Notable Shows

Hightlights-and otherwise-from this week's music calendar.

Thursday, October 12

Dark Star Orchestra

What Grateful Dead show do you wish you could have attended? Missoula, Mont., 5/13/73, when the band predated Sonic Youth with buzzsaw jazz guitar fury? Or Syracuse, N.Y., 1970, when they strummed out a sublime set of traditional ballads and now-classic originals like "Friend of the Devil"? Ken Kesey put it best when he branded the Grateful Dead "alchemists." More than any other band, the Dead had the ability to transcend all musical boundaries . . . the select nights they were on. Those shows abound and have been obsessively archived for your listening pleasure. But if you weren't at the shows, you probably aren't satisfied by listening to your old bootleg, which was taped by some sketchy butane-huffer and horribly muffled by tape hiss. Luckily, Dark Star Orchestra is around to summon the live Dead experience for you. Most times they re-create entire shows, often working within the framework of the original setlist and letting the jams flow as the Dead would. You never know which show they'll perform, which is part of the fun. Then again, there's the possibility they'll play a really shitty show. Like that night in Pittsburgh, June of '95, right before Jerry died, and it rained like hell and Phil sang "Box of Rain" out of tune. Now, that's a night we don't need to relive. BRIAN J. BARR

Showbox, 8 p.m. $20 adv./$22

Friday, October 13

The Blood Brothers

Seattleites are so musically spoiled, it's easy to forget that some of the most creative bands are right under our noses, until you notice (if you do) Blood Brothers vocalist Jordan Blilie at the crosswalk, or bassist Morgan Henderson tooling around on his bike. The mild-mannered public personas of these dudes—along with vocalist Johnny Whitney, guitarist Cody Votolato, and drummer Mark Gajadhar—offer little clue to the gale-force racket they've become known for making. Since forming nearly a decade ago and reaching critical success with 2003's spazztastic Burn, Piano Island, Burn!, their fan base of underage rebels has changed imperceptibly—likely a result of loyalty to Redmond's all-ages scene, where the group came up. Their second release for V2, Young Machetes, was produced by Crimes' John Goodmanson and Fugazi's Guy Picciotto (who also worked on the latest Gossip disc), and delivers more four-alarm intensity, furious shrieks, and crazily inventive wordplay. From "1,2,3,4 Guitars": "Let's sling our rain slicks over February's fantastic antlers sprouting from the foreheads of world famous romancers." The Blood Brothers' enduring existence drives home two of the greatest arguments for living in Seattle—a nurturing music community and the highest literacy rate going. Even if apeshit deconstruction is the word of the day. Tickets are available at the door, or get one free at Easy Street, Sonic Boom, and Tower with a Machetes preorder. RACHEL SHIMP Old Redmond Firehouse, 16510 N.E. 79th St., 425-556-2370, Redmond, 8 p.m. All ages

Bob Dylan

By now, you've probably heard of Bob Dylan, aka The Single Most Important Musical Artist of the Last Half of the 20th Century. Too much hyperbole for you? How about this; Dylan's live show is unlike anything you've ever seen! While folks will no doubt talk about how his voice has withered to a permanent Oh Mercy–style croak and wheeze, and how his jazzier arrangement of "Like a Rolling Stone" makes for a disappointing encore, they won't forget about how freakin' weird the Man is onstage. On his last roll through the Northwest, he spent the entire time hunched like an old crow over the electric piano, emerging only to walk jauntily around the stage as if he were mulling what to play next. At the end of the show, he said nothing except "Thank you friends," and when he lined up his band to take a bow, they didn't take a bow at all, but instead stood nervously and awkwardly for a really long time until Dylan led them off. While his contemporaries (the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney) have become predictable machines, Dylan's weirdness continues. Oh, and his latest album, Modern Times, went No. 1 on Billboard's charts. Not bad for an old weirdo. BRIAN J. BARR KeyArena, 7:30 p.m. $39.50–$67.50

