Reading is fundamental.

Sheesh, the Gnome waddles up to Canada for a longish weekend and comes back to find that not a thing has changed. Not a thing! Oh, except that the folks behind the Velvet Elvis have begun booking shows again, mostly at the new Graceland. By the time you read this, you'll already have missed a fab show by the Groovie Ghoulies and Severna Park, but it's not too late to catch The Tight Bros From Way Back When, Unwound, Calvin Johnson, and the Bangs, who play an anti-WTO rally November 28. (Seek and ye shall find details at

Oh, and Matthew Sweet has apparently retained his fan base, if the wild, sold-out crowd at the Croc last Monday is any indication. The pop maestro made generous with the hits, especially during an encore that included "Girlfriend." One whisper the Gnome heard is that Matt didn't look quite as chiseled as in the posters that promoted the show around town. Lay off the cheeseburgers, dude. OK, if you must, I recommend Red Mill. Totally delish!

A Gnome Gnotifier sends news from LA that it's now official: There is no justice. How many times has Built to Spill played Seattle this year, packing shows with loyal fans wanting to hear a mix of new favorites and old standards? And how many times has the crowd left the Croc, the Showbox, RKCNDY, and the Breakroom satisfied but a little disappointed that Doug ignored past nuggets like "In the Morning" or "Dystopian Dream Girl"? Many, many times, I'm afraid. Well, the BTS guys played to an industry crowd in LA last week, 80 percent of which was more concerned with the free sushi and lamb chops, and the band ran through a playlist that resembled nothing else than the track listings from There's Nothing Wrong With Love and Ultimate Alternative Wavers. The Gnome suspects that the band needed to polish up the old material for its upcoming Northwest dates, and what better place to practice than on a besotted crowd that looked like the cast of Friends?

Well, it's getting chilly and wet, which means it's time for the Gnome to curl up with a good book and a plate of steaming hot Italian sausages. This week, the tome of choice comes from within the Weekly offices—the affable political scribe James Bush tapped his rock roots over the past few years and came up with the brand-new Encyclopedia of Northwest Music (published by Gnome-friendly Sasquatch Books). Bush and a team of aides catalog many of the region's well known bands, from the Accused to Zeke. The perfect gift for a literate local music fan? You betcha!

You can reach the Metro Gnome at

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