Who’s Playing Downtown Summer Sounds 2023?

🆓 Seattle concerts all summer

Black Belt Eagle Scout

📸: Black Belt Eagle Scout | Downtown Summer Sounds 2023

Does hanging in a park and vibing as the sun soaks away the day sound good? Then scope out the Downtown Summer Sounds series, presented annually by the Downtown Seattle Association. It’s held across two summer months, with over 35 shows at Westlake Park, Occidental Square, City Hall Park, and other downtown locations. Concerts include a range of genres, from punk to funk to hip hop. And there’s an accompanying Spotify playlist!

At Westlake Park, R&B and neo-soul artist Umi kicks off the concert series on Friday, July 7th. The Seattle native is back in town after her Coachella debut. Catch this local songstress for free before tickets to her shows are as pricey as Beyonce’s. And if you’re headed to more than one concert, pick up a stamp card. If you attend any six concerts and collect a stamp, you can return your card for a chance to win a stay at The Edgewater Hotel.

Now let’s scope out who’s playing and when, with band descriptions courtesy of the artists and the Downtown Seattle Association.

UMI @ Westlake Park

Friday, July 7th @ 4:30 pm

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“UMI is a 23-year-old Seattle native pioneering a new sound rooted in R&B and neo-soul – Her artistry manifests itself through her honest lyrics and healing sonics, which gives listeners a personal connection to UMI and her music. The energy of her artistry is a reflection of her personality – unique and nostalgic.”

The Shrine featuring Chief Ahamefule J. Oluo @ Occidental Square

Tuesday, July 11th @ 12 pm

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“The Shrine is a musical experience created by Chief Ahamefule J. Oluo, along with the best musicians in Seattle. Dance music with substance, creative explorations that you can dance to, The Shrine lives where the body and the mind meet to create an unforgettable, visceral experience.”

Massy Ferguson @ City Hall Plaza

Wednesday, July 12 @ 12 pm

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“For more than a dozen years, Massy Ferguson have proudly planted their boots on both sides of the country-rock divide, carving out their own brand of amplified Americana along the way. Based in Seattle, they’ve become international torchbearers of a sound that’s distinctly American rock ‘n’ roll.”

Lemon Boy @ City Hall Park

Wednesday, July 12th @ 5 pm

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“LEMON BOY began as a daydream shared by 3 gals shredding in Seattle’s skateparks. The Lemon Boy daydream became a reality in June 2021 when Yaz, Nicole, and Myriah emerged from quarantine, vaxxed and ready to now shred as an all-girl sour punk band. Described by The Stranger as, ‘A perfect mix of sweet and sour ─ and PUNK! ─ Seattle-based band Lemon Boy is poised to take over.’”

Lemon Boy @ City Hall Park

Wednesday, July 12th @ 5 pm

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“LEMON BOY began as a daydream shared by 3 gals shredding in Seattle’s skateparks. The Lemon Boy daydream became a reality in June 2021 when Yaz, Nicole, and Myriah emerged from quarantine, vaxxed and ready to now shred as an all-girl sour punk band. Described by The Stranger as, ‘A perfect mix of sweet and sour ─ and PUNK! ─ Seattle-based band Lemon Boy is poised to take over.’”

Small Paul @ Westlake Park

Thursday, July 13th @ 12 pm

“Small Paul was born in a Seattle basement in the early days of COVID as a happy accident between housemates Kevin Murphy from The Moondoggies, Chris King and Malcolm Roberts from Chris King & The Gutterballs with Seth McDonald from All Star Opera. What started out as casual music chairs between friends overtime blossomed into a four headed creative monster. Their harmonic Indie Rock deals with the deeper ideas of what we push ahead through: grief, change, isolation, and the passing of time and people.”

The Helio Sequence @ Bell Street Park

Friday, July 14th @ 5 pm

“Brandon Summers and Benjamin Weikel are the Portland, OR based band/production duo The Helio Sequence. They’ve been recording and performing professionally for over 20 years, releasing six full-length albums with legendary label Sub Pop, touring internationally as a headlining act, and supporting bands including Modest Mouse, The Pixies, Blonde Redhead, Kings of Leon, Keane, and Death Cab For Cutie.”

Star Anna @ Occidental Square

Tuesday, July 18th @ 12 pm

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“Star Anna is a singer/songwriter from the Northwest.  She’s been compared to Joan Jett, John Prine, Fiona Apple and Joe Cocker but she is unmistakably her own entity. Spare, fragile and gutsy, Star Anna is the real thing.”

