The 41 Best Music Shows in Seattle This Week: Jan 14-20, 2019

Toro Y Moi, the Seattle Chamber Music Society Winter Festival, and More Music Critics' Picks
January 14, 2019
Chill-wave musician Toro Y Moi will bring his effortlessly ethereal indie-rock/post-disco sound to the Neptune this weekend. (Jack Bool)
This week, our music critics have picked everything from the Seattle Chamber Music Society Winter Festival to the 3rd Annual Dolly Parton Birthday Party and Tribute Concert to YG. 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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John Sebastian
John Sebastian, king of the autoharp, is best known as the founder of the Lovin' Spoonful, a band that played an impromptu set at Woodstock in 1969. He'll take you back to his folk-tinged classic-rock roots at this solo performance.



Jeremy Denk
If the fact that Baroque revivalist and Bach expert Jeremy Denk is a recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant isn't enough to make you want to go to this concert, then take the word of the New York Times: "Mr. Denk, clearly, is a pianist you want to hear, no matter what he performs."


"Male-idol group" WINNER, who cross the corners of music from earnest pop balladeering to deep trap, will hit Seattle for the very first time on their Everywhere tour in promotion of their 2018 full album, [EVERYD4Y].



Thursday, Vein
Thursday was part of the big four of New England post-hardcore outfits—in the Big Four thrash metal configuration, they occupy the Anthrax position, overshadowed by the Metallica-scale breakout of Taking Back Sunday. And like Anthrax, they took a long break about 15 years into their career. No more, though! The moody and cerebral outfit has risen from its slumber to perform celebrated albums Full Collapse and War All the Time from front-to-back over the course of two back-to-back shows starting on this night. For committed fans of the outfit (they have several), this show is a no-brainer. Nu-metal-inspired hardcore upstarts Vein, whose debut album, Errorzone, is a critical darling, will open both nights. JOSEPH SCHAFER



Hibou, Snuff Redux, Senor Fin
At the time of its 2015 debut, Hibou had much in common with groups like DIIV, Wild Nothing, or Real Estate, crafting professional indie pop laced with reverb and sprightly guitar arpeggios—the ideal soundtrack for languid head-bobbing during an afternoon set at a summer music festival. Seattle songwriter Peter Michel’s music was the product of solo bedroom recording sessions, lending it a homespun air of indeterminate nostalgia. For recent album Something Familiar, Michel enlisted a band and a recording studio, resulting in a more substantial-sounding, if less whimsical, record. ANDREW GOSPE

Juice, Flip Phone, INVICTVS
Juice will travel over from Boston with their electric violin-fueled rock, pop, and hiphop fusion. Catch them after sets from Seattle nu-jazz band Flip Phone and alt-hoppers INVICTVS.

Warbly Jets, Monsterwatch, Actionesse
Let me know if you’ve heard this one before. Some skinny dudes from Los Angeles form a rock band in the second decade of the 21st century. They look like an idealized dream of a Noisey editor and sound like they were raised on NME back issues and sided with Oasis and the Verve during the Britpop Wars. All of which means that Warbly Jets make instantly infectious, semi-danceable rock that’s as familiar as Wayfarer shades and excessive sniffing on a Gallagher brother. Thankfully, there’s just enough of a psychedelic edge to Warbly Jets’ songs to snag them a modest billing at the next Levitation festival. DAVE SEGAL


Jacob Banks
Jacob Banks has a thick, throaty, spacious vocal quality—he could fill a room with that booming rasp, which has moments of surprising creaminess amid the dramatic belting and crooning, the music a mix of soul, R&B, blues, and hiphop. Amid his repertoire highlights are the gospel-saturated chain-gang-stomp of “Chainsmoking,” which uses a bad habit as a metaphor for a toxic relationship he just can’t quit, and “Unholy War,” which comes closest to his self-styled “digital soul” sound, his vocals howling over a slow, deliberate blues shuffle that roils into a synth-fizzed riff break. Banks lands in town behind his first LP and Interscope Records debut, Village. LEILANI POLK



Il Trovatore
Giuseppe Verdi's Il Trovatore is famous for one of the silliest plots in all of opera—no mean feat—but also for its rousing choruses, gorgeous coloratura arias, and heroic numbers. The production involves a love triangle, a long-simmering revenge arc, and an old witch who's accidentally thrown her own baby on a pyre.



