Fri, July 4
Seafair Summer Fourth
There’s more to Seafair Summer Fourth at Gas Works Park than the fireworks. Daytime festivities include live music, sack races, and pie-eating contests… but yeah…it’s mostly about the fireworks. Gas Works Park, free.
Thru July 3
Glitz and panache dominate any worthwhile Fourth of July fireworks celebration, and only the performers of Freedom Fantasia dare to try and match such an explosive spectacle. Seattle drag favorites like RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant BenDeLaCreme put on a tongue-in-cheek patriotic bash loaded with song, dance, and an excessive amount of American flag–adorned costumes. The Triple Door, $28–$45.
Thur, July 3
L.A. hip-hop trio Clipping is atypically abressive. The group combines MC Daveed Diggs rapping with heavily produced sounds of composers and noise artists William Hutzon and Jonathan Snipes. The musical result is harsh lyrics, precise delivery, and abstract sound design. It's a unique industrial vibe that drew the attention of Sub Pop, which released the Clipping's self-titled debut LP in June. Columbia City Theater, $12–$15.
Thur, July 3
Cloud Nothings and METZ
Cloud Nothings proves that Cleveland rock is alive and not merely a relic found in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band plays intelligent, NPR-approved punky noise, and new album Here and Nowhere Else is its best collection to date. The group will be joined by Canadian Sup Pop rock trio METZ, last seen in Seattle playing the most ferocious set at last summer’s Sub Pop Silver Jubilee. Neumos, $15.
Sat, July 5
Posse’s Soft Opening was one of the best local records released in the first half of 2014. The band’s throwback slacker indie-rock vibe calls to mind Yo La Tengo and Pavement, but it feels like they’re simply kicking dirt on the outskirts of those forefathers’ property rather than looking to move in. It’s music that’s artfully laissez-faire. Sunset Tavern, $7.
Sat, July 5
Sharon Van Etten
Indie folk rock’s reigning queen of heartbreaking love songs is at it again. Sharon Van Etten’s latest album, Are We There, offers more tunes loaded with smoldering, swooning, swelling keys and guitars and a sharp-tongued edge that is well past wallowing and taking any guff. Neptune Theatre, $17.
Sat & Sun, July 5 & 6
Playing for Change
Playing for Change isn’t a band so much as a music project. In 2002 producer Mark Johnson began traveling the world with mobile recording equipment to capture the music happening on the streets. A collection of international artists singing “Stand By Me” went viral, and now some of the best talent Johnson found tours together as a cultural eclectic collective. Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, $31.
CLASSICAL & MORE
Sat, July 5
Ensign Symphony and Chorus: God Bless America
Get patriotic on Fourth of July weekend as Ensign Symphony and Chorus concludes its first season with a festive celebration of red, white, and blue compositions. Just to make it clear we don’t still hold a grudge against King George, Britain-raised singer Alex Boyé joins the performance. Benaroya Hall, $16–$130.
Dr. Stranglelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Stanley Kubrick’s comedic masterpiece skewered Cold War nuclear tension, but its jokes about military fear and ineptitude still ring true 50 years later, thanks in large part to Peter Sellers’s virtuosic performance in three different roles. And always remember, there is no fighting in the war room. Grand Illusion Cinema, $8.
July 3–Aug 23
The wooden works of John Buck are anything but subtle. The towering multitiered carvings seem like visions from fever dreams: bodies jutting with symbol-strewn gadgets instead of heads, stairs with horse- and -skyscraper-adorned pillars, and more. They’re surreal ideas crashing headfirst into natural materials. Greg Kucera Gallery, free.