Check out the listings and links below to figure out how you want to do the fest this year. Below are descriptions of each and every show in music and the arts, including every performance, visual art installation and humanties conversations at Culture Club. Get ready for one epic weekend!
A Fine Frenzy
Seattle-born, LA-based piano phenom Alison Sudol is known for her tender, whispery torch songs, which found an early fan in Rufus Wainwright and have since soundtracked emotional moments on TV shows like House and The Vampire Diaries. Taking her band’s name from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the multi-talented Sudol also writes fairy-tale, C.S. Lewis-style fantasies. Charmed, we’re sure.
Thursday, 8:30 p.m., Moore Theatre BUY TICKETS
Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound
This San Francisco psychedelic rock band is best described as phantasmagorical. Listening to their music is like kayaking a river of white-water psilocybin. Their soaring, dream-like vocals, steady drum rhythms, and plucky alien electrics combine to create a true Technicolor experience.
Friday, 7:15 p.m., Barboza BUY TICKETS
The most gently moving band to emerge from Portland’s mid-’00s folk revival, Blind Pilot has swayed crowds all summer long, from Sasquatch! to Bonnaroo. Their music is rooted in the breezy strum and honey baritone of leader Israel Nebeker and embellished by banjo, glockenspiel and an attic-full of acoustic instrumentation.
Friday, 11:15 p.m., Showbox at the Market BUY TICKETS
Brother Ali with Blank Tape Beloved
There’s no other MC like Brother Ali. An albino muslim from Minnesota, Ali is an expert at expressing the political implications of being the Other with a gritty, down-home drawl. This performance brings him back to the city where he wrote and recorded his most recent and most overtly political release, Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color.
Wednesday, 10:45 p.m., Neumos BUY TICKETS
David Byrne & St. Vincent
The crowds will come for the former leader of the Talking Heads and the indie rock guitar virtuoso, but they’ll walk away talking about the horn section, eight strong, around which Byrne and St. Vincent’s Annie Clark have built the songs on their collaborative album, Love This Giant.
Wednesday, 8:30 p.m., 5th Avenue Theatre BUY TICKETS
Lead by former Dutchess and the Duke member Jesse Lortz, Case Studies is less a band than it is a free-form art project, centered on Lortz’s Cohen-esque campfire songs, and featuring a rotating cast of talented musicians and visual artists. It’s hard to know what to expect for this performance. As of press time, anything is possible.
Friday, 8:15 p.m., Rendezvous BUY TICKETS
The Cellar Door
These Seattle indie-poppers recorded their first official single in a winter-battered church closet—then named the track “Spring” to portray the love-panged longing of its dual vocals. Their music embodies the caprice of changing seasons, with flurried instrumentals that rustle like the wind.
Wednesday, 8 p.m. Rendezvous BUY TICKETS
Cody Beebe & the Crooks
Originally hailing from Central Washington, these good ol’ boys are bringing a proven sound to their new stomping grounds in Seattle. The Crooks play tried-and-true blues rock, filled with ascendant guitar solos, sawing harmonica leads, dancing piano parts and the gritty, quick-lipped vocals of frontman Cody Beebe.
Friday, 9:45 p.m., Crocodile BUY TICKETS
It’s been a minute since Bermuda-based dancehall artist Collie Buddz first exploded onto the worldwide dancehall scene with the pro-pot track “Come Around,” followed by his well-received debut album. The reggae singer is continuing to develop his sound with the recent release of a couple of sweet down-tempo ballads that will surely be mixed in with the frantic tempo of his best dance tracks.
Saturday, 12:15 a.m., Showbox Market BUY TICKETS
Paul Simon and Drake are touchstones for Akron/Family’s percussionist, Dana Janssen, who calls his solo work “tropicore.” This May’s warmly resonant Summer Bodies evolved from answering machine love notes and good vibrations during time spent in Oregon, Brooklyn and Thailand.
Saturday, 8:15 p.m., Crocodile BUY TICKETS
Since catching notice in 2010 as a member of Seattle hip-hop act State of the Artist, Thaddeus David has released a string of intriguing tracks that show him exploring his craft, transforming his flow from smooth to herky-jerky.
Thursday, 8 p.m., Showbox SoDo BUY TICKETS
Devotchka with Seattle Rock Orchestra
Denver’s Devotchka has been making soaring, swooning, Gypsy-flavored chamber pop for a decade, along the way winning international acclaim—and major soundtrack work (that song from Little Miss Sunshine). Frontman Nick Urata is a crooner in the classic mode; his band includes a tuba, a violin, an accordion and a palpable sense of romance. Tonight, add the Seattle Rock Orchestra to that lineup.
Saturday, 9:15 p.m., Moore Theatre BUY TICKETS
The Bay Area’s unofficial ambassadors of gypsy rock, Diego’s Umbrella blends klezmer and flamenco with punk rock to create an unforgettable live show that has ignited crowded clubs and festivals alike. Last year the band took its experimentation even further, teaming up with the Rondo Brothers (MC Lars, Foster the People) to release its take on Ennio Morricone and the Spaghetti Western, Proper Cowboy.
