Summer Guide Music Calendar: Shows and Escapes

A selection of the season’s recommended concerts.

JUNE10–14 NOISE FOR THE NEEDY This annual concert series benefits a handful of charitable organizations from the Red Cross Family Relief Fund to the Vera Project, just so that you can feel good about rocking out. Headliners this year are the Constantines, Art Brut, Grand Archives, and 1990s. Various venues, various prices, THE LEMONHEADS Last time Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando was due to play the Tractor, in 2005, he pulled a no-show. As the story goes, he actually called the club well after he was supposed to have taken the stage, claiming he'd "overslept." How brave, then, for the Tractor to give Dando another shot. If he shows up this time, fans can expect a wonderful rendition of Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" off the band's eclectic new cover album, Varshons, which features supermodel Kate Moss singing lead vocals on "Dirty Robot." Tractor Tavern, $18–$20.12 NO AGE As part of SIFF's "Face the Music" series, the innovative rock band will perform an original score to Jacques Annaud's Césár, the Bear. Triple Door, $20 adv./$22 DOS.13 RENAISSANCE SINGERS To Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, the human voice is an instrument. And he plays it accordingly, from achingly sustained sounds to chandelier-shaking climaxes. Singing Pärt takes stamina, and the young Renaissance Singers are just the people to pull it off. This is not your sister's voice recital. Trinity Parish Church, $17.17 THE B-52S To kick off a summer chock-full of New Wave concerts, the B-52s will bring the timeless jams—"Rock Lobster," "Love Shack"—which have proven to be a foolproof way to get the party started (and keep it going all night) since 1979. Woodland Park Zoo, $27.20 KHINGZ Seattle hip-hop is better off for having an artist like Khingz contributing to the local scene. The Afro-avant-garde MC worked tirelessly alongside Gabriel Teodros in the group Abyssinian Creole for years before striking out to pursue his solo career. With his latest release, From Slaveships to Spaceships, Khingz establishes himself as a thinking man's MC, crafting lyrics so poignant and vivid that catching him live is a must. Chop Suey, $10 adv./12 DOS.20–21 FREMONT FAIR To hear it from Capitol Hill snobs, it's not cool to hang out with hippies in Fremont, but we say to hell with it: We'd rather celebrate the solstice with fun-loving, stoned hippies than get elbowed and vomited on by drunk, sour-faced hipsters any day of the week. Expect fun bands and lots of crunchy granola baubles—and if you're really lucky, some generous dude will share his joint with you. It's all about love, man. Free.21 THE WALLFLOWERS The Wallflowers hit Seattle a week after they release their hits/rarities package Collected, bringing to mind this question: Why not just re-release Bringing Down the Horse with a few B-sides? Aside from a few tracks on the follow-up, Breach, I've passed on everything they've done since their 1996 breakthrough. But Horse—razor-sharp pop music for old people—has been in high rotation ever since. And hearing Jakob Dylan and company dust off a few old ones in their most intimate Seattle date in years is enough to get my ass out of the house on a Sunday afternoon. Showbox at the Market, $22 adv./$24 DOS.21 ZAP MAMA The women of French-African band Zap Mama specialize in their own stylized blend of hip-hop and African tribal music, which serves as a gentle reminder that without the essential influence of African folk music (and Latin, and Carribean—you get the idea), hip-hop would not exist. By far one of the most fun live shows you'll see this summer. Triple Door, $35.23 RODRIGUEZ Tracked and mixed in late 1969, Sixto Diaz Rodriguez's Cold Fact was a complex, intellectual folk record with splashes of psychedelia that slowly garnered an underground following. The Detroit native is now enjoying a fresh wave of popularity in the wake of local label Light in the Attic's reissue of Cold Fact and his sophomore effort, Coming From Reality. This will be his first Seattle show ever, so get tickets early. Triple Door, $20 adv./$23 DOS.24 DAVID BYRNE Whether he's running around in a tutu or making co-lab bangers with anti-dance duo N.A.S.A., you can always count on the eccentric Talking Heads genius to rocket past your wildest expectations. The Paramount, $45.26—July 5 VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL Sonny Rollins is the mega-headliner this year (performing June 29), but the real draws for serious listeners are the many avant groups and Euro imports who annually make this one of the most progressive jazz events in North America. Various venues in Vancouver, B.C.; Various prices.27—Sept. 6 OLYMPIC MUSIC FESTIVAL The programming couldn't be more conservative, but the setting is charming, with seating inside a barn (on hay bales) or outside on the lawn. Quilcene, Wash., $12–$30.28 THE ESOTERICS Any choir can rip out Mozart's Requiem. It takes a special group to pull off the surreal and elegant a cappella madrigals of Romanian composer Paul Constantinescu. This is that choir. St. Joseph's Catholic