Michael Nesmith
Your favorite Monkee is now 76, but he appears to be in good shape after quadruple bypass surgery and ready to share his classics-laden songbook with legions of aging fans who adored the enduringly goofy TV show and diehards who followed his more obscure solo peregrinations in the 1970s. With the Prefab Four, Nesmith was the most legit musician, a songsmith possessed of rustic melodic beauty and lyrical poignancy. Monkees-era tunes such as “Door into Summer,” “Mary, Mary,” “You Just May Be the One,” and “Sweet Young Thing” could stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the Beatles’ A-minus material. Nesmith’s solo output reaffirmed his status as an important contributor to the country-rock canon, and on 1979’s Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma revealed his openness to hard rock and disco-fied dance music. DAVE SEGAL

Yonder Mountain String Band, Handmade Moments
The staunchly bluegrass (yet still genre-bending) Yonder Mountain String Band will headline this evening of expansive folk music with an opening set from Arkansas folk-jazz band Handmade Moments. 


Blevin Blectum & Aquamarine Space Unicorns
As I noted in these pages last year, we have a genius in our midst with Seattle transplant Blevin Blectum (aka Bevin Kelley), who works on Alexa sound design by day and sublimely strange electronic music by night. It’s as if some combination of Aphex Twin and Suzanne Ciani arrived unannounced in the 206 and came fully amped to unleash two decades of studio wizardry on an unsuspecting populace. Blevin Blectum has become an IDM icon, both as a member of the delightfully delirious duo Blectum from Blechdom, and as a solo artist creating surreal synth and computer music that makes your brain invent new dance moves inside your skull. Aquamarine Space Unicorns (Joyanna M and Lily Bell) have a memorable name and a slick way with intimate, nocturnal, and insightful down-tempo electronic songcraft. DAVE SEGAL


Bas, Rexx Life Raj, K Roosevelt, Correy C
Touring in support of his most recent album, Milky Way, Sudanese-American rapper and Queens resident Bas is one of hiphop’s best-kept secrets. Best known for his fire collaborations and association with Atlanta rapper J. Cole, Bas is good on his own, too. Lyrically dexterous and clever, with great hooks, Bas is primed to take over the hiphop charts. JASMYNE KEIMIG


Tribute to Cannonball Adderley with Roy McCurdy
I admire 20th-century American saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, with reservations. He is, of course, a jazz giant. He contributed to what is one of the monuments of American culture, Kind of Blue. Also, his take on “Autumn Leaves” stands at the top of all other versions of that jazz standard. But I’ve always felt he was a touch too conservative for my tastes. He and John Coltrane, who also contributed to Kind of Blue, are complete opposites. The former always stood on solid ground, whereas the latter always stood on the edge of an abyss. But one must not dismiss players who are safe. They are important. In a way, it’s easier to be a great experimenter than a great conservative. CHARLES MUDEDE


Nordra, Ben Wildenhaus, Shitty Person, Serpentent
Here’s a strong bill of local talent. Nordra’s Pylon II album—a stunning end-times soundtrack for a dance performance using guitar, synths, and pocket trumpet—just placed 20th in esteemed British magazine the Wire’s year-end critics’ poll. Somesurprises summon motorik krautrock hypnosis and hazy space-pop dreamscapes. Shitty Person finds Fungal Abyss drummer Benjamin Thomas-Kennedy on guitar and vocals, guiding a beautiful bummer-rock attack that’s simultaneously grandiose and intimate; it should put a nice pout on the face of Swans and Neurosis fans. Serpentent is Anne K. O’Neill’s outlet for stark, folk-singer-songwriter darkness. DAVE SEGAL


Get liquored up and grab all your girls for a night out with smooth R&B talent and everybody's number-one saddle king, Ginuwine.



Brahms Symphony No. 3
Conductor Andrey Boreyko will come to Seattle from Naples, Italy, to lead the Symphony for Brahms' momentous third symphony. Sofia Gubaidulina’s contemporary classic Offertorium will also be reimagined by violinist Vadim Gluzman.



An Evening with Chris Botti
Amidst career high points like playing alongside Sting and Paul Simon, Grammy Award winner and pop-jazz performer Chris Botti will head back to Seattle with his trumpet and backing band for ballads and jazz and Americana songbook standards.



Research: Martyn, Jason Kendig
If a resident DJ from Berlin’s Panorama Bar comes to Seattle, it’s best to get your ass to the club. So this date by Dutch-born, Washington, DC–based Martyn (Martijn Deijkers, co-owner of 3024 Records) is mandatory for people who like their selectors to cover a lot of fascinating and diverse ground in their sets. He’s conversant with dubstep, drum and bass, UK garage and bass diaspora styles, and the atmospheric ends of the techno and house spectra. As a producer, Martyn’s 2018 album Voids proves that there’s still plenty of savory juice left in the zone where non-stadium-sized dubstep and Detroit-informed techno converge. DAVE SEGAL


