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Music Critics' Picks: Northwest Freedom Fest, Hellgate, Talk of Shamans, Callow

July 5-7: Live music in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

Callow / photo courtesy of Facebook

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The first annual Northwest Freedom Fest is upon us this weekend. Not the big hoopla along Tacoma's waterfront, but rather an Olympia festival of music, food and fun, founded by Heidi Rosetta, a behind-the-scenes musician and self-described music lover. With the goal to raise awareness for female survivors of traumatic events such as domestic violence and cancer, NWFF will feature a professional fireworks show, a beer garden, glassblowing and play areas for children. In regards to music, expect to hear hip-hop notables Mr. Twist, Willy Green, Yak Nasty, Awall, DJ Travisty, Eddie Funxta and others. Should be fun in the sun for a great cause for awareness. {JOSE GUTIERREZ}

NORTHWEST FREEDOM FEST, 11 a.m. until fireworks, all ages, beer garden with ID, 1925 114th Lane SE, Olympia

[ROCK] + SAT, JULY 5    

Louie G's Pizza takes its rock as seriously as its oversized pies. Restaurateur Louis Galarza installed professional-grade light and sound equipment, then threw his doors open to the types of bands you may not expect with your meatball calzone. This Saturday he's hosting Montana's heavy-metal trio Hellgate as part of the all-ages Killhate Tour, a fist-pumping demonstration against police brutality and hate crimes everywhere. That's right, Hellgate shreds with a conscience. Guitarist and lead vocalist Joel Floyd West snarls through such retro rockers as "Dear Me" and "Death of Faith" with clarity and conviction, while Scott Daniels' crunching bass lines supply the perfect counterpoint. Also: fried pickle spears. Rawk! {CHRISTIAN CARVAJAL}

HELLGATE, 6 p.m. Saturday, Louie G's Pizza, 5219 Pacific Highway E., Fife, $10, 253.926.9700


Around the mid-'00s, a cavalcade of bands arrived on the scene as blissed-out purveyors of art-pop - off-kilter melodies and shifting time signatures giving nods to progressive rock, without going so far as to approach the uncommercial. Groups such as Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear and Local Natives are on the frontline of this movement of musical geeks, and Talk of Shamans fit right in with that new wave. The San Francisco trio bounces back and forth from bouncy, yelping indie rock and world music-indebted pitter-patter. Without becoming exhausting, Talk of Shamans' songs tend to come off like mini journeys, taking you down winding paths before arriving at the other end, no idea how you got there. Unlike some of their contemporaries, there's a refreshing lack of pretentious airs to be found with Talk of Shamans (despite their name, admittedly). {REV. ADAM MCKINNEY}

TALK OF SHAMANS, w/ Globelamp, Union Pacific, 10 p.m., Le Voyeur, 404 E. 4th Ave, Olympia, no cover, 360.943.5710


San Francisco duo Callow are inordinately preoccupied with mood. Everything they do is measured and drawn out, lending unbearable proportions of tension to every song they make. Composed of Red Moses on guitar and Sami Knowles on drums and keyboard, with both singing, Callow describe their music as "ghost western," which is about as apt as anything. While stopping just short of slowcore - that aching subgenre aimed at fetishists of melancholy - there is certainly no shortage of doom and gloom at work, here. The minimalism of the compositions highlights every sudden shriek or guitar stab, giving their songs the feel of a good, slow-burn horror movie. When you're not anxiously anticipating when the other show will suddenly drop, it's easy to get lulled into Callow's fatalistic crawl. {REV. AM}

CALLOW, 8 p.m., Le Voyeur, 404 E. 4th Ave, Olympia, no cover, 360.943.5710

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