Since it's the season to be jolly, the Gnome's been combing the streets for good news, but talk about your lost causes! All the local rock stars are movin' to LA (Greg Dulli, Mike Johnson). And the biggest holiday movie, Man on the Moon, gives a glimpse of hope with R.E.M.'s best new song in years, "The Great Beyond," but then the film stars Courtney Love, who is without a doubt the most pestilent, tiresome, and unfortunate celebrity ever to have sprung from Seattle.
Then, on top of all this, the Weekly's art department bumps the Gnome off his usual perch at the start of the music section. Oy vey! What's a little fella to do? Well, there's always the bright side. In this case, some rays of light (to paraphrase Madonna) are emanating from the club scene, where I-Spy threw a lavish opening soir饠last Tuesday, complete with booze and buffet, to celebrate its entr饠into the dance scene. The Gnome took in some tapenade chez I-Spy—though the party was actually in the upstairs restaurant known as Nation (who named these places anyway?)—then motored over to the Showbox for the first of a two-night stand with Built To Spill. Yes, the show was fab, with Doug Martsch leading his pals through chestnuts like "Car," "In the Morning," and even the wonderfully self-referential "Built To Spill." Even more significant was the news that the second night's show would be an all-ages affair, with the back bar roped off as a lounge-with-a-view. That's right: drinks were served at an all-ages show, in a separate area for the 21-and-over crowd. But, you ask, don't the city and the Liquor Board frown upon such wanton behavior?! Well, they did, but with the abolition of the added-activities license, which earlier this year was ruled unconstitutional, clubs can rope off sections and pour drinks so long as the carousing stops by 10pm. The Showbox is apparently the first to seize the opportunity, and owner Jeff Steichen says things went swell.
In other club news, the Gnome's gleeful to report that some old haunts are getting some new blood—booking agents, that is. Scene vet Dave Meinert takes the reins at Sit & Spin, where he hopes to revivify the schedule with a mix of local and national acts. And down at the OK Hotel, Pete Greenberg will take charge. As any Gnome'll tell you: The more healthy clubs, the merrier the Christmas. You betcha!