The Short List: The Week's Recommended Shows

Rufus Wainwright / Wednesday, August 25  See An Incomplete History.

Wavves / Wednesday, August 25

Nathan Williams of Wavves spent 2009 getting into brawls everywhere from New York to Australia with doormen, his own bandmates, and someone from the Black Lips. He reached his nadir with a notorious onstage meltdown at a festival in Barcelona, where he got into a spat with his drummer (who quit the band), insulted his audience, and got booed offstage. (He later blamed the incident on a nasty little cocktail of Valium and ecstasy.) For now, the 24-year-old Williams has a band—if not his act—together; he has a new bassist and drummer, both formerly of the late Jay Reatard's band, and released the third Wavves record, King of the Beach, this month. King is Wavves' cleanest effort to date; the lead single, "Post Acid," is as invigorating as a splash of water in the face the morning after a wild night (or year). With The Pharmacy, Broken Nobles. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $12. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Emily Wells / Wednesday, August 25

With looping pedals and her violin, Emily Wells composes big songs that can be performed by one person. Hip-hop has been as influential on Wells as classical, but while she may have Vivaldi dropping steamers in his grave, she's come under far more fire for the hip-hop part. A controversial cover of Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy" attracted scorn from people who accused Wells, a white, classically trained violinist, of appropriating a culture not her own. In Wells' own music, the hip-hop influence is more subtle, but her album, The Symphonies: Dreams Memories & Parties, is an exploration of classical and folk music with hip-hop production. If only she and Black Violin—two violinists and a DJ who perform hip-hop on violin—could get together, maybe classical music would experience a comeback. With Anomie Bell. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 7:30 p.m. $12. All ages. SARA BRICKNER

The Doobie Brothers / Thursday, August 26

At their best, the Doobie Brothers are like a slicked-up version of The Band, with rotating vocalists, rich harmonies, and down-home, country-rock rhythms. At their worst, they get lumped into the yacht-rock genre with Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan, and the like. The "worst" can be attributed to one man: Michael McDonald. On his own, McDonald produced some legitimately sterling soul, including "I Keep Forgettin'," a stone jam for the ages. He also backed Christopher Cross on "Ride Like the Wind," and always seemed to contribute a song to the soundtracks of buddy-cop movies starring Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines. But he never quite meshed with his fellow Doobies. Hence, don't lament the fact that he's not touring with them any longer, even though he contributes to a track on their upcoming World Gone Crazy. So does Willie Nelson, and his track's way better than Mikey Mac's. Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. N.E., Redmond, 800-745-3000. 7 p.m. $48–$68.75. All ages. MIKE SEELY

The Crying Shame / Friday, August 27

For a while there, I was really wondering what was going on with The Crying Shame. The band put out a couple of noir pop-country releases, then disappeared into the ether. Turns out Arlan, the band's frontman, recently had wrist surgery; this will be one of the band's first post-op shows. It must've been tough to write songs with a bum wrist, but at least one new track is up on the band's MySpace page, "She Ain't the Havin' Kind," about (what else?) lost love. It's a sparse, minimal number, trembling with bass and the righteous indignation of a scorned lover. In an era when sweet, angelic voices and harmonies seem to be all the rage in Seattle's folk scene, Arlan's bass drawl makes for a refreshing change. With Ben Gilmer & the Sidearms. Conor Byrne, 5140 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-3640. 9 p.m. $7. SARA BRICKNER

Devin the Dude / Friday, August 27

If there's one thing the Houston-based Dude can be counted on to do, and do well, it's good-natured stoner raps that somehow manage to sound molasses-soaked and nimble at the same time. The Rap-A-Lot MC's sixth full-length release, April's Suite 420, is more of the same—but the way he goes about delivering it is what's special and worth sticking around for. Over his favored G-funk beats, Devin talks weed and women from a refreshingly everyman and excitingly layered point of view that contrasts sharply with the big-money braggadocio of the multiplatinum-selling set. He might not have grown up much since his debut dropped in 1998, but The Dude knows he has a good thing going. With Neema, Props, Gnotes. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 9 p.m. $20. NICK FELDMAN

