The Short List: The Week’s Recommended Shows

The Specials

Wednesday, March 27

At a time when UK punk was collapsing under the weight of its own anger and self-seriousness, the Specials burst onto the scene with hyperactive, upbeat, Island-inspired dance music coupled with progressive politics. They sang about birth control, racism, and surveillance, and it was the coolest thing many of us had ever heard (or seen). Sadly, they lasted only a few years, breaking up in 1981. Guitarist Lynval Golding met a gal, married, and moved to our own little Gig Harbor, but never gave up hope of a reunion. Though he never convinced founder Jerry Dammers to go along, he did get some of the original guys together for a number of memorable gigs, including the closing of the London Olympics with Blur and New Order. They had so much fun they’ve decided to keep going. Golding promises they’ll play all their hits, from “Gangsters” to “Ghost Town,” in their first Seattle show in three decades. Porkpie hats, skinny ties, and creepers should be in abundance, along with plenty of skanking (you youngsters can YouFace it). Showbox SoDo, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151, showboxonline.com. $30. All ages.

Austin Jenckes

Thursday, March 28

Often compared to the likes of Zac Brown and Marc Broussard, Austin Jenckes honed his soulful country chops playing open mikes along the I-5 corridor while studying at Western Washington University before moving to Nashville. The change of location seems fitting for the country boy, whose newest release, An American Story, is full of songs that make you want to put on your cowboy boots, jump in your truck, and hit the road—or at least catch the #15 to Ballard. Like the performer, the songs are warm, friendly, and full of life. With James Redfern and Perry Acker. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., 789-3599. 9 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS.

Phoenix

Friday, March 29

Sure, everybody flipped out over Phoenix’s fourth release, 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, but many of us had already adopted the band back in 2006 when Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray drunkenly bopped to the smooth, synthy vibes of “Too Young” in Lost in Translation (directed by frontman Thomas Mars’ wife, Sofia Coppola). The track was plucked from Phoenix’s third album, It’s Never Been Like That, a record rich with warm electro beats and soaring vocals deserving of as much praise as Wolfgang (or Lost in Translation, for that matter). Next month the band releases Bankrupt, their fifth album, which promises more music the Bill Murrays of this world can turn to if they need to feel young again. With Mac DeMarco. The Paramount, 911 Pine St., 682-1414. 8 p.m. $35.

*EDITOR’S PICK

Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

Friday, March 29

If the American heartland were to distill its many virtues into a lone human, that person would be Bob Seger—more specifically, vintage Seger: unshaven, shirtless, jeans-clad, smoking an unfiltered Winston and drinking his ninth Schlitz through a toothy grin on the hood of a black ’67 Impala. If you’re splitting a case of canned beer in a parked convertible under a sky lit only by stars, there’s no better artist to be listening to, which makes the LeMay Car Museum’s pre-funk for Seger’s Tacoma Dome show a peculiar slice of perfection. Opening will be Eagle Joe Walsh, whose Maserati goes 185. Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., 253-272-3663 . 8 p.m. $50–$115. All ages. For details on the LeMay pre-show party, visit lemaymuseum.org.

Merchandise

Saturday, March 30

The incredibly well-spoken, existential-crises-tackling Tampa trio Merchandise come at new wave from a punk/hardcore background with an intense appreciation of jazz. The result is an extremely flexible set of parameters which allow them room to explore the fringes of their “genre,” using heavy reverb to drive home the isolating nature of creating music in a city they refer to in their press bio as “musical quarantine.” Last year’s Children of Desire shows a band holding fast to their desire to experiment, all behind the beautiful veil of white-hot melody. With Wet Hair, Naomi Punk. Barboza, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 7 p.m. $8 adv. 21 and over.

Jamie Lidell

Monday, April 1

Electro-soul flag-bearer Jamie Lidell went heavy on the funk on his latest, eponymous full-length. It’s not that Lidell hadn’t worked that seam before, but it’s not something many were expecting after 2010’s supple Compass melted spines across continents. It also turned out to be a pretty boring detour which left many potentially good moments buried beneath a mountain of tired space-lasers and wah-wah bass lines. Through it all, though, Lidell’s voice still rings clear, and that, along with his deep catalogue of sexy-fun tracks, should give this show a spark. With Empress Of, Ludwig Persik. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9467. 8 p.m. $15 adv. 21 and over.

 
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