The Short List: This Week's Recommended Shows

From Willie Nelson to The Divorce.

The Coathangers/Wednesday, July 27 The Coathangers' initial hook was that they were like an all-girl Black Lips: a brash, bratty garage-rock band sprung from a sweltering hot Atlanta house-party scene. The Black Lips have gone on to blow up, cause ruckus everywhere from India to the West Indies, and finally settle down with Mark Ronson to make a polished pop try at the charts. If the Coathangers were following that path, now would be their time to make a play at bigger mainstream success. Instead, the band has kept things more or less basement-level on new album Larceny and Old Lace (out on stalwart local indie label Suicide Squeeze rather than, say, Vice), sticking to the caterwauling and crassness that made them something to reckon with in the first place. Tonight, they're supported by an impeccable bunch of Seattle acts: goth industrialists Crypts, dance-party no-wavers Stickers, and the free-jazz mushroom freak-out that is WaMü. Comet Tavern, 922 E. Pike St., 323-9853. 9 p.m. $8. ERIC GRANDY RX Bandits/Wednesday, July 27 After garnering a cult-like following during the '90s' third wave of ska—alongside bands like No Doubt, Reel Big Fish, and Save Ferris—Orange County, Calif., four-piece RX Bandits has spent 16 years touring and maturing its sound. However, the band's 2011 summer tour will be its last. "To clarify, we're not breaking up," guitarist Steve Choi told Playmaker magazine in June. "We're just doing our last tour. What we're gonna do in the future, we're not quite sure." Though the former ska band dropped the horns in favor of a rockier sound in 2009's Mandala, flavors of prog-rock and punk make the album a logical next step. The plus side? An "indefinite hiatus" opens the doors for new side projects and well-deserved family time. With Maps & Atlases, Zechs Marquise. El Corazon, 109 Eastlake Ave. E., 381-3094. 7:30 p.m. $15 adv./$18 DOS. All ages. JOE WILLIAMS Red Bull Emsee/Thursday, July 28 Do you find pleasure in the vulgar degradation of complete strangers? Who doesn't? A close relative of the discontinued Red Bull Big Tune beat battles, the traveling Red Bull Emsee rap battle invites the finest improv lyricists from each of its eight tour stops to sling some serious mud onstage, vying for a spot in the finals in Atlanta and potentially a studio session with a high-profile mystery producer (last year's winner was paired with Alchemist). In addition to their head-to-head battles, each lyricist will be forced to freestyle to visual cues and words text-messaged by the audience. This year's Seattle crop is an inviting mix of seasoned veterans and young victims: Illmaculate, 9dm, Krue, Mic Phenom, Billy the Fridge, Bishop I, Justice, and KI Design. Hosted by Bun B; judged by Too $hort, Crooked I, and Casual. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 9 p.m. $8. TODD HAMM Brandi Carlile/Friday, July 29 It wasn't long ago that Brandi Carlile was opening for the Indigo Girls at a sold-out Woodland Park Zoo show. This year, headliner Carlile's July ZooTunes date sold out so quickly that an August show (also sold out) had to be added, while tickets for a pair of Indigo Girls gigs at the same venue last week remained available until showtime. So what's this rapid turn of events mean for these two formidable lesbian folk-rock acts? Could there be a hint of superficiality at play here? Take a gander at Carlile. Now eyeball the Indigo Girls. No matter how crunchy the community, looks matter. And the comely Carlile's got talent to match, even if her sound is relatively straightforward. With Ivan & Alyosha. Woodland Park Zoo, 601 N. 59th St., 548-2500. 6 p.m. Sold out. All ages. MIKE SEELY Editor's Pick* The Divorce/Saturday, July 30 The Divorce called it quits in 2007, with its four members (Shane Berry, Jimmy Curran, Garrett Lunceford, Kyle Risan) subsequently moving on to other projects. But Divorce die-hards can finally stop their rallying cries for a reunion—it's happening tonight, four years and one month to the day after their last show (and at the same venue). If you never got into the Divorce's bombastic pop-rock back in the day, it's still not too late—if you hit up, you can download 2005's The Gifted Program and 2007's In Arms (only recently mastered and released) for free. (You'll have to dig deeper to get a copy of their fantastic 2003 debut, There Will Be Blood Tonight, but it's worth the effort). Of course, the big question on everybody's mind is if this reunion is just a one-off or something more—Berry now lives in San Francisco, which makes an actual full-on reunion a little improbable, but stranger things have happened. With Viper Creek Club, Birds & Batteries. