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Kem, Wester Daywick and more

Volcano music scribes tell you where to go

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Friday, Jan. 18

R&B kem

What happen to classic soul music? Where are the Barry Whites and Teddy Pendergrasses of today? Maybe I’m not paying close enough attention to the R&B charts, but it seems hip-hop is crossing over into that realm and it’s not hitting my soul.

When I first heard Kem, my first thought was, “Finally, an actual R&B artist who isn’t spewing rhymes but is actually singing.” Kem is a bit like a male version of the queen of cool, Sade. His hip and relaxed disposition resonates as he croons through his self-penned compositions. There are no boom-booms in his repertoire, rather, with light keyboards, understated guitar parts and his signature bedroom voice, the Detroit-based singer/songwriter/musician producer is a throwback to late ’70s, early ’80s neo soul with influences that range from Stevie Wonder to Steely Dan.

His self-released debut, Kemistry, sold well, eventually scooped up by Motown and cracked the R&B Top 20 charts. His follow-up, Album II, was released in 2005 where Kem continued down the laid-back road of integrating jazz, soul and R&B. Take a date to this show and let Kem Owens do the seducing for you. — Tony Engelhart

[Emerald Queen Casino, 8:30 p.m., $20-$50, 2024 E. 29th St., Tacoma, 888.831.7655]

Friday, Jan. 18

ROCK wester daywick

I’m calling Wester Daywick a lo-fi indie rock band as they don’t wail non-stop, they don’t shriek vocally and they don’t use distortion. At the same time, they aren’t poppy or mellow. So maybe the Fray meets Keane would be the closest point of reference. Screw it, they’re a rock band.

Formed in 2005, the Portland trio of Louis Panush (guitar/vocals/harmonica), Bobby D (bass) and Trent (drums) creates luxurious textures with limited instrumentation. As in all three-piece bands, each Wester Daywick member has to contribute 100 percent. Panush is an inventive guitarist who simultaneously handles lead and rhythm duties with flawless precision. His vocals fall just below a scream for the most part, but he can actually carry a tune quite nicely. Bass lines drive the music but also act as a lead instrument, and the inventive drum kicks give the songs a punch in the face.  — TE

[Matrix Coffee House, 8 p.m., $6, 434 N.W. Prindle St., Chehalis, 360.740.0492]

Saturday, Jan. 19

BLUES chicago blues reunion

Four blues legends will invade the Pantages Theatre January 19. Dubbed the Chicago Blues Reunion, the blues legends — Corky Siegel, Barry Goldberg, Harvey Mandel and Nick Gravenites — will give Tacoma a history lesson Saturday night.

During the ’60s blues revival movement, the Siegel-Schwall Blues Band reached legendary status in Chicago under the leadership of harp master Corky Siegel. A true innovator, Siegel and his Traveling Chamber Blues Show cleverly combine classical music with gritty blues.

Hammond B3 player Barry Goldberg has been an in-demand session player since the mid-’60s and has played with everyone from Dylan at Newport to Michael Bloomfield and Mitch Ryder. While his position has been that of a supportive role, Goldberg managed to release a dozen records over his career with a little help from friends such as Charlie Musselwhite.

Harvey Mandel, aka “The Snake,” is one of the most sought after guitarists to emerge out of the 1960s Chicago blues scene and has played with legends such as Wolf, Muddy, and Rush. His signature controlled feedback has earned him a spot in blues history.

Having composed “Born in Chicago” and “Buried Alive in the Blues,” Nick Gravenites’ resume includes stage time with Janis Joplin, Elvin Bishop and Paul Butterfield. — TE

[Pantages Theater, 7:30 p.m., all ages, $24-$44, 901 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.591.5890]

Saturday, Jan. 19

ROCK bob’s java jive

You know what I f**king love?

Rock ’n’ roll shows at Bob’s Java Jive.

