The Short List: The Week's Recommended Shows

From KMFDM and Pizzafest to Phish and Lucas Nelson.

Digitalism/Wednesday, August 3 Digitalism's breakthrough single "Zdarlight" was a high-arcing, glittering electro anthem dressed up in the buzzy, digitally distorted crunch of its "bloghouse" milieu. Along with a pair of disco-friendly remixes, it quickly became an essential weapon in many a discerning DJ's crates circa the middle of the previous decade. Since then, the group has released two full-lengths, 2007's Idealism and this year's I Love You Dude, that attempt to fruitfully stretch their simply effective formula across albums' worth of songs, including some sporadically satisfying forays into more traditional pop songcraft. I won't lie: These albums are not vital home listening—but Digitalism's outsized hooks, rock-band stage presence, and speaker-shaking drum thump still make them a worthy live spectacle. With Gesaffelstein, Jackbeats, The Dowlz. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $30 adv./$35 DOS. All ages. ERIC GRANDY KMFDM/Wednesday, August 3 For nearly three decades, German electro-industrial outfit KMFDM has voiced dismay against war, violence, censorship, and oppression. The latter proved especially apparent in December 2010 when the track "Rebels in Kontrol," from the band's 17th studio album, WTF?!, was streamed on the band's website in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The song garnered 75,000 hits in only 48 hours. Lead by multi-instrumentalist Sascha Konietzko, who spent a portion of the mid-'90s living in Seattle, KMFDM's brand of edgy, danceable heavy metal fused with synth and sampling has helped shine light on the industrial-metal scene. Though Konietzko is the only remaining original member, the group's newest album got a taste of success when the single "Krank," released March 8, debuted at #15 on the Billboard Singles Chart. With Army of the Universe, 16 Volt, Human Factors Lab. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 8 p.m. $22 adv./$25 DOS. All ages. JOE WILLIAMS Pizzafest/Thursday, August 4-Saturday, August 6The creators of Pizzafest 2011 declare it a celebration of "all things good in this world," those things being pizza, beer, rock 'n' roll, bubble gum, dancing, sunglasses, summer, and giving your brain a break. Pizzafest is three nights packed to the gills with great bands who all have a good-time party vibe in common, including King Tuff, making his Seattle debut, and and much-missed faves Coconut Coolouts, in a Pizzafest-only reunion. Pizzafest would of course be nothing without its delicious, circular namesake. Big Mario's will supply slices for sale, grub for the bands, and the pizza for an obscene pizza-eating contest that not only offers a sweet cash prize but big-time bragging rights. With TacocaT, Pudding Pops, Tit Pig, Stickers, Apollos, Manic Attracts, Slutever, Shannon and the Clams, The Trashies, The Audacity, Rayon Beach, LoveTan, John Wesley Coleman III, Personal and the Pizzas, Peach Kelli Pop, Apache, Dizzy Eyes, Christmas Island, Cowabunga Babes, Witch Gardens. Funhouse, 206 Fifth Ave. N., 374-8400. 7 p.m. Thurs. ($6); 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat. ($12). Three-day pass, $25. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR Future Islands/Friday, August 5 Baltimore-based trio Future Islands plays the sort of programmed, beat-heavy electronic music that's in vogue right now. Where they stand out from the rest of the pack is, first, in their substantial lyrical content, heavy on both poetic pathos (from "As I Fall," the closer of Future Islands' In Evening Air: "Tame your thoughts and let me in/Break your callous ways and press me to your skin/Save a rose") and narrative imagery ("Tin Man" references Wizard of Oz characters). The second anomaly is theatrical frontman Samuel T. Herring, whose sandpapery vocals answer the question of what it would sound like if Tom Waits sang pop tunes, and who pushes Future Islands beyond adjectives like "airy" and "ethereal" that tag a lot of electronic acts and into a sphere of punk-spiked, heftier dance music. With SPORTS. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $10. ERIN K. THOMPSON Phish/Friday, August 5-Saturday, August 6 Like the Grateful Dead, Phish is prone to 15-minute improvisational jams and has a huge cult following, and their shows are a boon to black-market sales of Taddy Porter and nitrous. But though they play what many would consider classic hippie music, Phish's crowd has always been more Flaming Lips than String Cheese, and over a nearly 30-year lifespan (including one significant sabbatical), they've either collaborated with or covered acts as dynamic as Primus, Jay-Z, Alison Krauss, Ween, Neutral Milk Hotel, Prince, and the Beatles. If the Dead is a bag of mushrooms with some killer herb on the side, Phish is a gram of coke at a craft-cocktail party in a sculptor's studio. Hence, if any jam band is to receive credit for bridging the hippie/hipster divide, it's Phish, not the Dead. Gorge Amphitheater, 754 Silica Rd. N.W., Quincy, 628-0888. 