Wednesday, July 28
The lead singer of perennial dollar bin favorite Shift has another power-emo band that sounds like watered-down Quicksand. Seeing as how Quicksand architect Walter Schreifels already watered himself down via Rival Schools, two's a crowd. Graceland, 8 p.m. $6
We weren't at all surprised to hear that art/noise experimenters (and recent Sub Pop add-ons) Wolf Eyes served as the inspiration behind the local duo we heard at the Rendezvous a few weeks back; Black Japan are unnervingly good at knocking off the devil-in-the-disco horror show sludge. Second Avenue Pizza, 7 p.m.
SEE CD REVIEW, P 52. Crocodile Cafe, 9 p.m. $8 adv./$10
Sounds crazy, but if you put a little San Franciscan pixie in an ironically fashionable Little House on the Prairie dress and stick her behind an angel's harp, creepily brilliant avant psych/folk will instantly emerge. Joanna Newsom is a neo-hippie icon. No, wait, she's the neo-hippie icon. Neumo's, 8 p.m. $10 adv. Also at Sonic Boom Capitol Hill at 5 p.m.
The latest in the Old Firehouse's free "Four Alarm Concert Series" flaunts the deceptive stillness of endlessly quirky and fascinating local veteran Thomas. She strums, plinks, and moans with an otherworldly earnest, yet juxtaposes the singer-songwriter gravitas with an acerbic sense of humor. Thomas performs as if it's just you and her in a living room. Now that's intimacy. Old Firehouse, 16510 N.E. 79th St., Redmond, 425-556-2370, 7 p.m.
Thursday, July 29
Hootie and the Blowfish
Cracked Rear View is the album that out-of-touch grandparents gave their teenage grandchildren in 1994, in a highly amusing effort to seem hip. Ten years later, how many of us can hum so much as a bar of "Only Wanna Be With You" without wincing? Marymoor Park, 6046 West Lake Sammamish Pkwy N.E., 206-205-3661, 7 p.m. $35/$49.50
Whimsical and oddball, Library Science makes dub that doesn't feels particularly beholden to the style's reggae roots, even if the one-drop skank is still in effect throughout their debut, High Life Honey (Happi Tyme). Pick hit: the constantly shape-shifting "What Time Is Science?" Graceland, 8 p.m. $5
On this year's Where the Words Go, the local singer-songwriter produced a much more forceful, plugged-in sound than on her debut, 2001's Angel Hat. But she still owes a lot to goth-pop forebears like Tori Amos: On the confessional "Cassie's Song," Maxand name-drops Jesus and ratchets up the angst until only the driving beat can save her from emotional implosion. Seattle Art Museum, 100 University St., 206-654-3100. 5:30 p.m.
Friday, July 30
Harry Connick Jr.
Until he married Debra Messing on Will & Grace, Connick was best known as the crooner behind When Harry Met Sally's parade of lovey-dovey standards. With old-fashioned standard singers in short supply, the sleepy-eyed Southern neo-Sinatra stands out; his appeal lies in the fact that, like the standards, he'll never really change. Marymoor Park, 7 p.m. $49.50/$73.50
One-half of apparently deceased New York freak-folk duo the Moldy Peaches, Kimya Dawson's solo records, most notably 2002's I'm Sorry That Sometimes I'm Mean, are less jokey and cut way closer than the Peaches' records (or, especially, those of M.P. partner Adam Green). They're a little uncomfortable, too, which can be good (the harrowing "Hold My Hand") and ignorable in equal measure. Second Avenue Pizza, 6 p.m.
The Hives + Sahara Hotnights
SEE SW THIS WEEK, P. 39. The opener is Sweden's answer to the Donnas, but were we really asking? Sahara's sophomore release, Kiss & Tell (RCA), is a passable revue of lady-led '80s new wave and '90s alternapop. There are far worse things to endure before the Hives' shtick, and for serio, Sahara Hotnights is one hell of a band name. Showbox, 8 p.m. $16 adv.
The forthcoming third LP from these black-clad Generation Korn rap-rockers is titled Getting Away With Murder, which basically sums up their career to this point. "Cut my life into pieces! This is my last resort!" should play particularly well at rib burn-offs nationwide a few years from now. Graceland, 7 p.m. $13 adv.
Saturday, July 31
B.B. King's Blues Festival: B.B. King + Dr. John + Shemekia Copeland + J. Geils + Magic Dick + Elvin Bishop
Touring 300 days a year for four decades gets a little lonely, so B.B. King invited some friends along this time around. Good thing most of them are used to doing nearly as much roadwork. Pier 62/63, 1901 Alaskan Way, 206-628-0888, 5 p.m. $56 Also Sun., Aug. 1
SEE JUKEBOX JURY, P 41. Crocodile Cafe, 9 p.m. $8
KUBE Summer Jam
Method Man's got a "dangerous" sitcom. Chingy's got a handful of dirty south lap dance lulus. Lil' Jon's got a billion cameos and cred that's about to jump the shark thanks to Chappelle's Show. Ja Rule's got a plaque in the shark-jumping hall of fame. You got an outrageous 70-plus bucks to blow? Might as well be on this always entertaining hip-hop carnival. Gorge Amphitheatre, 754 Silica Rd. N.W., George, 206-628-0888, noon. $76
They'll "step to your whole crew," according to "Skeletons," off the new PDX Pop Now! compilation—but calmly, which doesn't mean they're either lame or boring. Indie hip-hop that minus underground orthodoxy and/or kidding itself that dullness equals worthiness—what a great idea. Neumo's, 7 p.m. $13 adv.
They're turning on the heeeat, they've got the mah-jick tawtch, they're turning on the hee-eeat, ooooh! It's a little too much! Plus other early '80s AOR favorites. Emerald Queen Casino, 2102 Alexander Ave., Tacoma, 253-627-8497, 8:30 p.m. $20–$40
SEE CD REVIEW, P. 52. Chop Suey, 9 p.m. $12 adv.
Tuesday, Aug. 3
He channels the robust sadness that made Roy Orbison classics like "Crying" such towering masterpieces, but "Wicked Game"—the best thing Isaak's ever written, off 1989's Heart Shaped World—has such a delectable coolness about it that there's no mistaking his distinct, unforgettable voice. Pier 62/63, 7 p.m. $45
Jon Langford & the Sexy + Carolyn Mark
SEE CD REVIEW, P 52. On the most recent Carolyn Mark collection of country laments and honky-tonking, The Pros and Cons of Collaboration (Mint), the Vancouverite meditates on being a loner and on being the third wheel, so hopefully the album title isn't a hint that the days of dueting with the likes of Neko Case are behind her. Sunset Tavern, 9 p.m. $10
Last Fourthcity Weekly: Plan B + Foscil + Zapan + DJN + Madman + Yitearp
Laptops—we love 'em. Music—we love it. Combining the two in a regularly scheduled "competition" in which cool things can happen and often do—bring it on, kids. This is probably the last time we get to see them do it—sob. Deep Down Lounge, 9 p.m. NC
Stiff Little Fingers
Ireland's finest early punks, thanks to two indelible singles, "Suspect Device" and "Alternative Ulster." The rest is less necessary, which isn't to say any less urgent. Gotta figure they know what they're doing onstage after 27 years, too. Throw Rag and the God Awfuls open. Graceland, 7 p.m. $15 adv.