Best Music Shows

The 41 Best Music Shows in Seattle This Week: April 1-7, 2019

Stella Donnelly, Hop Along, and More Music Critics' Picks
April 1, 2019
Catch some acoustic, folk-inflected tunes from Australia's Stella Donnelly on Tuesday.

This week, our music critics have picked everything from Delfeayo Marsalis & the Uptown Jazz Orchestra to space-rock group Spiritualized to Hop Along. 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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Acid Mothers Temple, Yamantaka, Sonic Titan
Another year, another Acid Mothers Temple Seattle tour date. It’s comforting to know that these Japanese interstellar overdrivers can keep traveling the world with their uncompromising take on fiery and spacey psych-rock for nearly a quarter century. With influences that range from Gong to Mothers of Invention to Terry Riley to Pink Floyd to Black Sabbath and many freaky signposts in between, AMT can take many paths to foster sonic enlightenment. They’re seasoned pros at blasting you out of corporeal reality and into transcendental bliss or chaos. You should probably take a personal day on Tuesday. DAVE SEGAL



Emanuel Ax
Grammy-winning and internationally acclaimed pianist Emanuel Ax will take his own vast repertoire to task on the piano in this re-creation of his New York recital debut program on its 40th anniversary.

In the Spotlight: Trimpin, Stiefel, & More
The Seattle Symphony showcases three of the city's very own composers, all of whom produce remarkably different kinds of work in terms of aesthetics. MacArthur Genius Trimpin creates room-sized orchestral art installations that sometimes look like Rube Goldberg machines. You'll get a taste of that with Solo Flute, Eight Pottery Wheels and Assorted Vinyls. Andrew Stiefel’s deceptively simple and pretty Five Ways to Listen to a Mockingbird will blur the false distinction between the natural world and the metropolis. And finally, musicians will display the full range of maraca and maraca-type instruments in Leonardo Gorosito and Rafael Alberto's mesmerizing percussive piece Seeds. This concert will also give you a chance to check out Octave 9, a newly opened, state-of-the-art space that allows the symphony to completely change the acoustics of the room to suit their needs. RICH SMITH


José González & the String Theory
José González can mesmerize with a single verse—his vocals are just that exquisite. Tender, elegant, high-toned, quiet and soothing yet arresting, a melodically sublime caress to the ears. The Swedish singer-songwriter, nylon-stringed finger-style acoustic guitarist, and one-half of Swedish folk duo Junip pits those glorious pipes against sparse folk arrangements marked by gentle or sprightlier finger-picked guitar, his set list encompassing originals as well as gorgeous, stripped-down renderings of songs like Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” and the Knife’s “Heartbeats.” The whole “man and his guitar” shtick isn’t easy to pull off, but I’ve seen González do it, and his serene intensity keeps your eyes glued. He’s coming to Seattle behind the freshly released Live in Europe, a two-LP live recording from his tour with avant world orchestra the String Theory, which join him on this tour. LEILANI POLK

Lisa Prank, Julia Shapiro, Andrew Hall
Kim Selling has written, "Experimental pop punk angel Lisa Prank brings dreamy rom-com meets Jimmy Eat World vibes into a low-key and lo-fi reality." They'll be joined by Chastity Belt's Julia Shapiro and Dude York's Andrew Hall.

Stella Donnelly, Faye Webster
“Oh, are you scared of me, old man? / Or are you scared of what I’ll do?” sings Australian musician Stella Donnelly on “Old Man.” It provokes—it’s like she’s really saying, I’ll fuck you up. All over a jangly guitar. The 25-year-old musician just released her debut full-length, Beware of the Dogs, which also includes “Boys Will Be Boys,” a song about victim-blaming and rape culture that came out right around the dawn of #MeToo. Donnelly’s observational and playful approach to songwriting, coupled with her acoustic, folk-inflected tunes, make her a force to be reckoned with—and listened to. JASMYNE KEIMIG


