The start of the Seattle Sounders’ 2017 season was a comedown after their against-all-odds win of the 2016 MLS Cup final in Toronto, as they struggled with player injuries. But their luck turned, and in their 22 matches after July 1 suffered just three losses, burning through the four postseason matches unscored-upon straight into another Cup final. Unfortunately one of those three losses was the Cup final, again facing Toronto. Hoping not to repeat this slow start, the team opens at CenturyLink Field with two matches: Thursday vs. Santa Tecla, from El Salvador, in CONCACAF play (a competition among North and Central American clubs separate from MLS) and Sunday, in MLS play, vs. Los Angeles Football Club in its debut match. They’re hungry to take the laurels from Seattle as MLS’s most successful expansion launch. As if. soundersfc.com. 7 p.m. Thurs., March 1 ($6 and up), 2 p.m. Sun., March 4 ($27 and up).
Maybe coincidence, maybe not, but one exhibit opening this month at Linda Hodges Gallery is soccer-themed. Klara Glosova’s Life on the Sidelines paintings salute the patient parents of athletes: lonely figures, seen only from the rear, staring out at skies of blue and seas of green. They offer a wistful but witty contrast to both sporting triumphalism and heartbreak; real life for these parents is not about such dramatic extremes but merely a matter of watching, waiting, and just being there. lindahodgesgallery.com. Artist reception 6 p.m. Thurs., March 1(pop in before you hit CenturyLink). Ends March 31.
Good luck finding many better top-to-bottom bills this year’s than Bully, Melkbelly, and Summer Cannibals. After Bully howled its way onto the scene with the stellar debut album Feels Like, the band followed up with even more infectious Alicia Bognanno vocal-fraying wails over walls of guitars on last year’s Sub Pop release Losing. Chicago-based Melkbelly creates unhinged noise with just enough melodic underpinnings to keep things centered among the guitar-and-drum chaos—it’s on the Sonic Youth spectrum with a tiny dash of the group’s label boss, Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis. Led by Jessica Boudreaux’s snarling male-gaze-destroying fury, Portland’s Summer Cannibals continues to be one of the Northwest’s best no-nonsense shredders. Neumos, neumos.com. $20. 8 p.m. Wed., Feb. 28. SETH SOMMERFELD
A lot of terrible niche nerd-music acts perform at various cons with songs that suffocate on their own attempts at pop-culture cleverness. Don’t lump Jonathan Coulton in with that lot. Sure, he checks the nerdy boxes: His previous album had a companion graphic novel; he wrote the songs for the Portal video games; he’s penned tunes about coding, zombies, and Internet cats; and he’s playing ACT as part of the Emerald City Comicon (tickets are separate from con passes). But Coulton also happens to be one of the best songwriters alive. Don’t let his deft wit distract from the crushingly depressing beauty that boils underneath his music’s surface. ACT, jonathancoulton.com. $29. 7 & 9:30 p.m. Thurs., March 1.SS
Here is a fact: Matt “Spekulation” Watson knows how to throw a party. In recent summers, the MC, producer, and all-around culture-jammer has organized the Block Party at the Station, featuring some of the city’s greatest musical talent without selling a single car-company sponsorship. And while new-dad Watson has said he won’t have time to put on the Block Party this year (it’ll be back), he is still throwing what promises to be one hell of a party to celebrate the release of his instrumental/visual album The Crossover Event, an engrossing, beat-heavy work that features a justice league of players from the city’s jazz, psychedelic, and hip-hop scenes. The “visual” part of the release is all about superheroes, which is why Watson timed his party to coincide with Emerald City Comicon. Columbia City Theatre, columbiacitytheater.com. $10. 8 p.m. Sat., March 3. MARK BAUMGARTEN
SAVE THE DATE
Anne Lamott Benaroya Hall, April 8
Lindy West Benaroya Hall, April 15
Jay & Silent Bob The Neptune, April 20
Madeleine Albright The Paramount, April 24
Toto The Moore, July 31
Smashing Pumpkins KeyArena, August 24