The Short List: This Week's Recommended Shows

From Janet Jackson to Kenny Rogers. Seriously.

Fungal Abyss/Wednesday, August 24 Their name conjures visions of some kind of psilocybic hell—say, that clammy, grope-y (and worst of all, campy) pit of hands from Labyrinth—or worse, just some mush-headed Rainbow Gathering jam band (I guess I already said "psilocybic hell"), but the reality of Fungal Abyss is both darker and far more appealing than all that. The band is the improvisational psychedelic side project of local metal leviathans Lesbian, and for the month of August they've taken up a weekly residency at the Comet, where they keep things heavy and heady, lifting off from low, gut-rumbling bass grooves to high, arcing, stratospheric guitar riffs without ever drifting entirely into space. Opening tonight's installment is the deeply knowledgeable DJ Veins, a veritable Yoda of all things kraut, psych, experimental, and beyond. Hold on to your dome. With Ayahuasca Travelers. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 9 p.m. $7. ERIC GRANDY Hip-Hop Kitchen: A Night Out Edition/Thursday, August 25 When Dice opened for Aloe Blacc last November, it became extremely clear that her glaringly honest songwriting was a force to be reckoned with. Even before that, she was being recognized as one of the few among a sea of rappers and singers in this city who could more than stand their ground in both categories. And away from the mike, Dice has another strength: cooking. The pair of skills came together two years ago in a University District apartment alongside Nu Era MC 5 Flat for a dinner party and freestyle cypher session called Hip-Hop Kitchen. Now the invite is public. A VIP ticket comes with access to Dice's legendary cooking—a mouthwatering menu that includes sweet jalapeño corn bread, candied yams, collard greens, and apple crisp—all to be enjoyed along with the tunes of Vitamin D and Maineack B's Stahi Bros and $1 bottles of High Life. With Xperience, Willie Joe, Nu Era. Nectar, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $10/$25 VIP. NICK FELDMAN Mouthbreathers/Thursday, August 25 On first listen of Mouthbreathers' debut 7-inch (on legendary trash punk label In The Red), it's easy to imagine the band broadcasting live from a ramshackle ballroom somewhere in late-'60s Detroit. Iggy and the Asheton brothers would likely be comparing battle scars with Rob Tyner and Wayne Kramer, watching from the side of the stage while Mouthbreathers ripped into their brand of now-vintage garage punk. Hailing instead from the placid streets of Lawrence, Kansas, circa now, Mouthbreathers have obviously spent some time studying their garage-rock history. Paying loving tribute while still remaining contemporary, Mouthbreathers manage to channel their scuzzy, fuzzed-out majesty into a well-balanced combination of head-boppingly catchy tunes and hyperactive, frantic moments that find the band nearly careening off the tracks into chasms of noise. With Tit Pig. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 9 p.m. $7. GREGORY FRANKLIN State of the Artist/Thursday, August 25 The cornerstone artists of upstart record label/sultans of soirée Members Only, State of the Artist have grown noticeably over the past year and change, releasing the more group-focused EP Altered State earlier this year, the follow-up to their interesting but feature-dominated 2010 debut Seattlecalifragilisticextrahelladopeness, and have slowly begun to add depth to their occasionally over-swagged lyricism. Co-headliners are Theoretics, a rap-rock group known for performing in full suit and tie. Show up early to catch the party-fabulous Hi-Life Soundsystem and find out who brought the flyest shirt-and-tie combo. With Richie Aldente. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $12. TODD HAMM Nazca Lines/Friday, August 26 It's difficult to resist comparing Nazca Lines to At the Drive-In, simply because frontman Cory Alfano's strident, clipped howl immediately echoes that of ATDI's Cedric Bixler-Zavala. However, unlike the latter band's impassioned and dramatic sprawl of arty, angular rock, Nazca Lines' material sounds like the work of artists much more interested in keeping their cards close to their chest. There is plenty of tension and release, but also a deceptive tautness that never slackens, making their songs tightly drawn, borderline-claustrophobic, and impressively succinct. Tonight they celebrate the release of their Matt Bayles–produced full-length, Hyperventilation, with help from like-minded peers Virgin Islands and Blood Orange Paradise, a promising quartet that will please anyone with a Fugazi fixation. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 10 p.m. $8. HANNAH LEVIN Kenny Rogers/Friday, August 26 Kenny Rogers produced some great songs in his prime, but he is no longer a singer. He's an entertainer. To take in a Kenny Rogers show is to submit oneself to The Kenny Rogers Experience. In terms of expectations, think of the stage not as a stage, but as Kenny's front porch. You, the audience, are therefore sitting in the massive front yard of his country estate, watching Grandpa Kenny (with no wrinkles!) sip lemonade, chew tobacky, and crack wise. Occasionally he'll sing, often packing his hits into medleys so he can get back to chatting as soon as possible. It's a conversation with Kenny Rogers, except only Kenny gets to talk. If the man weren't a national monument, it'd be an exercise in extreme narcissism. But the man is a national monument. Tulalip Casino, 10200 Quil Ceda Blvd., Marysville, 360-651-1111. 