Wednesday, Oct. 27
Earshot: ICP Orchestra
Legendary improvisers from Amsterdam, the nine-piece Instant Composers Pool Orchestra have been pushing at the margins for 16 years and show little sign of calming or slowing down. On the Boards, 100 W. Roy St., 206-217-9888, 8 p.m. $16 members/$18
Lamb of God + Fear Factory + Throwdown
This headbanger's bill is a triumph of bile over substance. Throwdown chug out generic, tuff-guy unity hardcore and Fear Factory's bionic drums are offset by turgid, Type O braying. Luckily, the much-hyped headliner delivers exceptional, lockstep thrash, although the spoken-word interludes are a mite cheesy. Showbox, 7 p.m. $20 adv./$22
Yes, they play in tennis clothes—complete with headbands—and end up looking a lot like Luke Wilson in The Royal Tenenbaums. But their breezy, danceable retro rock is at least as convincing as their costumes, and any hipster pretense you think you're sniffing out is offset by the fact that they clearly aren't taking themselves very seriously. Graceland, 6 p.m. $8
Thursday, Oct. 28
Billy Cobham's Culture Mix
Ex–Miles and Mahavishnu drummer Cobham's entire career has been something of a culture mix, so it's appropriate that he calls his band that, too. Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. $23.50–$25.50. Also Fri. Oct. 29–Sun. Oct. 31
Earshot: Randy Weston's African Rhythms Trio
Early bop adapter Weston's current trio (down from quartet) explores just what you'd imagine it would from the name—without a trap kit, to boot. On the Boards, 8 p.m. $22 members/$24
The Fever + Har Mar Superstar
ALSO SEE CD REVIEW, P. 62. For a few seconds there, it looked like Sean "Har Mar" Tillman's Ron Jeremy–meets–Boyz II Men alter ego was going to graduate from grating novelty to legitimate, prized producer/songwriter. America at large usually blows this call. Not this time. Yay, America. Chop Suey, 9 p.m. $10 adv.
North Mississippi All-Stars + Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Blues-rock will never die, at least as long as the North Mississippi All-Stars are around to drag their riffs through the well-tended, surprisingly fertile earth. New Orleans' Dirty Dozen Brass Band have worked their eclectic tastes into a cult following that goes beyond that of most N.O. outfits. Showbox, 8 p.m. $16 adv./$18
So here's another pop ingénue who doesn't suck. Even crusty ol' David Letterman is hip to her sound, first promulgated via "The Tower," the earnestly melodic single off 2002's Waking Hour. As piano-playing singer-songwriters go, she's no Tori or Heather (Duby)—but she's no Vanessa Carlton, either, thank Christ. Triple Door, 7:30 p.m. $15
Friday, Oct. 29
The handful of tracks we've heard off the A-Frames' forthcoming Sub Pop debut (and third album overall) honor the robot crunch of their earlier work while calming down a little, too. Should be interesting to see how the whole shakes out. Comet Tavern, 9:30 p.m. $5
Porno funk—what a concept. The granddaddy of all fuck-flicks, the not-all-that-great-really Deep Throat, has its soundtrack reissued by local indie Light in the Attic; party ensues. Order a white Russian, for concept's sake. Chop Suey, 9 p.m. $10 adv.
Earshot: Sex Mob
Trumpeter Steven Bernstein, saxophonist Briggan Krauss, bassist Tony Scherr, and drummer Kenny Wollesen bring the go-anywhere-anytime flair of cut-ups and improv to hardy grooves in Sex Mob, though some serious jazz fans find them overly kitschy. On the Boards, 8 p.m. $18 members/$20
Earshot: T.S. Monk
Thelonious' kid has quite the CV: He graced the '80s with one of its finest R&B hits, 1981's much-sampled "Bon Bon Vie," and has made his way through the jazz world as one of its most lauded arrangers, bandleaders, and drummers. Triple Door, 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. $22
High on Fire + Big Business
Sluuuuuuuuuudge! You like it molten? Try Karp/Murder City offshoot Big Business, who use Sabbath's force wisely on forthcoming Hydra Head debut Head for the Shallow. Like it trudging and glacial? The headliner, led by Sleep dropout Matt Pike, is all Mount. St. Helens rumble. Graceland, 9 p.m. $10
Michael Franti is so much the poster boy for liberal humanism that he might as well be liberal humanism. His recent Everybody Needs Music wasn't much cop, but 2001's Stay Human is traddish R&B at its finest. Showbox, 8 p.m. $25 adv.
