Tonight in Seattle:  

Recommended shows

Imaginary Interview: David Schmader, curator and host of Almost Human: Madonna on Film

Schmader on Madonna

David Schmader is Seattle's king of clever pop culture commentary. Most Seattle-ites probably know him from his Stranger duties {where he's been a beloved associate editor and columnist since 1998} or from his stints around town hosting and providing commentary for the 1995 cult film Showgirls, a film for which Schmader's commentary can be found in the V.I.P. Edition of the Showgirls DVD.

He also has performed a number of solo monologues shows  on both the local an national stages to deserved critical acclaims {his most recent one man play, Straight, was brilliant!}. You can imagine how honored we are to have him hosting the upcoming Imaginary Winter Holiday Spectacular {December 23rd} or excited to seehis next Showgirls showing {December 24 at the Triple Door}.

But before all that, we get to see him every Monday (starting tonight!) for the next five weeks  (from Dec 7-Jan 4) at the Central Cinema as he curates and hosts Almost Human: Madonna on Film / Exploring How the World’s Greatest Pop Star Became the World’s Worst Actress.

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Tonight's recommended shows: openers, awesomeness & charity!

Got your running shoes handy? No, not your Chucks. I mean the ones that you lace up to go the distance. Yes, I know they're buried in the bottom of your closet. We'll wait.

Okay, good. Now, get your favorite socks on warm up those calves -- there's too much good stuff going on around town tonight for you to hit just one show. For starters, the opening set at Neumo's tonight will be a great place to pre-funk. I'm sure that Justin Nozuka is a tremendous headline, but our sources from back east swear that Elizabeth & the Catapault will be the glimmer in our proverbial eyes for the designated warmer-upper of the evening. The Brooklyn based singer-songwriter will be unleashing her endearing, charming ways on the earlybirds that make their way down to Neumo's tonight, and you'll be doing yourself a favor by making it the first stop of your night.

After that, it could go either way -- if you don't stay for the rest of the show at Neumo's, you have your pick of two not-to-be-missed performances going on that you can shuffle to your liking. The first would be making sure to see most, if not all, of Kay Kay & his Weathered Underground's headlining set at the Tractor. It's no secret that our very own ChrisB hearts them to no end, as stated in his loving and well-thought commentary on a past show: What makes Kay Kay such a special band is that there are not any limitations imposed on the music. When you listen to them, you hear elements of vaudeville, ragtime, psychedelic rock, show tunes, Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles, and anything else they can find under the kitchen sink. It’s like they raided their parents’ and grandparents’ record collections and ignored much of their own. All that, and the fact that Hey Marseilles' Sam Anderson hails as a member of their repertoire, makes this a win-win-win.

The other big sha-bang happening this evening is the benefit show for the recent GIVE compilation that was released, with a line-up to beat the, um -- band. Or something. Anyhow -- have a look at this: on one bill, for charity, and at a mere fifteen bucks [!!!], you can catch Grand Archives, D. Black, Kinski, Grant Olsen (of Arthur and Yu), Gabriel Mintz, Tilson (of the Saturday Knights), Fences [swoon], and the Tea Cozies. Really, that's less than a dollar a band member, if you splice it out the right way. And even at twice that, it's a better-than-fair price for a best-of-the-best kind of show.

So, bundle up tonight and hit the town -- whether you go Neumo's > Tractor > Croc, or Neumo's > Croc > Tractor > Croc, pick one to hit up with your birds and bliss the night away. With all this talent, you're sure to get a win no matter what venue(s) you choose!

Latest comment by: ig victoria: "here's the aftermath, ps:

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They Live! and the bright future of Seattle hip hop

Photo by Ellie Lonardo

The last time I saw They Live! perform was at the Showbox and they were opening for Ghostface Killah, the seemingly popular Wu-Tang Clan emcee on a Friday night. The ticket sales were way below expectations and the large Showbox seemed spacious and vacant. The first two groups to take the stage did little to engage the crowd and the audience probably wouldn’t have cared anyway as neither of those groups featured members of the Wu-Tang Clan. When They Live!, the local hip hop crew of Gatsby and Bruce Illest, took the stage, they came out with all guns firing and quickly turned the show around and suddenly everyone in the crowd was enjoying the time, not killing it and waiting for the headliner. Although he wasn’t there at that particular show, I believe I understood what local music journalist (and my friend) Travis Hay meant when he wrote, “there is nothing happening in Seattle right now that can match They Live!'s energy, stage presence and rapping skills.”

They Live! take their name from a 1988 John Carpenter sci-fi film that starred Keith David and pro wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and has become a cult classic. Gatsby is Larry Mizell, Jr., known for being in the popular group Cancer Rising, as well as a writer at The Stranger (whose weekly column “My Philosophy” is a must-read if you want to follow the flourishing local hip hop scene in as-close-to-real-time as you'll ever get) and now DJ on KEXP, hosting the weekly hip hop show “Street Sounds” (on Sundays from 6-9pm). His partner is djblesOne, who is a member of the b-boy crew Massive Monkeys and goes by Bruce Illest. They’ve become one of the standout groups in 2009 in a scene that has blown up and has limitless potential.

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Latest comment by: John in Ballard: "I might be one of those people that Chris' Estey is talking about with hip-hop not necessarily being one of my "first couple of beloved genre's", but after hearing them do a KEXP in-studio and then seeing them perform at the Fremont Oktoberfest not long after ...

