This Week's Recommended Shows

From Avram Fefer to Mariachi El Bronx.

Avram Fefer/Wednesday, October 19

Recently I was sitting at my desk listening to music with the volume turned up when I received a call from my younger brother, who plays guitar and saxophone. Overhearing what I was playing, he declared: "You're on a Coltrane binge right now." He's right, and wrong. I am on a Coltrane binge, but wasn't listening to Crescent or Blue Train. It was Eliyahu, the new album from Seattle-born, NYC-based saxophonist Avram Fefer, who plays a homecoming show tonight as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival. Fefer's a conversational player with a heavy, authoritative tone, more interested in telling stories than overwhelming the listener with his chops. And at a glance, he does sound a bit like Coltrane, in all the right places. With Chad Taylor, Michael Bisio. Chapel Performance Space, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N., 789-1939. 8 p.m. $7–$15. All ages. CHRIS KORNELIS

***EDITOR'S PICK

Theophilus London/Wednesday, October 19

Setting aside his recent appearance on the season premiere of the CW's 90210, Brooklyn-by- way-of-Trinidad rapper Theophilus London's career is more indie than mainstream as of now. London, 24, often cites Morrissey as a main inspiration (he's released a mixtape called This Charming Mixtape and, for his single "Humdrum Town," borrowed some lyrics from "William, It Was Really Nothing"), and he's collaborated with TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek, Sara Quinn of Tegan & Sara, and Beyoncé's more-hipster little sister, Solange. London fancies himself a style maven, decking himself in velvet jackets and gold jewelry, and "Last Name London," the opening track of his debut Timez Are Weird These Days, mainly consists of him repeating his name again and again—so he appears just as obsessed with himself, and particularly his appearance, as Kanye West is. Mainstream or not, you just can't take the swag out of hip-hop. With Friendly Fires. Neptune, 1303 N. 45th St., 682-1414. 8 p.m. $16 adv./$19 DOS. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Robyn/Thursday, October 20

Robyn is the fembot that won't stop. Since her appearance at Neumos last November—the show that SW's Best Of issue named Best Concert of the Past 12 Months—she's spent 2011 collaborating with Rye Rye, shooting a stunning dance video for "Call Your Girlfriend," and continuing to tour relentlessly, including a somewhat controversial stint opening for pop tart Katy Perry. Earlier this year, the Swedish diva caused a bit of a stir in the blogosphere when Time Out New York asked if she was a fan of Perry and she responded, "You know what? I have to go now." This fall, Robyn isn't playing second fiddle to anyone anymore, as she's on a headlining tour that will hopefully include a first taste of some brand-new material—she's said that she's already finished writing new songs for the follow-up to 2010's universally acclaimed Body Talk. With YACHT. Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., 467-5510. 8 p.m. $28.50 adv./$33 DOS. All ages. ERIN K. THOMPSON

All-Star Tribute to the Replacements/Friday, October 21

When Paul Westerberg sang "You be me for a while and I'll be you," I daresay he probably wasn't referring to the participants in this annual Replacements tribute night at the Comet Tavern. If that were truly the case, Westerberg would likely be setting up shop at a dingy dive bar in Minneapolis, playing songs by the Fastbacks, the Cops, Virgin Islands, Fort Union, Concours d'Elegance, and a slew of other Seattle musicians. Instead, we don't have to travel far to hear a veritable talent show of Seattle musicians tackle some of the most melodic, dry-witted pop songs of the last 30 years, all at a venue that would've suited the equally brilliant/drunkenly shoddy heyday-era 'Mats perfectly. With Kinski, Cataldo, Kyle Bradford, Ben Fisher, Gabriel Mintz, John Roderick. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 322-9272. 9 p.m. $8. GREGORY FRANKLIN

Blue Sky Black Death/Friday, October 21

The meat of tonight's sandwich is two of Seattle's leading chillwave lights: the tropically accented synth/percussion duo USF and the gauzy one-man band Big Spider's Back, lately relocated to Brooklyn. Both have albums out recently, respectively The Spray and Memory Man, which finds Big Spider's Back stretching his shoegazing electronics and muffled beats into more subtly house-like territory. Just as worthwhile, though, is the show's bread. Local duo Blue Sky Black Death—not to be confused with 206 noise-wreckers Blue Sabbath Black Cheer—make soft and stately hip-hop instrumentals that wouldn't sound out of place with Drake emoting over them. At the other end of the spectrum, experimental outfit BrainFruit follows a myriad of weird muses to unpredictable ends—a year or two ago, they were a ball of Lightning Bolt–like racket, now they're a Cluster-ed ripple of hypnotic electric tones and gentle motorik pulses. Catch this fruitful phase before they mutate again. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8005. 7 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS. ERIC GRANDY

