Gretchen Wilson

Also: The Lashes, Siouxsie.


Puyallup Fairgrounds, 110 Ninth Ave. S.W., Puyallup, 206-628-0888, with Brooks & Dunn at 7 p.m.

Thurs., Sept. 23. $39.50–$44.50.

Like most extremely great singles, "Redneck Woman," from Gretchen Wilson's debut, Here for the Party (Epic), has become a sociological phenomenon by default—any song that inspires as many instantaneous sing-alongs as this one has a way of doing that. How many sing-alongs is that, you may ask? Without a spreadsheet in front of me, I'd wager one for every time it's played, minus the first time anyone smart enough to let its hooks blitzkrieg their skepticism hears it. After all, Wilson may know all the words to every Tanya Tucker song, but this one impels you to memorize the chorus as soon as humanly possible so that you, too, can scream, "Hell, yeah!" at the end of it. Who on earth could blame you? Still, what makes Party into a party isn't just the hooks, which are everywhere and God knows they put Wilson across. It's that Wilson is the best vocalist to come along this year in any category. Anyone can holler, "I wear my jeans a little tight just to watch the boys come undone" ("Here for the Party") and get a response, but the second verse of the honky-tonk tearjerker "When I Think About Cheatin'" is every bit as rousing. Its subject: breaking up a slow dance out of loyalty to the guy at home. She's equally vivid recalling giving Jesus her life at age 8 on "Chariot" or declaring, "I'm the biggest thing that came from my hometown," on "Pocahontas Proud." I can't wait to sing along with them on the radio, too. MICHAELANGELO MATOS


White River Amphitheatre, 40601 Auburn Enumclaw Rd., Auburn, 206-628-0888, with Muse, Violent Femmes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Echo & the Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs, Franz Ferdinand, X, Metric, Presidents of the United States of America, Schoolyard Heroes, Super Deluxe, Idiot Pilot, Leuko, and Harvey Danger at 2 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 25. $10.77–$37.

Who watches Capitol Hill while the Lashes are on tour? If anyone has gone unthanked on the backsplash of The Stupid Stupid, the band's EP debut on Lookout!, they've moved to Portland. Maybe yours truly, but I live in Minneapolis. There are dubious odes to alt-weekly music-gossip fare in the form of "Death by Mixtape" and "It's Your Party" (which shared a 7-inch last year, ceremoniously enough). Both are good and fine, but it's "Ex-mas (Young in Love)," with its ring-a-ding new-wave keyboards and boys-meet-shoes jangle guitars, that should be at the top of everyone's iPod playlist. Of course, The Stupid Stupid doesn't reinvent the power chord any more than it sells hair products (well, maybe a Diesel campaign . . . ). It just adds a little spit-shine to the scuffs of old-school power pop with flashier production: She loves me, she loves me not/I'm drinking alone/ Hey baby, can I give you my number?/Why doesn't she love me? Or, even more succinctly, "All it's gonna take is just another pop song to make everything OK" ("Pop Song")—as if Love Potion No. 9 is just a can of PBR and there's nothing more complex to ponder than a date for Saturday night. KATE SILVER


Showbox at 8 p.m.

Sun., Sept. 26. $27.50 adv/$30.

Sometimes wish fulfillment plays out perfectly. In Mark Paytress's excellent oral history of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Siouxsie said of herself when younger: "I enjoyed being the freak in a middle-class suburb." It's a fly-in-the-ointment role that in some ways she's perfected for nearly 30 years in and out of the Banshees, creating an absolutely iconic image via a totemic voice and a crackerjack series of singles that should only be called "goth" by limiting default. After putting the Banshees firmly to bed with a one-off reunion tour in 2002, she and musical and personal partner Budgie (the Banshees' drummer) continued together as the Creatures with numerous dramatic albums. Their latest album, Hai! (Instinct), a collaboration with famed Japanese taiko drummer Leonard Eto, is a monster of a release, with rolling, stomping drum jams providing the bed for her still-powerful voice. For this American tour, however, she'll be working with both the Eto/Budgie drum team and late-period Banshees guitarist Knox Chandler to perform songs from both her main bands, the first time she's done such a combination. Reports from earlier in the tour indicate that the show will unsurprisingly be focused more on the Creatures, but songs like "Christine" and "Happy House" will likely make welcome appearances. NED RAGGETT

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