Have you bought your wristband for Seattle’s annual City Arts Festival yet? Since City Arts Fest is taking over Seattle’s best venues and showcasing incredibly exciting talent, wristbands, access passes, and single show tickets are selling out left and right, so snag yours NOW here. Take a peek at my suggestions below, and find the full schedule here.

David Byrne w/ St. Vincent, 5th Avenue Theater 8:30-1030 *Almost Sold Out*

Photo via Arts and Lectures

When news of a collaboration between songstress St. Vincent and The Talking Head’s very own David Byrne became a reality, no one new quite what to expect. Expectations were high, and an album made between such creative and talented musicians could have easily been too “weird” for the masses to appreciate. When Love This Giant was released earlier this year, our highest hopes were met and exceeded- it’s a work of circus inspired perfection. It showcases the sort of vocals and production one would expect from a member of the Heads, and with St. Vincent’s accompaniment and feminine touch the album transforms into a complicated conversation between the two. They navigate alongside, on top of, and around each other verse after verse- weaving together their vocals and a horn section in a way that is boombastic and edgy- weird enough to be hip but still accessible by the average music listener.

This is one of the most anticipated shows of City Arts Festival this year, so it’s no surprise there are only a handful of tickets remaining. In order to access this show, you’ve gotta pick up the single ticket, as Byrne packages are completely sold out. Use the link above to secure one of the final seats at the 5th Avenue theater, and prepare yourself for some theatrics.

Grynch, Neumos 8:45-9:30

I’m not good with decisions, so prepare yourself for some overlapping options. Friday night at Nuemos is where you need to find yourself if you’re a fan of impressive rhymes and good ol’ fashioned hip hop. Thanks to Macklemore, the hip hop heads around our city will hopefully start getting thrown a bone and given more respect- and no one deserves it more than Grynch. The guy’s been hustling his rhythm around venues for years, and while his most well known track is probably the one he put out a couple years ago centered around his love for his silver Volvo, he’s grown leaps and bounds in the past few years. His verses take on more depth and better subject matter- not that I have any issues with reliable, safe cars. Take a peek at the video though, and pop into see him on the Nuemos stage.


Jonathan Russell, All Pilgrims Church 9:45-10:30

Here’s a confession: Seattle’s The Head and the Heart is one of my favorite bands. Jonathan Russell is one of two front men in the folk band, and he’s been known to play solo shows around Seattle whenever his touring schedule with tH&tH allows. His performance at the Fremont Abbey earlier in the year showcased that Jonathan is just as capable of wooing a small room armed with an acoustic guitar or placed behind a rickety piano as he is while backed by his band facing a packed Paramount audience. After seeing him in a variety of settings, I can promise you that this sure to be intimate performance at one of Seattle’s most unique venues will leave you with chills as Russell’s voice soars into the church’s rafters.

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, Barboza 11:15-12:15

When I hear about brothers in bands, I worry that projects will take an Oasis inspired turn, but thus far that hasn’t been the case for Seattle’s Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band. With a new EP out a few months back, Prehistory, the band is one that turns many off after a first listen- why though I’m not sure. They’re sort of like a younger Hot Hot Heat. Have they fully come into their own yet? Probably not. But their rock and roll is penetrating and complex- a breathe of fresh air in a town that some say has become over-saturated by fiddles. They do have a slightly softer side, if only found in an occasional moment, and it leads to an ideal contrast. While Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band probably aren’t the band of the masses, their rock is blurry, dark, and a little mysterious. Take a chance and a listen, and I hope to see you in the basement known as Barboza Friday night.


Culture City Arts Festival 2012: Where to be Wednesday 10/17