Saturday, 10 p.m., Showbox at the Market BUY TICKETS
DJ Nark, aka Kevin Kauer, has scored big since arriving in Seattle from San Diego four years ago. Hosting beloved house/disco dance parties at Havana and the Cuff led to his current gig as creative director at brand-new Q Nightclub.
Thursday, 7:45 p.m., Rendezvous BUY TICKETS
DJ Nima Fadavi
With an impressive work ethic and a Bay Area zip code, Nima Fadavi has produced for a litany of hip-hop movers and shakers, including the Grouch, Toki Wright and Sunspot Jonz. He’s a constant presence on the West Coast tour circuit and will, for this performance, be lending his beatmaking abilities to Berner.
Saturday, 7 p.m., Showbox at the Market BUY TICKETS
Voted the city’s Best Hip Hop DJ by Seattle Weekly readers in 2011, and having opened for the lion’s share of big names that come through town, this dude is on top of his game. You can get up on it multiple times a week at his residencies at Barboza and Moe Bar, along with a monthly at the Crown Room.
Thursday, 7:15 p.m., Showbox SoDo BUY TICKETS
Fresh from a heralded tour backing the Queen of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson, the Dusty 45s return to Seattle with some heat. The city’s premiere rockabilly and swing band will get the crowd moving, but the real action will be up on the stage where, at some point in the evening, a flaming trumpet will take over the show.
Thursday, 10:30 p.m., Barboza BUY TICKETS
Local singer-songwriter Tom Eddy makes unpretentious, deliciously sweet tunes. Whether accompanied by Afrobeat-inspired percussion or simply solo with his guitar, his music weaves itself perfectly into introspective mornings, long drives through the country and deep-soul nights.
Friday, 9:45 p.m., Showbox at the Market BUY TICKETS
Eighteen Individual Eyes
Smooth psychedelia? Sounds strange, and it is, and so is Eighteen Individual Eyes. The Seattle quartet is a favorite of the city’s growing psych scene, though Irene Barber’s sugar-sweet vocals render their brand more accessible than most. Unnovae Nights, their Matt Bayles-produced debut, plays like a stoned midnight makeout session.
Saturday, 9:30 p.m., Rendezvous BUY TICKETS
EOTO dips jam-band into rave, countering electronic samples with live instrumentation—drums, bass, guitar and keyboards—to unravel a rubbery, neverending groove. Almost everything done by the duo, which has ties to Colorado’s String Cheese Incident, is improvised.
Thursday, 11:35 p.m., Neumos BUY TICKETS
Fox and the Law
There was a time when every band in Seattle was as brash and ragged as Fox and the Law. This young quartet—led by charismatic, axe-wielding frontdude Guy Keltner—is all leather jackets, sweaty brows and big blues-rock riffs. They explode onstage.
Friday, 8 p.m., Barboza BUY TICKETS
The excellent invention of rapper Rik Rude and producer P Smoov, Fresh Espresso incorporates jazz, funk and R&B into its electro hip-hop tracks. As heard on the group’s latest Bossalona, their music is smart as hell without taking itself too seriously.
Friday, 10:45 p.m., Neumos BUY TICKETS
This Brooklyn-based femme-fronted rock band formed in September 2010 under the more Googleable name Perpetual Crush. Its eclectic jam-funk and tropical indie-groove earned it a well-deserved spot on New Musical Express’ list of the top 50 artists of 2011.
Saturday, 9:30 p.m., Showbox SoDo BUY TICKETS
One cape, two pigtails, a zillion lasers, volume knob at 11: Ghostland Observatory’s signature stage formula elevate the Austin, Tex. duo’s electro-rock arena jams to a major rager of a show. Earplugs and eye protection suggested; some dancing required.
Thursday, 11:15 p.m., Laserdome, Friday, 11:45 p.m., Showbox SoDo BUY TICKETS
Dark disco duo Glitterbang are dancefloor killers, all sordid swagger and a hangover waiting to happen. Beats and backing groove (sampled synths and guitars) courtesy of Joey Veneziani, vocals and visual sensuality via Nicki Danger: This is a band that will not let you sit still.
Thursday, 8:30 p.m., Rendezvous BUY TICKETS
Australian electro-rock quintet Gold Fields released their debut EP in September 2011 and promptly became major players in the industry. With up to three drum sets fueling the delicious dance party their music elicits, Gold Fields drives each song with precision and earnest energy.
Friday, 9:30 p.m., Showbox SoDo BUY TICKETS
Equal parts squalling and serene, intimate and intimidating, Gold Leaves veers from the folk-pop template with occasional extended, intense jams. Bandleader Grant Olsen—one of Seattle’s finest lyricists—is nicely complemented by a four-man crew, including multi-instrumentalist Tomo Nakayama. More in Q&A.
Thursday, 10:50 p.m., Crocodile BUY TICKETS
The Good Sin
To be triumphant requires loss, a duality to which Seattle rapper the Good Sin is no stranger. His 2012 sophomore release, The Story of Love and Hate, boldly captures the complexities of triumph and love, rich with soul-inspired beats and his signature baritone.
