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Spring Concert Preview

Coming soon to a Pacific Northwest concert hall

Passion Pit plays The Showbox in Seattle May 19-20. Original photo by Hassan Rahim

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As Tom Lehrer immortally said, "Spring is here! Su-pa-ring is here! Life is skittles and life is beer!"

We've made it through the terrible wasteland of the temperate winter, and we've lived to come out on the other side: spring. How do we show our benevolent gods that we are thankful for them sparing us a frozen death? By going out to some awesome shows when the sun starts shining, of course! Remember, summer is just around the corner, and I hate that season more than most people hate their attempted murderers, so we should take pleasure in these brief, crisp moments when the sun is not actively trying to kill us. Here are some shows in the Pacific Northwest that are worth your attention.

Andrew Jackson Jihad, April 3

Andrew Jackson Jihad is a band that masterfully practices the form of mixing folk and punk. From screeds about the inherent injustice of the class system to the soul-crushing, day-to-day life of being a self-loathing hipster, Andrew Jackson Jihad approach everything with a verve and energy that is strong enough to demolish any club.

NEUMOS, w/ the Smith Street Band, Jeff Rosenstock, Chumped, 8 p.m., 925 E. Pike St., Seattle, $16 advance, $18 door, 206.709.9442

Polaris, April 22

Folks of a certain age know Polaris better than they might think they do, thanks to a bizarre, groundbreaking kids' show called The Adventures of Pete & Pete. The odd, left-field nature of that indelible Polaris theme song, "Hey Sandy," perfectly captured the vibe of the show, while also imbuing an entire generation of viewers with a certain joie de vivre that has made its presence known in the music of untold bands. Aside from that song, Polaris established themselves as astonishing purveyors of impeccable power-pop.

THE CROCODILE, w/ Scarves, 8 p.m., 2200 Second Ave., Seattle, $18, 206.441.4618

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, May 12

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion stands as one of the great originals in the alternative scene. The New York band came to renown in the '80s, with their fundamentally unique smashing together of rock, blues, funk, punk, and winking experimentation. Even though their name might call to mind a tired band working through their set in some dingy lounge, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion are consumed in a fiery heat. Let them consume you, too.

DOUG FIR LOUNGE, w/ We Are Hex, 8 p.m., 830 E. Burnside St., Portland, $18, 503.231.9663

Passion Pit, May 19-20

Passion Pit makes music that is positively vibrating with ecstatic energy. Even though the lyrics approach weighty topics like the dissolution of a relationship or financial troubles in the shadow of the housing crisis, the music is always alight with buzzing synths and frenzied, falsetto vocals. They are a live band to beat the best.

THE SHOWBOX, 7 p.m., 1426 First Ave., Seattle, $35, 206.628.3151

The War on Drugs, May 21

Recently, I tried DMT for the second time in my life. For the uninitiated, DMT is a hallucinogen that you smoke, then you trip for five minutes, and then it's over. My trip-master told me to pick out some music to listen to, and I immediately chose the War on Drugs. Imagine a hazy, druggy version of a Bruce Springsteen road trip song. That sums up the general feel of the War on Drugs, but you don't need to be touching the fourth dimension to appreciate them.

THE CRYSTAL BALLROOM, 7 p.m., 1332 W. Burnside, Portland, $27 advance, $30 door, 503.225.0047]

Will Butler, May 24

For those paying attention, the most valuable player of the Arcade Fire has always been Win Butler's younger brother, Will. Always foaming with a fervent energy, bounding from one stage to the other with a drum in hand, Will Butler was a big catalyst for setting the chaotic tone of the early Arcade Fire shows. Recently, he released his solo debut, which runs the gamut from '80s neo-Romantic to rave-up punk and introspective folk. It's a welcome debut from someone who spent the past decade moshing in the background.

DOUG FIR LOUNGE, w/ Jo Firestone, 8 p.m., 830 E. Burnside St, Portland, $14, 503.231.9663

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