The Short List

Highlights-and lowlights-from this week's music calendar.

Wednesday, December 13

Redman + Raekwon + Ghostface Killah + Smif N Wessun + MC Supernatural

SEE FEATURE (Redman) P. 49. Showbox, 9 p.m. $30 adv./$35

The Old Haunts + Charming Snakes + the Hands

There's a feeling that's conjured up with old basements—windowless and unfinished, creaky, steep stairways and swinging, naked light bulbs—equal parts creep out/total and utter freedom to do whatever the hell you fucking want, because you know no one's gonna bug you down there. The Hands raucous, thrashing and addictive debut EP, So Sweet (Basement Empire) is testament to the uninhibited genius that basements can spawn. While recording last summer in the depths of Ballard's Bop Street Records, this local five-piece threw down seven shit-hot, good old-fashioned garage-rock sides—well-crafted, catchy, and laden with screaming vocals and ripping guitar riffs. The result is refreshing yet not shy about borrowing from those who've gone before. Elder influences like the Stones make themselves known; fourth track, "Cold Ground" lyrically pays homage to "Satisfaction." With two KEXP in-studios under their belts and a slew of sweet gigs around town, the Hand's talent should soon have a label to call home. AJA PECKNOLD Funhouse, 9:30 p.m. $6

Thursday, December 14

Panda & Angel + S + the Cave Singers

The Cave Singers tout nature-inspired members R. Flowers, Babybird, and Gerbil Moustache according to their MySpace page, but in reality consist of Pretty Girls Make Graves bassist Derek Fudesco, Pete Quirk hailing from Hint Hint, and Cobra High alum Marty Lund. The three talented dudes have combined forces to create a sound that is sometimes folky, sometimes spacey, often soft and melodic, with a sprinkling of harder breakdowns thrown in for good measure. Carried by Quirk's high and lonesome vocals that fall somewhere between Dylan and Young, the group has spent some time in the studio with Colin Stewart (PGMG, Black Mountain) and should soon grace us with an ambrosial debut. And if the four tantalizing, appetite-whetting tracks they've posted on their page are any indication of what's to come, they won't be listed as label-less for long. AJA PECKNOLD Crocodile Cafe, 8 p.m. $8

The Turn-Ons + Cock & Swan + Arthur and Yu + the Dirty Sleeves

If you're a dream-pop nut like me, who can't get enough of jangly, atmospheric New Zealand bands like the Chills and the Bats, along with such American counterparts as Galaxie 500 and Dream Syndicate—all of them directly inspired by the blurry drone of the Velvet Underground—then you'll definitely want to catch the Turn-Ons: a Seattle quartet proudly carrying on that tradition after first coming out of the gates in 1997 as a glammy, T. Rex–styled outfit. Frontman Travis DeVries and company were in particularly captivating form at a show this past October, sliding through the fuzzy, moody, and oh-so-elegant jams from this year's Parallels (their fourth, and best, album) with aplomb; no reason to think this gig won't be at least as enchanting, if not more so. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG Highdive, 9 p.m. $6

Hank Williams Sr. Tribute Band

A forewarning: Don't spill your beer on the dance floor when watching the Hank Williams Revue. I made that mistake once, was given the sternest looks ever by the two-steppers, then handed a washrag not by a bartender, but by a dancer who told me I would clean it up. Apparently, spilled beer makes for a slippery dance floor and folk like to dance to Hank Williams. This doesn't mesh with my preferred method of Hank enjoyment, which is heavy boozing (gotta save that for Hank III) I digress. This Hank Sr. tribute band is one of the most solid outfits in town. This slightly gray-headed group crams the stage and delivers Williams' songs note for note. And not just the hits, either. I've seen them play unknown ballads like "Alone and Foresaken." Hell, one time they even cut the power to the sound system to deliver a Hank song just as he would have done. BRIAN J. BARR Conor Byrne, 9 p.m.