Church, $10–$18.29 KING SUNNY ADÉ While most people are familiar with Afrobeat lions like Tony Allen, Fela Kuti, and Orlando Julius, Nigerian juju legend King Sunny Adé's name still doesn't draw the attention from mainstream audiences that it should. And that's a shame, because at the height of his popularity in the 1980s, Adé was arguably more popular within Nigeria than all three other names combined. His guitar-heavy style of upbeat afro-pop helped him explode into the world-music scene, and makes him a revered touring act around the globe to this day. Triple Door, $25.30 DICK DALE To hear Dick Dale tell it, he, not the Beach Boys, invented the genre, and the only reason reason they and not he became surf-rock poster children is because he was unwilling to leave his beloved California coast (and its legendary waves) to tour. True or not, nobody's about to dispute that the guy's a guitar virtuoso who should be credited as a pioneer of surf rock right alongside his onetime rivals. Triple Door, $29 adv./$33 DOS.JULY3 DURAN DURAN It's officially the summer of '80s synth-pop comeback tours: Duran Duran ("Hungry Like the Wolf") appears at Marymoor Park one month before their contemporaries Depeche Mode, who are playing a much bigger venue than Duran². Then again, at least the latter's not doing anything silly like trying to recreate their former glory by making self-derivative new records. (Oh, wait. Never mind.) Marymoor Park. $49.50–$79.50.3 JASON WEBLEY Don't you listen to Outkast and think "Someone should cover this on accordion and get the audience to sing along like sailors going to their death at sea?" It's folk-pop whimsy at a fraction of the cost of Flaming Lips tickets. Town Hall, All ages. $11.6—Aug. 14 SEATTLE CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY A lavish feast of 18 concerts, including a commissioned premiere (by Christopher Theofanidis, July 13). Lakeside School & Overlake School, Redmond, Single tickets $16–$42.7 AMERICAN IDOLS LIVE Adam Lambert is the love child of Freddie Mercury and Elvis. The smoldering glam rocker takes the stage tonight, along with the nine other finalists whose asses he whooped. Tacoma Dome, $38.50–$67.50.7 NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK The '90s boy band is back with more saccharine-sweet songs and pelvic gyrations. They may be in their late 30s and have kids, but the boys—especially Joey—are still dreamy as ever. White River Amphitheatre, $25.50–$85.50.7 THE ROUND 50 Traditionally held at the Fremont Abbey Arts Center, the Round is an artistic mashup that throws three musicians together onstage to play in a round-robin fashion with a backing band that may or may not have heard the songs before, a spoken-word artist, and a visual artist who works as the band plays. Usually the artists performing are up-and-coming musicians, but this special Round features local favorites Damien Jurado, Jesse Sykes, and John Roderick, among others. Triple Door, $12 adv./$15 DOS.9–11 DISTANT WORLDS: THE MUSIC OF FINAL FANTASY The Seattle Symphony plays the music of Final Fantasy. Classical music, meet video-game music. Video-game nerds, meet classical-music nerds. Plus, superdork bonus: The composer will be in attendance! Benaroya Hall, $25–$85.10–12 WEST SEATTLE SUMMERFEST Last year's Summerfest brought some of Seattle's best bands, from the Saturday Knights to the Lonely Forest, out to party on the humble peninsula. But the festival's not just for Westside residents—think of a more laid-back, less hipster-clogged, locals-only version of Block Party. West Seattle, Free.11 NO DEPRESSION FESTIVAL Named in honor of the esteemed roots publication, the first annual No Depression Festival packs a dream team of local and national Americana artists into one day, with folk-music legend Gillian Welch and Sub Pop folkster Iron & Wine topping the all-star roster. Marymoor Park, $45.12 THOMAS MAPFUMO This Zimbabwean music legend is perhaps best known for his political-minded 1989 album, Corruption, and his consistent fight against government greed in his own homeland. His songs galvanized all of Zimbabwe throughout the '80s, and he was seen by many as the Bob Marley of southern Africa (admittedly a lofty claim). His politically charged songs were so strong that government forces continuously harassed Mapfumo until he moved to Oregon a decade ago. Triple Door, $20 adv./$22 DOS.12 STEVE MILLER BAND When Steve Miller played Bumbershoot a couple of years back, he had one of the black guys in his band rap a verse of "Fly Like an Eagle" and played a grating five-song run of blues covers. Despite such godawful ploys, the San Juan Islander eventually got around to doing what he does best: He played "Jet Airliner," then didn't take his foot off the Greatest Hits gas until the encore was over. Dismiss him as a faux-psychedelic cheesemonger at your peril; it's hard to find an artist who appeals to multiple generations like the Gangster of Love. Chateau Ste. Michelle, $49–$89.17 THE DECEMBERISTS The Decemberists tour this summer to promote their new The Hazards of Love, a linear, narrative album about two star-crossed lovers. First the band will perform it in its entirety—think an indie-pop