As the go-to source for Americana and roots music, No Depression magazine curates its own festival to showcase both well-established and up-and-coming folk acts. This year's festival is headlined by the dulcet Dublin tones of The Swell Season, consisting of Irish musician Glen Hansard and Czech singer and pianist Markéta Irglová, who starred together in the Academy Award–winning 2007 indie-musical Once. Other acts include acclaimed singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, Seattle indie-folk rockers The Cave Singers, and Alejandro Escovedo—winner of No Depression ’s "artist of the decade" for the '90s. Tickets are general admission, so arrive when the gates open at noon to secure a close-up spot on Marymoor Park's two enormous grass lawns, ensuring that the artists can pointedly ignore your request that they play the entire score of The Muppet Christmas Carol.
Having tamed Redman's farmers'-market frontier with their patented brand of slapstickery, the script spurners of Split 2nd Improv now tend to hatching a twice-weekly staging of off-the-cuff comedy. Like snowflakes or facial tattoos, no two of the audience-directed shows are the same. Friday nights are rated PG-13, suitable for tickling family funny bones, and Saturdays paint the stage blue in adult humor. Track the ever-shifting feature players on Facebook, and bring your blank screenplay for them to autograph.
Canadian pop-rock troupers the Barenaked Ladies play ringmasters to a freewheeling circus of brainy pop, brawny blues, and carefree jams as the Last Summer on Earth tour lights up arenas and amphitheaters across the continent. On stage, they maintain their 20-year reputation as an engaging live act with tight but playful musicianship and gregarious repartee with their adoring audiences. Their hook-laced lyrical patter, bookworm wit, and mastery of the tone sequences that activate the brain's CD-buying centers steered '90s hits such as “One Week” and “If I Had a Million Dollars” into perpetual ubiquity.
Owned by a pair of married comedians, Laughs Comedy Spot draws on its owners' continent-wide comedy connections and restaurant-managing acumen to treat guests to top-rate rib ticklers and delectable food. Graciously arranged tables ensure clear views of the stage from every seat, backing up punch lines with a powerful sound system, and free, well-lit parking eases transit worries and preempts cars' fear of the dark.