Friday, 8:15 p.m., Neumos BUY TICKETS
The Grizzled Mighty
Although just a duo, the Grizzled Mighty plays bluesy rock ’n’ roll like an entire army. Whitney Petty, former Deerhunter guitarist, thrashes on drums while Ryan Granger of Fox and the Law wails on gritty guitar.
Saturday, 10 p.m., Neumos BUY TICKETS
The once and future King of Ballard (a designation appointed rather than adopted), Grynch is a casually confident rapper whose hefty skills counterpoint his small stature. This is some everyman rap shit: Grynch’s biggest hit is called “My Volvo.”
Wednesday, 8:45 p.m., Neumos BUY TICKETS
Worshipers of ’90s shoegaze stalwarts Slowdive were thrilled that two of the band’s principal members, Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell, carried on for years as the less-plugged-in, gauzy folk purveyors Mojave 3. Halstead’s similar solo work has gotten deeper and more textured in the past decade, and his latest, Palindrome Hunches, like all the rest, will make you close your eyes and think of England (and love).
Friday, 10:15 p.m., Rendezvous BUY TICKETS
Larry Hawkins (Formerly SK)
The energetic flow of Larry Hawkins (formerly SK) feels like he just burst out of a box and has no time to waste, filling each track with his enormous presence. Paired with fresh-yet-vintage beats, you’ll find it difficult not to get down to his groove.
Thursday, 8:45 p.m., Showbox SoDo BUY TICKETS
Hobosexual is a bulldozer armed with tube amps, snarlin’ riffs, and a knack for unapologetic rock ‘n’ roll. These old soul rockers are certainly a blast from the past, but with an undeniable freshness. Their punchy, gritty style takes some guts.
Saturday, 7:15 p.m., Barboza BUY TICKETS
The Holdup is a group of San Jose natives who churn out reggae rhythms and hip-hop beats for beachside cabana culture. All of their full-length albums have debuted at No.1 on the iTunes Reggae Charts, and their third record also reached the Billboard Charts in the same category.
Saturday, 9:15 p.m., Showbox at the Market BUY TICKETS
Homeboy Sandman with DJ Sosa
Wordy ≠ nerdy when Homeboy Sandman takes the mike. The ubercool brainiac MC out of Queens, NY, is an underground favorite around the U.S., the kind of studied, hyper-literate rapper who massages language rather than wrestles with it. Tonight, as usual, he’s backed by trusty producer DJ Sosa.
Wednesday, 9:45 p.m., Neumos BUY TICKETS
On Horse Feather’s latest, Cynic’s New Year, the Portland band’s bright yet melancholic folk music is at its best, with leader Justin Ringle strumming a hopeful heartbeat as he sings songs of natural and personal disaster with the tender resignation of the titular cynic.
Saturday, 9:50 p.m., Crocodile BUY TICKETS
Hounds of the Wild Hunt
These feral garage rockers tore up the stage at this summer’s Slack Fest, where the region’s best Americana and scrappy rock bands mix it up. What do they have to say for themselves? “Where the Whore Moans [the group’s previous moniker and a much-loved outfit] swaggered, HofWH run soulful and fierce.”
Saturday, 8 p.m., Barboza BUY TICKETS
Howlin’ Rain follows in the fine tradition of lysergically enhanced San Francisco psych rock. Guitarist/bandleader Ethan Miller is ferocious on the six-string, peeling off Santana-style solos while singing like John Fogerty. Live, this quintet absolutely slays.
Friday, 9:00 p.m., Barboza BUY TICKETS
Kay Kay and his Weathered Underground
When they’re not crafting their intricate, impassioned chamber pop, Kay Kay’s principals write commercial mainstream pop hooks for a company in LA to fund their band’s ongoing existence. Earlier this year, they released a slew of radio R&B covers; there’s a new album on the way. More in Q&A.
Thursday, 9:45 p.m., Crocodile BUY TICKETS
Seattle rapper Key Nyata is too young to drink but old enough to carry a millennial’s fiery cynical streak. The Seattle native’s laid-back flow suggests not relaxation but asphyxiating anxiety. His just-released album Two Phonkey clicks and bumps over sinister, old-school 808 beats courtesy of Nyata himself. More in Q&A.
Friday, 9 p.m., Neumos BUY TICKETS
Seattle producer Keyboard Kid is obsessed with two very evocative things: 808 drum machines and Twin Peaks. As a result, his spacious hip-hop beats are equally eerie and tongue-in-cheek, hypnotic and hysterical.
Friday, 10:30 p.m., Showbox SoDo BUY TICKETS
Along with having one of the most clever band names in Seattle, Kingdom Crumbs unites some of the city’s sharpest hip-hop talents to make supremely relaxed, deeply funky hip-hop and future soul. The four-man crew dropped its eponymous, freely streamable debut in August. It’s really good.
Friday, 9:45 p.m., Neumos BUY TICKETS
Davidson Hart Kingsbery
The epitome of “journeyman musician,” Davidson Hart Kingsbery has been doing the rustic-Americana thing for a lot longer than it’s been fashionable. First was rockabilly-leaning Hart & the Hurricane, then a slew of cabaret-style solo performances and now, with the backing of local label Fin Records, a full-blown trad-leaning country rocker.
