Tonight: Cloud Cult, The Airborne Toxic Event, Furthur, The Riverboat Gamblers

Cody York
Cloud Cult, with Mimicking Birds. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 8 p.m. $21. All ages. Craig Minowa of Cloud Cult has been writing heartbreakingly mournful songs about the untimely death of his two-year-old son, Kaidin, for almost a decade, backed by an eclectic swirl of vocoders, swelling cello and violin, august trombone and French horn, and visual artists. But the band's newest album, this month's Light Chasers, switches thematic gears - last fall, Minowa and painter/bandmate/wife Connie welcomed a new baby boy, and the new music celebrates life and rebirth. Light Chasers' first single, "Running with the Wolves," vibrates with a sense of wonder and joy, as Minowa sings, "We were running for a reason, for the burning in our veins/ We were running to find meaning, just need to get away." ERIN K. THOMPSON

The Airborne Toxic Event, with The Calder Quartet. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave., 652-4255. 8 p.m. $25. All ages. Dear Airborne Toxic Event: You are my badge of shame to wear, and I have come to accept this. Your lyrics are the most melodramatic and cliché confessionals this side of the Killers (what happens when you walk into a bar and see your ex with someone else? "You look like you've seen a ghost!"), your swelling string section is as emotionally manipulative as a Lifetime Network Movie, and I can't get enough of it. Just when I think I've escaped your saccharine embrace, you go and cover "Goodbye Horses" by Q Lazzarus, the creepy theme song for Silence of the Lambs' cross-dressing killer. Don't ever change. HANNAH LEVIN

Furthur. Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. N.E., Redmond, 205-3661. 6 p.m. $55. All ages. Used to be, the notion of a member of a cover band that covers one particular band being asked to actually join that particular band was the stuff of a lackluster movie starring Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston, and some really bad wigs. But now, as Journey, INXS and what's left of the Grateful Dead have proven, reality-show fodder is, well, realistic. Case in point: John Kadlecic, a guitarist who has, for years, played lead in a Dead cover band called Dark Star Orchestra. Now he plays for the Dead, or whatever they call themselves 15 years on from the death of Jerry Garcia. Kadlecic kills it live, but the real key to this show is how much restraint Bob Weir shows. If "Rock Star Bobby" doesn't hog lead vocal duties, it should be a perfectly enjoyable show. If he does, you might need a miracle. MIKE SEELY

The Riverboat Gamblers. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 7 p.m. $8. In the culinary world, finding that perfect balance of subtle sweetness and fiery spiciness takes years of practice to perfect. In the rock and roll world, one only needs to look toward the Riverboat Gamblers for a shining example of that consonance. Having spent countless months on the road over the past decade, the Riverboat Gamblers are arguably one of the hardest working bands in rock and roll today. On record, the band is loud, sweet, and full of catchy pop riffage. Live, the band is a feral beast backed into a corner, ready to strike; natural-born frontman Mike Wiebe spends more time darting through the crowd than on stage, climbing on any surface he can scale, leaving the stage (and other surfaces of the club) perfectly seasoned from the band's blood and sweat marinade. GREGORY FRANKLIN

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