Top-Shelf Rock and Roll

By Chris Kissel December 25, 2009


1. Tonight, Earshot Jazz is presenting a concert of Duke Ellington's sacred music performed by the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. The program is a mixtape of Ellington's attempts, late in his career, to combine his serious, long-form jazz compositions with church music.

His best effort was Come Sunday (which the orchestra will be performing)--in terms of jazz devotionals, it's up there with "Pursuance" or "Psalm" off A Love Supreme, but that has as much to do with singer Mahalia Jackson as it does with Ellington's composition. Most of Ellington's sacred tunes are a little fierier, interspersing his typical subway train shuffle with traditional church chorales. It sounds like a great show. Student tickets are only ten bucks.

Tonight at 7:30 pm, at Town Hall. Non-student tickets are $24.

Spencer Moody was once (and, on occasion, still is) the lead singer of Murder City Devils, a sort of mid-80s punk throwback that, in case you don't know, were pretty big in Seattle in the late 90s. Moody's voice equally recalls Glenn Danzig's dungeon howl and Henry Rollins' weight room bellowing. His lyrics don't really make sense ("Met a girl from Austin Dallas! Met a girl from Austin Dallas!") and his belligerent antics can make or break a show, depending on where you stand on that sort of thing (he notoriously told all the "jocks and heterosexuals" in the audience at Sasquatch this summer to "go eat a bowl of wet dicks"). But their keyboards and yelling and slashing guitars are definitely top shelf rock and roll.

The band is playing a reunion show at the Showbox downtown on Wednesday (tickets are $20)--they do this about twice a year.

But MCD is mostly kaput these days. Now Moody owns a junk shop in Capitol Hill called The Anne Bonny (named after a lady-pirate from the 1700s) that's known for being full of awesomely random and reasonably priced chairs, maps, lamps, and other miscelleny. One more piece of evidence that Seattle is turning into Brooklyn. And Moody has a beard that even an antique store owning Bed-Stuy Hasid would admire.

Moody is going to let both sides of his personality shine in Seattle this weekend: first, there's a poetry reading and sing-along with Moody and ex-Soundgarden bassist Ben Shepherd. This is the excuse you've been waiting for to check out The Anne Bonny.

Sunday at 4 pm, at 534 Summit Avenue East, in Capitol Hill. Free.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is screening at midnight tonight at the Egyptian theater. Star Trek II is probably the best revenge flick of all time. It's a brooding space opera, starring Ricardo Montalban as a Moby-Dick quoting monomaniac. The score swells with menace. Star Trek II stands out from the rest of Star Trek's nerdy, weirdly self-serious canon, mainly because it doesn't seem to take itself too seriously--but it's also a damn good, perfectly-paced thriller.

Tonight at the Egyptian, at 805 E Pine St. in Capitol Hill. Tickets are $9.
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