Saturday, 9:15 p.m., Neumos BUY TICKETS
Land of Pines
The creation of childhood friends Evan Easthope and Kessiah Gordon, Land of Pines plays dynamic indie pop filled with earnest guy-girl harmonies, equal parts buildup and release. The energetic live show offers ample catharsis for the angst-filled young (and young at heart).
Friday, 8:45 p.m., Crocodile BUY TICKETS
Heartfelt singer-songwriter Kevin Long knows a thing or two about trouble. While his backstory may not have always been pleasant, it’s found a good home in his songs. His honest tunes are a reminder of the beauty that can grow out of a dark night.
Friday, 7:30 p.m., Rendezvous BUY TICKETS
When this Panamanian duo relocated to Oakland during their teenage years, they transformed the derogatory idiom rakataka—ghetto kid—into the bold label of their syncretic musical tradition. Cousins Raka Rich and Raka Dun graft the salsa-style dance of their Latin barrio onto the swaggered hip-hop of the American West Coast. BUY TICKETS
Saturday, 10:45 p.m., Showbox at the Market
Lost in the Trees
To create his symphonic, haunting folk-rock group, Ari Picker cobbled together various orchestra musicians along the East Coast. The multi-dimensional arrangements on their sophomore album A Church that Fits Our Needs reflect the tragedy and possibility of a vulnerable yet epic narrative.
Saturday, 11 p.m., Crocodile BUY TICKETS
This veteran Seattle DJ tweaks the circuit breaker of your subconscious with tribal tech-house dance music. A prolific force in the national electronic music community, Manahan is the founder of the Oracle Gatherings, co-producer of the Decibel Festival, Photosynthesis Festival and the DanceSafe Stage at Hempfest.
Thursday, 9:30 p.m., Neumos BUY TICKETS
This North Carolina folk quartet feels songs to its bones and plays them all the way out to the skin. Home, its third album, was released in April 2012, showcasing the band’s continually expanding ability to transmit our simplest, deepest desires in full production.
Saturday, 9 p.m., Crocodile BUY TICKETS
Motopony frontman Daniel Blue often appears to be in a trance, espousing poetry laden with spiritual imagery and coded messages as his band grinds out a funky foundation behind him. Comparisons to the Doors are inevitable, but whereas that band explored the darkness of the human condition, Motopony revels in the silver lining of existential dread—and often discovering true beauty.
Saturday, 8:45 p.m., Showbox SoDo BUY TICKETS
He prefers you call him Yasiin Bey. Whatever the name, the musician/rapper/actor born Dante Smith is one of today’s most magnetic talents—and one of the most mercurial. As such, it’s hard to predict what he’ll bring to his headlining set, but you can expect rhymes, poetry and spoken word stretching back to his earliest work.
Thursday, 10:30 p.m., Showbox SoDo BUY TICKETS
Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band
Benjamin Verdoes started Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band four years ago in part to teach his young brother Marshall how to play drums. The result was frenzied math rock as emphatic as it was unpredictable. Marshall is now a crack drummer and the energy is still there, though it’s come into focus and revealed Benjamin’s considerable gifts as a pop songwriter.
Wednesday, 11:15 p.m., Barboza BUY TICKETS
Murals See Two White Opals listing in this section.
Saturday, 8:45 p.m., Rendezvous BUY TICKETS
Kevin Murphy is the man behind the Moondoggies, the beloved Seattle Americana rock band that’s won national acclaim for its three-piece harmonies and hard-driving grooves. Alone, Murphy distills the Doggie’s music into high, lonesome beauty and tenderness.
Wednesday, 8:45 p.m., All Pilgrims BUY TICKETS
This young sibling triumvirate harmonizes the delicate components of reggae, pop, jazz, and R&B to create a new genre of inspirational music that binds Brooklyn hip-hop with Jamaican jamrock. Their latest single “Can’t Give Up” is a celebratory and uplifting tune about struggle and persistence.
Saturday, 12:15 a.m., Showbox at the Market BUY TICKETS
The New Law
Dutch trance, Czech street music and ‘70s arena rock are synthesized into something staggeringly cool in “Jiri,” one example of the producing prowess of Seattle duo Adam Straney and Justin Neff. These lifelong multi-instrumentalists, drum ’n’ bass heads and studio experimenters are onto something.
Thursday, 10:30 p.m., Neumos BUY TICKETS
novaTRON is a self-declared sonic wizard who conjures live electric orchestrations that take listeners on a headlong journey into the science of musical exploration. All this is done with the TRONbox—a synthesizing instrument of the Seattle musician’s own creation.
Thursday, 8:45 p.m., Neumos BUY TICKETS
While the rest of the Seattle hip-hop world is concerned with being the smartest, wittiest or darkest, the three men in the Physics create music that is aimed primarily at being the most chill. Laid back producer Just “Justo” D’Amato and conversational MCs Thig Natural and Monk Wordsmith create a refreshing live experience.
Thursday, 9:30 p.m., Showbox SoDo BUY TICKETS
Point Juncture, WA
While keyboardist Victor Nash appears to be the experimental crash-pop band’s leader, he’s as likely to shore up a manic guitar solo by Wilson Vediner, a comely ballad by drummer Amanda Spring or a vibraphonic freakout by Skyler Norwood as he is to pull out his trumpet and blow your mind himself.
