The Gnome can sum up his trip to last week's CMJ Music Marathon in one pithy, shopworn, Scorpions-related phrase: "Here I am, rock me like a hurricane." But the festival and good ol' Floyd packed about as much punch as a cup of Sanka, leaving your humble correspondent stranded in a sea of unfamiliar bands (Gangsta Bitch Barbie? Japancakes?) and soggy New Yawkas.
Thank the Space Needle that many intrepid Seattle music biz playas made the journey eastward, because the familiar faces brought great solace and the chance to brew up some of those classic Gnome witticisms, like noting the poignancy of an aging punk rock institution in search of its identity getting paired with an aging grunge institution in search of its identity when CBGB hosted the Sub Pop showcase. To our favorite whipping-label's credit, the Sub Poppers brought their grimiest acts (the Go, Black Halos, and Murder City Devils) to fill the stage that once served as stomping grounds for Television, Patti Smith, and the Stooges.
Loosegroove was also in da house, but boy was that label in the wrong house! Due to club snafus, the eclectic company's showcase wound up in the hippie haunt known as the Wetlands, where new signee Nash Kato of Urge Overkill overcame the tie-dyed surroundings and played a rollicking set, followed by the powerful punctuation of Queens of the Stone Age.
Another Seattle imprint, Up Records, flaunted itself less directly. Playing as part of the concomitant CMJ Film Festival, indie director Allison Anders' excellent new flick about the sleaziness of the music biz in LA, Sugar Town, featured a Seattle-dominated soundtrack. The Gnome spotted tunes by Up's Mike Johnson and Quasi, as well as Sub Pop's Love As Laughter. How'd this happen? Allison's daughter is Up singer-songwriter Tiffany Anders.
What about the Seattle Weekly's New York crew? Well, let's just say that Jackie McCarthy got the diss of the week when a pizza delivery guy sarcastically complimented her on her "Prada knock-offs." Ouch! Columnist Kurt B. Reighley made the fest his last New York stand before hitting the road on a cross-country trip to his once and future home in Seattle. Oh, and would the Murder City Devils please return ad rep Kerri Harrop to her rightful owners? The Gnome's gotta run, but what report from the big city would be complete without celebrity sightings? How 'bout Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, MTV shill Jesse Camp, and Isabella Rossellini? You betcha!
You can reach the Metro Gnome at firstname.lastname@example.org