Saturday, Oct. 30
Asylum Street Spankers
These Austin jokers do what they do exceptionally well, tweaking retro-fit twang and swing with a far more current sensibility. Their new CD, Mercurial, includes an amusing cover of the Beastie Boys' "Paul Revere." Tractor Tavern, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. $12 adv./$14
His self-titled 1993 debut album contains what may be his greatest song to date, "Jerusalem," in which he declares himself the Messiah while doing a much better Dylan impression than Dylan himself has been doing of late. Bern's lyrics are irreverent, frequently absurdist, and often political, which makes his participation in tonight's synergistic partisan powwow a natural move. Rendezvous, 10 p.m. $10. Also Mon. Nov. 1 at Tractor Tavern.
The Blank Its
The Blank Its' 7-inch, "Johnny's Tongue," had Web-boarding garage rockers posting like mad this summer, often comparing the thing to the Spits' junk punk. The analogy works—sort of. Add the female-fronted band to your list of those to watch, preferably tonight. Lobo Saloon, 9:30 p.m. $5. Also Tues., Nov. 2, at Crocodile Cafe.
SEE CD REVIEW, P. 64. Crocodile Cafe, 9 p.m. $10 adv./$12
Sunday, Oct. 31
Most recall Havens from his Woodstock opening appearance, and his improvised, stirring reworking of "Motherless Child." He should also be known as the contemporary songwriter who made covering other contemporary songwriters a high art. He could make a Dylan song fly, and he's still doing it today. Triple Door, 7:30 p.m. $32
Pho Bang Halloween Party
SEE SW THIS WEEK, P. 57. Mirabeau Room, 9 p.m. $7 in costume/$10
SEE FEATURE, P. 60. Showbox, 8 p.m. $30 adv./$35
Monday, Nov. 1
SEE JUKEBOX JURY, P. 59. Crocodile Cafe, 8 p.m. $13 adv./$15
Earshot: Abdullah Ibrahim Trio
Master South African–via–New York pianist Ibrahim has specialized in the trio format from his first American album in the early '60s, and he continues to find unexpected corners to illuminate. On the Boards, 8 p.m. $22 members/$24
Born Jamesetta Hawkins, she's been making jazz- and pop-tinged R&B records for four decades now. Her best-known tune is the title track off her 1961 debut album, At Last!, and it soars on the almighty strength of her singular voice like few love songs before or since—no matter how many movies or jewelry commercials it appears in. Moore Theatre, 8 p.m. $35–$68
SEE CD REVIEW, P. 64. Neumo's, 8 p.m. $12 adv.
Tuesday, Nov. 2
Creed with Scott Stapp: Tacoma Dome headliner. Creed without Scott Stapp: Graceland headliner. In other words, if Jesus skipped out on the Last Supper, the disciples would've chowed down at Burger King. At least you can get close enough to count the guitarist's nose hairs when he makes his radical Solo Face. Graceland, 6:30 p.m. $9.99
The Cramps + Gore Gore Girls
The Cramps defy all the rules about aging rockers; nearly 30 years after they began, the seminal garage punk band continues to kick ass. Songs like "TV Set," which they'll likely play, are as ferocious as ever. With Detroit's Gore Gore Girls in the middle slot, you really can't lose. Showbox, 8 p.m. $16 adv./$18
Election Day Celebration: Saul Williams
The poster dude for spoken-word poetry, Williams is also a deft page writer and outspoken political activist; it ought to be interesting hearing him riff on the election results as they occur. Neumo's, 7 p.m. $13 adv./$15
Kurt Rosenwinkel Group
Guitarist Rosenwinkel's busy career (he's appeared on 50 albums in a decade and a half) has shuffled through bebop, straighter commercial stuff, and hip-hop fusion with Q-Tip, who co-produces the new, god-awfully titled Heartcore (Verve). Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, 8 p.m. $19.50–$21.50. Also Wed. Nov. 3.