Best Music Shows

The 36 Best Music Shows in Seattle This Week: June 10-16, 2019

Summer Cannibals, Father John Misty, and More Music Critics' Picks
June 9, 2019
Portland rockers Summer Cannibals have been known to put on a fun show. Catch them on Friday with Blushh and Dreamdecay. (Courtesy of the artists)

This week, our music critics have picked everything from Father John Misty Add to a List to Patty Griffin Add to a List to Hoop Add to a List . 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 50 best things to do this week.

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In the Spotlight: Hannah Kendall Add to a List
Seattle Symphony presents the US premiere of The Spark Catchers, a luminescent number from British (and millennial!!) composer Hannah Kendall. The composition conveys such a strong sense of narrative and action-adventure drama that it could be the soundtrack to a lost scene from Star Wars. The piece, commissioned by the BBC, has been getting good reviews. “Confident,” says Classical Source. "Rhythmically incisive," says the Guardian. Stick around after the show to check out the symphony's new innovative space, and also to talk shop about chamber music with Kendall. RICH SMITH


Cowboy Junkies Add to a List
The first time I ever heard Cowboy Junkies was on a dirty, beer-stained couch at the radio station I used to help run in college. My friend and I were supposed to be studying, but we ended up just lying around listening to music. She put on their cover of Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane,” which seemed to fit every mood I could ever have at 21—melancholy, meditative, cautious, ready to yield to the good things in life. Like the rest of the band’s work. Cowboy Junkies are now celebrating 30 years together as a band. Cheers to that.JASMYNE KEIMIG

The Cult Add to a List
Punters love the Cult, and they rightly should expect this night to be filled with the Brit band’s rock swaggery. That said, their popularity always surprises me. Back in the 1980s, even with lots of radio play, they were almost immediately dumped into the also-rans file as their pop ascension was stymied by a first single riff in “Love Removal Machine” seemingly copped from the Stones’ “Start Me Up,” and then by the arrival of GnR. That was then, though, ’cause now it’s easy to hear how they evolved from new romantics into heshers who, on balance, are way better than most other ’80s hair bands. MIKE NIPPER



In the Spotlight: Bolcom, Jolley, Poteat & Hausmann Add to a List
Seattle supports a pretty robust scene of local symphonic composers. Seattle Symphony has plucked out a few of the major players—William Bolcom, Jérémy Jolley, Ben Hausmann, and Angelique Poteat—and given them the room for the night. Bolcom's piece is a fun ragtime jam, Poteat's Ripples of Possibilities features meditative and warbly clarinets that break into madness, Hausmann's Sonnet for Eternal Loveliness is just sort of pleasant and at its best occasionally sounds like Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Jolley's (contro-)clessidra I & IV combines electronic instruments with regular ones and basically sounds like it looks. RICH SMITH


Connan Mockasin, Molly Lewis Add to a List
Lovable, experimental, "fake jazz" genius Connan Mockasin writes funny, sweet, psychedelic pop and lounge songs about romantic yearning ("Forever Dolphin Love"), magic ("Faking Jazz Together"), and the real-life encumbrances of modern sexuality ("Charlotte’s Thong"). Both his production style—he recorded his second album Carmel in a Tokyo hotel room—and his subject material speak to a deep internal world, spritzed with humor. Mockasin’s Jassbusters was one of my favorite records of last year, and the Genius page which sought to log the lyrics of "Charlotte’s Thong" is a piece of art. Who among us can say what happened to Charlotte’s thong? SUZETTE SMITH

Father John Misty, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Jade Bird Add to a List
Father John Misty is a perfectly perfunctory performer. When I saw him at Sub Pop’s 30th Anniversary Party last summer, he hit every note, every dance move, every guitar strum exactly as he should. But it was still hard to connect with him behind those shades. It was like he was performing in his sleep. Well, what do performers owe their audiences, anyway? FJM released the pretty good God’s Favorite Customer last June, which was a decidedly less preachy effort than his third album, 2017’s Pure Comedy. God’s Favorite Customer found FJM just as down, just as out, just as witty, just as self-centered as he’s ever been—like we like him. JASMYNE KEIMIG

NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest on the Road Add to a List
Join KEXP and NPR Music staff for live performances by 2019 Tiny Desk Contest winner and Alaskan singer-songwriter Quinn Christopherson (who, endearingly, didn't own his own guitar until after he received the indie honor) and additional guests.