7 p.m. $40–$75. MIKE SEELY Sleepy Eyes of Death/Friday, August 26 Sleepy Eyes of Death came together around their shared love for analog synthesizers and classic cult films (their name comes from a Samurai epic, and band members have clocked time working at hallowed VHS mecca Scarecrow Video); the result was a THX-loud instrumental rock outfit with John Carpenter synths and a Suspiria-vintage light show of fog and primary-color gels. Since 2004, at live shows and across one album, two EPs, and a remixes collection, the band—Andrew Toms on synths/guitar, Joel Harmon and Keith Negley on synths/drums, and Cassidy Gonzales on guitar—has provided Seattle with some of the city's finest motorik pulses, electronic rock epics, and future-world cinematic overtures. But the credits roll and the lights come on for even the best of them, and Sleepy Eyes have decided to hang it up, celebrating their extended run with one last blowout. Punk groove-disrupters Flexions and witchhouse moaners Crypts open. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $10. ERIC GRANDY Ben Harper/Saturday, August 27 So many Bens, so little time. For the record, Ben Harper was not part of the rock super-trio The Bens—that was Ben Kweller, Folds, and Lee—but he is arguably the most talented Ben of the bunch, cranking out his singular blend of rock, soul, and gospel for nearly two decades now and often garnering more fame and acclaim abroad than in the States. To help keep things straight, Harper is the one who rocks a lap steel guitar (in addition to his stellar work with a standard six-string) and sports a bushy mini-afro. His genre-bending style appeals to everyone from hippies to frat bros to hip moms and even the occasional hipster, so when he takes the stage at Marymoor on what stands to be a beautiful Northwest summer night, it's likely that an eclectic crowd will be on hand. Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., 800-745-3000. 6:30 p.m. $39.50. All ages. KEEGAN HAMILTON ***EDITOR'S PICKJeff Bridges and the Abiders/Sunday, August 28 In a reverse example of art imitating life, Jeff Bridges has embraced his Academy Award–winning character Otis "Bad" Blake and is now a part-time country singer. A career change at 61 might seem like a move out of left field, but, as Bridges poetically told ABC News recently, "Flowers bloom at different times." Crazy Heart proved that Bridges has an expressive voice and a soulful musical presence, though this isn't his first foray into music—in 2000 he independently released an album called Be Here Soon with a little backup from David Crosby and Michael McDonald. He puts as much genuine warmth and vitality into his new self-titled album—produced by longtime friend T Bone Burnett and featuring Crazy Heart collaborator Ryan Bingham—as he does into his legendary film roles (see the Wire, page 17). Tonight, he'll perform those new songs alongside "The Weary Kind" and other Crazy Heart favorites. Chateau Ste. Michelle, 14111 N.E. 145th St., Woodinville, 425-415-3300. 7 p.m. $37.50 general/$75 reserved. ERIN K. THOMPSON Janet Jackson/Monday, August 29 Janet Jackson is living proof that you can make it as a diva even if your voice never rises above a whisper. So it makes sense that for the Seattle swing of her "Number Ones: Up Close and Personal" tour, she'd play a venue more intimate than KeyArena or the Tacoma Dome. OK, so the real reason Janet is at McCaw is because it's been almost a quarter-century since Rhythm Nation, and that nation is now a failed state, complete with UN peacekeepers and migrating refugees. Janet also has a greatest-hits collection she would like to sell you. And unlike the GagaPerryBeyoncé-bot that dominates ladies' pop right now, middle-aged Janet can't recover quite as quickly from a night of deep knee bends. What she can still do is sing a spine-tingling version of "Anytime, Anyplace" without reminding you of a half-naked, bathrobed Jermaine Dupri lying on a mink duvet, which is talent. Just don't cheer too loud, or you might not be able to hear her. McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., 684-7200. 8 p.m. $77.50–$127.50. All ages. CALEB HANNAN Bass Drum of Death/Tuesday, August 30 The pummeling, power-chord-loving Mississippi duo Bass Drum of Death stirred up some attention earlier this year as the backing band for Odd Future's MellowHype during a Fuel TV performance. BDOD's own music itself deserves that level of recognition, though. On their debut album GB City, released in April, drummer Colin Sneed and vocalist/guitarist John Barrett play songs that are gleefully clamorous, thrashy, and guttural ("Get Found" and "Young Pros" are hooky standouts). It's a balls-out style of rock and roll comparable to that of JEFF The Brotherhood, another noisy-as-hell twosome, or, for that matter, to Vancouver's Japandroids, who will headline tonight's show. [Also see preview, page 31.] Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9:30 p.m. $12. ERIN K. THOMPSON

 
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