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MUSIC PICKS: Rain Fest 2010, Sedan, Future Islands, Under Sin, The Donkeys, Isis, Citay

Live music in the South Sound: May 28-30


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>>> Friday, May 28-Sunday, May 30

One of the Viaduct's crowning achievements has been the annual Rain Fest, a massive hardcore music festival spanning three days.  Since its inception in 2007, Rain Fest has served as a magnet for big names in the hardcore scene from the past and present. This year, Rain Fest has seven bands flying in, for a grand total of 50 bands over three days.  Big hitters on the stage include Terror, The Ghost Inside, Disembodied, Indecision, Trapped Under Ice and Stick to Your Guns.  In addition to other well-known acts, this year's show will also be showcasing 19 Northwest bands, including Tacoma locals Crooks to Kings, Sojourner and old-school northwest players Left With Nothing, who briefly reformed last fall to do a benefit show for the family of celebrated and tragically deceased Tacoma icon Brian Redman, the band's former bass player. - Justin Miller

[The Viaduct, 3 p.m. Friday, May 28, 6 p.m. Saturday -Sunday, all ages, single day $20-$25, three day pass $60, 5412 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma,,]


>>> Friday, May 28

Does it make me kind of a prig if I need lyrics in my songs? I mean, I can understand, intellectually, that a song usually has no more or less meaning as a result of the words it contains, but come on. Give me the illusion of a story. Maybe I'm just too lazy, my attention span too low, for instrumental music. But, regardless of my musical hang-ups, I can appreciate a band like Sedan. Every instrumental band purports to "tell a story" with their music, but I think Sedan actually comes pretty close to taking me on a journey. Using only drums and piano, with the occasional electronic ornamentation, Sedan creates moody, sometimes thrashing, instrumental music that is far from boring ... even to me. - Rev. Adam McKinney

[The New Frontier Lounge, with Western Hymn, Sad Horse, 10 p.m., cover TBA, 301 E. 25th St., Tacoma, 253.572.4020]


>>> Friday, May 28

For In Evening Air, Baltimore band Future Islands turned to Chester Gwazda, their longtime collaborator and the expert producer whose right-brain inventiveness has helped characterize Dan Deacon's mind-melting oeuvre. Their collaboration has yielded an album that skillfully juxtaposes snarling rawness with melodically-rich pop leanings. Lead singer Sam Herring vamps and growls his way through a series of synth-heavy ditties that evoke ‘80s pop and contemporary indie in equal measure. For an album that also finds room for ambient interludes and glimmers of gain-saturated texture, In Evening Air feels unexpectedly consistent, and you can expect that kind of reliability from Future Islands' live set, as well. How refreshing: now that LOST is finally over, we can use words like "reliable," "future," and "island" in the same sentence with utter sincerity. - Jason Baxter

[Northern, with Lower Dens, Long Mornings, 8 p.m., all ages, cover TBA, 321 Fourth Ave., Olympia,]


>>> Friday, May 28

Under Sin is a hardworking band carving out a niche among the many faces of local rock. The band recently returned from SXSW and is putting the finishing touches on a debut album. These guys are always up for a gig and having a good time - the way rock ‘n' roll is supposed to be. Under Sin has two great shows lined up this weekend - the first of which is tomorrow at the Vault in Olympia with Atomic Outlaws headlining. Then, if you find yourself looking for some entertainment this Sunday, the band will plug in at Jazzbones with Dreams Jaded, Beyond the Grove, and Nineless. A bikini contest is also slated for the evening. Seems about right. - Potter

[The Vault, with Atomic Outlaws, 7:30 p.m., cover TBA, 425 Franklin St. SE, Olympia, 360.357.4721]


>>> Saturday, May 29

Remember all those times you've taken cross-country road trips, discovered hidden truths about yourself, and - ultimately - come of age? Sure you do. You laid down in the back seat, feet hanging out the window, millions of miles of road ahead and behind you. Do you remember what was on the radio? It probably sounded something like The Donkeys. They make warm, open, AM pop; if you'd stayed home instead of hitting the road, you might have heard it while sitting on your front porch. There are moments throughout the songs of the Donkeys that sound so damn familiar - you'll swear you've been hearing them all your life. It's a deeply unpretentious throwback, which can be a rather uncommon occurrence. - Rev. Adam McKinney

[Northern, with Austin Cooper, guests, 9 p.m., all ages, $6, 321 Fourth Ave., Olympia,]


>>> Sunday, May 30

Isis will be in Olympia Sunday with Christian Mistress and Brooklyn's Tombs, playing an all-ages show at the Capitol Theater - and you'll want to be there. The legendary, atmospheric and epic band's current jaunt marks Isis' last tour. Luckily, the amiable break-up is merely the result of the band feeling accomplished, like they did what they set out to do: rock heads. They're right. Isis has been doing just that for 13 years - producing exactly the kind of music you want to hear while drinking, driving, f***ing, waking up, or feeling like a badass just for being smart enough to know this band. Isis will be joining the Melvins at Bonnaroo later this year and are releasing a 12" split with the quintessential sludgers later this summer. - Nikki Talotta

[Capitol Theater, with Christian Mistress, 8 p.m., $13, 206 Fifth Ave., Olympia, 360.754.6670]


>>> Sunday, May 30

Say you're in Oly Sunday and you don't feel like getting your head bashed in by Isis. Fair enough. Fortunately, San Francisco's Citay will also be in town, taking every de-tuned guitar bludgeoning that may be offered up a few blocks away at the Capitol Theater, and returning the favor with songwriter Ezra Feinberg's huge, majestic, wondrous, all-encompassing sonic expanses - meticulously crafted and laden with musicianship so skillful that the intricacy consumes the listener. If you're looking for an endorsement, know that Tim Green of the Fucking Champs helped the band birth its latest record, the indulgent Dream Get Together. - Matt Driscoll

[Northern, with La Corde, Megabog, 8 p.m., all ages, $6, 321 Fourth Ave., Olympia,]

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