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posted Friday, November 13, 2009 - Volume 37 Issue 46

John/Joel, KISS, Clarkson all arrive in November
by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

November is the month of pumpkin pie and Butterball turkeys, and it's also the month of top entertainers coming to Seattle for much-anticipated performances. Among them, here are five to strongly consider going to in the coming weeks.

Joshua Radin
Neumos, November 1

Somewhere in Joshua Radin's underwear drawer is a pair of Calvin Klein boxer briefs I gifted him a few years ago, unless he's already worn them out - quite possible, since he's always on the road. The pop-folk musician, an alum of the successful Hotel Cafe tour of budding singer-songwriters, has traveled around the globe as a headlining act and as an opener for marquee names, like Tori Amos and Sheryl Crow. While Radin's sweetly-composed tunes, such as "Closer," "One of Those Days" and "Winter," are featured on everything from Grey's Anatomy to the Gay-themed Noah's Arc, he hasn't yet graduated to mainstream status, and that's probably a good thing because it provides his clusters of followers to still watch him perform at smaller venues like Neumos. Easy on the eye and the closest you'll come to a Simon & Garfunkel re-reunion, Joshua Radin is a must for your calendar.

Rufus Wainwright
Benaroya Hall, November 8

Rufus Wainwright proves his love for Seattle by including it on a brief six-date itinerary. And not only are we fortunate to have been shortlisted on his mini-winter trek, we're further spoiled by his appearance at the acoustically blissful Benaroya Hall. Don't quote me on this, but it's highly probable he'll perform several cuts from his Grammy-nominated project, Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall, a recreation of Ms. Garland's famed concert from 1961. He's got dozens of stunning originals to choose from - among them, "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk," "Gay Messiah," Going to a Town," "California," "Vibrate," and my personal favorite, "The One You Love." It's just him and a piano, and having witnessed this exact same combo a year ago at the Paramount Theatre, it's all you need for an amazing night of music - Rufus Wainwright is consistently outstanding.

KISS
Key Arena, November 15

Long before Lady GaGa applied a lightening bolt to her face, the men of KISS were caking on thick layers of makeup onto theirs - and if you've ever seen Gene Simmons sans paint, you'd know why. Not the cutest guys in the stable, but musically they created a phenomenon in the '70s that led to a worldwide following - the film Detroit Rock City captured the fan craze surrounding the masked four. Reunited yet again, KISS has embarked on a three-month tour that slithers its way to Seattle in mid-November. Known for rowdy, near-metal numbers like "Rock and Roll All Nite," "I Was Made for Loving You," and "Christine Sixteen," the quartet is most praised for its dramatic ballad "Beth." Even if you don't have tickets for this concert, plan on strolling around Queen Anne on the night of the show to see KISS faithful in all kinds of forms of devotion.

The Swell Season
Paramount Theatre, November 22

If you've watched and loved the indie flick Once, then you're undoubtedly familiar with The Swell Season, who lend themselves brilliantly to film's background. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who earned an Oscar for the principle song, "Falling Slowly," comprise this Irish folk-string act, billed as a duo but often assisted by a few recording and touring musicians. Each tune from The Swell Season's self-titled debut is lush and poetic, a trademark of Hansard's writing style as a full-time member of rock group The Frames - "Drown Out" is especially beautiful, a swirl of violins, soft guitars and delicate vocals. I missed out on the ensemble's previous Seattle performance, but believe me when I say that November 22 is circled multiple times in red ink on my calendar. And, if you haven't yet seen Once, it's worth adding to your Netflix queue.

Kelly Clarkson
WaMu Theater, November 24

I'm proud of Kelly Clarkson for making the most of her American Idol win, paving the way for Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, David Cook, and every other kid out there with a musical dream. She also gets kudos for staying true to her brand of hard pop, steering clear of miserably arranged ballads (hello, Celine Dion!). A recent VH1 Divas performer and double-Grammy winner, Clarkson continues to attract a huge Gay following that will certainly turn up at WaMu Theater just before the holiday break. The native Texan is a dynamite live performer, evidenced by her highly energetic concert two years ago at White River Amphitheatre - she even sprinted from the stage to the back rows in a matter of seconds, proving she's got the stamina and the legs to go all night. "Since U Been Gone," "My Life Would Suck Without You," "Behind These Hazel Eyes," and "Gone" are expected on the set list.



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