Rickie Lee Jones Add to a List
Rickie Lee Jones sang “Sympathy for the Devil” (prerecorded) as I read how Trump’s (first) travel ban got definitively thumped by the courts: That night, her manifestation of pure evil/ego—toting its crimes in a failing rasp, a boast its only potency—left me reduced to a toothless pile of wrinkles camped out by the shitter in Joe’s Bar & Grill. Madeleine Peyroux gives us a healthy, sensible Billie Holiday—bit of a creak, but sweetness at the bottom in each note. Her “Desperados Under the Eaves” turns melancholy with elegance, a move that angers “alcoholic purists” out there on YouTube—but I say some people fade (alcoholically) with melancholy elegance. Wrong. Horrible. But sometimes people disappear (slowly) into air-conditioner hum. ANDREW HAMLIN



SOAK., Fenne Lily Add to a List
Northern Ireland's Bridie Monds-Watson, who plays indie-folk as SOAK., will come through town on the heels of her introspective 14-track sophomore album, Grim Town. She'll be joined by Fenne Lily.


Rain City Symphony Spring Concert Add to a List
In their annual springtime concert, Rain City Symphony will perform orchestral works by Paul Dukas, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Jules Massenet.


The Art Gray Noizz Quintet, the Tom Price Desert Classic Add to a List
Any band boasting former members of Lubricated Goat and Live Skull will get my attention. So it’s pleasing to report that the Art Gray Noizz Quintet live up to expectations. The Brooklyn brutes’ recent “A Call to You”/“Won't Say It to My Face” single pummels, whooshes, and oscillates like Hawkwind on a tequila bender. It’s pugilistic rock with gravel-voiced singing that aspires to space, but it’s too busy kicking your ass to achieve stellar liftoff. (Key detail: The drummer's name is Bloody Rich.) And that resultant friction is what makes the music so compelling. DAVE SEGAL


Moveable Mirror: Rudresh Mahanthappa, Eric Revis, Dave King Add to a List
Rudresh Mahanthappa is an American saxophonist who combines the Carnatic music of his Southern Indian heritage with jazz, funk, hip-hop, and other Western genres. He brings a hybridized vigor to these styles, blowing magniloquent gusts of high-energy virtuosity, his mad fluency reminiscent of Sonny Rollins. So it's not surprising that Mahanthappa and his Moveable Mirror trio with drummer Dave King (the Bad Plus) and bassist Eric Revis will interpret Rollins’s 1958 Blue Note LP, A Night at the Village Vanguard, as well as his own galvanizing and spiritual compositions. Mahanthappa has played with Jack DeJohnette, Vijay Iyer, and Steve Lehman, among others, so you know he's the real deal. This is destined to be one of the best Jazz Alley bookings of 2019. DAVE SEGAL


Nick Murphy Add to a List
Now performing under his given name after years as Chet Faker, Nick Murphy has a new album out. And boy is he ready to tour supporting it. Run Fast Sleep Naked wasn’t as warmly received as the stuff under his now-retired moniker. Chet Faker was a bit more bedroomy. Chet Faker was an Australian dude trying his hand at both soul and electronica. Chet Faker covered “No Diggity.” This new non-Chet era of Murphy’s career often finds him singing over an orchestra with a strange, faux Americana earnestness about him. In any case, go forth and cross your fingers he’ll hit you with some “Birthday Card” at his live performance. JASMYNE KEIMIG



Rob Thomas, Abby Anderson Add to a List
Relive the most earnest moments and deeply alt sounds of the '90s and '00s with slick Matchbox 20 frontman Rob Thomas and opener Abby Anderson on their Chip Tooth tour.



John Mayall Band with Carolyn Wonderland, Greg Rzab and Jay Davenport Add to a List
I know lots of folks like to deride any and all strictly blues aspects of ROCK. Y'all, I understand, it didn't take long after blues relocated to the city then went hippie for things to turn a little stock-sounding and "bar" band-ish, but John Mayall was an early groundbreaker (pun intended). He is a piece in the puzzle of our rock 'n' roll history. In fact, HUNDREDS (okay, not hundreds, but a handful) of them who’d become rock GODS passed through his group, the Bluesbreakers: Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Mark Almond, and Harvey Mandel! And all the while, Mayall held true to his singular, narrow vision: Play them blues and play 'em RIGHT! Now, he's 84 years old and still going strong! MIKE NIPPER



Eldridge Gravy & the Court Supreme, Black Cherry Crush, High Pulp Add to a List
High Pulp have been building a low-key buzz for a minute—but for no good reason, I hadn't listened to them until this month. My bad. The Seattle 10-piece generate complicated, feel-great instrumentals that should please fans of early Santana, folks into expansive funk and fusion, and jam-band aficionados. High Pulp’s party music inspires communal, celebratory sensations without the sweaty-handed corniness that often accompanies this approach. A couple of listens to their 2018 album Bad Juice will convince you they’re one of the most interesting acts in town. It makes perfect sense that High Pulp are opening for fellow big-band party-starters Eldridge Gravy. DAVE SEGAL

