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Music Critics' Picks: Metaltopia 2014, Whelp, the Outlaws

Jan. 17-18: Live music in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

The Outlaws / photo courtesy of Facebook

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[METAL] + FRI, JAN. 17

Said in the growliest voice ever: "METALTOPIA 2014 IS ABOUT TO MELT YOUR FACE OFF." Yes, it's true boys and girls, five of the northwest's most badass metal bands are converging in one place - the magical Track House, where bands play, beers flow and miracles happen. Black metal, doom metal, experimental metal - you name it - is covered in one night of metal mayhem. Please bring $3 for the bands, and please make sure your neck is in prime head banging condition. Especially interesting to my ear is Eusapia, out of Aberdeen. Reminding me of Isis with their upward of 10-minute songs that are dirge-y, atmospheric and trudge on through the psyche. They also move into weird bluesy-stuff and classic black metal as well. You can't see me, but I'm throwing up horns right now. {NIKKI MCCOY}

METALTOPIA 2014, w/Eusapia, Countless The Dead, Un, Hellships, A God or Another, 8:30 p.m., Track House, 511 Seventh Ave., Olympia, $3


Is Whelp really a band? Yes and no. It's not exactly what is the extent of Whelp's existence outside of the Internet and the imagination, but Saturday's show at the Northern would be a good time to find out. What is known about Whelp is that they have created an ongoing comic called Little North Star, which is meant to be read while listening to one of their corresponding songs. "Episode 3: Starlit Voyage," for instance, follows an eerie nighttime adventure into a snowy landscape, accompanied by gently psychedelic music that evokes Sparklehorse. Meanwhile, "Episode 2: Adventure Girl" is an anthemic bit of prog-lite set to images of riding dragons and camping out in caves. It's a fairly ingenious project, and it makes one wonder how the songs hold up when divorced from their paired images. Why not find out? {REV. ADAM MCKINNEY}

WHELP, w/ Fruit Juice, Whatsername, 8 p.m., Northern, 414 ½ Legion Way, Olympia, $5


Bobble Tiki's hula girl alarm clock woke him up last Thursday with the sound of Waylon Jennings singing "I'm a Ramblin' Man."  No matter how foul Bobble Tiki's mood, that song has always made Bobble Tiki feel good - cocky, strong, self-assured.  When it comes ripping out of a jukebox, it's as if Jennings is grabbing Bobble Tiki by the carvings of his neck and shouting, "Son, lighten up and have a good time.  I mean it now, hoss." Bobble Tiki misses tha old boy.  Jennings sang like he meant business. He didn't get fancy, and he didn't send his voice on missions it could not complete, but there was an urgency in his best songs that pounded them home. When he sang something, it stayed sung. The Outlaws will mosey on into Doyle's Saturday night for a dead-on Jennings tribute. Pro tip: Find a parking spot early on St. Helens before the dusty pick-up trucks cranking AM radio arrive. {BOBBLE TIKI}

THE OUTLAWS: A WAYLON JENNINGS TRIBUTE, 9 p.m., Doyle's Public House, 208 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, no cover, 253.272.7468

LINK: More live music tonight in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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