to relive the horrors of 2016, so it’s soothing to experience songs with transportive properties, that take me from the clutches of that year and vault me straight back to the musical values of the early ’80s instead. KIM SELLING
The local tribute group Bowievision—featuring members of Dudley Manlove Quartet and Purr Gato, plus saxophonist Brian Bermudez—replicate as faithfully as they can the chameleonic British singer/songwriter’s hits, with a light show and video backdrops for bonus dazzlement. DAVE SEGAL
Gypsy Temple, i///u, wilsonlikethevolleyball
Pulling influences from My Morning Jacket, Lenny Kravitz, and Bob Marley, Seattle rockers Gypsy Temple will jam out in a big way after sets from neo-soul band i///u, and electro-dance group wilsonlikethevolleyball.
Inscape Arts Bash
Join Inscape—the former U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service building that was turned into artist studios—for a night of live music (with acts like Whitney Ballen, Ah God, Spesh, drama Bahama, and the Fabulous Downey Brothers), local beer on tap, and food trucks.
Formed in LA in 1969, Little Feat are still peddling their "California rock and Dixie-inflected funk-boogie." Join them on the Seattle stop of their 50th Anniversary Tour.
New Kids on the Block, Salt-N-Pepa, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, Naughty by Nature
I was a closet non-fan of New Kids on the Block when they came bursting into my adolescent life more than three decades ago. I wasn’t all that into their shtick, but all my friends were, and it was just easier to squeak along with them than admit I just didn’t get it. The early boy band’s Mixtape Tour is a 30th anniversary celebration of Hangin’ Tough with some guests of the era. Tiffany and Debbie Gibson make sense—vanilla pop stars of the era with saccharine hits that were fine. (I still get a little teary-eyed when I hear “Lost in Your Eyes,” and “Electric Youth” is a jam.) But Naughty by Nature and Salt-N-Pepa feel kinda like head-scratchers, both renowned for nasty, down-and-dirty hiphop jamz. (“Push It”? “O.P.P.”? “Shoop”?). This should be a night of people-watching gold. LEILANI POLK
There’s a 2018 Fuse ASMR video spoof featuring Dizzy Wright, that finds the rapper with a mic and a whisper, rustling the pages of a calendar as he points out dates he likes (April is his favorite month because it includes his daughter’s birthday, 4/21, and his favorite holiday, 4/20, back-to-back—“That’s my curse in life, it’s all good, though”), swishily rubbing St. Ives on his hands, knees, and neck (“Gotta stay lotioned up out here”), popping open the tube to a pre-roll with a nice "pop," and handling the fatty in satisfying crinkles as he recites all the flavors of his Dizzy-brand weed. While it doesn’t say much about his talents, it does reflect an artist who is generally good-natured, and his music speaks for itself: clever raps, fine rhythmic flow, funk-grooving production qualities. Must be in his blood; his uncles are Bone Thugs N Harmony members Layzie Bone and Flesh-N-Bone. This date falls behind the release of his sixth studio LP, Nobody Cares Work Harder, which features guest spots by Tech N9ne and Curren$y, among others. LEILANI POLK
Billie Eilish, Denzel Curry
Her sultry, silky, dulcet vocals have an old-soul quality, and her songwriting feels catchier and more mature than her 17 years would suggest. Which is likely why LA pop maker Billie Eilish has jetted to the top of charts worldwide with five singles off her debut full-length, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, that preceded its release (it peaked at No. 1 in 20 countries, and debuted at the top of our own Billboard 200, with the third-largest streaming numbers for an album by a female artist ever). She’s like the American version of Lorde, but her music belongs more on the late-night spectrum with dark, moody, grooving and thumping production qualities. LEILANI POLK
Practice your signature sulky head-bob in the mirror, because Northampton indie-rockers Sebadoh are coming to town—Lou Barlow included!—with new music for the first time in 14 years. NYC rockers Flower will give a warm-up set.