Fox and the Law, Photo by Shane Williams

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, but really, take a look at the full schedule here– there is more great music tonight than I could possibly reveal!

Fox and the Law, Barboza 8-8:45

Fox and the Law, Photo by Shane Williams

Local boys do it better. Rock and roll that is. Seattle’s Fox and the Law has been getting buzz around town all year, so it’s no surprise that they were included in this year’s City Arts Fest line up. This may be one of the band’s first ever festivals, but on stage each member bleeds their instrument dry- making it easy to convince audiences that they’re around for the long haul. Lead singer Guy Keltner’s vocals are unique and raw, but this is by no means a one man band, as he and his raunchy bandmates send tingles down my spine every time I listen to their debut release, Scarlet Fever. I have a feeling F&tL are going to be the ringleaders to one hell of a rock show on Friday night, so be prepared to go as hard as these guys do.

Case Studies, The Rendezvous 8:15-9

If you take a listen to the 2011 release The World is Just a Shape to Fill the Night, you’ll immediately be intercepted by Greg Ashley’s haunting vocals, his voice hums like a honey bee. When listening to the album, it’s almost like you’re transplanted to a different time- the theme of the album seems so traditional, about the purity of life and love. Sure, Greg Ashley starts one song telling us about how he’s watching a woman pop-a-squat out in the open. But the beautiful stories he tells as he strums his guitar are so captivating he can make any subject matter sound appealing.

Land of Pines, The Crocodile 8:45-9:30

Land of Pines have gotten good buzz from local blogs, and for good reason. Girl rock circa Vivian Girls in some songs and then on others it’s like listening to Fleet Foxes. Moody Beaches, that’s the impression I get from this band. They’ve got a great contrast in their catalog, ups and downs in the mood of their music mirrors human nature. With the simple percussion and guitar in songs like ‘Exploring’, the band’s focus is on the way their voices fall away and rise again. Moments like ‘Exploring’ aren’t the band’s sole focus in terms of sound- other songs from their collection focus on both the lyrical and vocals just as much as the instruments each member is poised behind. While in my opinion, they’re at their best in their more melancholy moments they’re an all around impressive band and one that you should familiarize yourself with at The Croc.


Point Juncture, WA, Showbox Market 10:30-11

Point Junction, Wa, Photo by Jason Quigley

So far, Point Juncture, WA has been one of my favorite surprises from sampling the bands partaking in City Arts Fest this year. On songs like ‘When You Wake Up it’s Today,’ the band sounds reminiscent of a male/female version of Simon and Garfunkle, and it’s like you’re floating away in the 60s. Throughout other songs on their 2011 release Handsome Orders, any folk sensibilities dissipate and as a listener, you bounce around as a Point Juncture, WA co-pilot. The band is full of surprises, but you can rely on the sweetness of female lead vocalist and drummer Amanda Spring to hold your hand and your attention.

Fresh Espresso, Neumos 10:45-12

Hands down, Fresh Espresso is my favorite hip hop act in Seattle. Yeah, even more than I like Macklemore. After seeing P Smoov and Rik Rude absolutely dominate every stage in town (or at the Gorge…), I believe every person in Seattle needs to up their Espresso habit, but skip the Starbucks or Cafe Vita and put Bossalona on. 2012 has been a busy year for the pair, selling out Neumos for their album release and packing in audiences for their multiple festival performances, but as per usual with this pair of MCs, they’re not slowing their roll. I’ve seen how much insanity takes place at a Fresh Espresso show, and if you’re looking to lose your mind over some ridiculously well crafted hip hop, get to Neumos Friday night.

Ravenna Woods, The Crocodile 10:45-11:45

If you’re having a lethargic moment and need some motivation to get your ass off the couch, may I suggest Ravenna Woods? It may be personal biases at play here, but Ravenna Woods has done something pretty special- they’re a Seattle band but they’re not getting pigeon holed as one. Because of their talent and the quality of their dark, melodic music, these boys are a moment away from exploding at any given moment. I dare you to close your eyes and not get lost in their 2011 album Valley of the Headless Men. Chris Cunningham’s vocals are achingly beautiful, and every time I listen to songs like ‘Tides’ what strikes me is their percussion- it’s so familiar yet so unique. This band’s the total package, and if you’re someone who places your musical interests in the rock and roll category, be at this show. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Culture City Arts Festival 2012: Where to be Friday 10/19