It's no surprise there's an abundance of female-fronted bands and singer-songwriters in Seattle, approximately 45 of whom will be performing at the Rockrgrl Music Conference this weekend. What is news is that's only a quarter of those scheduled to play, along with regional and national groups and those from far-off locales like Glasgow, New Zealand, and Tel Aviv. Many of them are only playing one showcase, with discussion panels filling calendars during the day. These women have chosen to holiday here just as the weather's turned nasty, perhaps because they—like the musicians and showgoers that reside here—know how lucky we are to have in our various scenes such a powerful antidote to gloom. Let the following picks guide you from the comfort of your cave to this weekend's happenings. Panels and some performances are held at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel, 515 Madison St.
Patti Smith Keynote Speech At Thursday night's opening banquet, Smith will be presented with a Women of Valor lifetime achievement award, but those without the cash for the bash ($100; attendance isn't included in Rockrgrl conference passes) can catch this rare speaking engagement. Renaissance, Ballroom A, 11:15 a.m.
Building a Following: Grrrilla Marketing It's a great theory: Play good music, and people will come. But in a town with thousands of musicians, it's a wee bit harder than that. This panel on unconventional ways to spread the word is moderated by singer-songwriter Christine LeDoux. Renaissance, Madison Room, 1 p.m.
Ladies of the Labels Competition for this time slot includes "Endorse This!" and "Ho-Ho-Ho: Lyrics as Humor," but with women from Sub Pop, K, Cherchez La Femme, Mpress, and others dishing about their labels, we bet this will be the spot for opportunists. Renaissance, Ballroom A, 4 p.m.
Who's Afraid of Feminism? Bust magazine asks every musician they profile whether they identify as a feminist—and the answers they get are as unique as the women. With the current feminist wave often shunning the label, this talk with Bitch magazine's Andi Zeisler (which includes local writer/historian Gillian G. Gaar) explores its relevance to rock. Renaissance, James Room, 4 p.m.
Japan Night Sponsored by Three Imaginary Girls, this bombastic rock lineup includes Osaka's Red Bacteria Vacuum and Amppez, Tokyo's Tsushimamire and Megababe, and Seattle's feisty Buttersprites. High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., 9 p.m.
Indiegrrl Showcase An eclectic batch of singer-songwriters from across the country is brought together by networking Web site Indiegrrl, and headlined by its founder (and local Cake Records artist) Holly Figeuroa. Liquid Lounge, 325 Fifth Ave. N., 7:30 p.m.
Johnette Napolitano + Kathy Valentine and the Impossibles The Concrete Blonde founder/singer/bass player will speak about her band Saturday at fest HQ, but Friday she headlines an intimate string of performances from Christian rockers Warrior Poetes, locals Two Loons for Tea and Kim Virant, and former Go-Go Kathy Valentine's new band. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 8 p.m.
Amy Rigby SEE TALK TALK (at right). Caffe Vita, 1005 E. Pike, 9:30 p.m.
Scarling + the Sharp Ease Catch the Go-Go's influence on a younger generation at this show featuring the Sharp Ease. Sympathy for the Record Industry's Scarling chose this quote for their Myspace profile: "Sonic Youth on Paxil crashing violently into a little girl's slumber party." Traeh and Secs also perform. Cafe Venus/Mars Bar, 609 Eastlake Ave., 8 p.m.
Shop Talk: A Conversation with Ann Wilson and Bonnie Raitt Eavesdropping on these two musical legends will undoubtedly give you something to talk about. Renaissance, Ballroom A, 2:30 p.m.
Women on the Air For the inside scoop on what it's like to work at a radio station—and the difficulties of getting airplay—Marion Seymour and Leilani McCoy of Seattle's long-defunct KZAM compare notes with KEXP's Lisa Wood and Cheryl Waters, KIIS' Julie Pilat, and KUBE's Shellie Hart. Renaissance, Ballroom B, 4 p.m.
Different Drum Anyone who's caught the "Chix with Stix" showcases at the Sunset Tavern this year will enjoy Betty Blowtorch's Judy Cocuzza moderating Chloe and Asya from Smoosh, the Go! Team's Silke Steidinger, and Stefanie Eulinberg, who plays with Kid Rock, on the challenges of being a female drummer. Renaissance, Marion Room, 4 p.m.
Lillix This all-girl pop-rock outfit from Cranbrook, B.C., drew the attention of Maverick Records. While their aesthetic lumps them in Avril's camp, they have the chops to back it up. Jilliam Wheeler and Hayley Sales also perform. Broadway Performance Hall, 1625 Broadway, 8 p.m.
Lushy + Tart + Going South + the Marianne Pillsburys + Paula Maya Elegant singer and keyboardist Maya opens for a string of sassy bands. Tart throws viola, glockenspiel, and accordion into their folk-rock mix, and Lushy have been described as "Cal Tjader meets Stereolab meets Brazil 66 in a bar in Berlin." Nice! Renaissance, Night Stage, 8:30 p.m.
Red Hot Blues Sisters These hardworking rhythm and blues maestros give face time to an underrepresented genre at the fest, playing with Alice Dean, Dormitory Effect, Lisa Dewey, and Shelley Doty X-Tet. Wildrose, 1021 E. Pike St., 8:30 p.m.
The Fading Collection + Analog Tara Analog Tara's Web site, Pinknoises.com, was a haven for electronically minded women who wanted to ask each other—not the boys—what gear to get and how to use it. Her mostly minimal works complement TFC's forward-marching electro-rock. With Beehive, the Hermit, and Kat and Kepi. VERA Project, 1916 Fourth Ave., 7 p.m.