Romeo and Juliet—but fans who liked their first few records better will get theirs during the show's second half, which will be devoted to older material. Marymoor Park, $35.18–19 DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE Death Cab for Cutie's come a long way since We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes first caught our attention, but the now-internationally renowned band still writes high-caliber pop songs that hold sway over all those fans who'll never tire of Ben Gibbard's earnest charm. Marymoor Park, $35.22 SON VOLT There are just eight words in "Slow Hearse," the cinematic opener to Son Volt's 2006 release The Search. Is it an uneven record? Sure. Had it been boiled down to its strengths and released as an EP, would we all consider it an alt-country classic? Probably. But "Feels like driving 'round in a slow hearse" is easily enough to get you into this dusty excuse for summer. Woodland Park Zoo, $22.26 THE INDIGO GIRLS Ever wonder why the Indigo Girls play the Seattle area so often? At their May gig at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, that question was answered: Amy Ray's girlfriend lives here. Add pussy to the equation, and the veteran Girls (Ray and her more melodically gifted partner, Emily Saliers) are here, like, every third month. Thankfully for their loyal legion of folkie fans, they're as sharp as ever onstage. Woodland Park Zoo, $24. SOLD OUT.28 JONAS BROTHERS Thousands of screaming girls (and boys) will flock to see the babe-licious brothers play their infectious pop-rock tunes. If only they'd get rid of those damn purity rings... Jordin Sparks opens. Tacoma Dome, $29.50–$89.50.31—Aug. 2 PICKATHON As the foremost Northwest roots festival of record, Portland's Pickathon always boasts a stellar lineup that stretches the boundaries of country music. It's a little spendy, but you get what you pay for: This year's headliners include folk warbler Laura Gibson, Philly alt-country outfit Dr. Dog, Blitzen Trapper, John Doe and the Sadies, and a whole passel of others. Pendarvis Farm, near Portland, $70 per day/$120 all three days.AUGUST7–8 PHISH A simplistic view of Phish is to write them off as a prep-school descendant of the Grateful Dead, all aimless noodling and mood music for mushroom-chompers. But really, they're quite different animals. Yes, Phish plays songs that last half an hour, especially live. But the Dead's improvisational explorations are slower and more influenced by Americana; Phish's are jazzier, more adventurous, and, frankly, better. The Dead holds a distinct advantage in terms of lyrical competence, so all things considered, they fight to a draw. The Gorge Amphitheater, $49.50.9–30 SEATTLE OPERA Their quadrennial production of Wagner's Ring of the Nibelungs draws fans from around the world for 18 hours (four operas) of giants, dragons, magic helmets, and dysfunctional family drama. McCaw Hall, Seattle Center, $302–$1508.10 DEPECHE MODE Like most everyone else, you don't care what Depeche Mode has done in the past 10 years. You just want to witness the iconic '80s legends sing the hits. But brace yourselves, because the band's got a new album, Sounds of the Universe, that'll probably eat up a good chunk of their set. It's a perfectly acceptable album, but it's OK to admit that you, like everyone else, just came for "Personal Jesus." KeyArena, $37.50–$77.50.23 ELVIS COSTELLO "Peace, Love, and Understanding" aside, Elvis Costello (real name: Declan MacManus) is a true songwriting chameleon. The classic angry nerd whose masturbation references are so clever you don't even mind the crudeness, anything Costello touches—even that grandpappy elevator-music compilation with Burt Bacharach—turns to pure pop gold. Chateau Ste. Michelle, $40–$65.27–30 THE MALDIVES Seattle darlings the Maldives play old-timey music that resonates with everyone from the wee bairns to your grizzled old grandpa, and this three-day celebration commemorates the release of their first full-length record on esteemed local DIY label Mt. Fuji. It's called Listen to the Thunder, and if it's anything like the Maldives' previous recordings, it'll be lauded by music critics as one of the best local releases of 2009. Tractor Tavern, $10.28–29 THE SUBDUED STRINGBAND JAMBOREE This homegrown roots-music festival offers a laid-back, wallet-friendly alternative to Pickathon that showcases some of the Northwest's best up-and-coming local roots, country, rockabilly, and bluegrass bands for a third of what a ticket to one day of Pickathon would run you. Deming Log Show Fairgrounds, near Bellingham, $30 adv./$40 DOS.30 AC/DC Who's got big balls? You do. Leave your skinny jeans and sense of irony at home and just rock the fuck out in Tacoma tonight. Tacoma Dome, $89.50.SEPTEMBER5–7 BUMBERSHOOT Seattle's biggest, baddest music and arts festival returns. While some of this year's headliners—All-American Rejects, Michael Franti, and (ugh!) Katy Perry—blow large, smelly chunks, Franz Ferdinand, Os Mutantes, De La Soul, Isobel Campbell, Mark Lanegan, and Raphael Saadiq will be worth enduring the hordes of tweenage Katy fans. Seattle Center, Prices

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