May marks a banner month for live music in Seattle, with a cast of performers so robust and dynamic that they could populate a seemingly idyllic timber town near the Cascade Range, where tranquility and majestic natural beauty are offset by a pervasive darkness that occasionally manifests itself in grisly ways, including murder.
Speaking of which, May also marks the restart of David Lynch’s landmark early-’90s TV series, Twin Peaks. Imported by Showtime, it promises to be even weirder now that it’s unshackled from network decency standards. And it’d be even more unhinged if it were cast with the performers swinging through Seattle this month.
To this end, we’ve taken the liberty of casting these touring musicians in the series’ beefiest roles:
PJ Harvey (May 5, WaMu Theater) as Donna Hayward. Donna always had a darker side, barely visible through her black sunglasses and rings of cigarette smoke. Harvey’s the woman she always wanted to be.
Marc Cohn (May 5, Edmonds Center for the Arts; May 6, Bremerton’s Admiral Theatre) as Mike, the One-Armed Man. Cohn’s no amputee, but he’s walked in Memphis, and could certainly thrive as a small-town shoe salesman with a demonic alter ego.
Keith Sweat (May 6, Emerald Queen Casino) as Special Agent Dale Cooper. Special Agent Dale Cooper, portrayed in the original by Kyle MacLachlan, loved hot, black coffee. Well, Special Agent Keith Sweat is hot, black coffee—seasoned, sexy and firmly committed to teasing out the town’s secrets, one seductive verse at a time.
Son Volt (May 6 at the Crocodile), Jay Farrar as Windom Earle. Farrar and former Uncle Tupelo bandmate Jeff Tweedy were once thick as thieves until the two found themselves at an intractable fork in the road, just like Earl and Coop, albeit with less lethal intentions.
Kiefer Sutherland (May 7 at the Tractor Tavern) as Special Agent Sam Stanley. Before he launched a second career as a country singer, Sutherland actually played this role in 1992’s feature-length prequel Fire Walk With Me, so we’ll simply have him reprise it.
Melissa Etheridge (May 7, Paramount) as Norma Jennings. It takes a strong woman to run her own diner in a macho timber town, and the sassy, trailblazing Etheridge is more than up to the task.
Lea Michele (May 8 at the Moore) as Audrey Horne. The boss’ daughter, high-schooler Horne, served as jailbait for Agent Cooper; a scrapped plot line had the pair hooking up as the series drew to a premature close. Having starred in Glee and a multitude of her own risqué social-media photos, Michele knows a thing or two about portraying a just-ripened temptress.
Jamey Johnson (May 8-9, Showbox SoDo) as Big Ed Hurley. Hulking yet gentle, stern yet sensitive, Big Ed boasted a depth of voice and character reminiscent of Johnson, one of southern rock’s most solid standard-bearers.
Image by Angelina Castillo
Margo Price visits the Showbox Sodo on May 8-9
Margo Price (May 8-9, Showbox SoDo) as Nadine Hurley. COTTON BALLS! Can’t you just see this sassy country comer rediscovering how to silence a squeaky pair of drape runners before emerging from a near-death experience with superhuman strength and her eyepatch intact? We sure can.
Aimee Mann (May 9, the Neptune) as Blackie O’Reilly. It takes a certain no-BS constitution to be the madame of a brothel run out of a casino owned by Benjamin Horne. The icy, cutting Mann’s got what it takes.
Thurston Moore (May 9, Neumos) as Bob. Moore might not look as scary as Bob, but it makes sense to give one of punk rock’s most reclusive superstars a non-speaking role.
Old Crow Medicine Show (May 10, the Moore) as John Justice Wheeler. Billy Zane's tacked-on love interest for Audrey Horne was so pointless and boring that casting a bluegrass sextet in his stead would represent an exponential improvement.