Ladytron + CSS

Known for their coolly calculated stage presence and equally icy, synthesized sonics, Ladytron have remained a good bet for live electronica that will make you move. For all the posturing these beautiful, jet-setting geniuses (bandmember Mira Aroyo has a Ph.D. in molecular genetics) could stage, they don't take themselves too seriously—a trait that allowed them to persevere through the electroclash storm. It can be argued that some of their best tracks were made during that period, though, including 604's "The Way That I Found You" and Light & Magic's "Seventeen," but the rock-laced Witching Hour, released last year, showed a band bravely evolved. There's no way they won't play the hits, as this tour supports Extended Play, a collection of that album's remixes and B-sides, which their notoriously sampling free stance likely prohibits re-creating live. The foursome's vintage Korgs will offset CSS's new-wave disco punk rawk to sparkling effect. The Sub Pop band from São Paulo recently wowed a packed Neumo's crowd with energy, style, and sass to spare. Their coquettish riffs on art snobbery and bombastic, amateurish glee will take the edge off Ladytron's somewhat brooding vibe—yin, meet yang. Now dance! RACHEL SHIMP Showbox, 8 p.m. $18 adv. All ages

Saturday, October 14

Bobby Bare Jr. + Tim Seely + Ghostfinger

Neumo's, 8 p.m. $12 adv./$20

Sunday, October 15

Archie Bronson Outfit + the Blakes

Reveling in tin-can jams, Archie Bronson Outfit are akin to the Scandinavian garage rock that produced the likes of the Hives. But there is something more minor key and Velvets-esque to the London-based ABO's Derdang Derdang, namely the clang-clang of the dual guitars, and the Mo Tucker–ish tribal tom-and-snare work. Frontman Sam Windett is possessed of a nervous warble and he often stutters melodramatically over his lyrics, which are wrought with fatalism and desperation. "I'd bury myself to hold you, darling" he sings on "Cuckoo". Elsewhere, a series of "doo-doo-doohs" recalls Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side." The whole album is dark and brooding—almost claustrophobic—as if Windett is a paranoid schizophrenic locking himself in his flat to avoid his troubles. But they open up the grim mood with acoustic moments, such as the utterly sweet love letter "Harp For My Sweetheart." BRAN J. BARR Crocodile Cafe, 8 p.m. $8 adv./$10

Yo La Tengo + Why?

Arguably one of The Onion's best-ever pieces of satire, "37 Record Store Clerks Feared Dead in Yo La Tengo Concert Disaster" hilariously summed up the popular attitude toward this Jersey-dwelling trio, who've recently returned from snoozeville (2003's Summer Sun) with their excellent 11th album. I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass—is that a threat, or a promise? We hope on this tour it's the latter, that the album's kaleidoscopic indie-rock inventory will place our minds and bodies in total submission. It wouldn't be the first time. At a 2002 gig supporting the mellow And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out, shambolic crowds channeled the spirit of Woodstock as YLT barely raised an eyebrow, stoically working a peculiar voodoo. People dig the band because they're a 21-year-strong example of ordinary folks making extraordinary art. Guitarist and former music critic Ira Kaplan and drummer Georgia Hubley are said to have met in record stores and at shows; with bassist James McNew, they play requests during annual fund-raisers for their local radio station. This band really could be your life, if you could translate a lifetime of music appreciation into uniquely groovy, droning, sweet meditations on (mostly) love. Their latest effort is buoyant and intoxicating, ensuring this concert will be anything but disastrous. Anticon. rapper Why?, who's appeared alongside Calexico and Múm on an equally perplexing Showbox bill, opens. We're sure Easy Street approves. RACHEL SHIMP Showbox, 8 p.m. $16 adv./$18

Monday, October 16

The Maldives + Manuok + Via + Grand Hallway

Local troubadours the Maldives are fronted by Vancouver, Wash. (by way of Virginia) native Jason Dodson, who sounds more like he's from Tennessee. With seeming effortlessness, Dodson as songwriter creates one poetic lament after another, which his bandmates embellish with masterful command of their instruments (including banjo, harmonica, pedal steel, and the occasional upright bass). That's when Dodson the singer shines, his Jim James–esque voice invoking isolation and romance in equal measure. Their shows can get emotional, for sure, and the rest of this bill follows suit: Manuok features members of moody rockers the Black Heart Procession, while Grand Hallway's Tomo Nakayama still has the most heartbreaking voice in local rock. Think Thom Yorke if he'd ever penned a straightforward love song. RACHEL SHIMP EL Corazon, 8 p.m. $6

Tuesday, October 17

Beirut + A Hawk and a Hacksaw + Animal Hospital

SEE CD REVIEW [Beirut], P. 54. Crocodile Cafe, 8 p.m. $10

 
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