Friday, 10:30 p.m., Showbox at the Market BUY TICKETS
Pollens is a six-headed epicene hydra with eclectic tastes and a college degree. The multi-cultural influences of its composite members—including Congolese percussion, Moroccan trance and Persian harmonics—coalesce on their latest LP, Brighten & Break, into a polyrhythmic experience that defies traditional pop format.
Wednesday, 10:30 p.m., Barboza BUY TICKETS
Koko and the Sweetmeats? Prism Tats improves, though it could hardly be thought possible, on g. vandercrimp’s previous band’s name. This South African-born neo-psych maelstrom aims to create “sub-realities that devastate and elate,” and new tracks like “Pacifist Masochist” do both before you can blink.
Friday, 6:30 p.m., Barboza BUY TICKETS
Joshua Radin showed the range of his tremendous pop songcraft when he went electric with The Rock and The Tide in 2010. With this year’s release Underwater, he returned to the form that won him a following—playing sincere, melodic pop songs, this time employing orchestral elements to drive the point home.
Thursday, 9:45 p.m., Moore Theatre BUY TICKETS
Ravenna Woods does uncanny things with acoustic instruments. The shaggy quartet’s left-field folk evokes a dark, sinister vibe, ideal for feral clap-and-stomp-alongs or culty initiation rituals. Expect new tunes from the local faves’ upcoming sophomore album.
Friday, 10:45 p.m., Crocodile BUY TICKETS
The two members of the Reminders hail from Brussels and New York, and their soulful debut album Recollect has elevated them to the status of international troubadours. It’s a vocal pas de deux of gendered energy, cooking up conscious hip-hop with one part blues serenade and two parts rap flow.
Wednesday, 8 p.m., Neumos BUY TICKETS
“The Rolling Stones”
Maybe you’ve heard of these guys? “The Rolling Stones” are a high-energy, spot-on tribute act that focuses on the real Stones’ Sticky Fingers/Exile on Main St. era. Comprised of serious players from the Blood Brothers, Truckasauras, Whalebones and more, this is the band every musician in Seattle wants to be in.
Saturday, 9 p.m., Barboza BUY TICKETS
Jonathan Russell of the Head and the Heart
The eastern half of the coast-to-coast songwriting duo behind Seattle’s breakout folk-pop act, Jonathan Russell is at heart a piano-playing pop songwriter who made the wise decision to pick up a guitar and co-lead a band. Solo, he’s been known to go back to the keys and show his roots.
Wednesday, 9:45, All Pilgrims BUY TICKETS
Lucy Schwartz’s sensitive sound and prolific career that defies her youth. At only 22, the LA-based singer-songwriter has composed songs for several blockbuster films and popular television shows and performed on-stage with such talent as Sheryl Crow and Colbie Caillat.
Thursday, 7:45 p.m., Moore Theatre BUY TICKETS
Slang! consists of Drew Grow (of Drew Grow and the Pastor’s Wives) and Janet Weiss (of Wild Flag). This “supergroup” came together to play some killer covers.
Thursday, 8 p.m., Triple Door BUY TICKETS
The Soft Hills
The Soft Hills appear, on first blush, to be a band treading the same ground as Fleet Foxes and the Moondoggies, what with their delectable harmonies and twangy instrumentation. But as the Seattle band’s live show pleasingly reveals, its destination is the dark world of psychedelia mapped out by Pink Floyd.
Friday, 9 p.m., Showbox at the Market BUY TICKETS
Song Sparrow Research
Now here’s some glockenspiel you can dance to! Song Sparrow Research is a symphonic quintet that employs orchestra elements to blend Northwest funk and folk. Its songs are a capricious chiaroscuro of melancholy and movement, equal parts energetic and introspective.
Thursday, 8 p.m., Barboza BUY TICKETS
Sports is a four-piece suit with a retro-electric vest and an interstellar bowtie. They bring you the latest manifestations of danceable disco-pop with a Bowie-style lyrical vibe, and they’ve been famously dubbed as the hardest band in the world to Google.
Friday, 8:45 p.m., Showbox SoDo BUY TICKETS
The synthesizer pop played by SSION (pronounced “shun”) is enough to ignite a dance party on its own, but that’s just one part of the Kansas City band’s show. Led by the mustachioed (and often lipsticked) singer Cody Critcheloe, this gay performance art punk band brings costumes and props to the party and encourages the same in its audience.
Thursday, 10:30 p.m., Rendezvous BUY TICKETS
Stephanie’s bouncy, lo-fi goth-pop is as infectious as it is ambitious—a rare and promising combination. Local music mavens have long awaited the young group’s debut, which was produced by cult fave musician Erik Blood and has yet to see the light of day. This is a band on the brink of something.
Saturday, 6:30 p.m., Barboza BUY TICKETS
This saloon-stomping Seattle sextet features soulful harmonica, twanging guitar, and jazzy piano. Their sound is quintessential alt-country, with all the cognitive dissonance of an upbeat dance tune set to paeans of alcoholism, prescription drugs, domestic homicide and the devil.