Show Brazil! with Eduardo Mendonça @ The Square at 2+U

Wednesday, July 19th @ 12 pm

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“Internationally recognized and respected Show Brazil! has delighted audiences in the United States, Brazil, and Canada for over twenty years. Show Brazil!’s bandleader and Music Director Eduardo Mendonça, a native of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, has played, composed, and directed various genres of Brazilian popular music around the world since 1974.”

Chong the Nomad @ Westlake Park

Thursday, July 20th @ 12 pm

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“As an artist, Chong the Nomad has shared stages with the likes of The 1975, Odesza, Death Cab for Cutie, Head & The Heart, K. Flay, Omar Apollo, Toro Y Moi, Japanese Breakfast and many more. She has played festival sets at Sasquatch, Capitol Hill Block Party, Treefort Fest, Timber! and Seattle Pride (among others), and has headlined and sold out events in cities across the country. Her distinct compositions bring together a blend of natural sounds and electronic beats for a unique mix you won’t hear anywhere else.”

Dude York @ Freeway Park

Friday, July 21st @ 12 pm

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“‘There are two ways things can fall,’ says Dude York’s Claire England. ‘They can fall and be ruined, or they can fall gently like a feather and be fine.’ The Seattle trio explores that sentiment through impossibly catchy and emotive songs that investigate the ways you can fall in and out of relationships, and sometimes fall back together.”

Hard Maybe @ Occidental Square

Tuesday, July 25th @ 12 pm

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“Hard Maybe is a 7-piece soul infusion hailing from Seattle. Formed in 2017, their sound has been described as ‘a fusion style completely their own.’ With three-part harmony punctuated by horns, they seamlessly blend ingredients from back-beat driven funk, soul, and more to create an effortlessly cohesive and rich sound.”

Hollis & Shaina Shepherd @ Lake Union Park

Wednesday, July 26th @ 12 pm

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“Hollis Wong-Wear is a songwriter, musician, speaker, creative generator and community advocate who lives between Los Angeles and Seattle, WA. With her roots in spoken word and slam poetry through the nationally recognized Youth Speaks program, Hollis is passionate about how creativity and the arts fuel and shape civic discourse, and is dedicated to lending her voice and capacities towards vibrant social equity.”

“Known for her pervasive style as front woman, Shaina Shepherd is a singer, songwriter, and arts community activist based in Seattle. Shaina’s art is all about the balance of connection between social activism and self-love with the grit of rock and roll and the freedom of jazz to create piano based worlds of thematic songwriting. From collaborating with members of Soundgarden and Guns in Roses to sharing a stage with the Seattle Symphony, Shaina makes music with a focus on personal power.”

Noah Gundersen @ Westlake Park

Thursday, July 27th @ 12 pm

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“In March 2020 as the world went dark, singer/songwriter Noah Gundersen moved off the grid to a cabin deep in the woods of Washington to seek inspiration for his album A Pillar of Salt. This dedication to his craft allows a peek into the creative process behind his indie folk acoustic sound.”

Cytrus @ Freeway Park

Friday, July 28th @ 12 pm

“In the world of music, the term ‘fusion’ tends to raise eyebrows. Yet, Seattle octuplet Cytrus creates a cohesive sound that melds distinct stylistic threads of psychedelic funk, disco, electronic, rock, soul and hip-hop. Flowing through kaleidoscopic transitions, Cytrus’s juicy synths and brass-powered grooves coalesce into an undeniable, hypnotic wall of sound.”

Nathanology @ Occidental Square

Tuesday, August 1st @ 12 pm

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“Nathan Dufour, aka Nathanology, is a rapper, writer and video artist whose work explores topics drawn from philosophy, history and the social sciences. He’s known for his YouTube and TikTok channels, his publications in BBC Future, and his live performances at Brooklyn’s House of Yes.”

All Star Opera @ Rainier Square

Wednesday, August 2nd @ 12 pm

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“All Star Opera is a buzz. A vibe. A movement. This 7-piece Seattle-based hip-hop/soul band is bestowed with the talent and vibes to create soul-stirring music and art for the benefit of the people.”

La Fonda @ Westlake Park

Thursday, August 3rd @ 12 pm

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“La Fonda is an indie rock band from Seattle fronted by Filipino-American sisters, Valerie and Veronica Topacio. Centering their songs around themes of sisterhood and navigating the chaos of adolescence, addiction, xenophobia and gentrification, La Fonda make sonically atmospheric, shoegaze-inspired tracks falling somewhere between dream-pop and alt-rock.”

i///u @ Union Square

Friday, August 4th @ 12 pm

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“The eclectic, soulfully driven sounds of i///u have never been simple to categorize, but that hasn’t prevented the 6-piece Seattle-based alternative soul outfit from accruing an enthusiastic cult following. Formed at the University of Washington in 2017, i///u has electrified Seattle’s hallowed musical grounds from the U-District house party scene to the main stage at Cap Hill Block Party with their narcotic grooves and airtight live performances.”

