The Short List:: This Week's Recommended Shows

From Raphael Saadiq to Hugo, Paul Simon to Ani DiFranco.

Raphael Saadiq/Wednesday, April 13

To exist in the modern musical sphere but consistently draw comparisons to past R&B legends like the Temptations, Al Green, and the Four Tops is a feat only achievable with considerable and concerted dedication. Oakland-born Raphael Saadiq is more than happy to ignore hip-hop stylings and most other current sonic standards—his music stands as proof that the sounds of the '60s just need a revival, not an update. That's not to say he's incapable of the alternative, as production credits for the likes of TLC and John Legend and collaborations with the late, great J Dilla prove, but with his honeyed vocals, retro-soul seems a perfect fit for the former Tony! Toni! Toné! frontman. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $22 adv./$25 DOS. NICK FELDMAN

Wire/Wednesday, April 13

Most associate Wire with a trilogy of albums (1977's Pink Flag, 1978's Chairs Missing, 1979's 154) that, as a whole, predicted punk's evolution into synth-pop. Wire broke up in 1980, reformed in 1985 as an electro-rock group, disbanded again in 1990, sat out the '90s, and reformed again in 2000, just early enough to resist being swept up in the post-punk revival and subsequent nostalgia trend. As its history proves, Wire doesn't break up and reform because it's cool, but because it prefers to record only when inspired. The latest addition to its sporadic catalog, Red Barked Tree, is a protest/ concept record railing against our too- modernized society. The metallic, fuzzed-out rhythms are there, but acoustic guitars also sneak in (a first!). Still, Wire has hardly gone soft. If anything, the members have simply embraced their status as 50- something post-punkers in a young man's game. With Nazca Lines. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $20. BRIAN J. BARR

J*DaVeY/Thursday, April 14

Lately the intersection of electro-funk and new-wave soul has seen an exciting reawakening—and few encapsulate that retro-futurist appeal better than J*DaVeY, which has caught the eyes of legends like Sa-Ra and Prince. The Los Angeles duo of Briana Cartwright (who performs under the name Jack Davey) and producer Brook D'Leau have yet to drop a proper full-length—New Designer Drug is due later this year—but their 2008 double-EP debut, The Beauty in Distortion/The Land of the Lost, covers plenty of ground. Sporting 23 tracks of the songstress' self-assured vocals and production that draws influences from both the P- and G- varieties of funk, J*DaVeY's ability to master a groove is undeniable. Malice & Mario Sweet, representatives of The Physics' camp and pilots of Seattle's feel-good neo-soul spaceship, join the bill. With Shaprece, DJ 100Proof. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $10. NICK FELDMAN

Magnog/Thursday, April 14

Who knew that Edmonds had its very own Kranky-signed, Hovercraft-affiliated space-rock band back in the mid-'90s? I for one would never have heard of Magnog if not for an earlier iteration of tonight's show that included Portland noisemaker White Rainbow (he's since dropped off the bill, but I'm glad he caught my attention). Magnog can do the slow-motion-takeoff, floating-weightless stuff: Drums keep time distant and soft; guitars echo and pile up and swirl in and out of measured melodies; a voice stretches across the space or occasionally interjects some soft spoken words. They can also go up like the Challenger explosion: guitars burning rocket fuel, drums bursting. The band broke up more than a decade ago, but returned to live performance this year; it should be interesting to see how they've held up. With Slow Burning Chocolate Carnival, Dull Knife. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9:30 p.m. $7. ERIC GRANDY

Rusko/Saturday, April 16

The UK bass music commonly called dubstep has gained plenty of stateside traction—to the point of being sometimes derided as "bro-step"—but has it yet landed anything like a star producer—a Fatboy Slim to be the face of what is surely the most successful British Invasion of electronic music since big beat? (Yes, the musics are nothing alike, but the hype cycle and lifespan give every indication of being very much the same, with dubstep having already well reached its frat-boy stage.) Perhaps its most bankable name is that of Leeds musician, producer, and DJ Rusko, who in a few years has gone from dropping typically low-end, wobbling 12-inches to cutting crossover tracks with Dirty Projectors vocalist Amber Coffman for Diplo's massively connected Mad Decent label. Not that he's lost that bass wobble or anything. Tonight he brings his ever-expanding rave to Showbox SoDo. With Doorly. Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $26 adv./$36 DOS. All ages. ERIC GRANDY

