Rocket Queen: Tight Palace

It feels a lot like ’93, except with more styles to choose from.

In 1993, just prior to the release of Nirvana's In Utero, a friend and I were walking down Broadway, talking through a list of bands we wanted to see that month, including Soundgarden, TAD, Heatmiser, Mudhoney, and Nirvana. It wasn't just the sheer scope of our live-music itinerary that reverberated, but the fact that you could simply feel it in the atmosphere. It was a unique moment, and I felt fortunate to be experiencing it firsthand.I began picking up on a similar energy last Monday night while checking out the Jet Set at the Capitol Club, the increasingly popular night hosted by DJs Swerveone and 100 Proof. Champagne Champagne's Thomas Gray was showing off the artwork for his band's forthcoming sophomore release (due in six weeks), while Swerveone held down the decks and the ladies of THEESatisfaction giggled and grooved in the corner. It felt like the week before Christmas from a small child's point of view, and the entire room was abuzz about Shabazz Palaces' live Seattle debut.When I squeezed my way into Neumos for that show Friday, Shabazz mastermind Ishmael Butler was clad in a dramatic red headscarf, conducting his crew and the enraptured crowd with the grace and power of an artist destined to rocket straight to the top of the 206 scene and beyond. The collective euphoria in the room was palpable, and potent enough that the sense that one was watching history in the making was undeniable.Meanwhile, a crustier crowd of creative types was tearing things up in a graffiti-scarred underground warehouse space in Belltown at an event that simultaneously felt like a throwback to the aforementioned early '90s era and a peek at the future of the city's metal and punk landscapes.Openers Throne of Bone were a promising death-metal act, with the raw-throated power of Mike Freiburger's unearthly vocals balancing nicely with the band's brutal and complex backing. The metal mavericks of Madraso put on one of their best live performances in recent memory, while a crowd that included bike-messenger punks and local luminaries Tad Doyle and Ben Shepherd looked on in admiration, seemingly right at home in the warehouse's old-world ambience. Watching the trio pummel their way through a Shellac-channeling set anchored by the distinct tones of bassist Doug Owen was a revelation; why Madraso remains one of the most underappreciated hard-edged acts this city has to offer is a complete mystery.Incidentally, anyone in attendance should consider checking out Until the Light Takes Us, the heralded metal documentary screening at the Grand Illusion this Friday, Jan. 15. The film runs through Jan. 21, but Friday night will include a post-screening performance by local grindcore act The Abodox.The School of Rock's "Best of the Northwest" concert was yet another roaring success story last weekend. Without exuding even a hint of stage fright, Seattle's next generation of musicians managed to sell out the Crocodile on Saturday, delivering astonishingly accurate renditions of 22 classic songs, including Mudhoney's "Touch Me I'm Sick," Nirvana's "Aneurysm," and Unwound's "Corpse Pose."It wasn't just proud parents who were impressed either: Long Winters bassist Eric Corson joined the kids onstage briefly. "This is unbelievably cool," he said, looking thrilled as he helped out on his band's "Shapes."The School of Rock's next show is Saturday, Jan. 16 at El Corazon, where they'll take on the back catalogs of SST and Dischord, offering what's sure to be another don't-miss evening of songs by punk icons Fugazi, Black Flag, Bad Brains, Sonic Youth, and Hüsker Dü.rocketqueen@seattleweekly.com

 
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