Christmas music gets heavy metal, New Age spins

  • By Andy Rathbun Special to The Herald
  • Wednesday, November 20, 2013 4:26pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

The holiday season goes into full swing this weekend, with two Christmas shows coming to Seattle.

First up is Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the bombastic act that plays carols cranked up to 11 — the group has been described as “Christmas metal.” The band will play two shows in Seattle at Key Arena, at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday.

Formed by rock producer Paul O’Neill, Trans-Siberian Orchestra released its first album, “Christmas Eve and Other Stories,” in 1996. It has since become a staple on holiday radio stations, and has made a tradition out of its tours in the lead-up to the holiday.

Tickets are $45.74 to $84.89 at or 800-745-3000.

Then at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Mannheim Steamroller will bring its Christmas show to the Paramount Theatre.

Mannheim Steamroller first trafficked in electronic-influenced New Age music, releasing a string of albums in the 1970s, before recording its first Christmas album in 1984.

Since then, it has increasingly focused its output on holiday music. Its most recent album, “Christmas Symphony II,” hit shelves this October. It features the group’s take on classics like “Away in a Manger” and “Joy to the World.”

Tickets are $34.25 to $64.25 at or 877-784-4849.

Granted, not all shows coming to Seattle have a holiday theme. Nine Inch Nails — whose hits include “Sin,” “March of the Pigs” and new single “Came Back Haunted” — are hitting KeyArena at 8 Friday night.

Nine Inch Nails, or NIN to fans, pushed industrial music into the mainstream with a string of edgy albums during the alt-rock boom of the 1990s. The group’s large and strident fan base has turned frontman Trent Reznor into the type of cult icon who can fill a stadium.

The group is touring now behind its latest album, “Hesitation Marks,” which debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 3. The record was greeted in September with warm reviews, which praised the slickly produced take on metal.

Tickets are $50.90 to $113.49 at or 800-745-3000.

Meanwhile, John Legend is headed to the Paramount Theatre at 8 p.m. Monday.

Legend has seen his star grow in recent years. He won a Grammy for his collaboration with the Roots, “Wake Up,” in 2010. And then in 2012, he served as a judge on ABC’s short-lived singing competition “Duets.”

The neo-soul singer returned to the charts this September with “Love in the Future,” his first solo outing since 2008’s “Evolver.” The disc landed at No. 4, marking Legend’s sixth consecutive debut in the top 10.

Tickets are $47 to $87 at or 877-784-4849.

At 9 p.m. Saturday, Portland, Ore.-based indie rockers Blitzen Trapper will play the Neptune Theatre.

The Americana-flecked band first shot to prominence with its fourth album, “Furr,” which was released on Seattle’s Sub Pop Records in 2008.

After releasing two more albums for that label, Blitzen Trapper jumped over to Vagrant Records for its latest release, this September’s “VII.” That record found the group scaling back its earthier influences for a more alt-pop sound.

Tickets are $20 at or 877-784-4849.

Finally, electronica artist Pretty Lights will bring a full backing band with him as he plays the ShoWare Center in Kent.

The Colorado-based producer released his latest album, “A Color Map of the Sun,” which hit No. 24 on the Billboard 200 this July.

More in Life

Beer and cupcakes: Snohomish brewer, baker form unlikely duo

Pacific Northwest Cupcakes uses SnoTown’s brews to make beer-infused sweet treats.

Woodward Canyon Winery continues to weave masterpieces

Owner Rick Small uses grapes from vines he used when he made wine in his back yard in the 1970s.

Snohomish brewer flavors beer with chilies from mom’s back yard

Beer of the Week: Smoked rye forms sturdy foundation for SnoTown’s well-balanced Loose Rooster.

Beer, wine, spirits: Snohomish County booze calendar

Dash to Diamond Knot: Flying Unicorn Racing is teaming up with Mukilteo’s… Continue reading

Marysville theater stages Noel Coward’s timeless ‘Blithe Spirit’

The cast and crew at the Red Curtain Arts Center do a fine job with the 1940s British play.

Stringed instruments get workout at Cascade Symphony concert

Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings” is the orchestra’s first concert of the season.

Animating Van Gogh paintings proves to be trippy yet flawed

“Loving Vincent” relates the circumstances of the great painter’s death.

Leno, Short and others reminisce about David Letterman

By Geoff Edgers / The Washington Post A few observations about David… Continue reading

Most Read