Friday, January 2
There’s no reason why Big Ass Boombox attendees shouldn’t walk away from the two-day fest with at least one new musician and/or writer to tell their friends about. Spread across three venues (two of which are all-ages), the event features an eclectic lineup of homegrown talent, either music or literary, and is free. Representing the city’s wide array of musicians are acts like Ever So Android, the Hoot Hoots, Detective Agency, iji, Trees and Timber, Yonder, Wind Burial, Werebearcat, Fruit Juice, Jigsaw Puzzle Glue, and GreenhornBluehorn. Readers include Spike Friedman, Piper Daniels, Connie Jenson, Matt Muth, Lillian Ruth Nickerson, Montreux Rotholtz, and more. Through Saturday. The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-4618, thecrocodile.com. 7 p.m. Free. All ages. The Upstairs, 2209 Second Ave., 441-4013, theupstairsseattle.com. 21 and over. 2312 Gallery, 2312 Second Ave., 2312seattle.tumblr.com. All ages.
Before it shares the Big Ass Boombox stage with other local talent on Saturday, Branden Daniel & the Chics will kick off the weekend with a show of its own. The psych-rock trio (vocalist/bassist Daniel, drummer Matt Winter, and Nate Kruz on keys) has gone through a few lineup and stylistic changes over the years, but it seems to have settled into its groove with the release of the two-song EP In Light. Daniel’s Bowie-like vocals fit its spacey ‘60s rock well. With Signal Flags, the Snakebites. High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., 632-0212, highdiveseattle.com. 9:30 p.m. $8. 21 and over.
Sharper Tool; Bigger Weapon, the latest from rapper RA Scion, aka Ryan Abeo, half of hip-hop duo Common Market, is a long time coming. The album began as The Sickle & the Sword, a project with producer Rodney Hazard, which was released in November 2013. Shortly thereafter, a dispute over an unsigned contract forced Scion to stop selling the album. The rapper then reached out to producer Vox Mod to re-release the album as Sharper Tool; Bigger Weapon in March. Despite the delay, the album hits as hard as one would expect from a Scion release. Appearances from the likes of DJ Indica Jones, Blake Lewis, and Romaro Franceswa only add to the intensity. With Slightly Flagrant, L. Hammond, Jesse James, Ill Writers Guild, Magesty. Nectar Lounge, 412 N. 36th St., 632-2020. 8 p.m. $8 adv./$12 DOS. 21 and over.
Bruce Springsteen is as American as apple pie. Throughout the New Jersey native’s career, he’s written songs that bring awareness to the plight of the blue-collar worker, but his critique of the struggles soldiers face upon returning home from war, the anthemic “Born in the U.S.A.,” solidified his status as a working-class hero in the ’80s. OK, that album cover of him in jeans in front of the American flag probably helped, too. At this Bruce Springsteen Tribute Night, Country Lips, Duke Evers, Mikey and Matty, Silver Torches, Ephrata, and American Island will bring some of the Boss’s biggest hits to life. Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., 709-9442, neumos.com. 8 p.m. $5 adv. 21 and over.
After more than 20 years together, it would be easy for any band to release a greatest-hits collection and call it a day. But Boise-based indie-rock quintet Built to Spill is still interested in seeing how it can grow as a band. After more than three years of writing and recording, the group released its seventh full-length, There Is No Enemy, in 2009. The album is not completely unexpected from the indie-rock vets, but with it, the band continues to experiment with flourishes like the slide guitar on “Nowhere Lullaby” and the punk drive of a song like “Pat.” The Showbox, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151, showboxpresents.com. With Brett Netson & Snakes, the Delusions. Through Saturday. 9 p.m. $25 adv./$30 DOS. All ages; Saturday’s show is 21 and over.
Gin Blossoms peaked well before it reached its full potential. The pop-rock band’s 1992 breakthrough, New Miserable Experience, produced several singles (“Hey Jealousy,” “Found Out About You,” and “Allison Road”), but the group’s original lead guitarist’s alcoholism and eventual suicide put a hold on the band’s momentum. Its third album, Congratulations I’m Sorry, featured the hit “Follow You Down,” but the band broke up the year after it was released. After spending time in other bands, the members reunited in 2002 and are making up for lost time. They’ve released two albums, most recently in 2010 with No Chocolate Cake, and have been touring steadily over the years. Snoqualmie Casino, 37500 S.E. North Bend Way, 425-888-1234, snocasino.com. 8 p.m. $15 and up. 21 and over.
No matter your feelings about country music, it’s hard not to like Hannah Weeks. The Seattle-born, Nashville-based singer’s self-titled album is a collection of incredibly relatable twangy tunes. Weeks has an especially good day on “Good Hair Day,” embraces her free spirit on “Wild Pony,” realizes she might be in love on “I Think I Am,” cuts loose a significant other on “I Broke Up With You First,” and reflects on the ups and downs of life on “Life’s a Drama.” This down-home vibe makes Weeks seem like the friend you can call up day or night just to chat or for a real heart-to-heart. With Cassie Correlle. Triple Door, 216 Union St., 838-4333, tripledoor.com. 8 p.m. $12. All ages.
Saturday, January 3
It doesn’t matter how “cool” you are; when Down North starts playing, you’re shaking your tail feathers on the dance floor with everyone else. The funk-rock quartet mixes a little of James Brown’s stage presence with Hendrix-like guitar riffs to create a sound that’s downright impossible to resist; think a funkier Bad Rabbits with the retro feel of Bruno Mars. Front man Anthony Briscoe knows how to command an audience’s attention, and the band is able to keep them interested with that signature blend of funk and rock. Down North has been known to add a few brass musicians to its live show, so if you’re lucky, things could get real funky. With the Fabulous Party Boys, Graig Markel and the 88th St. Band, Megan Wilde. Neumos. 8 p.m. $12 adv. 21 and over.
Primus & the Chocolate Factory is so crazy an idea, it’s hard to believe that it actually works. For starters, the project, which features the Fungi Ensemble, is exactly what it sounds like: Primus interpreting tunes from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Yes, it’s odd to hear Les Claypool celebrate after finding a Golden Ticket and sing the Oompa Loompa theme, while guitarist Larry LaLonde channels his inner Veruca Salt on the spoiled-brat anthem “I Want It Now,” but the band is spot-on with its interpretations. The group warps lyrics and music to make already unnerving songs even creepier, but their whimsy remains. The Paramount, 911 Pine St., 682-1414. 8 p.m. $35.75 and up. All ages.
Though NoRey can easily be labeled as folk-rock, hints of its global makeup give its sound a little diversity. Singer and acoustic guitarist Alejandro Garcia is from Bogota, Colombia; singer Vicky Bowes and brothers Dave (bass) and Mike (percussion, vocals) Swallow all hail from England; and electric guitarist Nick Nanry is from Detroit. The band formed in California, but now call Seattle home. On NoRey’s second album, Untie Your Arms, Garcia and Bowes’ accents come through just enough in their vocal harmonies to make an impact, and Nanry’s electric guitar adds a bit of rock-&-roll grit. It’s an eclectic sound to match the eclectic lineup. With The Horde and the Harem, Fredd Luongo. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880, sunsettavern.com. 9 p.m. $8. 21 and over.