Durand Jones & the Indications, Ginger Root
I’ll try not to get too gushy, but as I’m a bit of a soulie, I gotta holler about how Durand Jones & the Indications are one of a handful of contemporary soul groups that deserve all the respect and nods they’ve been getting. The band, which has two vocalists, stretch out the sweetest and deepest of soul. It’s the kind of soul y’all might know better as “smooth,” the early 1970s Philly/Chicago/Memphis sound, like, romantic, slow-dance soul that strode into the era via the Stylistics, the Impressions, and Al Green. Oooh-weee, DJ&I are just perfect. MIKE NIPPER


Zakir Hussain
Few things in life surpass the pleasure of witnessing an exalted tabla player, and tonight Seattle is blessed by world-class Indian musician Zakir Hussain. The son of tabla great Alla Rakha, Hussain has caressed the small Indian drums with Shakti, Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart, and Diga Rhythm Band. His byzantine structures and chakra-aligning tonalities intertwine in cosmic synchronicity and proceed with quicksilver fluidity. Prepare to spend most of the night with your mouth agape as your mind reels to one of the most enchanting instruments humanity has ever conceived. DAVE SEGAL



Delfeayo Marsalis & the Uptown Jazz Orchestra
Delfeayo Marsalis isn’t as prolific or renowned as his older brothers Wynton and Branford, but the trombone playing member of one of New Orleans’ most venerated musical families still has some mighty fine chops—technically excellent, but fun and inventive, too. He also gets props for his production quality and is often credited as being responsible for the resurgence of acoustic recording in jazz. Delfeayo founded the 16-piece multigenerational Uptown Jazz Orchestra in 2008, though their debut recording, Make America Great Again!—which traces American music from its African roots to the present—didn’t come out until 2016. Nevertheless, it’s full of swinging and grooving big-band tunes that kick off with a gentle, brass-fueled rendition of “Star Spangled Banner” before launching into lushly layered instrumentals that feel worldly and fresh and kissed by that NOLA flavor while also drawing on genres ranging from Latin music to gospel to hiphop. LEILANI POLK



Queensrÿche, Fates Warning
Back in 2012, Queensrÿche publicly feuded over the use of their name with former vocalist Geoff Tate. After securing the copyright to the well-established name, the remaining members made a risky move, hiring former Crimson Glory singer Todd La Torre. Many feared this change, as Tate’s voice was synonymous with Queensrÿche’s prog-rock sound. What fans received was a love letter to the vintage Queensrÿche years, shying away from their softer, more ballad-driven material and embracing their original soaring, power-metal-esque anthems with 2013’s self-titled album and 2015’s Condition Hüman. There’s no end in sight for this old-school Northwest rock institution. KEVIN DIERS

We Came As Romans, Crown The Empire, Erra, SHVPES
Detroit rockers We Came As Romans will keep things "post-hardcore" after opening sets from metalcore bands Crown the Empire, Erra, and SHVPES.


James Bay, Noah Kahan
English singer-songwriter James Bay aims to seduce everyone in the Seattle metro area with his aw-shucks blue-eyed-soul vibes, tracks off his latest album, and new short haircut on his Electric Light Tour.

There is a chance that you know Spiritualized from the short but memorable tapping of their music in Vanilla Sky. (“Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space” played during Tom Cruise’s elevator ride toward his fate.) That track spurred me to seek out more by the Jason Pierce–driven space rock group, and it’s why I continue to follow them today even though, eight albums deep, they haven’t put out anything else that has touched my heart so deeply and profoundly. One thing that has remained the same between then and 2018 LP And Nothing Hurt is Pierce’s near-symphonic style of composing, his richly textured music encompassing multi-voice choruses and lush instrumentation, from brass to strings to an array of axes, bass guitars, and synthesizers. Also, its lead track, “A Perfect Miracle,” could be the happy-go-lucky kid sister to “Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space”—both in cadence and melodic framework. LEILANI POLK