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $10. ERIN K. THOMPSON Matisyahu/Saturday, July 30 An American Hasidic Jew, Matthew Paul Miller—better known by his stage name Matisyahu—captured the reggae world in 2004 with the release of Shake Off the Dust . . . Arise. The record's intricate blend of reggae, hip-hop, and rock earned him the title of Billboard's Top Reggae Artist in 2006. This February, Matisyahu released Live at Stubb's, Vol. 2, the much-anticipated sequel to his 2005 debut live album Live at Stubb's, which featured a standout performance of his top single "King Without a Crown." Matisyahu's impeccable beat-boxing skills, mixed with his head-bobbing reggae soul and devoutly religious lyrics, have made him a highly sought-after live musician. His refusal to perform on Fridays (except for one special occasion in Alaska) is the cherry on top for a man who propels himself on faith and love, not media expectations. With Tea Leaf Green. Neptune, 1303 N.E. 45th St., 781-5755. 9 p.m. $25.50. All ages. JOE WILLIAMS Willie Nelson/Saturday, July 30 Forget medicinal reasoning and tax revenues: The best thing the pro-legalization movement has going for it is that in the American subconscious, it is synonymous with the long red braids of Mr. Willie Nelson. Uncle Willie, with his impossible-not-to-love music and gracious spirit, is the bleary-eyed icon of all things good (creative, mellow, peaceful energy) and bad ("Fuck it, I'll call my accountant tomorrow") of pot culture. Despite his age and the '70s, he's outlived most of the other outlaws, and still continuously challenges Texas law enforcement by blazing outside the Austin city limits. They can keep busting him, but Willie is still Willie. If all stoners held that kind of conviction, would we still be talking about this? Snoqualmie Casino, 37500 S.E. North Bend Way, Snoqualmie, 425-888-1234. 6 p.m. $40–$195. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR Iceage/Sunday, July 31 Iceage are like the Odd Future Wolf Gang of 2011 Scandinavian punk/hardcore. No, hear me out: They're a gang of teenagers, they're notorious for acts of juvenile aggression at their shows which they studiously document on their own blog, and they'll be making their live debut in America amid a swirl of hype largely generated by people who are sharing their album over the Internet. But in-the-pit violence aside, Iceage shocks more with music than with their antics (or lyrics). Their debut, New Brigade, is a bomb blast of an LP—a "long player" that blows by in 24 minutes—a flurry of crossed, searing guitar lines, rollicking bass, and martial drum rolls, all led by guitarist/vocalist Elias Bender Rønnenfelt's surprisingly deep and emotive singing—like Ian Curtis if things had continued more in the Warsaw vein than they did. Expect tonight to be a bloody good time— literally. With Cult of Youth, Grave Babies, King Dude. Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-7416. 8 p.m. $10. ERIC GRANDY Queens of the Stone Age/Sunday, July 31 I realized the other day that I'm the biggest Queens of the Stone Age fan I know. This is a strange realization, but apparently I have a whole pack of new, like-minded friends to make, because tonight's show sold out in a matter of hours. When Queens of the Stone Age played the Showbox in support of 2002's Songs for the Deaf, it was the sort of performance that you just know will be burned on your internal hard drive for life. If Josh Homme's seminal brand of pop-flecked, towering stoner rock tickles your sweet spots, beg or borrow (can't endorse stealing) your way in, because this is the perfect venue for one of this country's most consistently stunning live bands. With Le Butcherettes. Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151. 7 p.m. Sold out. All ages. HANNAH LEVIN Fruit Bats/Tuesday, August 2 The most recent Fruit Bats record, The Ruminant Band, was bursting at the seams with more sunshine than the past two Seattle summers have been able to muster. But for Tripper, out today, singer Eric Johnson's time in the studio was mostly solitary, making a loose concept record about taking some On the Road-esque journeys with a shifty drifter character, Tony the Tripper, whom Johnson met on a train 10 years ago. The resulting record finds the main character and the band venturing out of the prior routine and into uncharted territory; less-obvious elements of the Fruit Bats' sound slowly creep out from corners and into the spotlight. While the band's polished, pristine pop backbone is still firmly in place, Tripper pushes out of previously familiar song structures, yielding moments of melancholy, minor-key weirdness, with Johnson's Prince-esque falsetto atop songs that blend front-porch folk with sultry summer soul for a truly unpredictable, colorful listen. Easy Street Records, 20 Mercer St., 691-3279. 7 p.m. Free. All ages. GREGORY FRANKLIN

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