The Weekend List: Plays, beer and music in abundance
* Events that are $15 or less
The Seattle Rep wraps up its season with Outside Mullingar, written by the formidable John Patrick Shanley (Doubt, Moonstruck). It’s a tender and funny story about love, friendship, loneliness and mortality set on neighboring farms in modern day Ireland. The two single farmers here (M.J. Sieber and Emily Chisholm) have known each other since childhood; they’re now in their ‘40s with aging parents and how the romance between them takes root – uncomfortably, all-too-practically, cautiously – is a total warm-and-fuzzy treat to watch. You know what’s going to happen but how it does, how one farmer confesses his attraction to the other, well, on Opening Night, it sent the audience into one universal Awwww. It’s a total handholding moment, as is much of the play, so go with someone you like.
If you go: Outside Mullingar, Seattle Rep, Through May 17 (Tickets start at $17) – F.D.
Ariadne auf Naxos
Seattle Opera has revived its 2004 production of the Richard Strauss opera about a
small company presenting a new show: It’s an opera about the oh-so-weepy Ariadne, the Princess of Crete who’s hit rock bottom after being abandoned by her lover, Theseus. But there’s a problem: backstage, word has just arrived that this new opera must now be presented with a comic skit featuring a long-legged blond and her troupe of clowns. So the composer frets and eventually falls in love with the blond; the clowns clown; and the “opera” stars throw fits and then, being the pros that they are, perform their story about love and death. It’s a little surreal sitting in McCaw Hall watching “opera patrons” on stage watching “an opera” – (How do they sit there for so long and not squirm? Is that really champagne they get to drink? Isn’t she cold in that dress?). But the comedic antics kept me entertained and I’m thankful to have discovered Issachah Savage, winner of Seattle Opera’s International Wagner Competition who is making his Seattle Opera debut. Listen for him in the last half of Act 2.
If you go: Ariadne auf Naxos, McCaw Hall, Through May 16 (Tickets start at $25) – F.D.
Seattle Beer Week
Fact: Washington grows over 75 percent of this country’s hops. Fittingly, we are a state with an enviable brewing scene as I reassess and reappreciate every Seattle Beer Week. Celebrate our many local brewers (Schooner Exact, Fremont, Ruben’s, this list goes on and on) by heading right to the source, or visit many of the great local bars offering SBW specials. Liberty is curating a special list of beer cocktails; Naked City will be doing a Nanobrewery night and Quinn’s will be making all beer half off. Note: Like all truly great weeks, this week is 10-days long.
If you go: Seattle Beer Week, Venues throughout town, through May 17 – N.C.
The Crocodile Takeover Show with the Mama Rags, The Jesus Rehab *
This week, the Crocodile is throwing two shows at once, and attendees can wander between the venue’s two stages at their leisure for only $8. The Mamma Rags headline the larger stage. This band falls in step with contemporary Seattle country/roots musicians like The Moondoggies, Star Anna, and The Maldives. In a live setting, The Mama Rags strike a killer balance between acoustic and electric guitar, with both instruments taking their turns at the forefront of the mix. Their lead singer, TJ Kelly, has a high-octane blues scream up his sleeve. Opening for them on that stage are fellow Seattleite rock groups Acapulco Lips and Wind Burial. The Jesus Rehab is at the top of the bill for the smaller “back bar” stage. These two brothers are one of the best two-person rock acts in the city, and in this town that compliment means a great deal. Vocalist/guitarist Jared Cortese lets his freak flag fly as a lyricist; exhibit A: the group’s song “Mind Readers,” which expounds upon the popular myth that governments across the Earth are secretly controlled by a society of lizard people. Black Giraffe and Megasapien open for them.
If you go: The Crocodile Takeover with the Mama Rags, The Jesus Rehab and more, The Crocodile, May 7 ($8). All ages – J.S.H.
Seattle Rock Orchestra
Seattle Rock Orchestra will bring its genius orchestral reinterpretations of The Beatles twice this week. Both shows will be at The Moore Theatre and will sample music from the “Let it Be” and “Abbey Road” albums. Since its genesis in 2008, this local project has interpreted the music of groups like Beck, Arcade Fire, Led Zeppelin and many more with spectacular results. They will also frequently lend a hand to out-of-town artists who need touring musicians to fill out their bands. The performances often feature vocalists who sing the covers’ original lyrics, making the shows that much more interesting for audience members.
If you go: Seattle Rock Orchestra, The Moore, May 9 and 10 ($31.50). All ages – J.S.H.
Wage Slaves: Tales from the Grind *
Like many Hugo House readings, this one includes a lineup of local, accomplished writers. What makes this one special is that all of these writers, including Washington State Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen and novelist Jonathan Evison, will be talking about their past crappy jobs. Come for the free donuts, stay to laugh and empathize as they talk about their time in “cubicles and classrooms [and] cemeteries and correctional centers.” If you haven’t had a crappy job, your stories (and definitely your artist bio) are suffering.
If you go: Wage Slaves: Tales from the Grind, Hugo House, May 11 (Free) – N.C.
Wolf Alice *
Wolf Alice is a female-fronted group indebted to the artsy, surreal side of rock previously explored by the seminal PJ Harvey and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Side note: All three artists are British. But Wolf Alice’s lead singer, Ellie Rowsell, has vocals that bring such electricity and presence – her originality as a singer is beyond question. Like Karen O of The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Rowsell takes the singing style of her influences in a heavier, rougher direction, with her three-piece band following suit. They wield a traditional array of instruments – bass, guitar, and drums – with Rowsell playing rhythm guitar as well. Together, the members of Wolf Alice use these tools to summon great hurricanes of distortion criss-crossed with lightning bolt guitar solos. Rowsell’s voice echoes out from the eye of the storm, fierce and passionate. Garage rock and shoegaze influences are apparent, and sometimes a hint of the epicness touted by 80s hair metal groups.
If you go: Wolf Alice, The Crocodile, May 12 ($12). All ages – J.S.H.
My favorite frontman, Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields, will be playing a rare solo show at Benaroya Hall. The indie musician’s diverse interests and talents are evident in his last few projects: lending his songwriting to a (heartbreaking and highly recommended) episode of This American Life; a book on two-letter Scrabble words; an album by his electronica outfit The Future Bible Heroes and the score to Coraline. Merritt’s live shows reflect the unmistakable qualities of his music: purposeful structure (this show will be 26 songs from his huge catalogue, played alphabetically), an obsessive attention to detail and a huge dose of dry wit. Somehow, all of these cerebral elements make for music and a show that is something of beauty, making you laugh and cry and marvel at his wizardry. Stephin Merritt is an acquired taste so start listening now – I promise you’ll be rewarded.
If you go: Stephin Merritt, Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall, May 13 ($30) – N.C.