REVERB Lineup: Tractor Tavern

The Maldives, Widower, Fences, and more.

4:00 p.m. ~ Hallways  Not all twangy Northwestern bands have to contain banjos and fiddles to be authentic. Sure, the ones that call themselves bona fide Americana might consider it, but a band like Hallways, more an indie-rock band with a hint of Appalachia, is better off exploring what it means to mix Seattle and Nashville without making it sound forced. What Hallways does well is create love songs that romantic couples and exes can relate to almost equally. They touch upon the raw emotions of love and heartache in a way that the No Depression set can dig without isolating the more indie-minded rockers across the city. JONATHAN CUNNINGHAM5:00 p.m. ~ Southside  This collective proclaims themselves "drunk-trucker garage hop," an apt description which may or may not offend some drunk truckers. Punchy and proudly grimy, Southside comes off lyrically clever and crass, with slow punk percussion and playful brass licks. "Running Low," from their most recent album Liquors, is rife with distortion, computer-generated claps, and low self-standards; its hook "I'm running low like Patrick Swayze" should now carry particular significance. It's party rap for that one wasted white dude in the corner at the party, and their music promises a rowdy performance. HOLLIS WONG-WEAR6:00 p.m. ~ Brent Amaker and the Rodeo  See feature.7:00 p.m. ~ The Raggedy Anns  Old-world troubadours defying Seattle's concrete reality with down-home, gypsy-tinged folk rock that makes you want to pick flowers, float down a river, or engage in other nostalgic activities with joyful irreverence. On their self-titled album, released this year, frontman Tom Beecham channels early Paul McCartney, especially on up-tempo songs like "Unlucky in Love" and "Better Days," floating harmonies over toe-tapping guitar licks, thumping stand-up basslines, and the occasional violin and trumpet. HOLLIS WONG-WEAR8:00 p.m. ~ Fences  Berklee-trained Christopher Mansfield is the heart of Fences, and his sparse acoustic-folk compositions weave those beautifully bleak soundscapes that we wallowing Pacific Northwesterners know all too well. With lyrics full of bruises and tender ultimatums, the sophistication and pervasive sadness of Mansfield's songs are reminiscent of Elliott Smith's. The good news is that Mansfield completed rehabilitation for alcoholism in April and is now sober, which means that while his music may still be shrouded in melancholy, Fences will persevere and continue to explore the tortured eeriness within. HOLLIS WONG-WEAR9:00 p.m. ~ Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme  They'll make you move your body despite your best attempts to resist, because these guys put on one of the best live shows in Seattle. Frontman Gravy—who soulfully sings and saunters with surprising magnetism—heads an 11-piece group that delivers rock-solid funk with a Northwest quirkiness, performing both original material from Us Is What Time It Is, released this past spring, as well as Motown favorites and the inevitable freewheelin' jam sessions. The band sold the hell out of the Tractor for their May album-release party, and this is a good time to catch them in their Ballard element: You'll be impressed. HOLLIS WONG-WEAR10:00 p.m. ~ Widower  This country band, fronted by Kevin Large and Heather Gowan, shares several members with the Maldives—Chris Zasche, Tim Gadbois, Ryan McMackin—but Widower's music runs more toward the Wilco/post-Whiskeytown-Ryan Adams end of the country-music spectrum than the Maldives' twangier tendencies. Were Widower to stick around and put out a full-length album or two (all the band's released so far is an EP), and with a little more time and polish, the band could surely find itself enjoying as much popularity as the Maldives.SARA BRICKNER11:00 p.m. ~ The Staxx Brothers  This eight-piece collective of brassy vocalists and a tight electric jam band aims to channel "hard-ass" soul into today. The band is anchored by "DP Staxx," Davin Michael Stedman, who croons competently and leads the group in rich, layered harmonies on songs like "Oh Carolina." Their most recent release, We Are the Blaxstonz, sees the Staxx Brothers entertaining the motifs of black culture to distastefully caricatured ends; while MC "DC Staxx" Decurrian—notably, the group's only black member—flows confidently and consistently over the band's big, punching sound, the Staxx Brothers are far better when not assuming personas, as evidenced on the solid and more sincere "Keep the Motor Running." HOLLIS WONG-WEARMidnight ~ The Maldives  "Goodbye. I've got this feeling down in my soul." That's all the words there are in country band the Maldives' aptly titled "Goodbye." Nine total—10 if you're picky and count the contraction. This skin-and-bones approach is one thing that separates Jason Dodson from so many other songwriters, alt-country or otherwise. It's an aesthetic more akin to After the Gold Rush–era Neil Young than to Robbie Robertson and the Band, to whom the Maldives are frequently compared. Hairsplitting aside, the simplicity and lyrical weight of Dodson's writing will at one time or another sink into your subconscious, only to bubble up when you least expect it. ERIK NEUMANN

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