The Heavy Add to a List
You know the Heavy from their 2006 single “How You Like Me Now?” Even though it only peaked at No. 122 on the Billboard 200, that track was tapped everywhere—commercials (Kia Sorento SUV), films and trailers and closing credits (The Transporter Refueled, Horrible Bosses, The Fighter), video games (Borderlands 2, Forza Horizon 2), TV shows (Community, Suits), TV theme songs (Intentional Talk on MLB Network), and sporting events (it’s Radim Vrbata’s personalized goal song, and it plays whenever he scores during Vancouver Canucks home games). The UK group hasn’t strayed far from making hard-ass-shaking rock heavily dosed with crunchy funk and neo-soul, and they land in town behind their fifth and latest album full of it, Sons. LEILANI POLK


Gretchen Grimm, Solitaire, Abbey Blackwell, The Zig Zag Lady Add to a List
Four women from local bands will go solo: The Zig Zag Lady Sound Experience (Erica Miller of Casual Hex and Big Bite) Gretchen Grimm (of Chastity Belt and Woo Girls), Abbey Blackwell, and Solitaire (Candace Harter of Darto). 

Mudhoney, The Fucking Eagles, The Drove Add to a List
When I think about Mudhoney, I always think about Citizen Dick. Matt Dillon’s fictional band in the 1992 grunge rom-com Singles parodies the Mudhoney hit “Touch Me I’m Sick” with a song called “Touch Me I’m Dick.” There’s a reason Cameron Crowe chose that song to poke fun at: Mudhoney are Sub Pop’s flagship band, and that 1988 single remains a fiery, headbanging classic. And so does the band. While so many groups associated with that six-letter G word have gone the way of Dillon’s long locks, Mudhoney have continued to shred with sinister distortion, Mark Arm’s piercing vocal howl, and plenty of feedback that never diminishes with each new album. Unlike Crowe’s film, Mudhoney aren’t a charmingly dorky time capsule—they’re a band that’s remained effortlessly cool and still totally rocks. ROBIN EDWARDS

Summer Cannibals, Blushh, Dreamdecay Add to a List
Here's Sean Nelson with an endorsement: "There's no delicate way to say it: Summer Cannibals fucking rule. They play with the punishing urgency of young Superchunk, songs full of power and abandon but also set alight by excellent pop instincts and shrewd songwriting. Their third album, Full of It, has been a mainstay since its 2016 release, and their live shows are exciting in a way rock bands often don't even bother aspiring to anymore. Too bad for those losers." See them after opening sets from Shab Ferdowsi's fuzzy pop project Blushh and local punks Dreamdecay.

W Music Spotlight: La Fonda Add to a List
Join local indie dream-pop sextet La Fonda for some dreamy jams full of '60s "surf-esque" guitars and swoony synths.



Paradiso Festival Add to a List
Paradiso is the PNW's premier festival of WUB-WUB-WUB, colloquially known as brostep, also called EDM, which is short for "electronic dance music" (you're welcome, grandpa). Headliners include Benny Benassi, Alison Wonderland, Kaskade, Elephante, and Skrillex. Trust that glow sticks will be wielded, hearts broken, and vape pens smoked.



Patty Griffin Add to a List
Chances are you've already heard the music of Patty Griffin. Her songs have been recorded by Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Dixie Chicks, even Bette Midler. But you haven't really, truly experienced Griffin until you hear her perform her own stellar originals. And her fifth album, Children Running Through, is a perfect place to start, showcasing a voice as strong and versatile as her compositional chops. Griffin waxes jazzy on the opening "You'll Remember," lets loose with a fiery blues/gospel number on "Up the Mountain (MLK Song)"—which no less a personage, the King of Rock 'n' Soul Solomon Burke, recently cut, too—and whips through the kiss-off ditty "Getting Ready" with hell-raising fervor. She's every bit as gifted as any of her A-list patrons, and deserves just as much public recognition. KURT B. REIGHLEY


Massive Monkees Day Add to a List
Massive Monkees Day is a true Seattle institution that is both entertaining and drenched in positivity. The focal point of this breakdancing holiday arranged by Seattle’s legendary B-boy/B-girl crew Massive Monkees is the Pro Breaking Tour–sanctioned battle royale, which this year has moved to the Showbox. The world-class dancers (who will be traveling from all over North America, Asia, and Europe to compete) and the DJs who accompany them create an impressive musical/athletic spectacle, and the familial vibe that has helped to keep the breaking community intact runs strong throughout. TODD HAMM


Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra—Ray Charles: I Can't Stop Lovin' You Add to a List
Witness the massive legacy of Ray Charles with this performance by the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra of Charles classics and rare big band scores played on the road by the Ray Charles Orchestra.