Chuck Prophet (May 11 at the Tractor Tavern) as Harold Smith. With a seemingly sunshine-adverse complexion and a spiritual stage name, Prophet’s the perfect choice to play Laura and Donna’s shut-in soothsayer.
Chris Brown (May 11, KeyArena) as Leo Johnson. Leo beat the snot out of his wife, Shelly. The parallels with the talented but troubled Brown couldn’t be clearer.
Tanya Tagaq (May 11 at the Neptune) as the Log Lady. What would happen if the Log Lady—and her log—spoke only in ancient tribal tongues? With the Inuit throat singer Tagaq in possession of the prophetic piece of wood, we may well find out.
Tift Merritt (May 14, the Triple Door) as Shelly Johnson. Shelly was way too pretty and effervescent to be stuck in a place like Twin Peaks, while Merritt’s always seemed destined for larger stages.
U2 (May 14, CenturyLink Field): Larry Mullen Jr. as James Hurley, Bono as Ben Horne, The Edge as Jerry Horne. The handsome, brooding Mullen is the perfect choice to play Laura Palmer’s secret (and Donna’s not-so-secret) lover, while Edge can keep being Bono’s second banana as the pair portray the diabolically daffy Brothers Horne.
Mumford & Sons (May 14, CenturyLink Field), Marcus Mumford as Jacques Renault. It’d be nice to see the earnest and energetic Mumford cast against type as sleazy layabout Renault; at minimum, he’ll certainly be able to pack on the requisite pounds for the role.
The Flaming Lips (May 16 at the Paramount), Wayne Coyne as Dr. Jacoby. Both Coyne and Jacoby epitomize eccentricity in its purest form. A more obvious casting decision doesn’t exist in this lot, except maybe for Midnight Oil’s Peter Garrett as The Giant.
Richard Thompson (May 16-18, the Triple Door) as Major Briggs. Articulate, authoritative and prepared to deliver a tongue-lashing to his son if necessary—that was Major Briggs, and that could easily be the folk icon Thompson (father of Teddy) too.
Shemekia Copeland (May 18-21, Jazz Alley) as Josie Packard. Josie always seemed to float above Twin Peaks (and Sheriff Truman’s rippling trousers), making the role ideal for the jazz goddess Copeland.
Robbie Fulks (May 21 at The Triple Door) as Leland Palmer. At the peak of his murderous madness, Leland was quite the song and dance man, requiring someone of Fulks’ seasoning and versatility to assume the present-day role.
Father John Misty (May 24 at the Paramount) as Bobby Briggs. Father John’s a lanky, hyper-animated goofball, and Bobby was nothing if not that. The difference is the man who plays Misty, J. Tillman, is a smidge more self-aware.
Tim McGraw (May 27 at the Tacoma Dome) as Sheriff Harry S. Truman. Country star McGraw moonlights as a legitimately good actor, and the feistiness beneath his stoic sheen makes him perfect for the role of the town’s hunky sheriff.
Faith Hill (May 27 at the Tacoma Dome) as Laura Palmer. Like Laura Palmer, Hill possesses an otherworldly blond beauty that puts her outside the entire town’s league—and forever in their fantasies.
Bush (May 30, Showbox SoDo), Gavin Rossdale as Hank Jennings. Hank’s a lying, greasy-haired has-been who loses his willowy wife’s affections to a hulking hayseed. Remind you of anyone?
Justin Townes Earle (May 30 at the Neptune) as Deputy Andy. Steve Earle’s tall, clever son boasts the wit and wiles to wink at his own portrayal of Twin Peaks’ dimmest peace officer.
Rodriguez (May 30 at the Moore) as Deputy Hawk. A cool, working-class sage, Rodriguez can either disappear or find others who have, much like Hawk.
Midnight Oil (May 31 at the Moore): Peter Garrett as The Giant. So uncanny are their physical similarities that I’m not convinced it wasn’t actually the towering Garrett himself who snuck into Coop’s dreams at the Great Northern.