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 ticketmaster.com 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 stgpresents.org 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 ticketmaster.com 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 stgpresents.org 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 stgpresents.org 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.

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