Hippie Sabotage, Sebastian Paul
California's Hippie Sabotage, much like our own local boys gone grand Odesza, perform the sort of sun-baked beachtronica that will make you feel like cracking open a Corona and playing hooky for a week. If you're looking for a techno-pop fix on a Saturday night, it wouldn't be wrong to steer you here, but why would you ever need a fix of techno pop? Just watch the ads before YouTube videos. KYLE FLECK


Illy Bogart
Catch Bay Area quartet Illy Bogart for a night of expertly blended classical jazz, modern funk, and hiphop. 

Sam Shoemaker, Adlib, SpaceKamp, Nobi, Just blu3
Seattle-based trap-inclined rapper Sam Shoemaker will mark the release of his new EP Grimy Gospel in Columbia City with support from Adlib, SpaceKamp, Nobi, and Just blu3. 

Smino, Phoelix
The first Smino song I ever heard was the truly amazing “Anita” remix that featured T-Pain; it was so good, it got its own music video. The track is appropriately chill, retro, and fun, the perfect backdrop to warm weather fun. Now the Saint Louis–born, Chicago-based MC—who has worked with the likes of Chance the Rapper, Noname, and Saba—is back in support of his sophomore album, NOIR, that dropped last November. The record is a moody, sexy, R&B-drenched thing, and Smino’s voice is chameleon-like, versatile, changing on every track. Listen to “KLINK,” with its guitar tightly simmering over a trap beat, before you head out. And “FENTY SEX” when you bring someone back home. JASMYNE KEIMIG


Slothrust, Rituals of Mine
Jazz- and blues-charged rock trio Slothrust, who met at Sarah Lawrence College, broke onto the Brooklyn indie scene with their unique "incandescent riffing" and pop hooks. Hopefully they'll play some covers by Al Green and Britney Spears as they did on their 2017 album Show Me How You Want It To Be. They'll be joined by LA downtempo R&B outfit Rituals of Mine.



Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1
The whole program for this evening plays to incoming Seattle Symphony music director Thomas Dausgaard's strengths. He's known for his interpretations of Brahms, one of the daddies of the romantic era, but one who nevertheless stayed true to his classical roots. Both Dausgaard and pianist Garrick Ohlsson offer passionate intensity without sacrificing a bit of intellectual rigor, so it will be interesting to see them tackle Brahms's formidable First Concerto. Nielsen's angsty, manic Second Symphony will come as a relief after Rued Langgaard's prelude to Antichrist, which is gorgeous, but also sounds like the orchestral equivalent of edging. Both pieces were written in Dausgaard's native Denmark. RICH SMITH


Peabo Bryson
Sway to two-time Grammy-winning vocalist Peabo Bryson's pop-soul ballads. 



Prince Opening Party
Put on your most radical purple and white gear as the museum opens its exhibition Prince from MinneapolisDance to Seattle's Prince tribute band, Purple Mane; confer with DJ Kevin Cole, Prince's private party DJ; take cute photos at the "Purple Rain-inspired photo op"; drink themed cocktails; get made up and styled by Bang; help create a mural with Craig Cundiff and Barry Johnson; make your own symbol, Prince-style; and get exhibition access.


Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, Horse Head, MIRSY
Pennsylvanian sing-song-y trap philosopher Wicca Phase Springs Eternal (the solo project of singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Adam McIlwee, who founded the "internet collective" Gothboiclique) will come to Seattle for an all-ages show with opening support from moody hiphop genre-benders Horse Head and LA's MIRSY.


Kiki Valera & Cubaché
Charles Mudede has said: "You can never go wrong with Kiki Valera, who performs one of the most vibrant, soulful, and infectious forms of music in the world, Cuban jazz." Valera will play along with other great musicians from Cubaché, including Pedro Vargas, Joshuah de Jesus, Alfredo Polier, Javier Marú, and Dean Schmidt.


