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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 13, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 33
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Sufjan Stevens, Smashing Pumpkins, The Moondoggies

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

It's the calm before the storm. Two weeks before Lady GaGa rides into town - close to selling out, by the way - the music scene is in a rare tranquil state, unless you count the exciting buzz of two prominent artists returning to Seattle for late summer/fall concerts.

Sufjan Stevens, as mysterious as he is genius and attractive, is finally coming back to the Emerald City for a performance at the Paramount Theatre on October 30. The Detroit-born artist takes an interesting approach to music, marrying fine string arrangements to whimsical lyrics on interesting subjects, such as the title character of his song "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." Stevens' 2005 album Illinoise was among my picks for that year's 10 best albums, and was selected by Paste magazine as the best recording of the entire previous decade. At the Paramount, the pop/classical/folk musician - who attended school with author Jhumpa Lahiri - will be backed by a large ensemble to perform full productions of his unique work, including various projections throughout the show. Tickets priced between $22 and $32 are now available at www.tickets.com.

The other welcome return announced this week is The Smashing Pumpkins, who make their first appearance in Seattle since 2007 and without original drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, replaced by 20 year-old Mike Byrne who was a freshman at the Berklee College of Music when the Grammy-winning band began scouting for a new percussionist. Touring ahead of the release of a forthcoming album, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, The Smashing Pumpkins are set to play The Showbox SoDo (www.showboxonline.com) on September 10 - tickets are priced at $40. For Pumpkins beginners, start with the group's amazing 2004 effort, Gish.

Local act The Moondoggies, recently featured on the MTV series $5 Cover Seattle, is enlisting the assistance of a national publicity firm to promote their upcoming album, Tidelands (October 12). The indie quartet - Kevin Murphy, Carl Dahlen, Caleb Quick, and Robert Terreberry - drew a capacity crowd last year to an in-store performance at Easy Street Records and are poised to do the same when they appear at Bumbershoot next month. If you're looking for a dynamite local artist to wrap your heart and wallet around, go for The Moondoggies - the band's previous recordings are available at all independent record stores.

Tickets for the final three shows of Tulalip Casino Resort's summer concert series remain - Buddy Guy & Robert Cray (August 17), Chicago (August 25), and Lynyrd Skynyrd (September 2). But packages that include overnight accommodations are now sold out, meaning you'll have to book your room and purchase tickets separately at www.tulalipresort.com. Whether you stay the night or make the 40-minute drive to/from, don't miss the double-bill of Guy and Cray, two outstanding blues legends sharing the stage on the same night.

What do Matt Costa, Lady Antebellum, Maroon 5, Dierks Bentley, Frightened Rabbit, and Rufus Wainwright have in common? They're all coming to Seattle in the next two months, and each is likely to interview with me right here in "The Music Lounge" - so stay glued.

Speaking of Wainwright, he's up next week in our August 20 issue. Be ready.

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