Friday, December 15

Akron/Family + These Arms Are Snakes + Sir Richard Bishop

At first glance, this lineup is like one of those Bill Graham bills where you'd have to search to find the musical thread connecting the bands. For instance, what do Neil Young and the Miles Davis Quintet have in common? As history would prove, more than you probably thought back in 1970. So what do local thrashers These Arms Are Snakes, Sir Richard Bishop of the Sun City Girls, and tribal weirdos Akron/Family have in common? Well, I've seen the Akron/Family start mellow and pensive at the Tractor, only to witness their performance rise up into psychedelic pyrotechnics. I've seen These Arms Are Snakes play like a force of nature, shredding both fretboards and vocal cords. I've seen Sir Richard Bishop gracefully hypnotize his six-string while opening for, well, Akron/Family. But throwing These Arms Are Snakes right there in the middle of it all is both ballsy and awesome. Should be one hell of a wild ride. BRIAN J. BARR Neumo's, 8 p.m. $12

Kinski + Pink Mountaintops + the Spoils

SEE FEATURE (Pink Mountaintops) P. 50. Crocodile Cafe, 8 p.m. $10

Singles Going Steady X-Mas Party: Meisce + Tranzmitors + Straightjacket + Absolute Rulers

When talk about the increasing condo-ization of Pike/Pine gets you down, it's soothing to remember that at least one street in Belltown—the area the Hill seems to most fear becoming—has largely retained its rock-and-roll character. That would be Second Avenue, where long-standing bars like the Croc and unique eateries share the blocks with Singles Going Steady, a vinyl-heavy purveyor of everything from Oi to rockabilly since opened by Pete Genest a decade ago. Until 2004, you could have a slice and see a touring anarcho-punk band in the back of Second Ave. Pizza, then trot a few doors down to Singles to pick up the record. Although the pizza venue is history, the knowledgeable buyers at Singles keep the neighborhood in the know. Their X-Mas party represents the range of styles they're passionate about, including Vancouver's the Tranzmitors ("Jerry Lewis meets the Buzzcocks!"), old-school Portland punks Straitjacket and Absolute Rulers, and "folk as fuck" Meisce, whose gypsy-flavored sounds are said to instigate frenzied dancing and flying alcoholic beverages. Sounds like the ingredients for holiday cheer to us. RACHEL SHIMP Funhouse, 9 p.m. $5

Sunday, December 17

Alela Diane + Johanna Kunin + Night Canopy

SEE FEATURE (Alela Diane) P.49. Tractor Tavern, 8 p.m. $10 adv./$12

Public Enemy + Flavor Flav + Professor Griff + the S1Ws + DJ Lord + X-Clan + the Banned

Given a lot more space, I suppose I could write a lengthy rant about how Flavor Flav—with the pathetic minstrel show that is VH1's Flavor of Love —has been subverting Public Enemy's two-decade-plus efforts to spotlight and fight racial inequality and foment black pride. But I guess if Chuck D. isn't pissed off enough to leave Flav at home for this, PE's 56th U.S. tour overall and first in three years, then who am I to judge? For anyone who remembers when Public Enemy was hard-hitting, dangerous, controversial, and truly revolutionary, it's a little sad to see that they've become the Rolling Stones of hip-hop: legendary, still putting out records (albeit comparatively toothless ones), and likely still capable of bringing it live. Yet few will be showing up to hear the new stuff—they want oldies like "Fight the Power" and "Welcome to the Terrordome." Sadder still, I'll wager many are going just to get another dose of Flav, who used to play the comic foil to Chuck's blazing rhymes, but now just acts the fool. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG Showbox, 8 p.m. $22.30 adv./$25

Tuesday, December 19

George Harrison Jam with members of the Beatniks + Herding Cats + Alan White

George Harrison was the greatest Beatle. Not to completely ignore the disparate talents of the John, Paul, and Ringo, but I've long felt that without George's centeredness, the band would have been engulfed by its own flaming ego. Harrison was responsible for my personal favorite Beatles tracks "Here Comes the Sun," and "Something". But it was his post-Beatles solo album All Things Must Pass that really made me pro-George. That massive album gave us now-classics "My Sweet Lord," Wha-Wha," and "What Is Life". If you listen to it and don't like what you hear, I don't trust you as a human. Tonight. George will be paid tribute by members the Beatniks and Herding Cats, among others. BRIAN J. BARR Crocodile Cafe, 8 p.m. $15 adv./$20

 
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