Posts tagged ‘Showbox’

May 19, 2016

John Grant Brings His Icelandic Intellect to the Emerald City

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During the Renaissance, art and intellect mingled as an equally provocative and exciting duo. Both were highly valued and experimented with during this era. From Michelangelo to Galileo, from Shakespeare to Copernicus, huge strides were made in human civilization within the span of a couple hundred years.

Fast forward to 2016, where facts are being ignored for “gut feelings” and most artists are struggling to pay rent. Sometimes, much to our lament, it seems that art and intellect have failed.

However, maybe we’re about to experience a second Renaissance. At least, that’s the little glimmer you’re left with after speaking with musician John Grant.

Grant is bringing brains back into art in a big way. After becoming enamored with Iceland after a visit, the classically trained and over-educated musician moved there to create his second album and to add the Icelandic language to his repertoire (he already knows at least four other languages).

“Before moving there, I wasn’t attached to anything at the time and I was having some success with my first record, so I had a little bit of flexibility,” Grant explained during a conversation with us. “I was invited to play in Iceland so I went there and I just sort of freaked out over it. Got excited about the people I was meeting there and the landscape and the language so I decided to stay there and learn the language and make my second album and sort of build a little life for myself there and I haven’t regretted it.”

He’s become proficient to the point where he wrote the lyrics to Iceland’s Eurovision song last year. In Iceland, he finds a certain vocational equality that is lacking elsewhere.

“They don’t really encourage certain careers as being more valuable than other types of careers. They don’t put emphasis on being a lawyer or being a doctor as being better than being an artist.”

The title Grant’s latest album, Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, is the English translation of the Icelandic word for “midlife crisis” and the Turkish word for “nightmare.” But despite the rather grim title, the album delights the senses with clever lyrics and vivid swells of stringed instruments juxtaposed with spoken word and the electronic staccato of synths. It is an auditory blend of brooding balanced with blithe.

Grey Tickles, Black Pressure defies what we’ve come to expect from an album. The songs stand individually rather than as a cohesive story, jerking the listener to attention with every track transition. And within Grant’s cynicism for the modern world, listeners will surely smirk at the candidness or cheekiness of his lyrical wordplay.

“I’ve pretty much been turning to humor since I was born. Sort of as a survival mechanism but I also just really love good humor,” Grant said. “I’ve always included that naturally in my music sort of as a reaction to myself. And that’s a reaction to the absurdity of life and the difficulties of life and the difficulties of getting perspective and overcoming yourself. Leaving the past behind you and being in the present takes a large dose of humor.”

He has a knack for finding comedy in dark times, of which Grant has overcome several. He struggled with addiction in the past (he is now 11 years sober) and announced he is HIV positive at the Meltdown Festival in London. Fortunately, he always seems to find the silver lining and cites comedic powerhouses like Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Gary Larson and Looney Toons among his long list of his greatest influences.

The tour for Grey Tickles, Black Pressure will be passing through Seattle this evening at the Showbox. Grant is planning on putting on a great show.

“Look forward to some authenticity in music,” said Grant. “Expect to see three people on stage who are passionate about music. Who are very excited to be there and to connect with them in whatever way is possible given the atmosphere of the moment. We’re doing what we love to do and we feel really grateful to be doing it.”

We were also pleased to hear Grant has a particular appreciation of Seattle’s musical legacy, and of the next-level audiences in the Emerald City.

“I do really like playing Seattle because there’s a really deep appreciation for music up there,” said Grant. “There’s quite a long history of great music coming out of Seattle. I think people in Seattle are really appreciative of a wide range of music and it makes me look forward to going there.”

Catch John Grant at the Showbox at the Market tonight – doors open at 7:00 PM.

February 9, 2015

Feel the Love: Best Concerts of the Week [Feb. 9]

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Valentine’s Day week is upon us, and we suggest a non-traditional celebration for you (and your significant other, if you have one). Skip the expected chocolates and roses and instead opt for a memorable evening taking in some great music with a couple Heinekens. There are plenty of good options this week, whether you want to celebrate with a sweetheart or go solo.

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September 23, 2013

Best Seattle Shows of the Week – Phosphorescent, The Helio Sequence, The Features & More

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Autumn is in the air. The leaves are ready to turn, the clouds are back from their summer break, the kids are back to tuning out teachers and not just their parents, pumpkin spices have begun their full assault on all our senses and the Seahawks are winning our city admirers (and haters) in a whole new way.