Friday, 8 p.m. Crocodile BUY TICKETS
Some solo recording artists bring out looping pedals to perform live, but multi-instrumentalist Robbie Johnston requires nine people to bring his work as the Synthony to life. Together they explore the genre-hopping intricacies of Johnson’s recordings, from sweetly crooning honky tonk to attitude-thick pop rock.
Wednesday, 9:45 p.m., Barboza BUY TICKETS
Seattle-based sibling trio the Tempers fuse the organic and the electric into the classic, heavy with sexy synth hooks and haunting vocals. Their recent EP, Together We Are the Love Vortex, feels like it’s been on your shelf for years. More in Q&A.
Saturday, 10:30 p.m., Rendezvous BUY TICKETS
Throw Me the Statue
Throw Me the Statue is known for its saccharine hooks and pop songcraft, but on its recently completed third full-length, the band has moved into more experimental territory, meticulously building songs swollen with digital, electric and acoustic instrumentation, cut through with leader Scott Reitherman’s buoyant sense of groove and endearingly reedy voice.
Thursday, 8:45 p.m., Crocodile BUY TICKETS
Shut up, pay attention: Tiny Vipers, the solo acoustic-guitar-and-voice project of Seattle native Jesy Fortino, is so poignantly quiet that it’s easy to miss, which would be a shame, because Fortino’s stoic minimalism conceals immense poetry and world-wise beauty.
Friday, 9:15 p.m., Rendezvous BUY TICKETS
The influence of British pop music on Tomten is undeniable. Even the band’s song titles—“Wednesday’s Children,” “Ta Ta Da Na,” “Rhododendron Rd.”—could be mistaken for Kinks B-sides. The band’s music is A-side material, though, elegant and patient with clever lyrics delivered in Brian Noyeswatkins’ breathy tenor that settles somewhere between early Jagger and in-his-prime Cocker.
Thursday, 8 p.m., Crocodile BUY TICKETS
Two Door Cinema Club
Ireland’s Two Door Cinema Club showed an immediate aptitude for creating heartfelt electro pop when it broke out with the buzzed-about debut Tourist History in 2010. With the follow-up Beacon, the trio demonstrates it can claim epic pop territory occupied by the likes of Snow Patrol and, dare we say, Coldplay.
Saturday, 10:30 p.m., Showbox SoDo BUY TICKETS
Two White Opals (formerly Murals)
A Seattle quintet born out of Crybaby Studios, Two White Opals uses beats, keys and guitar to build an atmospheric world that is haunted by the siren vocals of studio principal Leigh Stone.
Saturday, 8:45 p.m., Rendezvous BUY TICKETS
Vince Mira Band
Five years after he was discovered busking at Pike Place Market, Vince Mira is no longer the boy wonder who can do an uncanny Johnny Cash impersonation. He’s now a wonderful songwriter in his own right, penning tunes of love and loss and solitary confinement worthy of his predecessors. He’ll still mix in plenty from the Man in Black, but you might not know the difference between the two.
Thursday, 9:30 p.m., Barboza BUY TICKETS
Recent commercial success has vaulted this multi-instrumental hip-hop collaborative to national prominence. They were dubbed Best Hip-Hop Act of 2011 by their hometown San Diego Music Awards and their stage performances often incorporate harlequins and hula-hoopers.
Saturday, 8:30 p.m., Showbox at the Market BUY TICKETS
The brainchild of transplanted Midwesterner Jake Witt, Western Haunts first created an imagined Americana paradise through reverb-treated, shoegazing folk rock anthems. Recently the band has entered a darker period and, on its latest EP, The Ambassador, introduces driving psych to its lush arrangements.
Wednesday, 9 p.m., Barboza BUY TICKETS
Call it prog-rap: For most of its 15-year-career, Oakland hip-hop duo Zion I has incorporated drum ‘n’ bass, dubstep and other electronic forms into its music. According to MC Zumbi, the upcoming seventh album, Shadowboxing, is about “seeking awareness in the darkness of one’s own psyche.”
Saturday, 11:30 p.m., Showbox at the Market BUY TICKETS
SHOWS IN SECRET LOCATIONS
A recent addition to Seattle’s dance community, Israeli choreographer Danielle Agami releases her company of ten into a crowded public place to make us question the lines between “normal” movement, dance and performance, and how each exist in our daily lives.
Saturday, 8 p.m. BUY TICKETS
Utilizing marimba and voice, Erin Jorgensen creates a haunting aesthetic in a solo performance that explores space, visions and signs with a daring twist on Bach’s cello suites. (18+)
Friday, Saturday, 9:30 p.m. BUY TICKETS
Jesse Higman opens up his personal studio for you to come create a collaborative mineral-pour painting. Impressionist video of the event transforms every bit of the experience into art—the objects, the space, the painting and you. More on page 65.
