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Live music’s fall comeback is off to a bit of a bumpy start, with a smattering of tour cancellations and evolving COVID-19 protocol. Welcome to the new normal? Regardless, the Seattle area’s concert calendar is packed this season, with touring ramping up this month. From big-name pop stars to buzzy post-punks and hometown heroes, here are some of the highlights.
After funking up Marymoor Park with an ace band in 2019, the 81-year-old progressive jazz great’s taking it inside to the Paramount Theatre’s more acoustically advanced surroundings. One thing we’ve learned during the pandemic is not to take opportunities to see living legends lightly.
7:30 p.m. Sept. 21; Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St., Seattle; $39.50-$99.50; stgpresents.org
It’s last call for outdoor shows before Washington gets drizzlier, and the hometown rap hero helps kick off the state fair’s final weekend. Darius Rucker, the country star formerly known as Hootie, and Old Dominion perform Saturday and Sunday respectively, to put a sonic cap on scone season.
7:30 p.m. Sept. 24; Washington State Fair, 110 Ninth Ave. S.W., Puyallup; $85-$110 (includes fair admission); thefair.com
Armand Hammer with Open Mike Eagle
On the opposite end of Mack’s grandstand-ready pop raps, this double bill of underground stalwarts the same night will not disappoint. New York duo Armand Hammer are riding high on this year’s superb “Haram” LP with ace producer The Alchemist, while L.A. thought-provoker Open Mike Eagle is one of the West Coast’s most respected emcees.
8 p.m. Sept. 24; Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St.; $20; chopsuey.com
Few artists in the indie world are having a better year than Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner, the Oregon-reared songwriter who wrote an acclaimed memoir, “Crying in H Mart,” dealing with the grief around losing a parent to cancer. Zauner followed The New York Times bestseller with a more celebratory new album, appropriately titled “Jubilee,” drawing equal praise.
8 p.m. Sept. 25-27; Neptune Theatre, 1303 N.E. 45th St., Seattle; $45; stgpresents.org
It’s the dawn of a new era for Washington ravers, as national EDM power Insomniac Events launches a Northwest edition of its Beyond Wonderland fests at the Gorge. Anchored by big-name producers like The Chainsmokers, Rezz, Alison Wonderland and Steve Aoki, Beyond Wonderland is positioned to take over as the state’s premier dance festival after Paradiso died amid legal trouble and allegations of unpaid bills.
Oct. 1-2; Gorge Amphitheatre, 754 Silica Road N.W., George; $139-$399; pnw.beyondwonderland.com
After COVID-19 derailed the genre-mashing duo’s very sold-out Neumos show last spring, the hyperpop progenitors make their highly anticipated return to Seattle on Showbox SoDo’s much larger stage. Since then, 100 Gecs’ Dylan Brady and Laura Les have each collaborated with Seattle’s own genre-fluid pop phenom Left at London.
8 p.m. Oct. 13; Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., Seattle; $55; showboxpresents.com
Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson
Heart’s hall-of-fame siblings return to their hometown in October, armed with respective solo projects hatched during the pandemic. Up first is Ann, who slides into the Neptune Theatre for three nights (Oct. 13, 16-17), followed by Nancy’s postponed Benaroya Hall gig with the Seattle Symphony (Oct. 30).
Ann Wilson: 8 p.m. Oct. 13, 16-17; Neptune Theatre, 1303 N.E. 45th St., Seattle; $50-$75; stgpresents.org
Nancy Wilson with the Seattle Symphony: 8 p.m. Oct. 30; Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $80-$120; seattlesymphony.org
Since being freed from major label shackles a few years ago, Tinashe has been on a tear and returns to Seattle — where she riled up a 2018 Bumbershoot crowd with killer choreo — towing one of the year’s most immersive pop/R&B albums of the year, “333.”
8 p.m. Oct. 21; Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., Seattle; $30; showboxpresents.com
The pop rock stars get the first crack at the new home of Seattle’s NHL franchise, playing Climate Pledge Arena’s first concert on the eve of the Kraken’s home opener. With the big-time Brits’ first gig in nearly five years (also livestreaming through Amazon Prime Video), Chris Martin and crew will presumably showcase new tunes from their upcoming album, “Music of the Spheres,” dropping a week earlier. CPA’s opening run continues with country star Eric Church, opera force Andrea Bocelli and two nights with the Eagles.
This thrilling experimentalist, who crunches and contorts elements of rock and electronic music, is as electrifying live as on record.
8 p.m. Nov. 3; Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; $21.25-$24.25; neumos.com
The Louisville rapper’s stock rose immeasurably when his grammatically indifferent banger “Whats Poppin” exploded. Here’s hoping the freshly minted star’s performance is more focused than his main stage set during 2019’s Capitol Hill Block Party, when Seattle’s own Taylar Elizabeth outrapped him while playing a smaller stage at the same time. General admission is sold-out, but “AXS premium” tickets remain.
8:30 p.m. Nov. 6; Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., Seattle; $189; showboxpresents.com
The One Direction member has officially joined the Justin Timberlake club, successfully transitioning from boy band sensation to compelling adult pop star, riding his “Watermelon Sugar” high into his first Grammy win this year. After COVID-19 delays, Styles is scheduled to bring his Love On Tour and impeccable taste in openers to the Tacoma Dome with indie rock singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis. Limited (i.e., stupid expensive) tickets remain, though StubHub might be the better option.
8 p.m. Nov. 7; Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., Tacoma; $454-$599; tacomadome.org
Ballard’s freakiest music tradition resumes with this multivenue fest wrangled by local label Freakout Records and psych-rock vets Acid Tongue. Still coursing with a psychedelic undercurrent, Freakout’s constantly expanding its sonic reaches and in recent years has established a cool pipeline to Mexico City’s rock scene. Stoner metal crushers Big Business, Memphis bluesman Cedric Burnside and electronic experimenter Matthew Dear are among Freakout’s eclectic mix of talent from the Northwest, south of the border and beyond.
Nov. 11-14; multiple venues; $25-215; the-freakout.com
After opening for Aussie psych giants Tame Impala at the Gorge this month, hometown-kid-turned-indie-pop-star Mike Hadreas brings Perfume Genius back for a perfectly Seattle homecoming with two nights at the Showbox.
9 p.m. Nov. 13-14; Showbox, 1426 First Ave., Seattle; $30-$35; showboxpresents.com
The angular quartet stands out among the U.K.’s current post-punk renaissance, thanks to vocalist Florence Shaw’s observational spoken-word lyrics delivered with an unflinchingly dry sense of humor that has critics raving. Dry Cleaning’s Seattle headliner is one of the most anticipated shows at the new Crocodile, which looks to open this fall.
7:30 p.m. Nov. 14; Crocodile, 2505 First Ave., Seattle; sold-out; thecrocodile.com