This week (which comes with a long weekend, thanks to Memorial Day!), our music critics have picked everything from Xiu Xiu to DoNormaal to Detroit proto-punk band Death. 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.
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 | Memorial Day
Elle King, Barns Courtney
Bluesy singer-songwriter Elle King will return to Seattle with English singer-songwriter Barns Courtney on her Shake the Spirit tour in promotion of her latest album.
Orville Peck In-Store
It would be easy to write off the mask worn by rising crooner Orville Peck as a gimmick. But that would be the wrong way to look at it. For Peck, this isn't just a mask—it's an entire persona. Like Zorro's bandit mask or Nicolas Cage's snakeskin jacket in Wild at Heart (a symbol of "individuality" and a "belief in personal freedom," as Cage repeats, over and over), Orville Peck's long fringed mask is an extension of the man. A phantom limb of his personality. Signed by Sub Pop late last year, Peck released his debut country album, Pony, in March. The 12-track LP is a lush, dreamy journey careening through tales of gay hustlers and conflicted lovers. Peck's twangy howling is simultaneously intimidating and romantic—enigmatic, like his mask. CHASE BURNS
4U: The Music of Prince with Symphony
Experience the soulful music of industry legend Prince with the backing of a full symphony.
Insane Clown Posse, Rittz, Mushroomhead, DJ Paul & Ouija Macc, Kissing Candice
Insane Clown Posse is rolling back into town on tour, within which they'll be performing from their vast discography, which is either very good or very bad news depending on your personal brand. They'll be joined by Rittz, Mushroomhead, DJ Paul & Ouija Macc, and Kissing Candice on this parade of hardcore savagery and white rap.
Jorja Smith, Kali Uchis
These two are very much a “duh” combination, for many reasons. One of them being that Kali Uchis’s flirty, soft bop “Tyrant,” which featured a very brief missive by Jorja Smith, was a Perfect Summer of 2017 Track. Another being that they both embody a type of smoky, era-recalling vibe that doesn’t quite live up to its promise. Smith is sometimes compared to Amy Winehouse or Sade, but Sabrina Claudio or Ella Mai are better approximations. All are young millennial women who produce a certain type of sleepy, seductive bedroom R&B/pop that doesn’t quite scrape the upper echelons of Winehouse or Ms. Adu, but it sure is fun to listen to. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Neil Young with Promise of the Real
Neil Young—one of the most influential rock musicians of all time and the granddaddy of grunge—returns to Seattle for a two-night stand with California country rockers Promise of the Real backing him. If you’re mainly into Neil and Crazy Horse’s 1960s and ’70s masterpieces (Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After the Gold Rush, On the Beach, Tonight’s the Night, Zuma, Rust Never Sleeps), you may feel slighted, as reviews of Young’s performances with POTR reveal an emphasis on more recent material—although they still do “Ohio,” CSN&Y fans. Of course, Neil does whatever the hell he wants, but with a catalog as vast as his, it’s inevitable he and his younger cohorts—including Willie Nelson’s son, Lukas—will play your favorite slice of decades-old freedom rock. DAVE SEGAL
Alt-folk songstress and queen of the empty dance floor Jenny Lewis will return to Seattle for the first time in years to promote her latest album, On the Line.
Grammy- and Latin Grammy Award-winning singer Lila Downs will share exactly what makes her such an impactful performer with bilingual tracks that blend the folk and ranchera music of Mexico and South America with North American folk, jazz, blues, and hiphop.
The Messenger Legacy - Art Blakey Centennial Celebration
Legendary jazz drummer Art Blakey, who performed with the likes of Fletcher Henderson and Billy Eckstine in the 1940s, will be the centerpiece of this centennial tribute show with the Messenger Legacy, an elite lineup of alumni members of one of the genre’s most influential bands, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.
Juanes is a big fucking deal. Huge. So much so that I kinda can’t believe he’s playing in Seattle. “La Camisa Negra”? A bop. “Es Por Ti”? Yes, it is for me. “Fuego”? Baby, I’m on fire! While in his earlier career he made cheesy pop rock—that we all rightfully ate up—the past few years have seen him hop on the reggaetón wave, making tracks that you can bump in the club. There’s an earnestness and palatability to Juanes’s work that endears him to people across the world, regardless of language. I’ve said a lot of events are unmissable, but I’m serious about this one. In a venue like the Moore, you can get up close and personal with a real live superstar—how about that! JASMYNE KEIMIG
Toronto-based R&B singer-songwriter Allan Rayman is known for being mysterious—he doesn't do interviews and apparently leaves banter out of his live performances—but he's got a big following anyway. Catch him live and maybe he'll change course and tell you all his secrets.