Sonny & the Sunsets, Kilcid Band, Zebra Hunt
Low-fidelity all-stars Sonny & the Sunsets are responsible for one of the best songs of the 21st century: “Death Cream” off 2009’s Tomorrow Is Alright. It epitomizes Sonny and company’s acute melodic sensibilities and skill for squeezing maximum sweetness from minimal elements. In other words, Sonny was in some prime Jonathan Richman territory with his unvarnished, winsome tune-smithing. He’s since added keyboards and richer production values, but his songs have retained the shaggy, cute demeanor that makes you feel like an über-curmudgeon for not loving his music. Zebra Hunt are Seattle’s foremost torchbearers of the revered New Zealand and Australian indie-rock tradition. With clean, jangly guitar riffs, memorably amiable hooks, and the non-cloying sincerity of the Chills’ Martin Phillipps or the Go-Betweens’ Grant McLennan, Zebra Hunt create delightful rock that zips straight to your heart and mind. DAVE SEGAL



JD McPherson, J.P. Harris
I’ve been following JD McPherson since the release of his first side, “North Side Gal,” when he somehow, pointedly, drew black R&B back into a contemporary take on 1950s rockabilly. It was remarkable, as his music was earnest and seated in the period, but it didn’t come across as any kind of hot-rod burlesque/psychobilly cosplay cliché. Since then, he’s kept things pretty tight to the style, even as his sound has become somewhat more atmospheric and anthemic. He’s still swinging like a mofo, but now there’s just the slightest bit of updated glitz—and it works. MIKE NIPPER



Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra: "A Floodtide of Inspired Invention" — Beethoven's Seventh
Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra will take on the technical masterwork and unending fount of inspiration for other composers, Beethoven's Symphony No. 7, considered one of the most beloved of Beethoven's Nine Symphonies. In addition, Franz Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 and a symphonic piece by Finnish composer Helvi Leiviskä will be performed, with a feature by the winner of the Philharmonic's 2018 Don Bushell competition, Hexin Qiao.


Nostalgist, Troubled by Insects, Folian, Kole Galbraith
On Seattle group Nostalgist’s latest album, 2018’s Disaffection, they cover Catherine Wheel’s 1992 song “Texture,” and that decision clues you in to their aesthetic: a majestic melancholy expressed in dense, turbulent waves of guitar and bass, while singer/guitarist Asa Eisenhardt lowers the boom with a bellow that could fill stadia with anguish. Nostalgist dub their music “heavy ethereal,” which is accurate; you could also call it shoegaze-goth of extreme girth and worth. How will tiny Hollow Earth Radio contain all these deep feelings? DAVE SEGAL


Bob Mould Band, Hutch Harris
After his 2014 record, Beauty & Ruin, shook his fanbase with exquisitely executed gloom after the death of his father, one might expect something more straightforward and punk-oriented from ex-Hüsker Dü songwriter Bob Mould. Of the recent record, Patch the Sky, the '80s indie-rock/thoughtful-punk pioneer says, "The words make you remember. The music makes you forget." Now in the context of the last year's death of his former Hüsker Dü bandmate and co-songwriter Grant Hart—whom he honored in a tear-jerking tribute on his Facebook page—tonight's show should yield an appropriately somber tone. Mould's spirit seems optimistic in the face of more loss, however, and this performance promises to be electric in both acoustics and emotional dynamism. BRITTNIE FULLER

Dermot Kennedy
Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy flew in a day early for his NPR Tiny Desk concert to rehearse with Washington, D.C.'s Howard Gospel Choir, whom he brought along to the performance. Hopefully, this tour stop will also bring some fun surprises. 

The Driver Era
Pop duo the Driver Era—composed of brothers Ross and Rocky Lynch—will defy the limitations of genre on this Seattle tour stop.