In fact, I pretty much just love the Jive outright, with or without a show. It’s been a long term relationship.

So, this weekend when Paris Spleen and Momma Loves Daddy play the big Coffee Pot on Saturday, it’ll be about as good as it gets for this writer.

I love Bob’s Java Jive so much that I’m the bar’s friend on MySpace. A blog by the Java Jive’s new house DJ caught my eye earlier this week. Apparently he’ll be playing songs between bands every Saturday night, and is trying to amass a collection of local Tacoma tunes. He invites everyone to mosey on in, check things out, and give him a copy of your band’s CD so he can get it in rotation. If you give him two, he’ll even give one to the Jive’s booking agent.

I thought that was cool, and worth passing along.

Check out the Java Jive on Myspace at— Matt Driscoll

[Bob’s Java Jive, Saturday, Jan. 19, 9 p.m., $3, 2102 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, 253.475.9843]

Sunday, Jan. 20

ROCK grave maker

Grave Maker, a Canadian hardcore band set to play the Viaduct in Tacoma Sunday, Jan. 20 with Poverty Bay Saints, President Kennedy is Assassinated, Sojourner, and Foul Play, are, if nothing else, very busy.

While many bands seem content to play a show here and there, practice upon occasion, and maybe even sell some T-shirts from time to time, Grave Maker obviously knows the value of hard work.

Not only is Grave Maker devoted to hardcore rock, as their chugging, tattooed, and feedback-laced sound demonstrates, but the band has a work ethic rarely seen in the realm of rock. Sunday’s show at the Viaduct will come at the beginning of a full fledged West Coast tour, which will take Grave Maker from B.C to Vegas to San Diego (with plenty of stops in between) and will stretch from mid-January to the end of February.

Then, as if that weren’t enough, the day after their tour concludes Grave Maker will enter Bright Lights Studio in Santa Ana, Calif., to start work on their debut full length. Most unsigned bands would be crying for a break after a month and a half long tour. Apparently, not Grave Maker.

Impressed? There’s more.

Not only will Grave Maker spend a month and a half touring the West Coast, then head into the studio for three weeks to record their debut full length, but after all that’s said and done, Grave Maker plans to head south (way south) for a string of shows in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Grave Maker just may be the hardest working band you’ve never seen before, which is why their show at the Viaduct on Sunday is worth checking out. Not only do they rock hard, but they work hard too, which is refreshing. — Matt Driscoll

[Viaduct, Sunday, 7 p.m., all ages, $5, 5412 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma,]

Sunday, Jan. 20

ROCK manalive

Before I try to explain to you who the band ManAlive is, let me explain who they’re not. ManAlive is NOT Man Alive — an Israeli punk band who are obviously far more popular on the Internet. Go ahead. Give it a search. I dare you.

ManAlive, who will play Hell’s Kitchen this Sunday, Jan. 20, are like a salad bar. They have a little of everything, but I can’t necessarily vouch for any of its quality.

ManAlive’s sound fluctuates wildly, much like Bobble Tiki’s personality after five or six cocktails. Lead singer Terry Houser seems to have the ability to go from a bluesy rock frontman to an out of place country barker, to a mix between Scott Stapp and the dude from Three Doors Down — without thinking twice about it. Though, if I were him, I would definitely think twice about it, in the form of ManAlive, Houser’s talents seem right at home.

ManAlive is a rock band. Plain and simple. They do manage to mix a wide array of influences into their sound, but at the end of the day it all comes back to the rock. The band’s debut release, Constant State of Sickness, is proof. Their show at Hell’s Kitchen this Sunday should only reaffirm things. If you like bluesy rock reminiscent of a time when Creed ruled the world, ManAlive may be your ticket.  — Matt Driscoll

[Hell’s Kitchen, with The Jury, The Mercury Rising, Cadillac Radio, The Pete Moss Band, 5 p.m., all ages, $7, $5 21 and older, 3829 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.759.6003]

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