Xiu Xiu, Lyfe Indoors
Jamie Stewart founded Xiu Xiu in 2002, combining uncomfortably intimate, whispery vocals with shock-seeking cacophonies on mid-’00s records like A Promise and Fabulous Muscles. More than a dozen years later, Forget takes Stewart’s challenging avant-garde formulas and distorts them under To Be Kind producer John Congleton, also collaborating with Swans guitarist Kristof Hahn, Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier, and minimalist composer Charlemagne Palestine. Forget teeters between vulnerably hushed (but still sadistic) and antagonistic confrontation, but the album’s lead single “Jenny GoGo” is a pure dark-pop gem, and likely Xiu Xiu’s best song of the past few years. Because they embrace everything from controversial lyrical themes (“I Luv Abortion”) to ambient Twin Peaks soundtrack tributes, a Xiu Xiu live set is never predictable. BRITTNIE FULLER
The Specials, L.A. Salami
If Coventry's finest released only two records, 1979’s exemplary debut The Specials and 2019's stellar comeback Encore, they’d be ska-punk legends. The first record, featuring sympathetic production from Armed Forces–era Elvis Costello, captured Britain's socioeconomic divide with irresistible rhythms and razor-sharp lyrical observations. The new record, featuring Pakistani-Bosnian activist Saffiyah Khan, rocketed to the top of the UK Billboard chart. In the 40 years between triumphs, they fragmented into various configurations, like the underrated Fun Boy Three, but when Jerry Dammers, Terry Hall, and Gig Harbor–based Lynval Golding are in sync, pop and politics come together in perfect harmony. KATHY FENNESSY
Romaro Franceswa, Gage Edwards, SXLXMXN, Bocha
Following 2016’s superb Balance, Romaro is back at it with Mirror, his first output since finding new management, a new label (Black Umbrella), and a new focus. It’s his first release sans the nimble OG Bean, but a quick pass-through confirms the goods. I ain’t gotta tell you to watch the kid, you’re already looking—just appreciate the growth. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Chastity Belt, Red Ribbon
The always-charming-but-also-kinda-sad post-party-punk quartet Chastity Belt is back, baby! Not that they went anywhere too far, but this is their first tour since calling off dates last year due to health reasons. We’re glad they’re feeling better. Meeting as students in Walla Walla, the now-Seattle-based band hasn’t released anything since their 2017 record I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone, but they have some new stuff on the way. In the meantime, you’re just going to have to play the jangly “Cool Slut” over and over while you tipsily get ready to go out. I’ve heard that “Different Now,” the moody, ’90s-inspired opener off their most recent album, is the perfect song to crack open a shower beer to. From a friend. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Ronnie Spector & The Ronettes
In the fickle realm of pop, you don't always get a second chance. When your moment arrives, you've got to make it count. Ronnie Spector made it count. She was Ronnie Bennett when she met legendary record producer Phil Spector in 1963. Bennett had been performing with the Ronettes, but with Spector they found a song—the song—that showed exactly what Ronnie could do with her sultry, poignant voice. It starts with near-ominous drum beats, exploding into Spector's trademark "wall of sound," capped by Ronnie's pleading vocals. The song, "Be My Baby," became one of the most recognizable hits of the '60s. GILLIAN G. GAAR
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks each have a decent claim to the title of electric blues guitar champion of the United States. The married couple's joint unit, Tedeschi Trucks Band, has been gigging for almost a decade, and in that time has won a Grammy as well as four Blues Music Awards. Never content to rest on their laurels, the road-tested couple released their fourth album, Signs, this February and are bringing that material to Seattle for the first time. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Locally bred, Nashville-based country-blues singer Austin Jenckes will come back to town in support of his new album Never Forget.
Carrie Underwood, Maddie & Tae, Runaway June
Country music golden girl Carrie Underwood has a sharpened pop sensibility with the curated style of a flag-waving backcountry woman. She'll be showcasing tracks from Cry Pretty, her sixth studio album, with supporting acts Maddie & Tae and Runaway June.
The Missionary Position - 10th Anniversary of “Diamonds in a Dead Sky”
Local blues-rock band the Missionary Position will celebrate the 10th anniversary of their debut album Diamonds in the Sky with local duo Little Spirits.