Ani DiFranco/Saturday, April 16

It's no surprise that Ani DiFranco's show this evening sold out weeks ago. The Buffalo, N.Y.–hailing singer/songwriter and feminist icon has a solid cult following that dates back to the '90s, when young women found refuge in her defiant, angst-ridden music. Since then, DiFranco has embraced motherhood and revealed a softer, more vulnerable self in her songs. She isn't as radical as she used to be, but neither are her fans, many of whom now also have families of their own. Troubled or not, DiFranco always delivers an emotionally charged live performance and thankfully never loses perspective on what attracted her fans in the first place. When someone heckles her to play something for those who are still depressed (there are always a few in the audience), she kindly obliges with a rendition of—what else?—"Grey." With Animal Prufrock. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 7 p.m. Sold out. ERIKA HOBART

Grateful Dead Night/Sunday, April 17

Back when former City Attorney Tom Carr was attempting to shut down the Blue Moon for, among other alleged infractions, rampant on-premises pot dealing and inhalation, the legendary tavern had to play down its herb-friendly image. Now, as the Moon celebrates its 77th birthday with a week's worth of commemorative events, Seattle has a mayor and city attorney who support full pot legalization. So we'll come right out and say it: Back when the tavern hosted regular Grateful Dead Sunday nights in the '80s and '90s, you could get a contact high simply by walking through the rickety front door. But the real draw then, as it will be during this one-night-only revival, was the music. Some hippie will spin a series of righteous Dead bootlegs, preceded by a six o'clock set from the Dead-on cover band Kuli Loach. We're not saying there'll be tons of ganja consumed, but we're pretty sure no one will get cuffed if there is. Blue Moon Tavern, 712 N.E. 45th St., 675-9116. 6 p.m. $5. MIKE SEELY

Paul Simon/Sunday, April 17

The early buzz on Paul Simon's latest, So Beautiful or So What, is that it's his best record since 1986's Graceland. But to the majority of the patrons who will fill the WaMu Theater's seats, that fact is completely insignificant. What matters is that his hits will be amply represented and delivered respectfully. (People leave Bob Dylan shows early because they haven't heard anything he's done since Greatest Hits Vol. II, and abhor his voice.) Those of you who haven't picked up a Paul Simon effort since Bookends, rest assured that Simon's voice is still clear, he's still engaged, and So Beautiful or So What packs a mix of effortless, near-silent poetry and head-bobbing traveling salvation shows that will keep you entertained between "The Sounds of Silence" and "America." WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., 381-7555. 8 p.m. $45–$85. All ages. Chris Kornelis

Hugo/Monday, April 18

The Thai-British musician Hugo Chakrabongse (he goes by his first name only) is the sole country- and folk-influenced artist on Jay-Z's Roc Nation label (his rostermates include Willow Smith). On May 10, Roc Nation will release Hugo's full-length debut, Old Tyme Religion—a funky, soulful collection of songs, including his infamous banjo-plucking, foot-stomping cover of his boss' "99 Problems," as well as noteworthy tracks like the lively "Bread and Butter" and the humming "Hopelessly Stoned." The man's an original—a singer devoted to '60s roots music who's determined to spread his blues-rock tunes through a hip-hop label. "I think it's important that rock and roll always looks outside of itself," he told me earlier this year, "because that's what made rock and roll, the fact that it was drawing these other, maybe less-commercial influences, drawing from blues, country, gospel, soul, all these things, and taking it to a broader audience." With Damato. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 7 p.m. $10.77. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Nipsey Hussle/Tuesday, April 19

The latest in a legendary line of South Central L.A.–bred gangsta rappers, Nipsey Hussle sets himself apart from his predecessors to a certain extent by embracing the indie aesthetic. After a series of stellar mixtapes (Bullets Ain't Got No Name, Volumes 1–3), Hussle signed a deal with Epic Records, but ended up spending two years feuding with the label over the delayed release of his debut LP South Central State of Mind (it still hasn't been released). He dropped his latest mixtape, The Marathon, in late December, calling it a "declaration of independence" from the mainstream. And while it's hard to imagine any of his forefathers in NWA rapping over a remix of MGMT's "Electric Feel," as Hussle does on Marathon, he manages to pull it off and still sound 'hood-as-hell, recounting with Snoop Dogg–smooth rhymes the grim glories of a life spent dope-slangin', gang-bangin', and blunt-smokin' in the California sun. With Knowmads, Real Rodgers. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $18. All ages. KEEGAN HAMILTON

 
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