As 2011 slowly crawls to a close, Seattle lines up one more festival to tie us over until the new year; the Heineken City Arts Fest. In its second year, this glitzy music and arts festival has lined up notable local bands and artists mixed with show stopping headliners who will perform all over Downtown and throughout Capitol Hill and the University District area. Invading popular (and fun) venues such as The Showbox (both Market and SoDo) to Benaroya Hall to the Paramount, and even to the Laser Dome at the Pacific Science Center, music will be bleeding into the streets the next three nights from October 20 through October 22.
The enjoyment of the City Arts Fest is the chance to gather at the venues that have put Seattle on the map for years, such as The Crocodile, Benaroya. Each individual location has woven a unique history behind their luminous marquee signs and they are destined to be shared with locals and tourists from all over. This year’s headliners include Ryan Adams, Robyn, Built to Spill, The Long Winters, and Crystal Caves. Some great local favorites heating up the lineup are Pickwick, Allan Stone, Whalebones, Shabazz Palaces, Brain Fruit, The Fucking Eagles, and of course, Mudhoney, just to name a few.
Not only is music vital for this occasion, but various performing and visual art will be taking place. Hand2Mouth Theatre returns to Seattle performing a full-length production of My Mind is Like an Open Meadow. The Canoe Social Club presents Red Light Nights, a series inspired by Amsterdam’s Red Light district. You can also google at the artists in the windows and/or pay Art Madame Daryle Conner for a private trip to the back room. A Thriller dance class is available at Velocity, and the revamped Seattle Independant Film Festival (SIFF) Cinema will be playing 3 Rock Musicals you must Sing-a-Long to. They feature “Hedwig and the Angry Itch,” which is hands down the one to see, “Purple Rain,” and if you are not tired of it yet, “Grease.” Wristbands are the ultimate pass to enjoy the experience. $69 dollars to get into any show is worth the admission. For more information on the updated schedule and pricing, be sure to check out their website.
This Coast will be in attendance this year and hope you will be too. Below are the top 5 acts that must be seen! If you are headed to the festival, share your top 5 acts in the comments below!
1. Cobirds Unite
(Video by backpackdave2011B)
Rusty Willoughby spearheads this Seattle group with Rachel Flotard from Visqueen. According to their Facebook page, they represent a genre of Folk Noir, and it is clearly evident when listening to the lush lullabies that Willoughby ignites with the strum of his guitar. The lyrics are soft and surreal, and hit all the right notes. They perform at the Showbox At The Market on Thursday evening.
(Video by kexpradio)
This snazzy ensemble from Seattle features six guys who bring out the funkadelic sounds with a gospel like rasp. Lead singer, Galen Disston and crew sways listeners from all over to their homage to the classic sounds of Motown, and then some. These guys have paid their dues, and are striking Gold in the Seattle area and beyond. They play at The Crocodile on Friday evening.
(Video by HipHopLivesToday)
Hip Hop is still growing on me, but these rap pioneers make Blackalicious an enticing group to see. Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel are an incomparable duo that are known for classic Hip Hop beats. Their lyrics are spiritual and uplifting, leaving out the grotesque violence. They have been in the scene for the past decade in half, releasing hits like “Swan Lake,” and their most recent album, The Craft. They will be tearing up the scene with their charismatic style at The Showbox At The Market Saturday night.
4. Shelby Earl / The Long Winters
(Video by pike024)
So…it’s a tie. Since I found a breath-taking clip with lead singer Johnathan Roderick of The Long Winters, and the dedicated Shelby Earl together, they are two great acts that come highly recommended. Both having native ties to the Pacific Northwest, their songwriting seeps to the core and are great highlights for this festival. Explore the wonders of The Long Winters at The Showbox At The Market on Thursday evening, and the beauty of Shelby Earl at The Crocodile also on Thursday.
(Video by Robynmusic)
In November 2010, just after the release of her album, Body Talk, the Swedish pop star performed a lively in store performance next door to me at Easy Street Records. Soft spoken with her pixie haircut, that was my first time seeing her perform. She was intimate yet bubbly. Her sugary confected pop tunes and mature lyrics makes her the ideal performer. Since then, she has taken over the US, most recently opening for Katy Perry, was also in attendance at this year’s Sasquatch Festival held annually at the Gorge. I missed seeing her perform at the main stage over the Columbia River, which would have been sheer nirvana. But thankfully, she makes a grand return to The Paramount on Thursday evening.