So, it looks like another year is coming to a fast close — and it feels like it is, too. Since EOY time for music (and other) critics means we need to come up with our “best of the year” lists (if we like making them — and I do), I should be spending my time looking back at the past twelve months. Instead, though, rock and roll has always been about living in the present; Roger Daltrey once famously said he hoped to die before he got old (I doubt he still means it).
Since there isn’t any time quite like the near-future, here’s an incomplete sampling of some exciting things going on in Seattle this week:
Girls Rock! Seattle Launch Party, Friday, December 12 at the Vera Project
A rough estimate would yield that somewhere between 65 and 70% of my iPod’s contents are from female musicians; my first 2½ years as a music writer were spent writing about female musicians exclusively. Having said that, any organization whose mission is to inspire the next Sleater-Kinney or Regina Spektor or Lykke Li is worth at least a mention here. Starting next summer, Girls Rock! will begin hosting camps to help young girls learn the basics to playing instruments while hopefully finding the inspiration to unleash their inner Ari Ups or Beth Dittos.
This show tonight is a launch party for Girls Rock! and has a pretty damn impressive lineup with The Dutchess and The Duke, Panda & Angel, Another Perfect Crime, Kusikia and DJ Shani Thunders. It’ll be held at the always all-ages Vera Project.
The Who’s Quadrophenia cover night, Saturday, December 13 at the Tractor Tavern
I grew up on listening to classic rock, having a heavy diet of The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Who throughout most of my childhood. It was all classic rock and high fructose corn syrup for me! The Who, though, was always one of my favorite rock bands and while I prefer Tommy on points to Quadrophenia, it is still an epic album that celebrated its thirty-fifth anniversary this fall.
Fortunately, the fine people at the Tractor agree and are hosting a show that plays the album beginning to end (a benefit for MusiCares), with a different band for each song. The talent assembled is quite impressive, too. The Sgt. Major III, The Tripwires, Kim Virant, John Roderick and Eric Corson of The Long Winters and many more will try their talented hands at Pete Townshend’s huge guitar parts, Roger Daltrey’s showmanship, John Entwistle’s often unparalleled bass lines and Keith Moon’s enormous drum fills.
The Pale Pacific (with Longwave) at Chop Suey, Sunday, December 14
For as long as I’ve been going to shows, The Pale Pacific has been one of my favorite bands and it is a welcome relief to see that they are playing more shows as of late. I was hooked on their brilliant 2003 album Gravity Gets Things Done, which is a great record that is both personal and universal at the same time (like all good pop music strives for) while it tries to document high school life for its characters. The band brings to mind the best elements of Death Cab for Cutie and Fountains of Wayne in both their pop-rock melodies and approach to personal songwriting.
The Cops at the Sunset and Blue Scholars at Neumo’s, December 18-20
Two popular Northwest treasures are beginning three-night stints on the exact same nights. I’ve heaped loads of praise on both Blue Scholars and The Cops over the past year or two both here and at TIG — and for good reason.
The Cops are the most consistent rock band in Seattle. Their music is fast and aggressive, but still relevant and catchy. Their last album, 2007’s Free Electricity was one of the best of the year. At the time, I wrote “Free Electricity celebrates everything I hold dear in rock and roll: dual-part, jerky guitars riffs layered upon a hard-hitting drum beat with a bassist who is not left many openings yet somehow finds them and dives the tempo by weaving in and out of the ones he’s given, and then add on a singer with a powerful voice and enough range to fit the dark mood of each song.”
Just last week The Cops announced that they are taking an indefinite hiatus and do not know when they will be taking the stage again. This very well could be your last chance to see one of the finest rock bands in Seattle.
On the other side of the coin is Blue Scholars. I had just moved out of Rainier Valley/South Seattle after being there for four years and during that time, Blue Scholars’ Geologic was the conscience and voice of that area (and for Seattle hip hop in general). Each show from these hometown heroes, with Geo’s lyrical rhymes and DJ Sabzi’s beats, is an event. This time last year, they headlined and curated “The Program” — a five-night run of finest in Northwest hip hop — selling out five consecutive nights at Neumo’s. This attempt may be (slightly) less ambitious but will be no less entertaining. Geo is a brilliant MC whose rhymes are smooth and seamless while giving a voice to people who feel disenfranchised by the current political climate. I expect show goers to learn from Geologic that Barack Obama’s election as president is not the (immediate) solution every ailment but a step in the right direction with a very long way to go.
See you out and about,
*Three Imaginary Girls*
(Three Imaginary Girls is a Seattle-based website that showcases the great music of the Northwest and beyond to music lovers worldwide. We post a Seattle live show calendar to help you fill your day-planner with loads of great shows, as well as record reviews, live show reviews, and an imagi-blog to entertain you throughout the day.)