Sea Lemon @ Occidental Square

Tuesday, August 8th @ 12 pm

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“Based out of Seattle, Sea Lemon is the solo dreampop project of songwriter Natalie Lew. Sea Lemon has opened for acts like Wolf Parade, Suki Waterhouse, Ducks Ltd., Disq, and played Capitol Hill Block Party. Sonically inspired by lush, dreamy guitar tones and bright melodies, Natalie’s songwriting and sound is all about embracing nostalgia and wistfulness, and her experiences growing up as a 4th-generation-Asian American woman.”

Courtney Marie Andrews @ City Hall Plaza

Wednesday, August 9th @ 12 pm

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“Courtney Marie Andrews was raised by a single mother and a ragtag collection of Southwest eccentrics with a penchant for characters: bikers, Buddhists and cowboys. Her early pursuits led to her playing in punk bands in high school before becoming a touring member of Jimmy Eat World at just 18 years old, and from there Courtney went on to release a series of acclaimed albums. Her latest album Loose Future is a record of triumph, processing the highs and lows of life with shimmering vocals and lush musical sound.”

Breaks and Swells @ City Hall Park

Wednesday, August 9th @ 5 pm

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“Seattle’s Breaks and Swells put their own stamp on classic soul and funk, incorporating elements of R&B, Pop and Disco, keeping even hardened Seattle crowds on their feet. The 7 piece band, fronted by vocalist Marquetta Miller, is just as comfortable ripping through a protest anthem as they are spinning a tender love song.”

Austin Jenckes @ Westlake Park

Thursday, August 10th @ 12 pm

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“Ask Austin Jenckes about his unwavering need to write and perform music, and as he pauses to gather his thoughts, you can practically see a montage of the country singer-songwriter’s life playing before him: a childhood spent watching his father play guitar in the park; high school talent shows; dingy bar gigs; televised singing competitions; publishing deals; Nashville writing rooms; a forthcoming debut album. ‘But at the root, it’s always been me trying to move somebody enough emotionally to pay attention to what I’m singing about,’ Jenckes says. ‘Music’s always been a way for me to observe and process the world around me.’”

Greater Than @ Bell Street Park

Friday, August 11th @ 5 pm

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“An epic trifecta of talent was born when three separate stars collided at the speed of light and formed GREATER THAN. If you’re a hip-hop fan, you’ve likely heard of one or all of these three artists who have mind-melded into one. Having joined forces to rap circles around diverse and unexplored landscapes, the list of credentials is long for this well-versed trio made up of Grynch, Fearce Vill and Grieves.”

Acid Tongue @ Occidental Square

Tuesday, August 15th @ 12 pm

 
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“Acid Tongue is an American rock band, formed in 2015 in Seattle. In 2022, Rolling Stone featured Acid Tongue on their In My Room concert series. To date, the band has released three studio albums and four EPs on Seattle independent label Freakout Records.”

Dean Johnson @ Union Square

Wednesday, August 16th @ 12 pm

 
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“For more than ten years, Dean Johnson’s rustic tenor and simply strummed acoustic guitar have been perking up ears around the PNW and beyond. Dean has gradually built a devoted fan base, strictly through live performances- singing existential cowboy waltzes, ballads about wishing one could find a way out of heaven, honest confessionals, and other heartbreakers from a unique perspective.”

The Cave Singers @ Westlake Park

Thursday, August 17th @ 12 pm

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“Given the rising popularity of meditative, folky indie acts in the early 2000s, forming a twangy, rootsy folk trio was probably the least surprising move Derek Fudesco could have made. The former bassist and founding member of the successful indie rock group Pretty Girls Make Graves picked up an acoustic guitar and formed the Cave Singers following PGMG’s demise in January 2007, teaming up with vocalist Pete Quirk and drummer Marty Lund.”

Robert Sarazin Blake and The High, Wide & Handsome Band @ Occidental Square

Tuesday, August 22nd @ 12 pm

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“Bellingham Songwriter Robert Sarazin Blake has released 12 albums and spent 20 years touring the US, Ireland & Europe. His concerts are a mix of material from his catalogue, new songs and whatever the moment calls for. With The High, Wide & Handsome Band, Blake puts on his party hat while the band puts a beat behind the stories.”

DJ Aanshul & the Bollywood Drummers @ The Square at 2+U

Wednesday, August 23rd @ 12 pm

“With over 20 years of Seattle’s Indian dance music community, DJ Aanshul will be playing Bollywood favorites and remixes with support from live drummers.”

