Culture Dose: Live Music + Unique Shows Brighten the Spring Calendar

Hiss Golden Messenger by Chris Frisina

We’re (cautiously) feeling hopeful as we slide into longer days — and bright little buds begin to peep out their heads. The arts seem to be back with gusto, and we couldn’t be happier about that piece of news. Several summer festivals have announced their grand return, ranging from Timber! in Carnation (July 21-23) to our absolute favorite, Pickathon, happening once again just outside of Portland (August 4-7).

The local concert list is long and alluring, too. Not only did Climate Pledge Arena just announce the exciting arrival of Paul McCartney May 2 and 3 — tickets on sale February 25 — but on that same day this week, Grammy nominee Hiss Golden Messenger performs at the Neptune Theatre, in support of latest album Quietly Blowing It (Merge Records). Written, arranged and produced by bandleader-songwriter M.C. Taylor, the latest album was released in June 2021, and it quickly received glowing feedback.

Having had the pleasure of experiencing the band’s mesmerizing sound years ago, we couldn’t agree more with the sentiment of The New York Times writer who wrote: “There is just something about Hiss Golden Messenger’s music that makes it feel like a golden-hued summer day even when it’s not.”

On March 2, veteran singer-songwriter Steve Poltz takes over the stage at The Triple Door, following the release of his 14th solo album. Stardust & Satellites arrived via Red House Records on February 18, featuring first singles like “Miles In My Heart” and “Conveyor Belt.”

Steve Poltz by Michael Weintrob

Steve Poltz has spent more than three decades as a singer-songwriter-performer, offering loyal fans around the globe an inspired brand of rockin’ countrified folk Americana. The Halifax, NS-born talent first made a name for himself as frontman for underground legends The Rugburns; he’s since established a critically-lauded solo catalog while also collaborating with such artists as Jewel and Billy Strings.

On March 3, Still Woozy is playing a sold out show at Showbox SoDo. Still Woozy (Sven Gamsky) is a genre-blending artist who fuses soul and pop and funk. His debut album, If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is, touches on how he deals with mental health and while still being able to have a distinguishable fun sound.

Other shows on our radar include acclaimed roots duo Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno, who play the Tractor with Rachel Baiman on March 10. Durham, North Carolina-based Riley was born and raised in Seattle. The duo’s self-titled album last year on Free Dirt Records was a blend of indie roots and stringband traditions, and NPR recently named the talented Americana songwriters-musicians one of their “2022 Artists to Know.” Consider us tuned in!

We’re also excited about Bahamas at Neumos (March 15 and 16), OHMME at Sunset Tavern (March 21), Hayes Carll with Margo Cilker at Tractor Tavern (April 21 and 22), Fruit Bats at Showbox March 19, Fleet Foxes at Marymoor Park (July 15) and Leon Bridges at Marymoor (August 30). And don’t forget Record Store Day 2022, held on April 23, which will bring free tunes to a variety of venues around town.

Courtesy Seattle Rep

In the coming weeks you will not want to miss Freestyle Love Supreme, an energy-filled experience that fills the auditorium at Seattle Rep with joy and laughter through March 13. It’s best to arrive without too much prior knowledge of what will unfold onstage; simply know that you will remain highly engaged, and no two shows ever will be exactly the same.

This magnetic show comes directly from  Broadway, as the original hip-hop musical phenomenon from Thomas Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Anthony Veneziale. The recipient of a special 2020 Tony Award® and subject of the recently released Hulu documentary “We are Freestyle Love Supreme,” every performance of this Grammy-nominated show brings the unexpected. (To find discounted options, check out Seattle Rep’s Pay What You Choose tickets.)

At home, we’re currently listening to the new album by The Pine Hearts, released on February 18. This roots and Americana band out of Olympia has some interesting back stories, including the fact that lead singer and songwriter Joey Capoccia wrote a number of the songs on the new album in Antarctica, where he works part of the year as a carpenter.

Beginning March 5, and lasting through April 16, prepare to be wowed when you head to Tacoma to experience Imagine Van Gogh, the ORIGINAL Immersive Exhibition in Image Totale© (pictured below).

Last but not least, this spring marks the anticipated return of the 48th Seattle International Film Festival, April 14–24, with a hybrid event that includes both in-person and virtual screenings. The 11-day festival presents the best in international and independent films from around the world – with screenings taking place at SIFF theaters and venues throughout the city, as well as streaming virtually on the SIFF Channel. The Seattle International Film Festival is consistently ranked as one of the top audience festivals in North America, and is an Academy Award-qualifying film festival for short films.

Photo by Laurence Labat