The Short List: The Week's Recommended Shows

Rockaraoke / Wednesday, September 15

Rockaraoke has always made regular karaoke seem like tiddlywinks, but the concept was flawed. For years, they've tried to get this idea of live-band karaoke going, but the lack of a teleprompter held things back. There are bands that can play a ton of tunes, but the problem was singers had to have the lyrics memorized—and the performances wound up being sloppy messes. But the Crocodile now has a rockaraoke band (not to be confused with the band called Rockaraoke) that's figured out how to add the essential lyrics screen, and it's made all the difference in the world. This goes out to anyone who's gotten to the point where regular karaoke just doesn't deliver the punch it used to. The band is tight and can do it all: Barry Manilow, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eminem, the Dixie Chicks, Beyoncé, you name it. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $5. JEFF ROMAN

Scissor Sisters / Wednesday, September 15

Night Work, the third album from New York's Scissor Sisters, is an homage to all the nighthawks of the world, the dancing queens who stay out 'til the wee hours, fully living up every possible minute they can get. The music, as heard on lead singles "Fire With Fire" and "Any Which Way," is impassioned and gloriously glam; a celebration of the communal bonds among clubgoers. It's much more emotive stuff than the group's earlier songs like "Tits on the Radio." The Sisters put on famously flashy live shows to match their dance-floor tunes—Lady Gaga hand-picked them to open for the early 2011 leg of her world tour. With Sammy Jo, Casey Spooner. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $30 adv./$33 DOS. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Kele / Thursday, September 16

Put your opinions about Bloc Party aside, because Kele Okereke's album, The Boxer, has next to nothing to do with his day job. The artist spent some time in Berlin, came out as gay this spring, and dropped his winning solo debut this summer. Singles like "Everything You Wanted" have been a boon for indie dance parties, and the remixes of "Tenderoni" (there are 50 user-generated ones to date on his website) have appeared smartly in many a DJ set. In the video for "Tenderoni," Okereke also comes out quite definitively as a hunk. It's refreshing to see an artist who came up in the aughts, when everyone had their 15, show that while hot, they're much more than a flash in the pan. With Does It Offend You, Yeah?, Innerpartysystem. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005. 8 p.m. $18. All ages. RACHEL SHIMP

Live and Let Die / Thursday, September 16–Sunday, September 19  See An Incomplete History.

Willie Nelson / Thursday, September 16

As alt-country hipsterati have embraced Willie Nelson over the past decade, his coolness cachet has gone through the roof, and he spends some summers touring minor-league ballparks with Bob Dylan. But 10 years ago, in the summer of 2000, the hankied one launched a veritable tour of small-town Washington fairs—no less than the Northwest Washington Fair (in Lynden), the Southwest Washington Fair (Chehalis), the Evergreen State Fair (Monroe), and the Benton-Franklin County Fair (Kennewick). I'd love to tell you about Willie's free show in Lynden, which my folks and I made a special trip north for, but we filled up on ice cream at the Lynden Christian booth and could no longer stand up. Don't you go doing the same when you Do the Puyallup with Willie, now, ya hear? Puyallup Fair & Events Center, 110 Ninth Ave. S.W., Puyallup, 253-841-5045. 7:30 p.m. $25–$50. All ages. CHRIS KORNELIS

Verellen Amps Showcase / Thursday, September 16  See Rocket Queen.

Eldridge Gravy & The Court Supreme / Friday, September 17

If there's doubt that funk is anything but alive, well, and ass-kicking, critics need look no further than the furious energy of this local 10-piece and its charismatic frontman. Fresh off a Bumbershoot performance and the May 2009 release of their debut album Us Is What Time It Is, Gravy and his crew have repeatedly proved their ability to whip a dance floor into a heated frenzy. Calling to mind the soulful antics of the late '60s and early '70s, they take on some of the best characteristics of the likes of Sly and the Family Stone or James Brown without existing in the cover-band niche. With Black Cherry Crush, Kamiak Musik. Crocodile. 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $8. NICK FELDMAN

Night Beats / Friday, September 17

While this Seattle three-piece's soulful sludge rock invokes the heady psychedelia of Cream, the 13th Floor Elevators, and the Doors to the best possible end, there's a sultry edge to it: The slurred riffs and Lee Blackwell's howling (his real name: Danny Rajan) are heady enough to spawn a spontaneous bacchanalian orgy on the Funhouse's beer-slick floor. That the band is selling "limited-edition condoms" in addition to things like shirts and buttons just drives home the point that this is music for people who like drugs almost as much as they like to fuck. Almost. With Unnatural Helpers, Zig Zags, Broomsticks. Funhouse, 206 Fifth Ave. N., 374-8400. 9:30 p.m. $6. SARA BRICKNER

Ravenna Woods / Friday, September 17  See Through @ 2.

Airborne Toxic Event / Saturday, September 18

Dear Airborne Toxic Event: You are my badge of shame to wear, and I have come to accept this. Your lyrics are the most melodramatic and clichéd confessionals this side of the Killers (what happens when you walk into a bar and see your ex with someone else? "You look like you've seen a ghost!"); your swelling string section is as emotionally manipulative as a Lifetime Network movie score—and I can't get enough of it. Just when I think I've escaped your saccharine embrace, you go and cover "Goodbye Horses" by Q Lazzarus, the creepy theme song of Silence of the Lambs' cross-dressing killer. Don't ever change. With the Calder Quartet. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255. 8 p.m. $20 adv./$25 DOS. All ages. HANNAH LEVIN

