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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tonight in Music: Wille Nelson, Old 97's, Omar Souleyman, and a S**t Ton More!

Posted by Lex Chase on Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 2:58 PM

(Sleep Country Amphitheater, 17200 NE Delfel, Ridgefield, WA) Willie Nelson is 79 and still has more life inside of him than you will ever have. Willie's guitar is named "Trigger" and has a giant hole worn though it thanks to 40-plus years of use; Willie has saved it from a burning ranch and secretly hid it when the IRS tried to repossess his shit. Willie makes and sells biodiesel—it's called "BioWillie." Alongside Steve Buscemi, Willie guest starred in the classic Miami Vice episode "El Viejo." Willie has a black belt in taekwondo. Willie likes to get high. Willie was a Highwayman; he, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash used to hang out. Think about what that must have been like. Willie once put out a reggae album and you know what? It wasn't half bad. Someone, somewhere, has the cover art for Waylon & Willie tattooed on their body. This is debated, but it is true: Willie is the greatest country singer/songwriter of all time, and he is amazing live, even though he is "el viejo." "El viejo," by the way, means "the old man." Ask anyone—even Crockett, even Tubbs. Willie is "the old man." Willie is also the man, period. Willie is the man who reminds you how good country was and could still be. Willie is the man who will sing "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" tonight, because he has no choice, but he will make it sound poignant and timeworn and rich. Willie is Willie Nelson. This is all that can be said. ERIK HENRIKSEN

(Roseland, 8 NW 6th) Old 97's' seminal 1997 album Too Far to Care is oft taken for granted in the pantheon of "alt country"—which is silly considering it blows the doors clean off any mid-'90s work with the names Tweedy or Farrar attached to it. You won't find a better mix of outlaw twang, Replacements rawk, and R.E.M. pop cavorting with a more downtrodden assortment of characters. The Dallas four-piece's third release has aged remarkably w ell, too. To celebrate that fact, the Old 97's perform the record in its entirety, with a vinyl reissue on the way. It's a chance to discover what many attractive and intelligent people have known for 15 years. MARK LORE

(Branx, 320 SE 2nd) Omar Souleyman's homeland of Syria is currently embroiled in a horrifying civil war, but to see him—with the unfazed cool of the congenital badass, wearing a hatta and aviators—you'd think he could stop it all with a dismissive flick of the wrist. But that's not why you should see him. You should see him because his beats are off the hook, and because he sings in Arabic and Kurdish in a grizzled, no-nonsense style that belies his status as Syria's favorite wedding singer. But don't write him off as a novelty act: He's a techno auteur who numbers BjÖrk and Damon Albarn among his biggest fans. REBECCA WILSON

(Ted's Berbati's Pan, 231 SW Ankeny) The second most annoying thing about Purity Ring is how their name makes anyone over the age of 27 automatically think of the Promise Ring, a band they do not remotely resemble in any fashion. The first most annoying thing about Purity Ring is the sheer saccharine addictiveness of their chop-screw-and-paste synth pop, which takes the edgy elements of glitch and Southern rap, and turns them into ultra-palatable aural cotton candy. The Canadian duo's debut, Shrines, is a twinkling overdose of pop, boasting monoliths of artificial beauty. While the overall impression is that this is music for children, now is the time to see this band, as they'll be filling much bigger rooms from here on out. NED LANNAMANN

(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) The considerable local hype for the upcoming Mirror Gazer, the first full-length for Onuinu (AKA Dorian Duvall), manages to live up to most every expectation. Duvall's electro-pop pizzazz is well seasoned throughout the LP, peppering disco-synth bangers like the infectious "Always Awkward" with a deserving amount of glitz without burying the hooks. But the real gems in Onuinu's oeuvre come from his deft employment of deep-space synth runs that Eno would be proud to call his own. Mirror Gazer strikes a pretty irresistible balance of heavy and delicate. RYAN J. PRADO

(Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE 39th) You never know what you're going to get with a Lightning Bolt show, but you can safely expect to partake in an original experience that transcends gimmick or spectacle. The Rhode Island-based band, formed in 1994, eschews traditional performer/audience structure, performing not on stage but among the assembled bodies. Brian Chippendale drums hysterically, his vocals amplified and transmogrified through a telephone receiver attached to his head. And Brian Gibson plays bass in a way that unmasks previously unseen capabilities of the instrument. The sonic cacophony is turned up and sped up to critically wounding levels. MARANDA BISH

(Backspace, 115 NW 5th) The previous two Cheap Girls records definitely had their moments, but leave it to Tom Gabel (now Laura Jane Grace)—who handled production duties on the band's latest effort, Giant Orange—to wring absolute greatness out of them. Giant Orange is a relentless romp through '90s pop/rock fetishism, recalling the best aspects of bands like Superchunk, Nerf Herder, Gin Blossoms (before they were wretched), and They Might Be Giants (specifically in lead singer Ian Graham's corrosive wail). MORGAN TROPER

(Star Theater, 13 NW 6th) 2012 has been a great year for rock, and Brooklyn's the Men have played a big part in making it so. Their latest LP Open Your Heart is filled with no-nonsense guitars that pummel and hooks that bury themselves deep into your ear canal. Think of them sort of like the Replacements-replacements. The Men offer something for everyone—the recklessness of proto-punk, spaghetti western twang, psychedelic flashbacks. ML

(Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi) The pacing of Seattle dream-pop duo Lemolo's new LP The Kaleidoscope is sometimes painfully labored, somewhat like the boorish film-reel loops of an actual dream. Lemolo, then, is living up to its reputation. Well, more than that; behind the enchanting knockout harmonies of Meagan Grandall and Kendra Cox, they're thriving. The Seattle duo's hypnotic debut is a certifiable grower—repeated listens are rewarded with the revelation of charming subtleties in the melodies, and a growing appreciation for all that plunking piano. It's a deadly serious project that fancies itself a playful, swaying romp, offering a nice contrast to the rollicking lineup on this bill. RJP

(Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell) The recent collaboration between Flying Lotus and Erykah Badu resonates like a new drug. "See Thru to U", the track's title, has the low-lit soul of '50s metropolitan bebop and the edged shuffle of an R&B song written on heroin, all while strongly portraying the synchronized melodic power of these two stand-alone artists. I swear it plays like a single—if there were such a thing—off Miles Davis' Bitches Brew. It's further evidence that they're the king and queen of their musical climates, and further reason to get increasingly ecstatic about Flying Lotus' upcoming Until the Quiet Comes, out October 2. JONATHAN MAGDALENO

(Washington High School, 531 SE 14th) One of NYC's most sought-after DJs, Venus X (Jazmin Venus Soto) creates an intelligent storm of sound on her turntables. Mixing an insane mÉlange of musical styles—including such disparate genres as Dominican dembow, underground rap, salsa, pop hits, dubstep, and Turkish techno that's cut and mixed with spoken samples from the web, Al Jazeera reports, and more—Venus X practically brings her sweaty, demographically diverse crowds to an ecstatic riot. She was the hit of New York Fashion Week, and her regular GHE20GOTH1K dance nights have, according to multiple sources, brought new life and energy to a flagging NYC nightlife. But most of all, she's bringing a new, thoughtful narrative to the art of DJing. If you believe your ass is connected to your brain, don't miss Venus X—she'll shake it all. WM. STEVEN HUMPHREY

(Matchbox Lounge, 3203 SE Division) If we've really got a zombie apocalypse right around the bend, tunes like those composed by Seattle rockers Atomic Bride will be at the nexus of it. Wielding deceptive, surf-guitar runs with snarky, punk-rock boy-girl vocals, Atomic Bride's new LP Dead Air sounds like a haunted transmission from a sock hop on Mars. The B-52s comparisons aside (Fred Schneider would need to have been weaned on the Misfits and the Pixies for it to equate accurately), the quintet's undeniably strong songs deftly transfer live, as they volley between psychedelia, garage rock, surf punk, and more. It would stand to reason, then, that their appearance at the tiny Matchbox Lounge is a must-see event. With Portland's Black Pussy supporting, that's a safer assumption than the inevitability of a zombie apocalypse... or is it? RJP


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