Earth, Helms Alee
May 24, 2019, will be the brutally mesmerizing night to remember, as it will be the album release show for Full Upon Her Burning Lips by Olympia’s living legends Earth. For their ninth studio album, the drone lords are sonically conjuring “The Colour of Poison” and providing a hypnotic, post-rock soundtrack to “A Wretched Country of Dusk.” Joining them are local hell-raisers Helms Alee, who just dropped their fifth crusher, Noctiluca, in April, and will ceremoniously set the stage ablaze for their luminaries. Both will grace us with a seared darkness while our Seattle light grows longer. ZACH FRIMMEL
The Knights of Trash, the Decibels, the Cheap Cassettes
It looks like it’s time to get clean, y’all, so brush your shoes and press them trousers, ’cause tonight is a dress to impress throw down!!! On the bill are the Decibels, from Sacramento, a prolific power-pop group (who also do a genius version of the Flamin’ Groovies’ “Shake Some Action”), along with locals the Cheap Cassettes, also a killer power-pop group, and the ever-lovin’ Knights of Trash. KoT began as a Headcoats tribute band, but they have evolved into a solid garage outfit. They whomp the asses of the reverbed “who brought the Ritalin” cool bro poseurs. MIKE NIPPER
Máscaras, Terror/Cactus, Lilac
Máscaras, a three-piece Portland group, play progressively informed mental instrumentals with heavy indie undertones. It’s good. I’d almost consider their jams to be (ahem) “soothing.” Like, I want their music with movies made to match, or perhaps it could at least be a soundtrack for a badass Steve McQueen–style car chase. MIKE NIPPER
Real Estate, Kacey Johansing
What sets the Jersey boys in Real Estate apart from the anonymous masses of kinda disaffected, sorta heartbroken white dudes with chiming guitars and pretty voices is that these guys know how to build an actual tune. In fact, they’ve crafted two albums of immaculately rendered jangle-pop and were poised for a hat trick with the release of their third, Atlas, in March 2014. Every song is like the Platonic ideal of an indie-rock anthem: condensed, addictive nuggets of melody and atmosphere, technically adept and never over-staying their welcome. Meanwhile, Martin Courtney’s lyrics create a sort of Rorschach test for your emotions; they’re vague enough to score a breakup or acceptance into law school. Sure, it’s polite, but damned if they don’t crank out some head-noddingly, toe-tappingly catchy music. KYLE FLECK
The True Loves, Prom Queen, Sun Breaks
Eight-piece instrumental soul crew the True Loves focus on tight grooves and modern soul motions influenced by the generations of the genre before them. They'll have support this evening from Prom Queen and Sun Breaks.
The Improvised Music Project will throw itself an 11th birthday party. This year, UW faculty and students will be joined by special guests for two days of improvised tunes and jazzy free-form. Headliners and guest artists will include Lucia Pulido (voice, cuatro) and Stomu Takeishi (bass).
Miles Davis Birthday Celebration
Thomas Marriott will continue his annual celebration of jazz legend Miles Davis with pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Eric Revis, drummer Kassa Overall, and saxophonist Rick Mandyck.
Ivan & Alyosha, Sisters
Originally from Seattle, folk-pop band Ivan & Alyosha have achieved national acclaim. NPR says they "possess cool charisma and an infectious sound that won over listeners at 2013's South by Southwest music festival." They'll be joined by local electro-dance duo Sisters.
Bass Coast x Shook: EGOLESS, Alter Echo, E3
For aficionados of the low end of the sonic spectrum, July's Bass Coast Festival in Merritt, BC, is the best music festival within 500 miles. Shook are our local soundbwoys, and they are hosting a pre-fest sesh with Croatia's EGOLESS, who will deliver the goods in a live performance that promises to thump your chest with the latest dub science. Portland's Alter Echo and E3 are backing up with impressive résumés of their own, from collabs with Lee "Scratch" Perry to Mad Professor. Don’t be afraid to dive into the deep end. GREGORY SCRUGGS
DoNormaal, the Black Chevys, Vibe
Seattle rapper DoNormaal’s sophomore record, Third Daughter, was like a ray of light beaming in from some other planet. The cosmic and otherworldly beats coupled with the blunt cadence of her voice is unexpected and refreshing. “Ego Slave” plays like a frantic summer tune threaded with guitar and keyboard; “Buckle” is like that moment when you hit the blunt too hard and spend five minutes figuring out how to get off the couch. Her music is creepy, crunk, and multilayered—she knows how to twist expectations to keep listeners on their toes. It’s been two years since Third Daughter, and the Seattle MC is plotting and making moves on her third album, yippee. Fingers crossed we’ll hear some of it soon. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Acapulco Lips, Sunset Flip, Heavy Denim
Apocalypse is nigh. Sorry, excuse me, I mean: Acapulco Lips is nigh. The Seattle surf-rock trio pushes music that makes the Pacific Northwest seem like a beachy, warm place to be. Their sound is very vintage, but never superficially so—“Awkward Waltz” is lovingly lo-fi and fuzzed-out, like it’s the summer in the 1960s. “Shoes On” made me go out and buy some paisley pants. “Gotta Know” brought me out of my gray-weather depression. Straightforward rock outfit Sunset Flip and fuzzy punks Heavy Denim open. JASMYNE KEIMIG
An Evening with Death
This year marks the 10th anniversary since the re-discovery of Detroit proto-punk band Death's 1975 LP For the World To See, which sparked the award-winning 2012 documentary A Band Called Death. Catch the original members in Seattle.
