The Short List: This Week's Recommended Shows

Misfits Vs. Stooges ~ Wednesday, April 15 How in the hell are you supposed to choose between the Stooges and the Misfits?! Surely a greater case could not be made for punk-rock apples and oranges, my friends.Let's start with the similarities: Both have teeny little frontmen with insane abs who've since moved on to major solo success.Both bands are beyond influential, highly revered, and appropriately mind-numbing in their aggression.But aggression is also what sets these two bands apart. The Stooges' brand of aggro is corrosively sexual, while Misfits-style aggro exists solely for the sake of being aggro. The Misfits' fascination with theatrical horror always seemed to come off a little on the KISS tip and was never quite as compelling, to me personally anyway, as Iggy actually rolling on broken glass. This, coupled with the absolutely terrible, irony-free cover of (uggh, it pains my fingers to even type it) "Monster Mash" currently on the Misfits' MySpace page, would force me to choose the Stooges. Sorry, Glenn. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 8 p.m. $6. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR Telekinesis, Throw Me The Statue ~ Friday, April 17 To see both Telekinesis and Throw Me the Statue in one night is to observe two entirely different but equally successful pop formulas. Michael Lerner, the creative brains behind Seattle's Telekinesis, writes pitch-perfect pop songs. "Look to the East" has swirling guitars and drums that keep a steady beat—and both instruments fall away right before the chorus, giving the lyrics space to show off: "When you talk I cannot see/Everything that's in front of me/All I know what I don't know/And I don't want to let you go," Lerner sings. Fellow Seattleites TMTS, however, turn the pop-song concept on its head. Primary songwriter Scott Reitherman uses spastic-sounding instrumentals—the drum beats sometimes sound like castanets laid over a tinkling and ringing triangle—and hand claps to create completely infectious music layered with near-poetic lyrics: "Strange nights locked inside/I was waiting for a road ahead/I was lying in my Western bed." The result is music that keeps you dancing, even if you can't figure out why. With Say Hi, the Banyans. The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave. 8 p.m. $10. PAIGE RICHMOND Mates of State ~ Friday, April 17 The music written and performed by Mates of State is a metaphor for the ideal marriage. Vocals are sung in harmony and the instrumentals are tender without sounding melodramatic, resulting in songs that are both upbeat and layered. These aren't cheesy love songs about the world's most perfect relationship; they're compositions that reflect a focus on happiness and appreciation more than on tension and disputes. This, then, raises the question: Is the real-life marriage of Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel, the band's two members, truly as harmonious as the band's music? It's a hard question to answer, but songs like "For the Actor" give some indication. In tandem, Gardner and Hammel sing: "You put your life on hold as we interest one another/Two steps closer to the level I imagined/I remember when it poured and you sang to me in summer/It's a fantasy." If only all musicians—and lovers—could be so happy. With Black Kids, Judgment Day. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $20. PAIGE RICHMOND Vetiver ~ Saturday, April 18 Originally a one-man vehicle for singer/songwriter Andy Cabic, Vetiver morphed into a revolving-door consortium before settling on a relatively stable lineup for its two most recent albums. Cabic's working relationship with Devendra Banhart may make it all too easy to place Vetiver under the banner of Underground Folk Played by Modern-Day Bohemians With Long Beards, but Cabic clearly has a voice of his own. Over time, the one-time indie-rock guitarist has incorporated more electric instrumentation, but rather than simply switch between acoustic and electric modes, the band uncovers the vast middle ground in between. Cabic has also managed to preserve the material's quiet intensity even as the band has grown around him. Of course, with such a laid-back attitude to bandmates coming and going, it makes sense that the music has a similarly laid-back, unhurried feel. Vetiver's music has a lilting, pastoral quality well served by Cabic's affinity for warm 1970s production techniques, but it's totally unfair to think of the band as a retro act. Cabic's emphasis on craft may reach to the past, but the final product feels startlingly