The Weekend List: What The Hoot Hoots’ Adam Prairie would do if he were you

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Their publicist brands the Seattle band as fuzzy power pop. I like to think of The Hoot Hoots as playing the kind of music you crank up loud while driving in sunroof-open-weather and sipping on a Full Tilt milkshake.

The quartet met while studying at Knox College in Illinois. The school’s theater department asked Adam Prairie (the band’s lead vocalist/guitarist) to score some Shakespeare and he took a look at the text and channeled his inner Beatles psychedelic rock.

Now the foursome lives in Wallingford, where they share a house and make music in a recording studio downstairs. Colorpunch is their latest self-released album and its songs express-lane-you to your oh-so-happy, happy place.

I caught up with the 32-year-old Prairie over coffee in Pioneer Square one recent day, when his life was unusually chill. The band has been busy, crisscrossing the state and about to play a Seattle showcase at SXSW later this month.

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Adam Prairie, lead singer/guitarist of The Hoot Hoots. Photo by Aya Sato

On the band’s name: “Absolutely we like owls,” Prairie says. The moniker, however, has more to do with it just being “a fun thing to say.” Fun is a Hoot Hoots core value; consider the Fruit Stripe gum-looking outfits they wear when they perform. (Word is that they’ll be roping in some LED gizmos for their show March 13).

“If you ever see us live, our keyboardist has these awesome dance moves,” Prairie says.

Used to be that the local music scene was full of, ahem, the type of band drawing hands-in-their-pocket crowds. You know, very reserved, Prairie notes. Now with the growing hip-hop scene and bands like Kithkin (or The Jesus Rehab or Julia Massey and the Five Finger Discount), Prairie says the vibe’s amped up.

To date, Prairie has had one magical moment of getting into his Prius and thinking it was his CD playing but no, it was KEXP sharing one of his songs.

He and his bandmates are hoping for more.

If you go: The Hoot Hoots w/Roaming Herds of Buffalo (record release) and Fine Prince, March 13, Columbia City Theater ($10) – F.D.

* Denotes items that are $15 or less

Rat City Brass *

There’s a curious, long-standing tradition of stylistic exchange between American and Latin pop artists. Recall the horn fanfare in Johnny Cash’s iconic “Ring of Fire,” the audacious trumpets on the White Stripes song “Conquest” or the sun-soaked lyrics of Garth Brook’s “Two Piña Coladas.” For decades, musicians in the north have sought to emulate the sounds and reproduce the happy-go-lucky temperament representative of so much Latin music, from mariachi bands to the Caribbean steel drum tradition.

Perhaps the most enduring of all these American crossover projects is Herb Albert’s Tijuana Brass, who garnered incredible acclaim and popularity for their jaunty Latin horn stylings in the ’60s. Rat City Brass, formed in 2009, keeps this intriguing tradition alive. The octet — comprised of two trumpets, trombone, guitar, keys, bass, percussion, and drums — does Albert’s classic Tijuana Brass justice. That’s about the highest compliment you can bestow on such a group. Plus, this show at the Triple Door has no cover, and this style of music is a fantastic and classy choice for a Friday night.


If you go: Rat City Brass, The Triple Door, March 13 (Free). 21+. – J.S.H.

Seattle Web Fest *

This week’s guest picker is highlighting this all-day, free festival that’s showcasing films from all over the world (and some that are homegrown, i.e. “Capitol Hill,” which stars Waxie Moon). “I’m a big movie watcher,” Prairie says. (See his “Song of the Sea” pick below). Prairie helped judge some of the music featured here. The festival kicks off with the screening of the Lynn Shelton-directed “What the Funny?”

If you go: Seattle Web Fest, Northwest Film Forum, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 14 (FREE) — an Adam Prairie pick

Song of the Sea *

This Irish animated, Oscar nominated film is playing in Adam Prairie’s neighborhood, which makes it a must-see for him this week. The film tells the story of a young girl who has lost her voice. When Prairie saw the trailer, he thought the animation looked like a combination between stained glass windows and a cel-shaded video game.

If you go: Song of the Sea, Landmark Guild 45th, Showtimes vary ($10.50) — A.P.

Pie Day *

I’ve already invited friends to my epic Pie Day Party (this year on 3/14/15! As in 3.1415926….). To those of you who I do not know, you’re going to have to scrounge for a pie party on your own; make a pie or two if the inspiration strikes or visit one of Seattle’s many pie-proffering establishments. There are the usual suspects: High 5 Pie, Pie (in Fremont or Seattle Center), and West Seattle’s Shoofly Pie, all worth checking out regardless of Pie Day. Don’t forget Macrina Bakery, making incredible tarts and tortes year-round, and currently offering a Chocolate Mint Crème Tartlet as part of their St. Patrick’s Day menu.