Daniel Pak @ Westlake Park

Thursday, August 24th @ 12 pm

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“Daniel Pak, originally from the island of O’ahu, is a singer, songwriter, producer, and co-founder of Totem Star. The Seattle Weekly describes his voice as sounding ‘like it was birthed right in the heart of New Orleans, with enough jazz heart to lead a Jamaican revolution of peace and love.’”

Benjamin Hunter @ Union Square

Friday, August 25th @ 12 pm

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“Benjamin Hunter, a Seattle-based polymath, is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, composer, creative & culture advocate, social entrepreneur, producer, and educator. In 2023, Benjamin collaborated with Seattle and New York-based artists to create Untitled, composing the music for a multi-disciplinary production with dance, visual, architectural, and storyteller artists. Connecting all his experiences in one musical language, Benjamin’s music scans the margins and the nucleus alike searching for the stories and intersections where everything converges.”

Down North @ Occidental Square

Tuesday, August 29th @ 12 pm

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“There are some performers who come to music later in life. Then, there are folks you can just tell were voracious students and consumers of music since before they could talk. Seattle / Los Angeles / North Carolina based quartet Down North fall squarely into the latter group. Trying to pin genre tags onto their unique brand of psych-infused punk soul is an exercise in futility. These creatives pick and choose just-right bits and flavors drawn from the whole of modern western music like painters with unlimited palates.”

Never Come Down @ Lake Union Park

Wednesday, August 30th @ 12 pm

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“Weaving together modern and traditional styles of American music, Never Come Down is a Portland, Oregon based 5-piece composed of Joe Suskind (guitar), Crystal Lariza (vocals), Brian Alley (banjo), Kaden Hurst (mandolin), and Ben Ticknor (bass). Their dedication to thoughtful songwriting and dynamic arrangements highlight polished technical skills and a commitment to listening to each other.”

Walking Papers @ Westlake Park

Thursday, August 31st @ 12 pm

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“To listen to Walking Papers is like gaining access to a secret society, like stumbling upon your new favorite bar behind an unmarked door — the kind where every patron has a story, and every night is a late one. With the band’s third album, The Light Below, we’re once again invited behind the velvet curtain, to the smoke-filled room where whiskey-voiced frontman Jefferson Angell holds court, telling his tales over bluesy riffs with an alluring darkness.”

Black Belt Eagle Scout @ Occidental Square

Tuesday, September 5th @ 12 pm

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“This land runs through Katherine Paul’s blood. And it called to her. In dreams she saw the river,  her ancestors, and her home. When the land calls, you listen. And KP found herself far from her ancestral lands during a time of collective trauma, when the world was wounded and in need of healing. In 2020 she made the journey from Portland back to the Skagit River, back to the cedar trees that stand tall and shrouded in fog, back to the tide flats and the mountains, back to Swinomish.”

Jarv Dee & Terror/Cactus @ The Square at 2+U

Wednesday, September 6th @ 12 pm

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“Jarv’s got a new bounce these days—he’s been making some of his best music yet with Blakhouse, a project with his longtime collaborator Ibe Sulaiman, aka NYC producer Bad Colours. The slick fusion of BC’s propulsive, thumping house tracks and Jarv’s authoritative flow caught fire immediately and has been hooking ears ever since.”

“Terror/Cactus is the digital folklore and psychedelic electro-cumbia project of Martín Selasco. Born in Buenos Aires and raised in Miami, the Seattle-based producer draws from a wide variety of Latin-American influences in his productions including Argentine folk, Peruvian chicha, and Colombian cumbia. These influences are woven into hypnotic electronic beats featuring psychedelic guitars, dub lasers, and field recordings.”

LeRoy Bell & His Only Friends @ Westlake Park

Thursday, September 7th @ 12 pm

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“Internationally acclaimed Singer/Songwriter LeRoy Bell has dazzled audiences for several decades. His soulful voice and powerful lyrics backed by a super funky band of all-star musicians make these performances a musical adventure not to be missed!”

Polyrhythmics @ Bell Street Park

Friday, September 8th @ 5 pm

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“Polyrhythmics is a Seattle-based progressive funk, psychedelic rock and modern afro-beat recording artist and national touring collective. Now on their sixth full-length album and twelfth year performing, Polyrhythmics take sonic exploration experiences combined with mad scientist experiments to create their unique toe-tapping tunes.”

Author

Patheresa Wells

Patheresa Wells is a Black/Persian, Pansexual, Polyamorous Poet (so many Ps) and writer living in Seatac. An aspiring comic, you can catch her cracking jokes at open mics around the area. In her free time, she likes to imagine what she’d do with free time and feed her backyard crows cuz they’re silly. Follow her on Twitter @PatheresaWells.

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