Tonight's recommended show: Blind Pilot at Neumo's

They're playing our song / Can you see the lights? / Can you hear the hum? / Of our song / I hope they get it right...

Talk about shooting a big bag of sad bastard.

For a mere twelve dollars, you can shimmy your way in to Neumo's tonight for a PDX double-header -- and have your insides slayed by Blind Pilot, a band I've been in love with since I first heard Cheryl Waters spin them on KEXP's Midday show. I keep a running list radio-side to make sure I remember bands that catch my attention, to reference later through playlists and MySpaces and the good (or indifferent) word of friends and music enthusiasts alike. And in the course of that first week I heard Blind Pilot over the airwaves, I wrote them down three different times. Three. That hasn't happened since... maybe Luke Temple, or the first time I heard Devin Davis. Anyway -- one's enough to notice, and two times is a trump card... but three hits? That's a non-negotiable. That means immediate procurment of tickets, albums, and anything I can get my hands on.

The title track off of Three Rounds and a Sound is my hands-down my favorite, but here's another goodie that made the list that week:

And not to that the lovely Laura Veirs will be holding second slot at the show, which makes the whole thing worth it at twice the price.

Hope to see you there!

Best news of the day: Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar to play in Seattle at the Showbox at the Market

ben gibbard by hot avocados photography

Just as we thought this Monday would never end, a piece of news so exciting popped into our inbox to help count down the minutes til quittin' time: Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar will play at the Showbox at the Market on January 24th! Our own imaginary victoria flew down to San Francisco a few weeks ago and spilled the deets on how awesome the show was (and based on her review, we can only hope they'll add Mr. John Roderick as the opener!), and for those of you (myself included) seething with jealously and wishing you were there, now we'll all get our chance. Tickets go on sale December 5th at 10am, and the show is all ages/bar w/ ID.

Thanks, Jason Tang, for the hot tip!

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Simian Mobile Disco return to Neumos tonight - and release a new video

It's only a few hours away, but I'm getting excited for Simian Mobile Disco's show at Neumos tonight. This'll be the third time I've seen the duo of James Ford and Jas Shaw and they've always put on an exciting, multimedia live show that showcases their intricate dance beats (usually working within the 4/4 beat but never making it feel like a constraint). The show will be a sweaty mess and crowded with people searching for every available inch on the floor to dance but I couldn't think of a better way to spend a Monday night.

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Cut FOOTLAOS! for Laos this Tuesday, December 1st in Capitol Hill

FootLaos!

In November, 2008, our dear Visqueen-er, Rachel Flotard joined her friend Justin on a trip to southern Laos to visit his family. While there, among other adventures, she visited local schools, taking all craft supplies, toothbrushes and the like she could stuff in her luggage. The visit had a huge impact on her and she chronicled the stunning details on her blog.

While at the local elementary school, she asked repeatedly what they would like more than anything for their school (besides a soccer ball), they hesitated, and said, “a floor”. During the rainy season, 340 pairs of these tiny, eager feet get wet while *inside* their classrooms.

To quote Rachel, "This outrages our inner Kevin Bacon."

 

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Imaginary Interview: Japandroids

DSCN1246

If you are looking for a band that embodies the essence of every completely generic moment in high school that felt momentous because of a song (and i know you are), but you're too old to believe in the importance of inconsequential instants (which i hope you're not), then the Vancouver based duo Japandroids are for you. Dave Prowse and Brian King blend together noisy yet melodic guitar and pulsing drums to match the boiling blood of teenagers in grown-up lives. Their shared screaming duties deliver angst to even their most thoughtful lyrics, layering meaning in that way in which everything meant too much when you were younger. Go ahead, read this interview and give your Tuesday a heavy injection of the way things used to feel when Japandroids play Chop Suey on the 1st of December.

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Tonight's recommended show: Raphael Saadiq at the Showbox

Photo by Jason Tang

In the days and weeks after Bumbershoot, the question of "who was the best act you saw [during the three day festival over Labor Day weekend]?" came up often and my answer was always Raphael Saadiq. The soul singer's two sets I saw (one being in the KEXP music lounge) were incredible to watch. He was backed by a tight (and sharply dressed) band playing some of the most irresistable funk and soul you're likely to here. He sounded sincere both when singing in lust like during "Let's Take a Walk" and paying tribute to victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

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Erin McKeown at the Tractor tonight

Photo by Michael Weintrob

Erin McKeown, the folk singer-songwriter who plays tonight at the Tractor with fellow traveller Jill Sobule, has a song on her newest album called "(Put the Fun Back in) Funeral", which isn't quite as fun as it might sound, but that is one of many reasons why I like Erin McKeown and recommend her show tonight. My favorite song, actually from her album, Hundreds of Lions (released on Ani DiFranco's Righteous Babe label) is the one that precedes "Funeral", the upbeat "The Foxes", which is a catchy little song complimented by McKeown's voice, which here is neither soft and delicate nor rough and abrasive, somewhere just in the middle.

Hundreds of Lions can boast of being a number one album, if you look at the charts in a certain way. It was the number one album on Amazon's mp3 charts briefly a few days after its release (although Amazon's digital sales make up a small fraction of the digital sales that are computed into Billboard's charts - the bulk still comes from iTunes). Still, how many people can boast of playing songs from their "number one album" truthfully? McKeown will be doing just that tonight at the Tractor. Well, I don't know if she'll boast about it (it is sort of a technicality), but she could.

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