Vince Mira and The Dusty 45s / Friday, August 27

For most of his short career, Vince Mira has been famous for his spot-on imitation of Johnny Cash. He gained national attention at 15—known then as "Juanny Cash"—for busking Cash's songs, sometimes in Spanish, at Pike Place Market. Three years later, Mira still has that same steady baritone voice, but now it's used on material he writes himself. True, songs like "Cold Hearted Woman" from 2008's Cash Cabin Sessions could easily be mistaken for Cash originals, but that's just Mira's style. He writes country music like Hank Williams (another musician he's known to cover): uncomplicated but rich in melody and sorrow. He'll be well matched by the Dusty 45s' polished rockabilly sound. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 8 p.m. $20 adv./$25 DOS. All ages. PAIGE RICHMOND

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band / Friday, August 27  See music lead.

Yuni in Taxco / Friday, August 27 See Through @ 2.

Thee Sgt. Major III / Friday, August 27  See Rocket Queen.

Mickey Avalon / Saturday, August 28

On his 2006 self-titled debut, Mickey Avalon rhymed about the underbelly of street life that rap had yet to explore, and boasted that he "had a dick like Jesus," one of the most undecipherable yet grandiose brags ever to pollute the game. What the hell it actually means is up for interpretation—is it bearded? Can it turn water into wine? Regardless, on 2009's Stroke Me he's still perpetrating his Cool Keith–meets–Hollywood Boulevard vibe and bringing more ass and eyeliner to hip-hop than anyone since Lil' Kim. He promotes his shows as "events," and are they ever. You'll leave feeling so dirty you'll want to screw and shower. In which order is up to you. With THEESatisfaction, Truckasaurus. Showbox at the Market 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $20 adv./$25 DOS. All ages. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Crowded House / Saturday, August 28  See B-Sides.

Keith Urban & John Mayer / Saturday, August 28

There's not too much to say about the music of Keith Urban other than that it's as innocuous as any Top-40 country out there. Where Mr. Urban has transcended other glossy twangers is in the art of Timberlaking. He's the Chris Martin of the CMAs. Unfamiliar with the term? It's when a middling musician benefits from dating above his fame stratum. If JT hadn't moved on to Cammy after 'N Sync, he'd now be group-dating on VH1. Don't believe me? Ask JC Chasez. No stranger to banging starlets is Urban's co-headliner John Mayer, who, from the amount of Proactiv spokeswomen he's bedded, makes me think it's his semen that causes jawline acne. Gorge Amphitheater, 754 Silica Rd. N.W., Quincy, 628-0888. 7 p.m. $53.85–$150. All ages. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

D. Black and B. Brown / Sunday, August 29

Just a few months ago I asked D. Black what the future held. His response: "I don't think there is a future for D. Black, at least not this one." And while the Sportn' Life artist doesn't advocate hip-hop as the only means of salvation, it certainly explains the dramatic transformation from gangsta-steeped 2007 release The Cause and Effect to his uplifting 2009 follow-up Ali'Yah—not to mention an inability to put down the mike, despite his promises. Socially conscious with a razor-sharp edge, Black's new material—the occasion for the celebration is a free EP collaboration with producer B. Brown, titled The Blackest Brown—is all about living with a new mind-set and making the world better for his little girl. Damian, threaten to quit all you want, but we won't let you—and we're glad you won't let yourself. With Cancer Rising, Jerm Eye, SK. Neumos. 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 9 p.m. $7. NICK FELDMAN