Keenon Daequan Ray Jackson, better known as YG, emerged as one of the best contemporary gangsta rappers when he burst onto the scene with his DJ Mustard–produced debut, My Krazy Life. Praised as an astute storyteller of life on the streets of Compton, YG has never shied away from blending boasts and politics, becoming a real-as-fuck voice against the Trump administration with “FDT.” His third and most recent studio outing, Stay Dangerous, finds YG reuniting with Mustard. The rapper’s take on G-funk has bloomed into something more luscious and poppy, his aesthetic drippier and more lux. JASMYNE KEIMIG


Dazed and Confused: The 50th Anniversary of Led Zeppelin I
What would your introduction to stoner culture have been like without the iconic psychedelic jams put forth by Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, and John Paul Jones? Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin's debut self-titled album with this tribute night courtesy of guitarists Kathy Moore and Darren Loucas, vocalists Ayesha 'Musicbox' Brooks, Sarah Rudinoff, Zach Davidson, Sean P. Bates, and Jen Ayers, drummer Andy Stoller, bassist Paul Matthew Moore, and keyboardist Sean Divine.

Fruit Bats, LAKE
Eric D. Johnson’s high-toned twang and songwriting chops have driven the warm, ambling, AM-radio-kissed folk-rock of the Fruit Bats since he originally formed the group in 1997. He’s the engine that drives the band train, its sole creative force, facilitator of their “breakup” in 2013, and then “reunion” a few years later. (I use the quotes because it’s really just him being active/inactive under that particular moniker.) In November, Johnson and company released a bouncy alt-country number about touring, “Getting in a Van Again”—their first piece of new music since 2016 full-length Absolute Loser—and announced that Fruit Bats had signed to Merge Records, with a record expected sometime later this year. LEILANI POLK

REO Speedwagon
Enjoy an evening of classic rock straight from Champaign, Illinois, with smatterings of extended electric guitar solos and yelling about readiness to rock thanks to REO Speedwagon, who have been gigging since 1967.


Cautious Clay, Sophie Meiers
Have we graduated from the PBR&B subgenre, which is a very specific, sort of boring stripped-back style I could never quite get behind? I guess Josh Karpeh, aka Cautious Clay, from Brooklyn, belongs in that class, although his music feels so much more compelling. He draws on hiphop production qualities and experimentation, his sound hinting at elements of gospel, island, pop, and soul. He has a creamy caressing vocal timbre that can hit falsetto notes (so I forgive his use of Auto-Tune), he mixes digital programming with organic instrumentation, and his sonic arsenal includes the sax and flute. The motherfucking flute. Neither is overused in his music. The obvious highlight of his 2018 Blood Type EP is “Cold War,” built on a low-end that pulses like a deeply beating heart, a stark rhythm of woodblock knocks, subtle synth embellishments, and light perc clatters as his vocals ascend elegantly over the top, referencing modern dating, apps, and Instagram habits without coming off like an annoying millennial. (Heart eyes emoji.) LEILANI POLK

Guayaba, münki, Eel Tank, Sorcha Faal
Ready your earthly form to howl at the moon at this collection of live sets with swirling cosmic crooner and arachnid protector Guayaba (who had the song of last summer with "Bye Bich"), Los Angeles "experimental trash" artist münki, currently touring Philly/NYC artist Eel Tank, and new Jordan Rundle project Sorcha Faal.

Scorpio and the Hunter, Lunarbass, Peyton Redwood
Seattle-based, QPOC-led, neo-soul band Scorpio and the Hunter are groovy. It’s easy to imagine them killing a gig like Tiny Desk Concert, with frontman Anthony Canape’s voice soaring above all those file cabinets while the band’s solid rhythms keep those vocals from flying too far out of reach. Intent on using their music as a means to “explore their identities as queer folk and people of color through allusion to religion, mythology, and astrology,” Scorpio and the Hunter’s single-release show, alongside Lunarbass and Peyton Redmond, is bound to be a thoughtful and soul-filled night. JASMYNE KEIMIG



Seattle Chamber Music Society Winter Festival
The Seattle Chamber Music Society will present its winter season program with a two-weekend festival of six concerts flanked by free pre-concert recitals. Twenty acclaimed musicians are featured this year, including internationally renowned soloists, principals with major US orchestras, and top competition winners like violist Rebecca Albers, pianist Andrew Armstrong, cellists Edward Aaron and Ani Aznavoorian, and violinists Tessa Lark and James Ehnes.


Celebrate nine years of Racer Sessions, Cafe Racer's recurring night of improvisational and experimental music, with a weekend-long music festival featuring a slew of local acts like Ebony Miranda, Rae, Chris Icasiano, Mega Bog, Smacktalk, and many others.