contemporary. Meanwhile, the highly astute musical interplay between guitarist Sanders Trippe and drummer Otto Hauser, now core members, helps anchor the music and provides the added attraction of a band dynamic to both the band's new album, Tight Knit, and live shows. With Richard Swift, Black Whales. The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave. 8 p.m. $12. SABY REYES-KULKARNI Yonder Mountain String Band ~ Saturday, April 18 Yonder Mountain plays high-energy, highly improvisational mountain music with a modern twist. Like an old-fashioned hootenanny, the atmosphere at a Yonder Mountain show is infectious, particularly when bassist Ben Kaufmann and mandolin player Jeff Austin launch into epic, groove-laced breakdowns.The percussive throb of bass and sweet, thrilling ring of mandolin provide the perfect amount of tension, spiraling around each other, climbing higher and higher like a Shepard scale. It's like auditory THC, which is sure to make Yonder Mountain String Band near and dear to the heart of any true noodling-jam-band fanatic. With Sam Bush, Baby Gramps. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151. 8 p.m. $22.50 adv./$25 DOS. All ages. NICHOLAS HALL Toadies ~ Saturday, April 18 No, it's not your imagination: There is a 1990s musical revival happening in America, and there's no sign of it stopping. After two breakups and numerous band members' solo projects, Jane's Addiction reunited last year with the original lineup. Now the band is playing Sasquatch next month. And recently—this may also be a sign of the apocalypse—Limp Bizkit announced its members would again join forces to tour and record a new album. And as further evidence, alt-rockers Toadies have also reunited. Most people's understanding of the band focuses on the song "Possum Kingdom." (You know, the one that starts with a majorly distorted guitar riff and a chorus that goes "I promise you/I will treat you well/My sweet angel/So help me, Jesus.") For all intents and purposes, the songs on 2008's No Deliverance aren't that much different from Toadies' biggest hit. The single "Song I Hate" is incredibly similar to "Possum Kingdom": It starts with guitar but no vocals, then segues into lyrics about love with a totally bitchin' chorus. So for anyone considering seeing Toadies simply for nostalgia's sake, it won't be much different than listening to the soundtrack to Empire Records—on cassette. With People in Planes. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 8 p.m. $20 adv./$23 DOS. All ages. PAIGE RICHMOND Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, & Harry Shearer ~ Monday, April 20 When I first saw This Is Spinal Tap in high school, I thought it was an actual documentary. Seeing it again today, I cringe at the obliviousness of my youth. A record label head named Sir Eaton-Hogg? A song called "Sex Farm Woman"? An album called Smell the Glove? Dana Carvey and Billy Crystal as mime waiters? Paul Shaffer as an inept Midwestern promoter? Howard Hesseman as a big-shot band manager? Fran Drescher cast as something other than the most annoying woman on the planet? The clues were all there, staring me right in the face—and yet I still believed. Why? Simple: The members of Tap, expertly played by Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show comic laureates Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer, were utterly credible as big-haired, age-of-excess Brit rockers. Now, stripped of their garish costumes, they're touring "unwigged and unplugged" behind the tunes produced by Tap and the Folksmen from 2003's A Mighty Wind. Given the acoustic setup, they're unlikely to crank it up to 11. But what they're sure to deliver is peerless stage banter interspersed with surprisingly competent musicianship. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 877-STG-4TIX. 8 p.m. $32–$52. All ages. MIKE SEELY Protest the Hero ~ Monday, April 20 This Canadian metal outfit combines sincere cerebral inquiry into topics like archetypal feminine goddess energy and its manifestations in global consciousness with the goofball stoner charm of, say, the Scooby Doo gang. Yes, for all that Protest the Hero pines for the refeminization of the planet (that's the band's description of its latest album, Fortress, not ours), there are undoubtedly lots of fart jokes going on on the tour bus. Self-avowed nerds who claim to hate nerds just like themselves, the members of PTH have nonetheless managed to channel their enthusiasm for sci-fi and fantasy into a vision that rises far above your typical Star Trek/Stargate cliche. That's because if Tommy Chong