Friday, Jan. 30
Worlds collide at Sonic Evolution as the Seattle Symphony and storied rockers like Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready, Chris Cornell (Soundgarden, Audioslave), Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan, and Matt Cameron (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden) take the stage together. (The SSO’s ongoing concert series celebrates iconic local musicians; June’s Sonic Evolution saw Sir Mix-A-Lot performing you-know-what with full orchestral backing and a stageful of female audience members twerking along.) With conductor Ludovic Morlot at the helm, and with help from Cornell, McKagan, and Cameron, Mad Season’s McCready and Barrett Martin will perform three songs, arranged by Scott Teske, from the band’s sole studio album, Above. If that weren’t enough, the orchestra will premiere McCready’s Waking the Horizon, plus works by Yann Robin and Angelique Poteat. Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., 215-4747, seattlesymphony.org. 8 p.m. SOLD OUT. All ages.
We were crushing on Shelby Earl long before she rocked Bumbershoot last year, and it’s safe to say we’re still smitten with the local singer/songwriter and her sophomore release, the Damien Jurado-produced Swift Arrows. We’re not the only ones. Earl’s blend of grit and soul has enchanted listeners the world over, and praise is still rolling in for her and the album, released in 2013. Salon, for instance, profiled Earl as one of the SXSW performers readers needed to know last year. It takes a special voice to make a song like “We Will Die” appealing, but weaving bright melodies and dark content (“doom-wop,” she calls it) is Earl’s specialty. With Planes on Paper, The Holy Broke, The Ruins. Columbia City Theater. 9 p.m. $8 adv./$10 DOS. 21 and over.
Blending multiple genres on an album is nothing new, but G. Love & Special Sauce has truly mastered the art. Throughout its 20-year-plus career, the Philadelphia trio—singer/guitarist/harmonica player Dutton, drummer Jeffrey Clemens, and string bassist Jim Prescott—has mixed alt-rock, blues, hip-hop, and R&B in such a way that classifying the band within a single genre is nearly impossible. “Come Up Man,” from the band’s latest, Sugar, is a prime example. Dutton raps each verse while playing slide guitar as Prescott lays down a quintessential blues riff. What sounds jarring on paper comes together swimmingly as soon as you hit play. With Matt Costa. The Showbox, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151, showboxpresents.com. 8 p.m. $27.50 adv./$30 DOS. 21 and over.
Saturday, Jan. 31
In recent months, the call to organize inherent in the phrase “Black Lives Matter” has become a movement, mobilizing many, especially youth, to work to eliminate the systemic racism that has plagued our world for far too long. In honor of one group working to keep the effort going in Seattle, Fists Up! A Benefit for the Garfield Black Student Union is being co-hosted by local booker Mamma Casserole and POC as Fuck, which celebrates rock bands and fans of color. Through nonviolent activism, the Garfield BSU has led several peaceful demonstrations that earned them a Rising Human Rights Leaders award from the Seattle Human Rights Commission in December. With Mascaras, Trick Candles, and Wiscon, DJ Mamma Casserole, DJ El Mizell. The Lo-Fi, 429 Eastlake Ave. E., 254-2824, thelofi.net. 9 p.m. $10. 21 and over.
After listening to Sleepwalking Sailors, the latest from local sludge-rock trio Helms Alee, it’s amazing that audience members leave the band’s shows in one piece. As a whole, Sailors isn’t the heaviest record around, as more pensive moments, like the reverb-laden “Slow Beef,” give listeners, and the band, time to breathe. But when the trio (guitarist Ben Verellen, bassist Dana James, and drummer Hozoji Matheson-Margullis, who all share vocal duties) really gets into it—as it does on “Heavy Worm Burden,” “Fetus. Carcass,” and album-closer “Dodge the Lightning”—it’s every fan for themselves. With mosh pit–ready guitar riffs and lots of throaty vocals, wallflowers should sit this one out. With Marriages, Grenades. Neumos. 8 p.m. $12 adv. 21 and over.
Known by many musicians as a guitar virtuoso, PNW transplant Bill Frisell used his latest album, Guitar in the Space Age!, as an opportunity to pay homage to those who inspired his own musical journey. The Chantays’ “Pipeline,” the Byrds’ interpretation of Pete Seeger’s “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” Duane Eddy’s “Rebel Rouser,” the Kinks’ “Tired of Waiting for You,” the Tornados’ “Telstar,” and more get a sonic facelift from Frisell. Though these aren’t his tunes, Frisell makes them his own by adding the jazz-rock feel he’s mastered over his decades-long career, but without taking away from the magic of the originals. The Showbox. 9 p.m. $25 adv./$30 DOS. 21 and over.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear Key Nyata’s latest release, The Shadowed Diamond, was a Big K.R.I.T. project. That’s not meant to imply that the Seattle native has stolen K.R.I.T.’s style, of course, but to praise Nyata for capturing the same atmospheric vibes that K.R.I.T. did on his latest, Cadillactica. On The Shadowed Diamond, Nyata, plus more than half a dozen guests, including Nacho Picasso, Avatar Darko, and Fresh Espresso’s P Smoov, brings an otherworldly feel to more grounded subject matter with distorted vocals and methodically placed synth features. With Mackned, Special Thraxxhouse Guests, Tre Ross, :30. The Vera Project, 305 Warren Ave. N., 956-8372, theveraproject.org. 8:30 p.m. $10 adv./$15 DOS. All ages.