Mayor Schell is too a wimp.

Whew! Now wasn't that something? The Gnome spent most of New Year's Eve trying to burrow onto the grounds of the Seattle Center to see the free show with Dave Alvin and the Young Fresh Fellows, only to have the storm trooper-like Seattle Police thwart him again and again. Your millennial correspondent just couldn't believe that this city's Droopity Dawg of a mayor would cancel the last Young Fresh Fellows show of the decade. Alas, the Gnome stumbled back to the bunker and watched New Year's celebrations from around the globe, which got the gnarled noggin' humming: If the crazy Russians can host a Y2K bash in Red Square without fear of bombs bursting in air, then Seattle wins the New Year's award for LAMEST city on the planet.

Fortunately, the Fellows' Scott McCaughey has shrugged off the episode and will appear posthaste at the unfortunately named Y2Kaos show at the Croc, Friday, January 7. The frizzy-haired maestro leads a cabal of local frontpeople goin' solo for a night (and how does this tie in with Y2K? Maybe it shoulda been called CK1), including ex-Posies Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow, Goodness' Carrie Akre, Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard, Ruston Mire's Brian Naubert, and eponymous leaders Josh White and Marc Olsen. Chalk it up as the first significant show of the new millennium; that is, provided Hizzoner Schell doesn't see a suspicious-looking man walking down the street in Belltown, get spooked and shut down the city again. Sheesh.

Which reminds the Gnome: A few weeks back, an unidentified musician or group of musicians slipped a suspicious-looking CD into these mangled little hands. The one-song disc is credited to the Seattle 500, and the two-minute, 19-second track is called "No Protest Zone." It opens with a siren (what else?) and a chugging, Judas Priest-like (or is it AC/DC-like?) guitar, then revs up for the barrage of snarling lyrics. It's not exactly brimming with poetic nuance: "The cops shine up their boots/Put on their riot gear/Get ready, Seattle/WTO is here." But the Gnome credits these political punks for shouting at the devil, and urges ye to come forward. You betcha!

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