An Evening with Michael Bublé
Stadium seducer Michael Bublé will bring his lounge act on a 27-city U.S. tour this spring on a wave of success following five sold-out world tours, winning four additional Grammy Awards, and selling over 60 million records.

Hop Along
If Philadelphia four-piece Hop Along had emerged at the height of the college-rock era, they would have fit in neatly between Bettie Serveert and the Breeders. They’re no throwback act, but Frances Quinlan’s rhythmic, quasi-jazzy phrasing brings Carol van Dijk and Kim Deal to mind. If it’s possible to sound relaxed and excitable at the same time, she’s mastered the trick. While their first two records were a little exhausting, last year’s Bark Your Head Off, Dog reveals a band at greater ease in addition to surprising new moves, like nods in the direction of power pop and baroque folk. KATHY FENNESSY

Pink Talking Fish, Swindler
Pink Talking Fish are a self-styled “hybrid tribute fusion act” that perform set lists that stitch together the music of three mega bands from different but overlapping eras: Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and Phish. Why am I writing about a bona fide cover band, you ask? Because the way they present these covers is extraordinary and lots of fun. The songs of each artist are distinctive and recognizable—and yet each one flows seamlessly into the next no matter who it’s by, like jumping from Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell” into Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” into Phish’s “Run Like an Antelope,” and then segueing back into “Run Like Hell” to close it all out. It all feels very organic, even though it’s quite the opposite. RIYL: Any of the aforementioned bands. LEILANI POLK

Walking Papers, The Black Tones, The Bird Hex
Seattle blues-rock band Walking Papers counts former Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin and former Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan among its members. They'll headline in Tacoma with support from bluesy punk favorites the Black Tones and the Bird Hex. 


Sessions: Naomi Wachira
Join Seattle-based Kenyan Afro-folk singer Naomi Wachira for an evening of what Leilani Polk has called "soulful and richly emotive" music.


Culture Fest Vol. 4
Over 30 Seattle artists, performers, vendors, and influencers will gather under one roof for a display of the city's diverse cultures. 



Mason Jennings, Olivia De La Cruz
Mason Jennings is in no way related to late outlaw country artist Waylon Jennings, which means he is also not related to Shooter. Mason didn’t even come up in a music-making family, but he picked up the guitar at 13, dropped out of school at 16 to pursue a musical career, and self-produced and released his self-titled debut at 22, in 1997. More than two decades and a few dozen recordings later, he’s seen high highs and low lows—divorce, battles with depression and agoraphobia, and, most importantly, a new love that inspired the songwriting on last year’s Songs from When We Met. It’s folk-pop encased in a golden sheen of contentment—warm, breezy, and quite lovely, as driven by Jennings’s gentle, reedy, vaguely Bob Dylan–reminiscent vocal quality. LEILANI POLK


Town Music: Third Coast Percussion
Attention all Philip Glass fans: Chicago-based, Grammy-winning group Third Coast Percussion will premiere a brand-new work by the living legend right here in Seattle. The piece will be the minimalist master's "first ever composition specifically for a percussion ensemble," according to press materials. If you're someone who likes to get blazed and bliss out at concerts, put this at the top of this season's list of must-sees. RICH SMITH


Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour
The Monterey Jazz Festival, the longest continuously-running jazz festival in the world, is coming to us this year, with live sets by huge jazz talents like Cecile McLorin Salvant and three winners of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.


The Rape of Lucretia
Benjamin Britten's chamber opera The Rape of Lucretia is considered iconic within the genre. This tale of an ancient Roman noblewoman, whose rape by an Etruscan prince spurred a rebellion that overthrew the Roman monarchy, was first performed in 1946 and will be reimagined here with the cultural context of everything that has happened regarding these themes of hubris and suffering over the last 73 years.


Julia Michaels, Corey Harper
Fresh off supporting shows for P!nk, Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Julia Michaels will stop in Seattle on her first headlining tour across North America.