by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
Summer continues to boil, in temperatures and hot concerts. Here are the ones to put on your August calendar.
The Crocodile, August 3
Seattle-based trio The Blakes is hoping to repeat the path to stardom that helped put fellow Emerald City acts Fleet Foxes and Death Cab for Cutie on the worldwide music map. While the band enjoys a good following overseas, primarily in France, they've yet to break through in a big way here in the US, despite having toured with The Kills, The Gossip and Brian Jonestown Massacre. The hard rock threesome will introduce local supporters to new cuts from their forthcoming release, Souvenir, and will retreat to previous gems like "Two Times," "Don't Bother Me," and "Vampire." You'll never leave sweaty from a Blakes concert, and with Seattle dance ensemble United State of Electronica on the bill, The Crocodile is going to be a sauna on August 3.
The Fray w/ Jack's Mannequin
Paramount Theatre, August 6
While pop band The Fray plays it safe with radio-friendly tracks like "Over My Head (Cable Car)" and "How to Save a Life," they do it quite irresistibly - you can't help but sing along to either of these monstrous hit singles. The Denver foursome released their self-titled album in February, and it's already sprouted a pair of chart favorites, "You Found Me" and "Never Say Never." Call them a guilty pleasure or a Top 40 magnet, but The Fray seems to orchestrate music that never gets old after the many times you've heard them, and even though they're destined for a wedding reception near you, these pop nuggets are worth a listen when love comes knocking at 2 a.m. - great make-out tunes!
Key Arena, August 10
Legendary goth rockers Depeche Mode make a welcome dash to Key Arena, but the question on every Seattle fan's mind is whether lead singer Dave Gahan will be in tip-top shape come August 10. The sexually questionable frontman took ill earlier this summer, prompting the English quartet to postpone, then cancel, some of the dates on the "Sounds of the Universe" tour - he was actually rushed to the hospital at one point. Fingers crossed, Gahan and company will draw thousands of black-garbed followers to hear D-Mode classics, including "People Are People," "Strangelove," "Personal Jesus," "Never Let Me Down Again," and my personal fave, "Everything Counts."
KMTT Mountain Music Festival
Marymoor Park, August 15
Every concert sponsored by local radio station The Mountain is usually a guaranteed sell-out, mainly because they know who and what their listeners want to pay to hear in concert. KMTT's summer installment is no different. Tickets are almost gone for the single day mini festival that will feature David Gray, Ingrid Michaelson, Howie Day and several up-and-coming singer-songwriters. Billed as an acoustic event, each artist is expected to shine on guitar, piano, or other instrument as they perform crowd pleasers like Gray's "Babylon" and Michaelson's "Breakable." By the way, both Gray and Michaelson have upcoming album releases, so you'll definitely hear new stuff from these two standouts.
Tulalip Amphitheatre, August 17
Lesbian icon Melissa Etheridge continues to wow audiences throughout the country, even if her songs don't get quality airtime. Fans support her no matter what. The Oscar-winning musician achieved mainstream success with "I'm the Only One" and "Come to My Window," which earned her a second Grammy in 1994 - the first was in 1992 for "Ain't It Heavy." Personally, it's Etheridge's self-titled debut with "Like the Way I Do," "Similar Features" and "Bring Me Some Water" that I gravitate to, nearly 20 years after its release. Said to be one of the best live acts, an opportunity to see this talented woman in the great outdoors is all yours - Tulalip Casino Resort, which houses its own amphitheatre, is 40 minutes from downtown Seattle and a fabulous place to stay overnight; modern, chic and with 4-star amenities.
The Showbox Market, August 19-20
Pete Yorn is one of those singer-songwriters you've heard of, but whose songs you probably haven't listened to, though I recommend doing so at some point. The New Jersey-born artist just put out an album, Back & Forth, containing the beautiful, melancholy single "Don't Wanna Cry," yet he's better known for his cover version of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" from 2001's Musicforthemorningafter or the uptempo rock number "Burrito" from 2003's Day I Forgot. Yorn, as striking and gifted as he is, still maintains a low profile on the music scene, perhaps because unlike John Mayer, he virtually ignores the limelight - and there's something to love about that. He'll perform back-to-back concerts at The Showbox, and I'm very tempted to attend both.
Moore Theatre, August 22
20-something comedian Demetri Martin has two things really going for him: he's dorky cute and he's ridiculously funny. Rather than going for cheap laughs - you know, the ones about stereotypical male and female habits - he instead strums a guitar and shoots off a list of clever jokes, like the one about a guy who waved at him from across the street, then approached him and said, "I thought you were someone else," to which Martin quickly replied, "I am." The hip New Yorker has written, produced and starred in his own Comedy Central series and appears to packed theaters across the nation, and as far away as Australia. Silly, smart, and cool, get ready for loads of laughs when Demetri Martin comes to the Moore.
John Legend / India.Arie
Chateau Ste. Michelle, August 28
Want a splash of Pinot Noir with that Grammy-winning R&B? This delicious combination, plus a picturesque setting of lush pine trees and manicured lawns, takes place in late August when acclaimed soul artists John Legend and India.Aire perform individually, but on the same night, at nearby Chateau Ste. Michelle. Devilishly handsome Legend has managed to stay true to his traditional, smooth R&B sound, while Arie has dug deeper into her spiritual being to produce music even more inspiring than she's already given us. It's an unbeatable pairing and sure to be a high point of 2009's summer concert schedule, and I must re-emphasize a glass of wine from this well-known vineyard.
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