Las Cafeteras, Terror/Cactus, Cordaviva
Las Cafeteras live performances are kinetic—there’s a wooden platform for someone to dance Zapateado (a rhythmic kind of tap dance) on, a box-shaped percussion instrument called a cajón that has to be straddled to be played, and a donkey jawbone that’s used as a musical instrument. Growing up in Los Angeles, the sextet was inspired by Mexican music, specifically Afro-Mexican music from Southern Veracruz in Mexico. Their sound is folky, engaging, and makes you want to join in. The group will be supported by Seattle-by-way-of-Buenos-Aires trippy electro-cumbia group Terror/Cactus and the dancey Afrobeat-inspired Cordaviva. JASMYNE KEIMIG
Terminator 2, Pink Void, Aurora Bridge, Coyote Teeth
Texas-based trio Terminator 2 bring their sounds of pounding sludge and berserk jackhammers up from the desert for this four-band Black Lodge headbanger. The additional acts form a dark spectrum of neoteric Pacific Northwestness. Aurora Bridge connect minimalism with rusted metal. Distorted guitar dreams lash out in freakish pedal effects via solo performer Pink Void. And Coyote Teeth drop jazz notes into drone zones. Be sure to bring earplugs, cash for cassette tapes, and all the nihilism this world will ever need. AJ DENT
Don't hate Rhett Miller because he has amazing hair. The Texas troubadour's rep as one of the nicest guys in rock makes it hard to hold a grudge against those beautiful locks. Just as he's taken style cues from Gram Parsons, his career has followed a parallel path. Parsons made his name with the Flying Burrito Brothers, Miller made his with the Old 97’s. Parsons, however, never covered the Cramps' "TV Set." For his sixth studio recording The Traveler, Miller recorded in Portland with Black Prairie, including Alaska-born fiddle player Annalisa Tornfelt. Wistful nostalgia reigns, as he paints pictures of powder-blue pickups in the summer and youthful indiscretions in the city. If charm is your Kryptonite, steer clear of this show. KATHY FENNESSY
Desert Hearts Showcase
All-night costumed raves in the desert probably jumped the shark a decade ago, but I respect festivals that are willing to shake off the dust and come into the club. Desert Hearts, an annual Mojave freak-out that has blossomed into a multifaceted DJ crew and roving party series, will land for the Loft’s fifth annual Memorial Day bender. Without the added experiential firepower of outdoor art installations and a vast arid landscape, these kinds of events force the headliners—Mikey Lion, Lee Reynolds, and Marbs—to up their game and deliver DJ sets with enough variety along the house-techno-electro spectrum to keep the dance floor engaged. GREG SCRUGGS
Rippikoulo, Petrification, Fetid, Cerebral Rot
Finland's Rippikoulo—whose name means a class in Catholic confirmation—make a rare US appearance this month at the esteemed annual Maryland Deathfest and, lucky for heavy music fans in Seattle, are following it with a West Coast tour. Beloved for a virulent and eldritch sound somewhat typical for extreme metal acts in their homeland, the band made waves in the early 1990s, but the death of guitarist Marko Henriksson put the project on ice before they completed a studio album. Re-formed in 2014, the band now performs their early material as a four-piece. It's unlikely that they’ll return to US in the near future, so curious fans ought to buy a ticket in advance. JOSEPH SCHAFER
Here's the thing about Alicia Witt: Though best known as an actress, she's been making music for three decades. After her first David Lynch acting job in Dune (he spotted her on an episode of That’s Incredible!), she played the Hayward family's piano-playing daughter on Twin Peaks and Cybill Shepherd’s piano-playing daughter on Cybill. In the midst of dozens of other roles, from The Sopranos to Justified, she's toured, recorded an album, and composed TV theme songs. If she's a more facile pianist than singer, her agreeable classic-pop style lies somewhere between Billy Joel and one-time producer Ben Folds. KATHY FENNESSY