Music Critics' Picks: Tacoma Songwriter Showcase, A Nightmare On Yelm Street, Scott Pemberton, the Gods Themselves

April 17-18: Live music in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

By Volcano Staff on April 16, 2015


When most singer-songwriters show up at open mics, what you can expect is a series of weepy ladies and gentlemen strumming away on acoustic guitars. In direct opposition to these expectations, what you will find Friday at the New Frontier Lounge is a horse of a different color. Featuring many artists that I've written about before, the so-called "Tacoma Songwriter Showcase...of the Immortals!" will have a spate of performers that have made their name doing something very different from your average singer-songwriter. Patrick Galactic, formerly of the dark synth-rock band Death By Stars, will be in attendance, as well as the eclectic, quirky music of WES SP8 and TBASA, and the haunting beauty of Hell Mary. At its best, seeing one person with one guitar on a stage is the most direct way to finding out who they really are. This is one of those times. {REV. ADAM MCKINNEY}

TACOMA SONGWRITER SHOWCASE...OF THE IMMORTALS, w/ Patrick Galactic, WES SP8, TBASA, Hell Mary, 9 p.m., The New Frontier Lounge, 301 E. 25th St., Tacoma, cover tba, 253.572.4020]


Saturday night, the people from For MCs By MCs have something big going on in the town of Yelm. Yes, hip-hop is everywhere. Yes, the South Sound MC battle circuit continues to flourish with another ring-king experience of lyricism aptly titled, "A Nightmare On Yelm Street." Produced and hosted by For MCs By MCs founder, Heretic The Heathen, this installment at Fairgame Family Grill in Yelm features the voices of BME, King Hush Hush, Swamptiger, MTS, Krucial Barz and others. {JOSE GUTIERREZ}

A NIGHTMARE ON YELM STREET, 7 p.m., 21+, Fair Game Family Grill, 113 E. Yelm Ave., Yelm, $7, 360.960.1259


Imagine the clouds parted, a mother ship from planet Funkatron descended, and an alien musician slithered out to encounter ... a Les Paul electric guitar. How would said E.T. approach that unfamiliar instrument? He or she might just lay the axe down on a rock and play it horizontally, like a steel guitar or piano. The results would be, of course, unearthly, but also transcendent. We draw that conclusion by slipping contentedly into the oeuvre of Portlandian Scott Pemberton, funky "Timber Rock" guitarist extraordinaire, whose first album was produced by a member of Los Lobos and whose riffs have been featured in ads for Coca-Cola, Jaguar and Nike. We doubt you've seen anything like him, and we promise you've never heard anyone better. Now pair the magnificent Scott Pemberton Trio with local favorites Science!, and you've got a show that could ensure positive interstellar relations for years to come. Welcome to earth, groovy space friends. {CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL}

SCOTT PEMBERTON WITH SCIENCE!, 9 p.m. Rhythm & Rye, 311 Capitol Way N, Olympia, $8-$10, 360.705.0760


Any band confident enough to title a song of theirs "I Am the President" is one worthy of standing up and paying attention. Seattle trio the Gods Themselves present themselves with an inscrutable swagger. Nominally a psych-rock band, there are elements ladled on that point to the heavy rock movement of the '70s and the college radio mixing and matching of the '90s. Underneath it all, however, is a backbone of warped guitars and stiff drums designed to free your brain from its normal resting space and set it adrift in a sea of reverb. This is a band that snaps you promptly into place, rigid and attentive amongst the colors. The Gods Themselves provide backbone to a fundamentally gelatinous genre, giving structure and verve to the light show of psychedelia. {REV. AM}

THE GODS THEMSELVES, w/ Levels, the F-King Eagles, Weird Tiger, The New Frontier Lounge, 301 E. 25th St, Tacoma, cover tba, 253.572.4020