Cloud Cult / Saturday, September 18

Craig Minowa of Cloud Cult has been writing heartbreakingly mournful songs about the untimely death of his 2-year-old son, Kaidin, for almost a decade, backed by an eclectic swirl of vocoders, swelling cello and violin, august trombone and French horn, and visual artists. But the band's newest album, this month's Light Chasers, switches thematic gears—last fall, Minowa and painter/bandmate/wife Connie welcomed a new baby boy, and the new music celebrates life and rebirth. Light Chasers' first single, "Running With the Wolves," vibrates with a sense of wonder and joy as Minowa sings "We were running for a reason, for the burning in our veins/We were running to find meaning, just need to get away." With Mimicking Birds. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $21. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Furthur / Saturday, September 18

Used to be that the notion that a member of a cover band actually could be asked to join the band covered was the stuff of a lackluster movie starring Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston, and some really bad wigs. But now, as Journey, INXS, and what's left of the Grateful Dead have proven, reality-show fodder is, well, realistic. Case in point: John Kadlecik, a guitarist who for years played lead in a Grateful Dead cover band called Dark Star Orchestra. Now he plays in what Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, the two-man group from the Grateful Dead, are calling themselves on this tour, 15 years after the death of Jerry Garcia. Kadlecik kills it live, but the real key to their performances is how much restraint Weir shows. If "Rock Star Bobby" doesn't hog lead-vocal duties, it should be a perfectly enjoyable show. If he does, you might need a miracle. Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy N.E., Redmond, 205-3661. 6 p.m. $55. All ages. MIKE SEELY

Riverboat Gamblers / Saturday, September 18

In the culinary world, finding a perfect balance of subtle sweetness and fiery spiciness takes years of practice. In the rock-and-roll world, one only needs to look to the Riverboat Gamblers for a shining example of that consonance. Having spent countless months on the road over the past decade, the Riverboat Gamblers are arguably one of the hardest-working bands in rock today. On record, the band is loud, sweet, and full of catchy pop riffage. Live, it's a feral beast backed into a corner, ready to strike; natural-born frontman Mike Wiebe spends more time darting through the crowd than onstage, climbing on any surface he can, leaving the stage (and other surfaces) perfectly seasoned from the band's blood-and-sweat marinade. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 7 p.m. $8. GREGORY FRANKLIN

The Head Cat / Sunday, September 19

While he's primarily known as the leader of one of the loudest punk-informed metal bands of all time, Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister's first love is actually rollicking, old-school rock and roll a la Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran. The Head Cat is essentially Kilmister's rockabilly supergroup, a trio that includes Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom and multi-instrumentalist Danny B. Harvey (a veteran of the Austin music scene who's played with everyone from Nancy Sinatra to the Lonesome Spurs). While the face-melting effects of a Motörhead show may draw bigger crowds, it's hard to beat the joy of seeing Kilmister on a smaller stage belting out the songs that helped shape the icon he is today. With Dragstrip Riot, Hard Money Saints, the Load Levelers. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 8:30 p.m. $18 adv./$20 DOS. HANNAH LEVIN

Karl Blau / Sunday, September 19

It's harder to name a Seattle or Olympia-based artist who hasn't worked with K Records stalwart Karl Blau in some capacity, whether as sound engineer, producer, or musical co-conspirator. He plays with the Microphones' Phil Elverum and Beat Happening's Bret Lunsford in D+, has recorded with Laura Veirs and Calvin Johnson, plays bass in Earth... Kimya Dawson and Jeffrey Lewis even wound up promoting Blau from sound engineer to band member of their long-dormant side project the Bundles during the recording of the band's first album. And through all this, Blau has managed to release his own excellent solo records with remarkable consistency. With the Soft Hills, James Apollo, Brain Fruit. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442. 7 p.m. $7. SARA BRICKNER

Jason Falkner / Monday, September 20

In 1988, then-20-year-old singer/guitarist Jason Falkner joined the final incarnation of The Three O'Clock—jangly stalwarts of L.A.'s "Paisley Underground" scene—thus launching an eclectic career that's delivered some killer power-pop and roots-pop while not quite making him a household name. Falkner's been a member of Jellyfish and the Grays, and recorded and/or toured with Paul McCartney, Beck, and Air, but it's in his long-running solo career that he's made the most of his rich, pleasing tenor and uncanny ability to craft memorable melodies. Over the past decade he's made some waves with two volumes of lullaby versions of Beatles songs. These days, Falkner is touring behind his terrific 2009 album All Quiet on the Noise Floor. With The 88, Lincoln Barr & Patrick Porter of Red Jacket Mine. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333. 7:30 p.m. $12. All ages. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

The Cult / Tuesday, September 21

It would be easy to dismiss the Cult's Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy as the Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of British hard rock, as they've burned through sidemen like Lil Wayne though rolling papers. The biggest difference, of course, lies with the Cult's sound, which, while rooted in Duffy's distinctive big-guitar styling, has continuously been evolving. Given that Astbury's vocals still sound like a million bucks, this may be one of those occasions where you won't feel like you've missed something by not seeing them back in the day—a trait rare in bands with a nearly-30-year career span. With Black Ryder. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 628-3151. 7 p.m. $32 adv./$35 DOS. All ages. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR

Hot Hot Heat / Tuesday, September 21  See B-Sides.

Lyfe Jennings / Tuesday, September 21

While spending just over a decade in prison for arson, Lyfe Jennings picked up a guitar and found his love for music. Now a platinum-selling R&B singer/songwriter, he claims his fourth studio album, August's I Still Believe, will be his last—a sacrifice made to spend more time with his children. That's why he delayed its release to put more effort into its creation, and why his complexity and honest voice seem at their most mastered. In a hip-hop culture obsessed with hypermasculinity and criminal behavior, it's a pleasant surprise to hear a felon who lived the narrative respond with such positivity. With Dice. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $20 adv./$25 DOS. NICK FELDMAN

 
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