The 3rd Annual Dolly Parton Birthday Party and Tribute Concert!
I guess I’m biased in writing this because Dolly Parton is my mom, so I love her regardless of what she does, but y’all should head out to Conor Byrne for this show and make it into a real DollyParlooza. Some local musicians are taking over her birthday for a night of covers and tribute acts with what had better be a metric fuck-ton of rhinestones, Aqua Net, and fringed candy-pink nubuck. In case you were somehow unaware, Parton is a true national treasure, a sparkling gem, a legit role model for working womxn, and an enduring voice for classic Americana and down-home pop, who will, I hope, continue to strum a lap harp on her lilac fountain cloud formation forever and ever and won’t ever die because I honestly wouldn’t be able to take that shit.

Lera Lynn, Thomas Dybdahl
Those of you who watched the second season of True Detective might recognize Lera Lynn from the dive bar the characters frequent in the show. And how could you not? Her beautiful and solemn ode “My Least Favorite Life” fits perfectly within the bleak and alcohol-drenched universe of the series. Lynn’s music encompasses the space between melancholic indie rock and Americana, and throughout it all, her voice comes through clearly, at once sorrowful and strong and perhaps even finding strength in sorrow. JASMYNE KEIMIG


New Wave Dance Party: A Klub Klaus Disco
Wear a fabulous DIY outfit inspired by your inner '80s NYC club kid to this Bauhaus dance party with DJ Status Apparatus. Devin Bannon will also be serving up his best Klaus Nomi-inspired set in a "teaser" musical performance. Drink specialty cocktails and eat "innovative snacks" to fuel your dancing, knowing that proceeds will benefit Fred Hutch AIDS research.


Kylie Nelson
Seattle-based singer Kylie Nelson will perform material from her recently released EP, Chapter 1, which blends traditions from blues, rock, R&B, pop, and soul.

Louden Swain
Louden Swain describe their music as a "combo platter of classic, alternative, and hard rock" that is "both loud and approachable." The Los Angeles-based foursome will rock out live in Seattle. 

PETS, Ashley Eriksson, Ings
PETS is the brainchild of Richland, Washington–based artist Timothy Leingang. Playing songs written by Leingang, their music is poppy and jangly, funky, weird, and lovingly homespun. It inspires, if not a full-out, body-thumping boogie, then at least a gentle sway or light bob, or a single solitary booty roll. Joining him is the talented Ashley Eriksson, who you might recognize from the end credits theme song of the Cartoon Network show Adventure Time, playing some of the 100 disco songs she wrote in 2018. Seattle-based Ings will round out the lineup, a truly delightful musician whose tender and intimate love songs warm the cheeks and the heart. JASMYNE KEIMIG



Toro y Moi
In 2011, Toro y Moi, a musician associated with the chill-wave movement, broke my Jimmy Jam-Terry Lewis-loving heart by covering the Cherrelle and Alexander O’Neal’s duet “Saturday Love” on his Freaking Out EP. I was already a huge fan of his effortlessly ethereal indie-rock/post-disco sound, but him digging that deep into the best of 1980s-era R&B changed the way I thought (and felt) about all of his tunes. I honestly think you don’t understand this brother (half-Filipino/half-Black American) unless you know exactly what that cover of “Saturday Love” means. CHARLES MUDEDE



Colter Wall
Saskatchewan singer-songwriter Colter Wall has been rising in the ranks over the last few years with his close study of traditional Americana, folk, and bluegrass music.

Josh Turner
Josh Turner will break out his multi-platinum Nashville charm out in the country for a night of rollicky Grand Ole Opry-style Americana fun.


19th Annual Expansions MLK Unity Party
KEXP DJs Riz, Masa, Alex, Kid Hops, and Sharlese will celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. with an evening of music.

Welcome to BabexHouse — Launch Party
The Seattle-based POC/LGBTQ+ DJs and artists of BabexHouse Collective bring you the launch party for their new recurring dance night. Get down to sets by Reverend Dollars, dos leches, N SO, Dj Applejuice, Rlynow, and JennGreen.


California space-rockers Duster put out two albums via Seattle’s Up Records—Stratosphere (1998) and Contemporary Movement (2000)—and then peaced out for nearly two decades. That was long enough for the trio to accrue that quality for which many bands work so hard: mystique. Now they’re back, just as the sterling Chicago label Numero Group is prepping reissues of Duster's catalog for a spring release; expect what NG did with Codeine and Unwound, but with less material at their disposal. Plus, a new Duster EP is rumored to be in the works. So this Seattle appearance will be essential for fans of introspective, heavy-lidded indie-rock with tender melodies and pathos-inducing, melancholy-white-guy vocals—and that includes Codeine fans, appropriately enough. Let’s get very sensitive tonight. DAVE SEGAL

Peter Murphy
English singer Peter Murphy, who's often called the "Godfather of Goth," will perform pieces from throughout his career like In the Flat Field in its entirety, plus an extended encore of Bauhaus classics.