The Short List: This Week's Recommended Shows

From Blue Scholars to Bush.

Bush/Thursday, September 15 In early-'90s England, the British intelligence agency MI6 undertook two related but very different experiments in cultural programming aimed at boosting the international standing of the faded empire. One was "Britpop," the seemingly grass-roots soundtrack of Cool Britannia championed by music tabloids Melody Maker and the NME and practiced by groups such as Pulp, Blur, and Oasis, which ultimately succeeded. The other, failed experiment was an attempt to create a post-grunge "super-soldier" by combining scraps of Kurt Cobain's flannel with marrow removed from Kate Moss' cheekbones. The result was Gavin Rossdale, a third-rate pretty-boy guitar-slinger with more hair product and bedroom eyes than actual tunes. Although quickly abandoned, the project was at least successful in neutralizing America's own top-secret "ska bomb" Gwen Stefani. With Dead Sara. Neptune, 1303 N.E. 45th St., 467-5510. 8 p.m. $30. All ages. ERIC GRANDY Def Leppard & Heart/Thursday, September 15 What has seven arms and sucks? Heart, if the Wilson sisters collectively boasted three additional arms. Grating as their music can be, however, it's virtually impossible to catch a cover band at a casino whose drummer's brother's girlfriend's dentist's second cousin didn't play bass for the trailblazing Seattle duo at one point or another. Heart's pairing with Def Leppard at a venue located on an Indian reservation in Auburn ensures that if you're a twice-divorced 50-year-old forklift operator who drives a custom-detailed Dodge Challenger, you're definitely getting laid if you attend this show and say with a smile, "You don't have to love me yet; let's get high awhile." White River Amphitheatre, 40601 Auburn-Enumclaw Rd., Auburn, 360-802-1469. 7:30 p.m. $29–$125. All ages. MIKE SEELY La La Vasquez/Friday, September 16 La La Vasquez, the former TRL and Flavor of Love hostess and co-star of You Got Served, is not appearing at Cairo tonight. La La Vasquez, the British girl-punk trio (bassist Rachael Finney, drummer Merida Richards, and guitarist Freya Watson), is. The girls, who came together because their boyfriends were all in a band together, make lo-fi, down-and-dirty rock with rambling guitar lines and three-part vocal harmonies—they'll unavoidably get compared to Grass Widow. La La Vasquez are cute and girly, but also not to be fucked with—"Claire Savage," a song on their debut 7-inch on Captured Tracks, menacingly references and threatens a girl who once had the misfortune of starting a catfight with the band at a show. (Blood was shed, hair was pulled.) With Problem Child, Brilliant Colors. Cairo, 507 E. Mercer St., 453-4077. 8 p.m. $5. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON Low/Friday, September 16 How you feel about long-running Duluth, Minn., trio Low in 2011 might largely depend on what drew you to the band in the first place: Was it their songs or their sound? That's because, since moving from experimental label Kranky to Sub Pop for their 2005 album The Great Destroyer, the band has cranked up their formerly hushed, slowcore sound to accommodate such innovations as ELECTRIC GUITAR! SNARE DRUM! and OUTSIDE VOICES! So if you followed them primarily for the pin-drop acoustics of their early days, you'd be disappointed, but if you made it over that hurdle, you'd discover that Low has retained much of what always made songs like "Dinosaur Act" worth straining to hear: warm husband-and-wife harmonies, deeply melancholic lyrics, and simply affecting guitar hooks—only dialed in a little less, well, low. With Bachelorette. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $18. ERIC GRANDY White Orange/Friday, September 16 When White Orange bassist Adam Pike sent me an advance of his band's self-titled full-length a few months ago, the decision to play it on KEXP took all of 30 seconds. Pike comes with a great pedigree; he's a widely respected producer in Portland's metal scene, having helmed recordings for Red Fang, Norska, and Black Elk. Pike's cred and credentials aside, however, it's the tightly orchestrated, psych-soaked groove mined by frontman Dustin Hill, guitarist Ryan McIntire, limber-limbed drummer Dean Carroll, and Pike that makes White Orange utterly addictive. Highly recommended fare for fans of Queens of the Stone Age or Swervedriver. With Ancient Warlocks, Princess, Serial Hawk. Funhouse, 206 Fifth Ave. N., 374-8400. 