KEXP suggests: City Arts Fest 2012, October 17-20

In three years, Seattle has watched City Arts Festival grow with a tenacity that few festivals have held. Each year, the arts spread across the city for one massive celebration of what Seattle has to offer (plus some additions from elsewhere). This year, the lineup for City Arts Festival looks stronger than ever, and for the dirt cheap price of $55 for four days of music, you seriously have no reason not to go.

Starting off the festival is a collaboration between Talking Heads mastermind and American music god David Byrne and rising indie goddess St. Vincent. Together, the two have curated Love This Giant, a perfect combination of the unique styles of both excellent acts. Live, the two will be taking most of Love This Giant to the stage, as well as songs from each of their very successful individual repertoire. It’s without a doubt the best way to start the weekend.

Thursday night we get to see hip hop legend Mos Def throw down a set at Showbox Sodo. Mos Def has been all across the map, working with Talib Kweli as Black Star and working with Damon Albarn on the Gorillaz record Plastic Beach. He has four LPs to his name, plenty of singles, and a new record on the way shaped around a poverty mission in Yasiin Bay. He’s also done plenty of acting. Do whatever you can to see this performance Thursday night. It will be a rare night of fantastic performance.

Ghostland Observatory will be playing two shows next weekend – one at the laser dome on Thursday and one in Sodo on Friday. It’s nothing to complain about, really. Ghostland Observatory have been freaking us out with their psychedelic blur indie rock, dance, and noise for years. If you haven’t delved into their vast catalogue of mystery yet, City Arts may be the best opportunity you’ll get. Seriously, that laser dome show is going to be crazy.

You know who else is playing at the laser dome? Reignwolf is. If that doesn’t blow your mind, just watch this video.

Saturday night, we get the special treat of seeing Colorado musical barrage Devotchka play with the Seattle Rock Orchestra. The SRO has played alongside rock bands with raving success in the past (see: Allen Stone, The Lonely Forest, etc). But Devotchka’s catalogue presents a perfect opportunity for the orchestra to completely let loose. With songs like “100 Lovers”, “The Enemy Guns”, “Transliterator”, and “How It Ends”, Devotchka is not light on emotion or strings. With the SRO and the excellent setting of the Moore Theater, Devotchka will give us a City Arts highlight we won’t soon forget.

Other notable acts include A Fine Frenzy, Fresh Espresso, Blind Pilot, Two Door Cinema Club and The Maldives. Check out the full schedule here and buy tickets here. City Arts 2012 is one of the best yet! Don’t miss the festivities, starting Wednesday, October 17.

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