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Music Critics' Picks: Throwback Thursdays, Ben Rice, Dead To Fools, WL

April 24-27: Live music in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

Ben Rice

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Thursday nights have been an adventure in Olympia's Westside. First, The Westside El Serape was the place to be with DJ Travisty and DJ Kemyst. Then Kemyst jumped ship to start his own gig with Tony Garcia at Trago Mexican Kitchen in the Capital Mall. Recently, Pints & Quarts, about 500 feet from Trago, launched a Thursday DJ night, and this joint might take the Thursday night trophy. While Trago offers the more sexy, dim-lit and dance/lounge look and feel (and lauded for a fresh-food menu), Throwback Thursday at Pints & Quarts offers up some of Tha O's most popular and well-followed club DJs: DJ Drastic (The 25360 DJ of The Year 2014), Alex Bosi and Chris Paro.  In addition to the chilled vibe, they offer the $5 Thursday steak dinner. Definitely a formidable option on a competitive Thursday where three joints are "turnt up" within one mile of each other. Check it! {JOSE S. GUTIERREZ}

THROWBACK THURSDAYS, 8 p.m., Westside Pints & Quarts, 625 Black Lake Blvd., Olympia, no cover, 360.943.5611


When 25-year-old Ben Rice opened his mouth to sing, I did not expect to hear the voice of an old soul, belted out in the honey-haggard tone of one who has been singing for a career, but that's exactly what happened. Combine with quick-picking on the guitar (sometimes on a cigar-box guitar), throw in some resonators, and you get roots-rock-blues-Americana for the new generation.  Ben Rice and the iLLamatics were the Cascade Blues Association's representatives at the 2014 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, where they placed as one of the top nine finalists out of 250 acts from around the world. "I was there, and he is phenomenal," says Dee Marino, blues liaison for Maurice the Fish Records, in an email. MTFR is sponsoring the show, and if you know Tacoma music, you know these guys are some of the main veins feeding the cause, and therefore know their stuff. Enjoy. {NIKKI MCCOY}

BEN RICE AND THE ILLAMATICS, 9 p.m., Stonegate Pizza and Rum Bar, 5419 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, $7, 253.473.2255


The first, discordant sounds to come squealing out of "Necrophilia" legitimately caught me by surprise. Up until that odd guitar sound, Dead to Fools were setting up this song as another tossed-off bit of chugging garage rock - but that modest curve ball reframes the band and suggests slightly more ambition than you might expect. While the rest of the song is the sort of charmingly sloppy Nirvana pastiche you might it expect it to be, there's still a glimmer of inventiveness as play that might reveal itself more as this still-young band grows to find its footing. The casual button-pushing subject matter of their music is hilariously on-the-nose, but Dead to Fools is the kind of band that makes mindless moshing seem like the only proper response. {REV. ADAM MCKINNEY}

DEAD TO FOOLS, w/ Zook, Ain't Got Time to Bleed, 8 p.m., Bob's Java Jive, 2102 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, cover tba, 253.475.9843


Even though it runs the risk of sounding like I'm complaining about tomato sauce for being too red, I've always had a hard time with dream pop if it errs on the side of being too wispy - not enough meat, nothing to latch onto, and me being upset at dream pop for basically sounding exactly as advertised. Portland's WL doesn't suffer from that sort of gauzy translucence. Though their songs do hazily float along, there's a very clear backbone to their music, defined by crisp percussion and strong melodies. Nothing by WL sounds like a whale song, is what I'm saying. Occasionally, some honest-to-goodness aggression peaks its head up through the clouds, as seen on "Sugar Pill," whose fuzzy crunch does wonders for lead singer Misty Mary's serene vocals. {REV. AM}

WL, w/ Appendixes, Red Alder, 8 p.m., Northern, 414 ½ Legion Way, Olympia, $5

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