…And best of all, autumn tour season is in full swing for us audiophiles. Check out this week’s best shows in the Emerald City:

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July 16, 2013

Seattle’s Best Concert Picks [Week of 7/15]

Well, Seattlites, we have some BIG names in town this week! But for those who aren’t interested in big arena shows, there are still plenty of other options around our fair city this week. Enjoy the sun, and even more, enjoy the tunes!

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June 3, 2013

Seattle’s Best Shows of the Week [Week of 6/3]

It’s hard to believe the calendar already says “June.” But that means that we’re ramping up to the summer tour season! The bands we’re highlighting this week run the gamut in terms of music styles – from gypsy folk to alt-punk to indie rock. Enjoy!

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May 20, 2013

No Sasquatch Tickets? Never Fear! Seattle’s Best Shows of the Week [week of 5/20]

We only have to make it through this week before the glorious, long Memorial Day weekend! Three cheers!!!

If you aren’t one of the hoards of concert-goers who will be headed to the Gorge Amphitheater for Sasquatch this coming weekend, you’re in luck! While tons of our favorite bands will be on the eastern side of the Cascades, there are plenty of great bands who will be holding down the fort here in the city this week/weekend.

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February 25, 2013

The Weekly Best: Top Shows in Seattle [Week of 2/25]

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February 18, 2013

Best Seattle Shows of the Week [2/18]

Another great mix of old and new favorites are in town this week.

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2/19 (Tuesday) – Mrs. Magician @ Barboza
Summery beach-pop hailing from sunny San Diego.

2/19 (Tuesday) – Eels @ The Showbox
Critically acclaimed, lyric-driven indie folk rock.

2/21 (Thursday) – Robb Benson & the Shelk @ Musicquarium
Local indie rock master and former frontman of Dear John Letters and Dept. of Energy.

2/21 (Thursday) – The Icarus Kids @ Barboza
8-bit video game rock superstars.

2/22 (Friday) – Kishi Bashi @ The Crocodile
Singer and multi-instrumental indie pop artist with classical flourishes.

2/23 (Saturday) – Ivan & Alyosha @ The Showbox
Local indie-rock heroes who are easy to love.

February 4, 2013

Best of Seattle Live Music [Week of 2/4]

Now that the Super Bowl is over, you might need something other than football to focus on. We suggest checking out some great shows happening in Seattle this week.

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2/4 (Monday) – Ben Folds Five @ The Showbox
Piano-driven rock with a spotlight on savvy, poetic lyrics from one of this generation’s musical masterminds.

2/5 (Tuesday) – FUN. @ Paramount Theatre
Queen-inspired pop rock from New York.

2/6 (Wednesday) – Adam Green & Binki Shapiro @ Barboza
Smooth, vintagey pop with “his and her’s” call-and-answer vocals.

2/7 (Thursday) – Soundgarden @ Paramount Theatre
Chris Cornell’s Seattle-based project from the 1980s and 1990s makes a triumphant return to the Emerald City.

2/8 (Friday) – Mark Kozelek @ Benaroya Hall
Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter and former frontman of the Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon.

2/8 (Friday) – Wake Owl @ Tractor
Peaceful, poppy, country-infused indie rock with thoughtful lyrics out of Portland and Vancouver.

December 30, 2012

New Year, New Music! Check out Pickwick and PonyHomie This Week

If you need a good New Year’s Resolution for 2013, we recommend making a commitment to seeing more live music. While good shows tend to be a little more few and far between this time of year than during regular tour seasons, there’s plenty of good music to get you started on the right foot this year. This week alone boasts a couple can’t-miss sets.

Sultry, soulful folk pop with retro sensibilities yet totally modern composition.

If you are still looking for awesome plans for New Year’s Eve, we recommend joining the fun at Showbox with Seattle’s own Pickwick. The unassuming band of boys packs an unexpected punch and will have you on your feet all night as you welcome 2013. The show is expected to sell out, so grab your tickets while you still can.

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Up-and-coming dark dance-pop trio that is finally coming into its own with a fantastic new album featuring psychedelic and house tinges .

You’ve probably seen us tout PonyHomie time and time again. And there’s a good reason for it – they are one of our go-to electro-pop picks. If you have yet to check them out, this is the night to do so. With a brand new album hot off the presses and a sound that has matured like a fine wine over the past couple years, this show will serve as yet another great kick-off to 2013.

For a look ahead at some of the other great shows coming up in the first few months of 2013, be sure to check out our freshly updated calendar.

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