Brad Mehldau/Friday, October 21

Pianist Brad Melhdau's versions of Radiohead songs are by no means his crowning achievement, but for non-jazz experts, they're the easiest entry point into his music. Songs like "Exit Music (for a Film)" or "Knives Out" have enough harmonic and rhythmic complexity to make the transition to jazz seem almost natural, but Mehldau's world-class technical prowess (his penchant for playing a distinct melody simultaneously with each hand recalls some bizarro post-bop version of Bach) takes them in a new direction without losing any emotional depth. Of course, Mehldau also performs standards as well as his own original material, but regardless of what he plays at this solo concert, it will be a performance by one of contemporary jazz's most talented pianists. Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., 215-4800. 8 p.m. $32. All ages. ANDREW GOSPE

Blackalicious/Saturday, October 22

As his handle suggests, Blackalicious' Gift of Gab is among the fraternal order of MCs most often included in conversations that address the infamous "lyrical lyricist" canon. With highly mathematical rhyme schemes and syllable-packed lines, Gab has been able to effectively graft his technical yet uplifting style to any beat put before him. The group's other half, producer Chief Xcel, has provided a quality assortment of approachable sample-flips and Cali-soul instrumentals over the years that have been as integral to their sound as Gab's crisp delivery. Look forward to classics like "Alphabet Aerobics" (roughly the lyrical equivalent of a gym rat cranking out one-armed push-ups on stage for the fuck of it) and singing along to "Deception" ("Dee-da-da-da-dee-da"). With Freestyle Fellowship, Hi-Life Soundsystem, Don't Talk to the Cops. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 7 p.m. $20 adv./$25 DOS. All ages. TODD HAMM

The Hold Steady/Saturday, October 22

The Hold Steady's most recent record, 2010's Heaven Is Whenever, was pretty much universally derided as the worst of the band's career. But the criticism doesn't really seem fair. Craig Finn's lyrics are still sharp, his stories still compelling, and the band's classic-rock arrangements still pack a punch: In short, it sounds exactly like a Hold Steady record should sound. Perhaps the real problem isn't that The Hold Steady has changed, but that the musical landscape has, and old-fashioned rock (whatever that means) simply isn't as popular anymore—as Jack Endino alluded to in October's edition of Reverb Monthly when he discussed Seattle's lack of true rock bands. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is The Hold Steady's ability to rock a packed venue, which is exactly what should be expected at the Neptune Saturday night. With Grand Archives. Neptune Theatre, 1303 N.E. 45th St., 784-4849. 9 p.m. $21.50 adv./$24 DOS. All ages. ANDREW GOSPE

Portishead/Sunday, October 23

Portishead is that rare band that, throughout a well-spaced discography, successfully fuses a timeless sound with a pioneering one. After the Bristol, England, three-piece emerged in 1994 with their now-classic trip-hop debut Dummy (one of Rolling Stone's top 500 albums of all time), the group's next two studio releases nailed down a down-tempo, synth-heavy landscape that at times evoked a sterile, electronic world, but singer Beth Gibbons' haunting, emotive vocals tethered the sound to a common, fragile preciousness. The group is reportedly working on new material for a fourth album, and in 2009 released a heavy, industrial single called "Chase the Tear," but has been tight-lipped about further details, allowing their enduring mystique to drive the hype. For now, we have their back catalog, which from start to finish is the go-to soundtrack as our tender humanity merges with an inescapable digital future. With Thought Forms. WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., 381-7555. 7:30 p.m. $48. All ages. GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

Mariachi El Bronx/Monday, October 24

While the notion of a Los Angeles punk band developing a side project steeped in mariachi tradition might seem odd upon initial consideration, it actually makes perfect sense. As the members of Mariachi El Bronx have pointed out, the romantic, mournful charms of mariachi are as intertwined with SoCal culture as hardcore's aggressive, impassioned rants. The Bronx's take on that Latin genre works beautifully, thanks to a playful tone that balances their strident delivery and their deft weaving of percussion into the mix—not something normally associated with the instrumental configuration of mariachi bands. This is definitely a show much better suited for the bowels of the Cha Cha Lounge, but still one worth the trip to the Crocodile on a Monday night. With Constant Lovers. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-4618. 8 p.m. $12. HANNAH LEVIN

Skrillex/Tuesday, October 25

And lo, when dubstep finally "breaks" the American mainstream, it will wear the cherubic face of an ex-screamo singer from Southern California (Revelation 7:9). That baby face belongs to 23-year old producer Skrillex, born Sonny Moore, formerly of Ross Robinson/Epitaph footnote From First to Last, who graced the cover of Spin sporting an asymmetrical haircut and multicolored nail polish for last month's (long overdue) "dance issue." Beyond the magazine-ready profile and remixes of Lady Gaga and Korn, what Skrillex brings to American dubstep is Michael Bay–outsized production values—not only in terms of ultra-glossy (though putatively "dark") sound design, but also with a massive projection-mapped stage setup in which a motion-capture-bodysuited Moore gives life to a giant video avatar. Expect to behold a great multitude, which no man could number, at WaMu tonight, standing before the lamb-like Skrillex and his 3D Throne, clothed in neon spandex with glow sticks in their hands. Repent. With 12th Planet, Two Fresh, Nadastrom. WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., 381-7555. 7 p.m. $30. All ages. ERIC GRANDY

 
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