and Terence McKenna ever had a lost love child, it would be bassist and lyricist Arif Mirabdolbaghi, a "lapsed Muslim" of Iranian descent who claims his parents are fine with his affinity for the magic mushrooms which grace PTH's T-shirts. Mirabdolbaghi strives to examine gender-equalizing metaphysics without sounding like a pussy-whipped New Age sap. The Genghis Khan, boiled-in-oil imagery doesn't hurt, nor does the band's uncanny ability to playfully ape New Wave of British Heavy Metal hallmarks (like operatic Maiden-style vocals) without sounding camp. In PTH's nimble hands, clichés get worked into a thrilling, highly original display of muscular prog-metal wizardry. And unlike most metal bands who get all serious on you, it's fun too. With Misery Signals, The Number 12 Looks Like You, Scale The Summit. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 7 p.m. $13 adv./$15 DOS. All ages. SABY REYES-KULKARNI Vienna Teng ~ Tuesday, April 21 By now, it's well documented that pianist/singer/songwriter Vienna Teng landed on Letterman and NPR just a few months after quitting her software-engineer job. Since then, Teng has made good on her career's fairy-tale start by building a rabid following that has, of course, grown at a steady rate that hasn't thrust her headlong into fame. Teng openly draws from the confessional, introspective style of Sarah McLachlan and Tori Amos, but also favors the outright-pop songwriting of, say, Billy Joel. She also prefers to apply her classical training to the music discreetly, so that the casual listener can focus on the hooks while more focused listeners can glean its sophistication over time. On her fourth album, the just-released Inland Territory, Teng and bandmate/co-producer Alex Wong veer away from the jazz production style of her 2006 Dreaming Through the Noise for a more abstract, experimental pop sound. Naturally, Inland sees Teng gazing inward as usual, but also asking unsettling—and rather compelling—questions about the world around us. With Paper Raincoat. Triple Door Mainstage, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 6:30 (all ages) & 9:30 p.m. $20 adv./$25 DOS. SABY REYES-KULKARNI Eddie and the Hot Rods ~ Tuesday, April 21 Remember Ryan Adams getting all persnickety about dudes coming to his shows and yelling "Summer of '69"? Though it may have been done to get a rise out of his famously bratty ass, I have to believe its first occurrence was accidental—some confused middle-ager showed up by mistake and genuinely thought he was seeing Bryan Adams. I bring this up because I imagine this also happens routinely here in the States to Eddie and the Hot Rods. They had the misfortune to become famous in one of the least notable eras in British music: the mid-'70s wasteland between glam and punk, and the band is better known for its ex-members' various post-band projects (like, say, a couple of little bands called the Damned and Stiff Little Fingers). Secondly, they are outfamed in America by Eddie and the Cruisers—a faux band from a bland 1983 pic starring a bunch of old folks playing teenagers, most remembered for its John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band soundtrack—dooming these blokes to hear "Play 'On the Dark Side'!" nightly. With the Hollowpoints, Primadonna, Creem City. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 7 p.m. $12 adv./$14 DOS. All ages. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR Fly ~ Tuesday, April 21 Saxophonist Mark Turner has always been a little noodly and diffident for my taste. But with this trio he's found his element. Bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard, with whom Turner has played in various other bands, combine here to provide just the right level of structure and loose groove, giving Turner the terrain that shows him to best advantage. From the great trios of Sonny Rollins and Bill Evans up to today, the three-person unit has always been the place for jazz to explore the push-me-pull-you between players, the elastics of form and freedom. And this group is showing a new modern means of laying in the cut. Given how tightly Jazz Alley's schedule tends to hew toward tried-and-true names, any sign of more adventurous booking is to be celebrated and supported. And while this trio of youngish New York players isn't exactly avant-garde, they're definitely chasing something more interesting and elusive than another night of songbook standards. Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., 441-9729, www.jazzalley.com. 7:30 p.m. $21.50. MARK D. FEFER

 
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