9:30 p.m. $7. HANNAH LEVIN Blue Scholars/Saturday, September 17 Seattle hip-hop standard-bearers Blue Scholars released their latest album, this year's Cinémetropolis, to mixed reviews. One theory, advanced by my old colleague Charles Mudede, is that MC Geo and DJ Sabzi had spread themselves too thin, putting their best work into other projects—Geo (as Prometheus Brown) in his collaboration with L.A. rapper Bambu, Walk Into a Bar, and Sabzi in his productions for the likes of Das Racist as well as his NYC-based duo Made in Heights. Tonight's show should provide not only a to-be-expected excellent performance from Blue Scholars, but hopefully a chance to test that theory, assuming Geo hops on the mike with Bambu at some point in the opener's set. Walk Into a Bar has some warm, hazy burners, to be sure—but better than Blue Scholars? Let's see. With The Physics. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 7 p.m. $16 adv./$21 DOS. All ages. ERIC GRANDY Nick Jaina/Monday, September 19 To say that singer/songwriter Nick Jaina is blessed with an articulate, angelic voice is a criminal understatement (as well as a justifiable cliché), but perhaps one of his greatest gifts is knowing how to choose a muse. Drawing inspiration from female artists in his Portland peer group, Jaina has compiled A Bird in the Opera House, a collection of songs showcasing the vocals of Laura Gibson, Amanda Spring (Point Juncture WA), Corrina Repp (Tu Fawning), and Seattle's own impish chanteuse Kaylee Cole, who will join him on the Comet's stage this evening. With Tony Kevin Jr. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 9 p.m. $8. HANNAH LEVIN ***EDITOR'S PICK Junior Boys/Tuesday, September 20 Ontarian electro-pop duo Junior Boys released their fourth album, It's All True, in June, and it doesn't sound a hell of a lot different from their previous records. But since their previous records were fantastic, that's not such a bad thing. It's All True continues Junior Boys' tradition of extreme finesse and subtlety via skittering beats, stealthy rhythms, and Jeremy Greenspan's satiny vocals. And the album does have its own flashes of brilliance that make it stand out from the rest of the band's repertoire—the keyed-up bang of an opener, "Itchy Finger," the sensual throb and pulse of "You'll Improve Me," and the bright and bubbly nine-minute closer, "Banana Ripple," in which Greenspan seems to be encouraging himself as he sings, "If you stay real low, some things will never go." With Young Galaxy. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15. ERIN K. THOMPSON See preview. Nevermind Live/Tuesday, September 20 Twenty years ago, a woman named Susie Tennant was working regional radio PR for the David Geffen Company, and hosted a party for a pop band fronting as punk rockers and their new record, Nevermind. And while there surely will never be another Nirvana, people who know Tennant will tell you there will also never be another Susie. Roundly respected, loved, and admired, Tennant has left a trail of appreciators during her time at DGC, Sub Pop, and her current gig with Town Hall Seattle. Next week, when Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic hosts a party to commemorate Nevermind's 20th anniversary—with performances from The Long Winters, the Presidents, and many others—he'll also be returning a favor. Proceeds from the show are going to the Susie Tennant Fund, set up to help Tennant and her family financially as she goes through chemotherapy and battles ovarian cancer. Although the show is sold out, you can still give money to the fund. You'll feel good about it. Susie's one of the good guys. Good luck, Susie! With the Fastbacks, Vaporland, Duff McKagan's Loaded, Visqueen, Valis, Campfire Ok, Champagne Champagne, Ravenna Woods, Crypts, TacocaT. EMP Sky Church, 325 Fifth Ave. N., 367-5483. 9 p.m. Sold out. All ages. CHRIS KORNELIS

 
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