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B-52s, JoBros, Staples all in June
by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

As we've now entered the summer concert season and very warm weather, the list of great shows doubles and triples. However, many of the outdoor venue lineups are dominated by repeat performers and therefore some of June's better gigs are happening in the air conditioned indoors. Here are eight of them to keep in mind.

Gliss
Studio Seven, June 10

Brand spanking new to the scene is Gliss, a Los Angeles trio with an atmospheric blend of rock who've been known to strip down to their underwear, and less, when performing live. The group, which I'd describe as a trancier Silversun Pickups, have toured alongside Smashing Pumpkins, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, We Are Scientists, The Editors, and the Raveonettes. There's a certain level of cockiness that seeps from Gliss, which I'm usually drawn to if it compliments the image, though the main reason I've fallen for them is because they sound so damn good - ear sample "Gimme the Hit" on YouTube for a nice pick-me-up.

Kate Voegele
Neumos, June 11

Hoping to become the latest pop sensation is Kate Voegele, who is off to a great start by debuting on the Billboard album chart at #10 with her first offering A Fine Mess. Her single "Only Fooling Myself" reminds me of early Michelle Branch, and I totally dig Michelle Branch. The fact Voegele is headlining at Neumos is surprising, especially since there are lots of artists touring this summer that she could've opened for and possibly gained better noticeability, but oh well. 2009 could be a banner year for this ingénue, so be on the lookout.

The Church
The Triple Door, June 15

Rewind to 1987. Everybody on the UW campus was either listening to U2's The Joshua Tree or The Church's Starfish - I owned both cassettes and spent many study sessions hearing "Under the Milky Way" over and over again. They were The Verve before The Verve evolved, a rock band with deep lyrics and melodramatic tones that existed long before Coldplay penned their first hit. The Aussie quartet disappeared in the mid '90s, mainly because alternative radio was so absorbed with grunge acts and because The Church was eventually dropped by EMI. The good news is their music hasn't lost its brilliance, and in the intimate Triple Door the crowd will be treated to a concert like no other.

The B-52s
Woodland Park Zoo, June 17

My first experience with the B-52s was in 1983 when "Song for a Future Generation" was shown on MTV - back in the days when MTV actually ran music videos. Since then, it's been a 25-year fan affair with this quirky, punkish, multi Grammy-nominated quartet fronted by swishy lead vocalist Fred Schneider. The Athens, Georgia foursome have built a fabulous catalog of uptempo favorites over the course of three decades, including "Planet Claire," Channel Z," "Private Idaho," "Love Shack," and the imperial dance hit "Rock Lobster." The B-52s, a strong supporter of Gay rights who performed in Seattle last year as part of Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Tour, will play outdoors this time around at Woodland Park Zoo, a show that is already sold out.

White Rabbits
Crocodile Cafe, June 22

Of all the new bands out there wanting a shot at fame, White Rabbits are one of the most impressive. The Brooklyn-based quintet, shrunken from a sextet, raised eyebrows two years ago with its stellar debut Fort Knightly (SGN's Top Ten Albums/CDs, 2007). Using a mixture of punk, folk, ska, jazz and catchy pop, these guys are mindblowing on stage. In fact, the last time I saw them at Neumos, a young couple dressed as ice dancers worked themselves to the front and provided synchronized dance moves throughout the show - it was weird, but cool. The set list should include "The Plot," "Kid on My Shoulders," "Percussion Gun," and my favorite, "While We Go Dancing."

Mavis Staples
Woodland Park Zoo, June 24

Many moons ago, the ego-tripping Aretha Franklin said there were only three women that could actually sing: herself, Nancy Wilson, and Mavis Staples. I don't agree with this statement, but I will approve the inclusion of Mavis Staples on any short list of the world's best vocalists. Throughout her 50+ years in music, Staples has been a force on the traditional gospel scene, but she's crisscrossed into mainstream R&B such as with her live collaboration with fellow Chicago native Kanye West on "Jesus Walks." She's long been a civil rights activist, and this year joined Patty Griffin and The Tri-City Singers on a re-polished version of "Waiting for My Child to Come Home" for a benefit album. This diva's concert at Woodland Park Zoo is a definite summer highlight.

Grizzly Bear
Chop Suey, June 25

Indie pop band Grizzly Bear are no stranger to Gay hipsters, as lead singer Ed Droste loves himself a good boyfriend now and then - not sure if he's entirely Gay or Bisexual, but he's been public about his male lovers to both fans and media. The New York-anchored outfit is often confused with Seattle ensemble Minus the Bear, and interestingly they're very similar in style and also show signs of a major breakthrough following years of a low-profile, even after touring with alternative heavyweights Radiohead. Grizzly Bear's new album Veckatimist is one of the best recordings, thus far, of 2009 and they'll surely introduce material from it like "Two Weeks" and "While You Wait for the Others" to everyone at the show.

Jonas Brothers
Tacoma Dome, June 28

Still surprised Jonas Brothers scored a Grammy nod for Best New Artist? Don't be; they're the real deal, as far as tween acts go. They write their own songs, play their own instruments, and appear to be genuinely well-behaved kids, unlike the overly spoiled Miley Cyrus. Virgins or not, JoBros represent a fresh generation of pop stars who at least try to sound original - I give them props for attempting to make a name for themselves outside of the Disney bubble. Gay fans in the Seattle area, and yes there are plenty, can attend the Pride parade in the morning and still make it to the Tacoma Dome in time to see this cutie pie trio perform hits like "Burning Up" and "When You Look Me in the Eyes." On June 6 at 10 a.m., a limited number of tickets will go on sale for $19.99 at all Ticketmaster outlets, continuing through June 7 at 10 p.m.
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