For friendly staff and amazingly fair prices, head to Rainier Avenue’s Borracchini’s Bakery, making pies, pastries, and Italian breads year-round. Lastly, go to Bakery Nouveau (West Seattle or Capitol Hill), where everything they make is laced with magic. I had the honor of trying (and retrying) their enviably perfect pumpkin and pecan pies over Thanksgiving; individual tarts, such as lemon meringue, are available year-round.

If you go: Pie Day, All over town, March 14, (Free) — N.C.

Short Stories Live: “Best Of” Edition *

This event, curated by ACT Theatre’s Artist Director Kurt Beattie, is a live version of the radio show Selected Shorts. Local actors bring to life the most popular stories performed hitherto, including Eudora Welty’s “Old Mr. Marblehall” and Lucia Perillo’s “St. Jude in Persia,” in the intimate, beautiful space that is Town Hall.

This program makes me (and hopefully you) fantasize about curating my own Short Stories Live program, filled with George Saunders and Lorrie Moore and Raymond Carver and Junot Diaz, and a lot of others whose dark work is probably best experienced inside their own quiet pages. It’s better with Beattie in charge, though, fusing his love of acting and the oft-underappreciated short story with the intelligence of just how to translate the moods and humor and nuance present in these short stories to an audience.

If you go: Short Stories Live: “Best Of” Edition, Town Hall , 2 p.m. March 15 ($15) — N.C.

Widespread Panic

Lynyrd Skynyrd. Creedence Clearwater Revival. The Allman Brothers. All are bands well-suited for sunny days and rowdy nights; bands you and your dad would likely choose when confronted with a jukebox’s musical alphabet soup in some classic diner. These groups are famous for their salt of the earth music, rife with high-flying guitar solos. Now it seems fair to add the (somewhat) younger Widespread Panic to this list.

These dudes are from Athens, Georgia, where they began as a frat house and bar band in the early 80s. They’ve come a long way since then. Widespread Panic’s jazzy, bluesy, sometimes reggae-esque jams now fill stadiums and amphitheaters on a regular basis. Their frequent use of two drummers adds essential rhythmic complexity, with the swelling, liberal organ lines, piano riffs and self-indulgent guitar solos filling in beautifully around it. Lead singer John Farmer Bell’s voice shines through the din with incredible clarity, his drawl not letting anyone forget where this band’s roots are planted.


If you go: Widespread Panic, Paramount Theater, March 15 ($41.25). All ages. — J.S.H.

The Specters, Tom Eddy and Fruit Juice *

This is why, according to Adam Prairie: “The Specters are slacker pop who remind me some of the early Pavement. Tom Eddy (from Beat Connection) and Fruit Juice embody all the extra weirdo parts of Magical Mystery Tour psychedelia.”

If you go: The Specters, Tom Eddy and Fruit Juice, Sunset Tavern, March 18 ($8) — A.P.

Kool Keith

If underground rap titan Del tha Funky Homosapien is Superman, then Kool Keith is Lex Luthor. Widely heralded as one of the progenitors of horrorcore rap, a genre known for its ominous beats and disturbing lyrics, Kool Keith gained his first major-league recognition under the pseudonym Dr. Octagon. Creating fictitious alter egos and rapping from the perspectives of these characters is fairly common in hip-hop. The character Keith invented to accompany this particular moniker — a sadistic, ultra-horny time-traveling gynecologist — is the darker half of Del’s intergalactic mercenary Deltron Zero, an alter ego Keith assumes on both Deltron 3030 albums. Where Del is flippant and philosophical, Kool Keith is threatening, vulgar and edgy —  Deltron through a glass darkly.

But Kool Keith has not limited himself to the Dr. Octagon character, releasing more than ten studio albums and adopting various other pseudonyms during his two-decade career. Whether rapping as Kool Keith or under an alias, the rapper remains fascinated with space, time travel, spine-tingling dystopian themes and life on the streets. His delivery, like Del’s, utilizes the simpler rhyme structures characteristic of old school rap, but also the complexity and quirkiness emblematic of underground rap.


If you go: Kool Keith, Nectar Lounge, March 18 ($17). 21+ — J.S.H.


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