Vampire Weekend / Sunday, August 29

At first glance, it might seem as if Beach House and the Dum Dum Girls are the biggest beneficiaries of this lineup—opening a summer tour for arguably the hottest band in pop music certainly won't hurt their fan bases. But it's also a smart move for Vampire Weekend: Booking two of Sub Pop's hippest, cred-proof acts ensures that some of the indie snobs who lost interest in Vampire Weekend after a Jonas brother appeared in one of their music videos will actually show up—and maybe even stay for their headlining set and enjoy some of their sunny and innocuous jams, kind of like they ended up doing at the band's killer Sasquatch! set this year. Either way, it's a win/win for everyone involved and a rockin' way to close out the summer. With Beach House, Dum Dum Girls. Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. N.E., Redmond, 205-3661. 6 p.m. $47.50. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

ZZ Top / Sunday, August 29

There's a whole sect of music fans who believe the only ZZ Top worth listening to came before their 1983 breakthrough, Eliminator. There's some validity to the old-school notion that before they found their, ahem, commercial "Legs," albums like Tejas and Tres Hombres contained songs with more rough edges and thoughtful composition. However, I posit that Eliminator has its slick merits, if for no other reason than that "TV Dinners" may be the most bizarrely underutilized stripper anthem of all time. The subsequent buzzkill of Afterburner is a bit less defensible, though we should all be grateful that it gave ZZ Top excuses to continue making videos featuring hot chicks wearing anklets. Snoqualmie Casino, 37500 S.E. North Bend Way, Snoqualmie, 425-888-1234. 6 p.m. $55–$125. HANNAH LEVIN

Timmy Sunshine & the Conductors / Monday, August 30

It's the kind of band name you'd come up with when you were 7 or 8, and some of their lyrics come from around that age, too: "I was born in a magic tree with dragons, oh my," Mr. Sunshine sings in "Magic Tree." But by "Wine, Wine, Wine" it's quite obvious that the Bellingham band isn't meant to be mom-approved. Sunshine & Co. resemble the studied chamber-pop playfulness and curious vocals of Andrew Bird and the meandering folk sensibilities of Neutral Milk Hotel, writing songs that seem to hide from and seek the freedom and glee of years past. With Corduroy, We Hate the Desert. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 9 p.m. $5. MARY PAULINE DIAZ

Nekromantix / Tuesday, August 31

In the Museum of Sorcery & Witchcraft in Hólmavík, Iceland, sits a pair of "necro-pants." What are necropants, you ask? Well, it's the skin of the lower half of a male body dug up from a graveyard, removed intact, and worn over one's own lower half with a coin inserted into the scrotum (yes, the wearer is supposed to obtain the prior permission of the deceased to do this). And why the hell would someone don a pair of necropants? Supposedly, the magical properties of these corpse-leggings will make the wearer rich beyond his wildest dreams. What does any of this have to do with California trio Nekromantix? Nothing, really, but it's a tad more interesting than Nekromantix's competent yet run-of-the-mill Misfits/Cramps–inspired horrorshow/punkabilly. Now if they hit the stage wearing some necropants, then that'd be something! With the Mutilators, the Howlers. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 8 p.m. $12 adv./$14 DOS. All ages. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

Neutral Uke Hotel / Tuesday, August 31

You might think that one man strumming out every song from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea on a ukulele would be a bad idea. For one, there's the trouble of stripping Neutral Milk Hotel bare. Even though Shawn Fogel, the man behind the cleverly-named Neutral Uke Hotel, has some back-up instrumentation while he sings and strums, the layers of Neutral Milk's 1998 masterpiece—the organs and trumpets and accordions and elements of psych rock—just aren't there. And Fogel's voice is sweet and on-key, but lacks the straining, emotive character of Jeff Mangum's. Yet despite these flaws, NUH does something wonderful: It offers NMH fans the chance to hear the band's songs live again. YouTube videos of Fogel's performances depict free-for-all, enthusiastic sing-alongs. Plus there's something appropriately sad about that tiny ukulele: it struggles, admirably, in the same way Mangum did. With Believe in Sunshine, Joseph Giant. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $7. PAIGE RICHMOND

 
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