5:30 p.m. $50. All ages. MIKE SEELY *EDITOR'S PICK* Flexions/Friday, August 5 Earlier this summer, the Capitol Hill boutique and art space Cairo announced that they'd be adding a record label to their list of entrepreneurial ventures. Cairo Records' inaugural release is the new LP from local trio Flexions, Golden Fjord, which was released August 2 and is being celebrated tonight. Flexions—Robin Stein on bass, Tyler Swan on drums, Devin Welch on guitar, backing keys, and the occasional melodica (Fleet Foxes' Morgan Henderson also makes a guest woodwind appearance on Golden Fjord)—have also released a music video for the fantastic "Seething Mass," a percolating, stormy little track that's a good representation of the rest of the album. It's a little shadowy, a little sinister, but also courses with the kind of propulsive rhythm and zealous energy that makes for the best groove music. With Metal Chocolates, Seven Colors. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 9 p.m. $7. ERIN K. THOMPSON Slayer/Saturday, August 6 Even in this economy, it's safe to say that Slayer has ironclad job security. They are essentially the heavy-metal equivalent of the Grateful Dead at this juncture: Slayer fans just don't miss Slayer shows, and for good reason. Even with frontman Tom Araya's recent back surgery and guitarist Jeff Hanneman's frightening bout of necrotizing fascitiis (caught from a spider bite while touring Australia), rare is the occasion when they do not deliver the goods when it comes to classic, melodic thrash. Opener Rob Zombie is more uneven in both content and execution, but remains an entertaining, Alice Cooper–emulating spectacle nonetheless. WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., 381-7555. 7 p.m. $45. All ages. HANNAH LEVIN Lukas Nelson/Sunday, August 7 Not many musicians can say they took their first steps on Willie Nelson's tour bus. Lukas Nelson, oldest son of the country icon, grew up submerged in the music scene—he started playing guitar for his father at age 13—but has put himself on the radar without the help of any music bigwigs. Looking for inspiration of his own, Nelson dropped out of school and lived in his car for a year, working as a street performer on the Venice Beach boardwalk. This led to the creation of the bluesy-country five-piece Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. The band's debut album, Promise of the Real, dropped in December 2010, led by the single "Four Letter Word," a twangy tune about the woes of love and commitment. With Blues Traveler. Snoqualmie Casino, 37500 S.E. North Bend Way, Snoqualmie, 425-888-1234. 5 p.m. $20–$95. JOE WILLIAMS Pictureplane/Tuesday, August 9 Thee Physical, the latest album from lo-fi electronic producer and Denver scene magnate Travis Egedy, aka Pictureplane, comes accompanied by a concise yet only weakly coherent manifesto about touch, leather gloves, sexuality, physical existence, the universe, and everything. It's the sort of thing an artist puts out when they're worried their album won't be enough of a hook for critics on its own—or when they actually believe their own hype. I imagine Egedy is in the latter category, and indeed Thee Physical holds up fine on its own, furthering the noisy, black-lit rave of his previous Dark Rift while considerably improving the production values (with an assist from HEALTH's Jupiter Keyes). Egedy even indulges in some (relatively) straightforward electro-pop songs—if you consider breathy choruses about post- gender romance straightforward. With Javelin, Hollagramz. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9:30 p.m. $8 adv./$10 DOS. ERIC GRANDY Wye Oak/Tuesday, August 9 The realms of earnest, confessional folk and sprawling, crystalline shoegaze are divergent paths that rarely meet with pleasant results. But with their third LP, Civilian, released in March, Baltimore's Wye Oak manages to write a master's thesis on how to effortlessly blend those pristine and intimate moments of solitary thought with massive, layered waves of turbulent noise that shatter into unshakable melodies. Singer/guitarist Jenn Wasner's haunting voice floats above the droning din, dragging through heavy-hearted moments until finding luminous release in the band's shimmering choruses, while drummer Andy Stack is one of the busiest musicians you'll ever see, nimbly handling keyboards with his left hand and drums with his right. Seeing Wye Oak live is beautifully disconcerting; the duo produce a kind of colossal wall of melodic cacophony that seems absolutely implausible for two mere mortals to muster. With Grand Hallway, Say Hi. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $10. GREGORY FRANKLIN

 
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