The Metro Gnome

Last weekend, the Gnome put his pasty white ass in a pair of Karl Kanis to check out the latest corporate attempt to co-opt youth culture and sell it back with a new logo attached: A "secret" show by Outkast and Goodie Mob at the Moore Theater.

Cooked up by the geniuses at Coca-Cola—no doubt still coming down from their "Always" high—the If Ya Don't Know, Ya Don't Go promotion is proudly targeted at teens. (Being well into my second century, I had to find out about it from the little Lolita next door.) The scheme involves calling a toll-free number, setting up a voice-mailbox, and looking under a bottle-top for an ID number so that you can access your messages, some of which inform you of events like Sunday's free concert. As far as the Gnome could tell, the Seattle school board didn't get a cut of the Moore's soda concession: There was no telltale social studies lecture before the free T-shirts were handed out.

I mean "concert" in the general sense of the term here, since the three opening groups—Dungeon Family relatives of the headliners—rapped to DAT backing, while whoever was doing sound tried to discover more ways to bury the speakers in sludge. The show's highlight (aside from Dre's white fur sailor pants) was a trio called Jim Crow, previewing their single "I've Got a Thing for Your Baby's Mama"—a sentiment I, for one, can relate to.

On paper, it looks like Aussie singer-songwriter (and Claire Danes' boy toy) Ben Lee is dissing Seattle, but the truth is he bailed on his June 17 Crocodile show only after The Late Show with David Letterman came a-callin'. Lee's new Breathing Tornadoes hasn't exactly been sucking up cows and sending 'em into the stratosphere, but the decent little disc from the barely post-adolescent troubadour is spinning up more noize every day. Lee will follow up Letterman with an appearance on MTV's 120 Minutes, then he'll come back our way to atone for his cancellation sins, says his publicist. Lee has also joined the bill for Bumbershoot.

The Gnome's shiny porcelain noggin is buzzing with the following questions: Why did industry power broker (and Foo Fighters manager) John Silva fly up from LA to meet with Sub Pop head Jonathan Poneman? Could it have something to do with Nirvana, given that Silva has partnered with Gary Gersh to start up an Internet record company? And what's the real reason that Candice Pedersen is bolting from K Records, the label she cofounded with Calvin Johnson? Check back with the Gnome, and if you're lucky, he'll come up with some answers for ya. You betcha!

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