Live This Weekend: Jesse Sykes, The Hold Steady, OK Go, Say Anything, and More!

Friday, July 18

When Jesse Sykes and Phil Wandscher are in the same room, something special happens. The duo is a balancing act of ferocity and fragility. Wandscher’s signature style has been the driving force behind’s Sykes’ dark, spectral rock ensemble The Sweet Hereafter, building walls of wildly colored psychedelic textures. Sykes’ vocals are delivered in a hushed manner, but are by no means weak; her powerful voice can fill a room with a uniquely haunting presence. The duo’s sonic tightrope walk between clamor and calm is only accentuated when they perform as a two-piece; the atmosphere they create, distilled down, only becomes stronger, something lasting, and more mysterious. With Mike Dumovich. Fremont Abbey Arts Center, 4272 Fremont Ave. N., 414-8325, fremontabbey.org. 8 p.m. $12 adv./$15 DOS. All ages. STIRLING MYLES

Two types of people will attend The Crystal Method’s DJ set this Friday: those old enough to remember the duo breaking through at the height of the electronica boom in the late ’90s with its 1997 debut, Vegas, and those just looking for an excuse to freak out when the bass drops. Few will argue that the pair, Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland, haven’t lost their spark, especially since their new self-titled record overdoses on pedestrian beats and the dubstep rhythms that are increasingly all too common in today’s EDM scene. But they’ve pressed on, two decades after they started. Talk about finding a way to “Keep Hope Alive.” With Sean Majors, First Class, Tyler Brown. Foundation, 2218 Western Ave., 535-7285, foundation-nightclub.com. 9 p.m. $15–$25. 21 and over. BRIAN PALMER

La Luz, best experienced live, headlines the Second Annual Planned Parenthood NW Benefit Concert with its cool and groovy ’60s-inspired doo wop/surf rock; each member does her share of singing and dancing onstage. It’s the perfect soundtrack for a beautiful summer day of activism (re: WTF, Supreme Court?). These hip and sassy girls lead by example, demonstrating that being forthright and female is awesome. Come shake your bum and ova (if applicable) in support of sex positivity, education, and affordable reproductive health services. With Jason Webley, Golden Gardens, The Gods Themselves. Nectar Lounge, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020, nectarlounge.com. 8 p.m. $12–$30. 21 and over. DIANA M. LE

After releasing five records in seven years, The Hold Steady took a bit more time with its sixth LP, Teeth Dreams—a delay due perhaps to increasing anxiety, one of the many symbols teeth can represent in dreams. Singer Craig Finn also used the time to issue a well-received solo record. The band needn’t have worried, however, as its post-Replacements bar rock and tales of hard-living, hard-drinking characters remain joyfully intact. The album’s opener, “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You,” which catches up with the Cityscape Skins (a fictional street gang that sometimes appears in the band’s songs), is a highlight, and will sit nicely alongside the group’s earlier material in the live set. Lansing, Mich.’s rising power-pop stars Cheap Girls support. The Neptune, 1303 N.E. 45th St., 682-1414, stgpresents.org/neptune. 9 p.m. $22.50 adv./$25 DOS. DJL

Ok Go might be painting itself into a corner, if it hasn’t already. How? Think about this: How many of its songs can you name? Hardcore OK Go fans can probably run through the discography without any problem, but for a number of people, OK Go is nothing more than “that band that makes those really cool videos!” So it’s a double-edged sword: It must be nice to attract attention for your creative vids, but is it worth it if no one cares much for the brand of indie rock they’re set to? Maybe that’s the point. But you’d think the band would want to sell some copies of its fourth studio record, Hungry Ghosts, out in October. With Myles Hendrik. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442, neumos.com. 8 p.m. $18. All ages. BP

Modest Mouse, Showbox. See our preview here .

One of the most compelling things about the Cave Singers is just how fast you’ll find yourself singing along. Even at first listen, the ever-approachable nature of every melody in songwriter Pete Quirk’s rootsy-rock ballads is apparent. Four albums into its career, this beloved local group (an all-star ensemble of members of bands like Pretty Girls Make Graves, Blood Brothers, and Hint Hint) continues to expand its catchy, straightforward style that revels in raw, dust-filled emotion. The Cave Singers’ captivating live performances and Quirk’s unique grit-laced vocal delivery have firmly established it as a force distinct from everything else; there’s a special, rarefied quality within every moment the band creates. The Treehouse Cafe, 4569 Lynwood Center Rd. N.E., Bainbridge Island, 842-2814, treehousebainbridge.com. 8 p.m. SOLD OUT. 21 and over. SM

Saturday, July 19

Ball of Wax Songs about Animals Illustrated book and CD release Few things in the world delight as much as a good kids’ song about animals; with so many in the collective songbook, it’d be better to mention here the ones you’ve not yet heard. Levi Fuller takes up that task in the latest volume of his local compilation series, Ball of Wax Vol. 37, with 15 newly penned tunes by the likes of Recess Monkey, the Foghorns, the Whizpops!, and more. With a menagerie for subject matter, these songs are just great fun—and each, upon recording, was sent to an artist for an interpretive illustration. All are collected in the book packaged with the CD, being released today at this kid-friendly celebration. Just try to keep the kids from dancing. You, too. With the Foghorns, GreenhornBluehorn, Jon Rooney, Levi Fuller, Colin J Nelson, Hal Colombo, Colin Ernst, Monica Schley. Fremont Abbey. 12 p.m. $12 adults/$30 families/free for kids 10 and under (admission includes a copy of the illustrated book and CD). GWENDOLYN ELLIOTT

Since its formation in 2000, Say Anything has remained relevant and prolific despite emo’s mucky reputation. The band has gone through significant lineup changes, but frontman Max Bemis endures as its constant, with one of the most distinctive voices and lyrical styles in the genre. He also produced its latest album, Hebrews, which he hadn’t done since . . . Is a Real Boy in 2004. The album is an artistic departure from the band’s usual sound, with absolutely no guitar featured. It’s also a gathering of emo all-stars, with guest appearances by Matt Pryor (The Get Up Kids) and Chris Conley (Saves the Day). With the Front Bottoms, the So So Glos, You Blew It!. The Showbox, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151, showboxpresents.com. 8 p.m. $18 adv./$22 DOS. All ages. DML

 
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