Yungblud, Saint PHNX Add to a List
If I were walking down the street in 2007 and someone was blasting Yungblud’s “Loner” out of their car, I wouldn’t have batted an eye. The artist otherwise known as Dominic Harrison sounds so ska-meets-suburban-brat-from-the-UK that he almost transcends time. And before you ask, yes, Yungblud does love Arctic Monkeys. Despite the rather exhausting image he puts out, Yungblud fancies himself a socially conscious singer. A cut off his latest studio album, 21st Century, called “Machine Gun (F**k the NRA)” is a comment on his feelings about gun culture in the US. He swings mainstream pop as well, appearing on “11 Minutes” alongside trashy pop mainstay Halsey and Travis Barker (?). Yungblud is supported by Glaswegian fraternal pop duo Saint PHNX. JASMYNE KEIMIG


The Middle Ages, Seablite, Neutrals Add to a List
While my “editorial focus” IS on tonight’s kick-ass bill, I gotta holler: If you ain’t been down to Southgate Roller Rink yet, turn up early and get an hour of skating in. Cool? Okay, I can't simplify headliner Seablite's SOUND by calling them anything obvious, ’cause they play a kind of melodic, thickly atmospheric sweetness framed by delicate paisley-pop nods and sideswiped by a slight shoegaze fixation. Um, they’re just cool—so, kids, dose accordingly. Also kicking up dust tonight will be local punks Middle Ages and, from Oakland, Neutrals, a smart UK-style punk group. MIKE NIPPER



Indigo Girls, Sera Cahoone Add to a List
Amy Ray and Emily Saliers are still Indigo Girls (the band's approaching 34!) and still folk-rockin'. They'll perform on the bucolic north meadow of the Woodland Park Zoo as a part of the annual summer concert series, ZooTunes Add to a List .


Kishi Bashi, Takenobu Add to a List
The fourth and latest album from Kaoru Ishibashi (professionally known as Kishi Bashi) is bright, poignant, heartfelt, and infused with a sense of hope, even during its more melancholy moments. From the breezy, acoustic-guitar-picked opening of "Penny Rabbit and Summer Bear" with its Harry Nilsson "Everybody's Talkin'" feel, to the sweeping symphonics and forlorn beauty of "Summer of '42," to the twangy fiddle-rousing banjo-plucked closer "Annie, Heart Thief of the Sea," Omoiyari is a stunner that remains uplifting despite its bleak inspiration: the WWII internment of Japanese Americans. Omoiyari is a bit of a departure from Kishi Bashi's previous efforts, folkier while conversely more finely composed and orchestrated. Instead of mostly producing the entire album himself, the Berklee-trained musician (who sings and plays violin primarily, but also guitar and keys) brought on a band (including frequent collaborator Tall Tall Trees on bass and banjo) and some chamber players to back him up. It's also more political, though the parallels between what happened then versus what's happening now are examined more deeply and thoroughly in accompanying documentary Omoiyari: A Songfilm by Kishi Bashi, due out sometime next year. LEILANI POLK

Steve Hackman's Harder, Better, Faster, Stravinsky Add to a List
Composer and producer Steve Hackman will lay out the full spectrum of Stravinsky to Kanye in this pop-classical mash-up concert that matches composers with chart-toppers.


Mama's Thirsty: A Queer Lady Hangout Pride Edition! Add to a List
For this installment of a series highlighting womxn- and queer-fronted music acts in Seattle, hosted by Caela Bailey as always, enjoy a live set by Guayaba with burlesque by "2018 Queen of Oregon" Nox Falls, lap dances by "the gorgeous Kiki and friends," and DJ sets by PepTalk.


Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra—Ray Charles: I Can't Stop Lovin' You Add to a List
Witness the massive legacy of Ray Charles with this performance by the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra of Charles classics and rare big band scores played on the road by the Ray Charles Orchestra.


Duff McKagan, Shooter Jennings Add to a List
Ex-Guns N' Roses bassist and beloved PNW resident Duff McKagan will hit the stage with his backing band alongside a support set by Shooter Jennings.

Hoop, Fell Runner, Baby Jessica Add to a List
Former Stranger contributor Robin Edwards wrote: "When I first saw Hoop, all that kept running through my head was a constant stream of 'Wow, I love this band.' Caitlin Roberts, Leena Joshi, and Pamela Santiago trade off singing on the dreamiest friendship-bracelet pop songs, full of tender harmonies and magical guitar lines and introspective lyrics that tug gently on my most sensitive heartstrings." Tonight, they'll perform with LA-based experimental rockers Fell Runner and local rock trio Baby Jessica.


Stephanie Anne Johnson & The Highdogs, The Junebugs Add to a List
Tacoma-bred R&B/soul artist Stephanie Anne Johnson (who was featured on the 2013 season of The Voice) will be backed by her band and welcomed with an opening set from down-tempo indie rockers Junebugs.

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