Friday August 15th
Dr. Martens presents MFNW Opening Party with Killer Mike, Ural Thomas & The Pain
[ATLIEN] Michael Render is not a subtle man. The Atlanta rapper- better known as Killer Mike is hard to miss, both in stature and rhetoric. His most recent solo release, 2012's R.A.P. Music, marked the beginning of a beautiful bromance with Brooklyn beat maestro El-P (see: Run the Jewels), whose booming, futuristic production turned out to be the perfect complement to Mike's bludgeoning delivery. A blend of street-level storytelling, gangster braggadocio and political awareness all bundled into one jovial and energetic performer, Mike brings something to the table for everyone. Kicking off this MFNW kick-off show are Best New Band winners, vintage soul outfit Ural Thomas and the Pain. SAM CUSUMANO. Dr. Martens Parking Lot, 2 NW 10th Ave. 5 pm. Entry with VIP Wristband or free ticket, available at Dr. Martens during regular business hours.
Bobby Bare Jr., Matt Brown
[AMBLING FOLK] Moderate greatness is somewhat expected when you've batted around song ideas with Shel Silverstein and grew up next door to country great George Jones. Nashville troubadour Bobby Bare Jr., for the most part, has also lived up to his namesake, effortlessly crafting a slew of albums spanning alt-country to psychedelic folk with a penchant for finding humor even in the darkest situations. As his most recent album, Undefeated, attests, the 48-year-old musician maintains his father's renowned croon, while pop-tinged balladry adorned with alt-rock guitars that sadly don't quite mesh well with the album's underlying taste for roots music. BRANDON WIDDER. Bunk Bar. 10 pm. $12. 21+.
Red Bull Sound Select Presents Flatbush Zombies, Porter Ray, Ricky & Mark
[ACID RAP] Despite the name, Brooklyn's Flatbush Zombies aren't exactly the horrorcore rappers you were expecting. While these three dudes—emcees Meechy Darko and Zombie Juice and producer Erick Arc Elliott—spent their formative years watching George Romero movies on a near-continuous loop, the trio's chemically-enhanced lyrics and narcotized beats are more inclined to warp brains than devour them. MATTHEW SINGER. Star Theater. 9 p.m. $3 with RSVP at redbullsoundselect.com, $12 at the door. 21+.
Saturday, August 16th
Pitchfork Nightcap Series presents Future Islands, Operators
[LOVE IN THIS CLUB] That's it, folks: We have the winner of the Best Summer Dance Party of 2014. Future Islands have already been here before. The Baltimore based synth-pop band practically tore the roof down in March, with singer and living meme Samuel Herring trading off pelvic gyrations, hip thrusts and dramatic poses onstage like he's the world's coolest middle school drama teacher. I don't think I've ever seen a Doug Fir crowd move so hard. Tonight's show is basically a victory lap for a band already lavished with praise by everyone from Pitchfork (who curated the bill) to David Letterman, but it's also your first (well, second) chance to hear Operators, the new trio from Wolf Parade/Handsome Furs/Divine Fits' Dan Boeckner. If their Pickathon show was any indication, this is going to be one sweaty, impassioned mess of a performance. Seasons change, but basement dance parties are always immortal. MICHAEL MANNHEIMER. Doug Fir Lounge. 9:30 pm. $15. 21+.
The Life and Times, The Districts, Last Giant, Holiday Friends
[MIDWESTERN MATH-PUNK] Beyond ribs and jazz, there was a brief portion of the '90s where Kansas City was an under-the-radar hotbed for angular hardcoreâan integral piece of what eventually became âemoâ. KCâs Shiner broke up soon after releasing its masterstroke, The Egg, and a legion of impersonators stepped in before offshoot the Life and Times could gain a foothold over the navel-gazing cowtown kids with Telecasters and weird haircuts. On Lost Bees, singer-guitarist Allen Epley fuses the hypnotic studio trickery of modern post-rock with the syncopated rhythms and sprawling guitars that made Shiner a band to root for over a decade ago. PETE COTTELL. Bunk Bar. 8 pm. $10. 21+.
Red Bull Sound Select Presents Com Truise, Hustle and Drone, AAN
[DANCE] Seth Healy has been toying around with synths and dance beats for over a decade. Under current moniker Com Truise, he's put out a half-dozen drifty, warped, '80s-inspired projects, including two instrumental full lengths and a remix on Daft Punk's Tron: Legacy soundtrack. February's Wave 1 EP exemplifies Com Truise's style with altered synths, stuttering fills and pulsating rhythms. Earlier this summer, the seasoned electronic musician played Mexico City's Cultural Center for Contemporary Art Museum, and later this fall he's headed to Australia. But tonight, he's in town for an MFNW night show, accompanied by local sweethearts Hustle and Drone and alt-rockers Aan. LYLA ROWEN. Star Theater. 9 pm. $3 with RSVP at redbullsoundselect.com, $12 at the door. 21+.
Sunday, August 17
Mailchimp presents MFNW Closing Party with El-P, Tope
[DOPE DIAMOND] After 15 years on the hip-hop fringes with his Def Jux label, Brooklynâs Jaime Meline, a.k.a. El-P, is finally starting to creep into the mainstream. Heâs done it mostly through his collaborations with Killer Mike as Run the Jewels, where El-Pâs aggressively spat references counterbalance Mikeâs polished flow. Guest verses featuring everyone from Das Racist to Murs are peppered throughout his career, which is not to say El-P canât hack it alone: see 2012âs âThe Full Retard,â where he is both positively uncontainable and unassisted. MITCH LILLIE. Doug Fir Lounge. 9:30 p.m. Free with MFNW wristband. 21+.
Tacocat, Tijuana Panthers
[MILLENNIAL SONGS] Not only is Tacocat my new favorite palindrome, it is also one of Seattle's most fun-loving quartets. Specializing in surfy neo-punk and signed to the Hardly Art label (La Sera, La Luz), Tacocat epitomizes millennial culture, musing on relatively light subject matter one might assume is reserved for the Internet (psychic cats, the art of riding a volcano, building a bridge to Hawaii). It's escapism set to catchy three-part guitar riffs and plenty of vocal harmonies. The band's newest LP, NVM, has a sea of gum balls on the cover, and it's fitting visual: Tacocat's sound is candy sweet, and a metaphor for the carefree and imaginative days of childhood. MARK STOCK. Bunk Bar. 9 pm. $10. 21+.
Red Bull Sound Select Presents Superchunk, Blank Range, Radiation City
[POWER-PUNK] Superchunk is never going to surprise you, and that's among its better qualities. Over 23 years, the North Carolina stalwarts have squeezed a lot of life from just a few energetic power chords, strained-larynx hooks and a lot of punkish soul. Tenth album I Hate Music is every bit as vital as Superchunk's 1990 debut, except frontman Mac McCaughan now uses his aggro-elfin whinny to ruminate on death, aging and the joys of staying at home. The band headlined the Crystal Ballroom last year, which was maybe too big for it. This venue feels just right. MATTHEW SINGER. Star Theater. 9 pm. $3 with RSVP at redbullsoundselect.com, $12 at the door. 21+.