Thursday, Friday, 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m. BUY TICKETS
Jose Bold and Friends
Jose Bold transforms the ordinary into the fantastic as he reveals the spirit house within an actual physical home, mixing together music and performance with a fleet of Seattle artists. (18+)
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 8:30 p.m. BUY TICKETS
This installation of Collision Theory, an expansive 12-month performance series, is a collaboration of Lingo Productions and Jill Donnelly to create a high-fashion party/spectacle involving live music, aesthetics and the concept of how we choose to present ourselves in the world. (21+)
Saturday, 7 p.m., 7:45 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9:15 p.m., 10 p.m. BUY TICKETS
Queen Shmooquan uses her interactive, multimedia performance style to present a live infomercialistic seminar, guaranteeing each audience member life changing inspiration and a free gift. (14+) More in Q&A.
Friday, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, 4:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. BUY TICKETS
Wes Andrews & ilvs strauss
Storytelling team Wesley K. Andrews and ilvs strauss want you to get comfortable in a furniture store with them and remember Seattle in 2005, from the changing landscape we shared to stories of youth and unrequited love. (14+)
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 7 p.m., Saturday, 1 p.m. BUY TICKETS
zoe | juniper
Using its stark and stunning combination of dance and projection, Seattle performance duo Zoe Scofield and Juniper Shuey transform a home into an environment to explore the complexities of family. (18+) More on page 62.
Friday, 7 p.m., 8 p.m. Saturday, 7 p.m., 8 p.m. BUY TICKETS
TOPOGRAPHIES OF SEATTLE
Let artists be your guide to the city’s public art, street art, buildings and history. See feature story.
Amidst the Everyday
As the popularity of urban exploration has skyrocketed, so have the finest photos of historic building, attics, basements and underground spaces. This self-guided tour by photographer Dan Hawkins and photographer/architect Aaron Asis reveals the city’s obsolete spaces in pictures at various venues, along with secret histories found in QR-coded birchwood by Cait Willis. See map on inside back cover.
Wednesday–Saturday, Various locations
Art Dash 4 Ca$h
It’s a bike race, scavenger hunt and art tour all at the same time! The art collective New Mystics leads teams of two or more cyclists on this 12-hour race to find and photograph public art and graffiti throughout Seattle. The race finishes at the festival’s closing party and all entry fees go directly to cash prizes.
Saturday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Lit Crawl Seattle: Where Literature Hits the Streets See feature story and Lit Crawl map.
Thursday, 5–11 p.m.
The Fifth Wall
Split Six & Lily Divine Productions’ 90-minute tours visit six locations, three of which are 21+, where local queer history was made. Tours by Eli Steffan, Pidgeon Von Tramp and EmpeROAR Fabulous reveal a heart-wrenching look into the unspoken past and glamour of Seattle’s queer life. Each locations features an interdisciplinary, fantastical performance. Sponsored in part by City of Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.
Friday, 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m.
Searching for Elliott Smith
Gil Reyes unauthorized documentary about Portland’s sad-eyed balladeer explores the artist’s life, his art and his untimely death. This, the Northwest premiere of the film, will include a live interview with the director and a tribute, featuring Telekinesis (solo), Josiah Johnson (The Head and the Heart), Cataldo, Lotte Kestner, Ben Fisher and more.
Saturday, 3 p.m., SIFF Cinema at the Uptown
Waxie Moon: Fallen Jewel
This musical comedy follows boylesque diva Waxie Moon in his search for true love in the Emerald City. Co-stars Sarah Rudinoff, Marya Sea Kaminski, John Osebold and a cast of 200+ (including Polly Wood, Inga Ingenue, Ernie Von Schmaltz, the Swedish Housewife, Lily Verlaine, Miss Indigo Blue, El Vez and Lou Henry Hoover) are lusciously costumed by Harmony Arnold and backed by a sensational original soundtrack.
Friday, 9:45 p.m., Pacific Place Cinema
CULTURE CLUB: The fest hub for performances, discussion, visual art, after parties and more. Click to download the complete schedule and map.
Visual Art After-Party, 10 p.m.
Genre Bender After-Party with Karaoke, 10 p.m.
5th Wall Tour and Waxie Moon: Fallen Jewel After-Party, 11:30 p.m.
Art Dash 4 Ca$h After Party with Trench Arts tape DJs, 9 p.m.
City Arts Rear Window
City Arts Rear Window is a seven-hour performance and live filmmaking project by choreographers Shannon Stewart and Jody Keuhner (The Collection Agency) and filmmaker Adam Sekuler, digesting and distorting ordinary images, sounds, and video crowd sourced and captured by City Arts patrons partaking in the Art Dash for Ca$h bicycle scavenger hunt.
Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Fictilis happy hour: Museum of favorite shirts
Everyone has a favorite shirt. Some of us have a favorite shirt that’s so well loved its been relegated to the bottom of the dresser, cherished but unwearable. Retire your favorite shirt with dignity! Pop-up installation group FICTILIS hosts the Museum of Favorite Shirts Happy Hour, wherein favorite shirts from people around the world will be displayed in all their threadbare, sentimental glory.
Friday, 5 p.m.
Food For Thought Cafe
Artist and NEPO House doyenne Klara Glosova and multi-media artist Rodrigo Valenzuela question tastes, values and choice by asking, “Do you know what you want?” Then, they’ll lead the way from vague desire to a concrete manifestation and—one can hope—fulfillment.
Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.– 8 p.m., Saturday, 11:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
Food & Tell, Creative Approaches to Food Security
This creative, multimedia conversation and panel presentation will address smart and fun ways local food advocates are approaching the issue of food security in our neighborhoods, including community efforts and DIY interventions, urban food forests, P-Patches, seed-saving, rogue art projects and more. Sponsored by Chipotle.
Saturday, 3 p.m.
Genre Bender Showcase
A food poem? A dance film? A performance art musical? Creative disciplines collide as pairs of artists work together to create genre-bending results. This year’s showcase features artist pairs Susan Robb and DK Pan; Kate Wallich and Meghann Sommer; Pol Rosenthal and Rosette Royale; Graham Downing and Anthony Sonnenberg; Paris Hurley and Jody Kuehner.
Thursday, 8 p.m.
Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology
Calling on portrayals in comics, television and film, pop-culture historian Jennifer K. Stuller leads a discussion of the female hero in modern mythology, the representation of women in media, and the role of women as makers of media.
In partnership with Humanities Washington.
Friday, 12 p.m.
Mapping Latino Musical Migrations
In this interactive experience, Antonio Davidson-Gómez leads participants in examining the diverse cultural exchange that happens through music, particularly through the migration and influence of traditional “Latin” styles in an array of popular American music, from hip-hop to country. In partnership with Humanities Washington.
Thursday, 12 p.m.
PDL Presents: Your Dreams Are Our Burden
Did you know the term “Happy Hour” takes its name from 19th-century German factory worker Adolphus Happy? Before he was killed in a mysterious outhouse fire, Happy (pronounced “ah-pay”) was famous for sneaking away from the matchstick assembly line to blow the quitting-time whistle before the usual 17-hour workday was over. We have him to thank—along with Seattle arts provocateurs Jason Puccinelli, Jed Dunkerley and Greg Lundgren, aka PDL—for this interactive evening of ersatz wish-fulfillment for these modern times.
Saturday, 5 p.m.
Political Cartooning: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Milt Priggee is concerned with the state of the political cartoon in an increasingly post-print world, and rightly so. In this lecture, he discusses the background and importance of the medium as well as what its evolution means. In partnership with Humanities Washington.
Saturday, 12 p.m.
Pop-Up Art Market
Local artisan goods from talismans and garments to literature and art will be for sale from a number of collectives, including &c. Jewelry, Craft & Culture, LxWxH, OBJECT, Paper Hammer and Tarboo.
Friday, Saturday, 11:30 a.m.–6 p.m.
The War Experience Project: Building Community and Communication Through Art
In an effort to foster civilian understanding of the stresses and ramifications of military service, Iraq war veteran Rick Lawson developed the War Experience Project, an arts program about how sometimes words don’t adequately bridge the gap between the experience of veterans and the rest of society. Lawson leads a presentation/discussion about art, social change and supporting our veteran populations, and a viewing opportunity of the painted uniforms from the War Experience Project.
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
VISUAL ART EXHIBITIONS & INSTALLATIONS
On view everyday.
Aaron & Jessixa Bagley
Aaron Bagley is known for his ubiquitous sketchbooks and pens; Jessixa Bagley for her drawings of hot dogs. The painter/printmaker/illustrator power duo live and create in a castle with their cat, and share their style through comic books, graphic novels and illustrations for every worthy regional publication.
Reception Wednesday, 6–8 p.m.
Allison Manch & Ian Young
Allison Manch makes exquisite and humorous hand embroidery. From stitching steer horns to the pocket of designer jeans to embellishing hankies with scorpions, song lyrics and slang, a thread of vitality runs through all of her work. Author/artist Ian Young spontaneously composes intriguing narratives in unexpected places.
Reception Wednesday, 6–8 p.m.
Sort of a badass, Ashleigh Rauen is not only a skilled printmaker and illustrator of subversively brain- and eyeball-pleasing imagery for the ever-evolving subterranean art scene, she’s also a horse trainer and professional equestrian. Her work as Gift Horse Liberation Front combines interests and inspirations to take off at a full gallop.
Reception Wednesday, 6–8 p.m.
In applying her unique palette and sensibility to playful sculpture and installations, multi-media artist Julie Alpert’s body of work casts a scintillating shadow. She excels in variations on a theme, connecting universal ideas through the magic of altered and mystery objects. Alpert also dances as a taco in the fitness-positive performance art band the Bran Flakes.
Reception Wednesday, 6–8 p.m.
Lindsey Apodaca & MKNZ
Obsessive creative Lindsey Apodaca serves pop culture’s head on a plate with her assemblages, drawings and installations. Painter and tattoo artist MKNZ explores the complexities of sex and violence in her work while researching and practicing traditional hand-poked tattoo methods. Their collaboration should be nearly combustible.
Reception Wednesday, 6–8 p.m.
Maggie Carson Romano
On an outdoor art walk this summer, Maggie Carson Romano’s “Slam” involved a houseless door opening and closing itself via a pair of fans. It wavered in an overgrown lawn, shaded by afternoon light, like a perpetual suggestion and answer. Romano’s photography, video and installations study the physicality of memory and its connection to sensitivity and response.
Reception Wednesday, 6–8 p.m.