Heads who complain that Seattle's weak on hip-hop got a treat last Wednesday when the Spitkicker tour kicked off (minus the spit, but with a


De La Soul packs Showbox; Ballard gets new bar.

Heads who complain that Seattle's weak on hip-hop got a treat last Wednesday when the Spitkicker tour kicked off (minus the spit, but with a lot of sweat in its place) at the Showbox. The Gnome's boys De La Soul put together a massive crew for this 31-date, nationwide jaunt—which may explain why De La requested two dozen condoms in their rider! Gracing the Showbox stage was master of the flow Common, plus Biz Markie (who's eschewing the mic to play DJ), Pharaohe Monch, and Talib Kweli. The Gnome was feelin' it, especially in the relatively cozy environs; the show was originally scheduled for the Paramount, but poor advance ticket sales led to the move and to a sold-out crowd of about 1,000. De La's new album, Art Official Intelligence (Tommy Boy), ain't out till later this summer, so your perspiring columnist—hey, what're you lookin' at? It was about 100 degrees in there—had to seek solace in the massively reworked old tunes like "Me Myself & I." Still, unfamiliar songs and all, damn, they fine!

In other hip-hop news, the Gnome has determined that, much like the case of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon synching up with The Wizard of Oz, the new Land of the Loops album on Up, Puttering About a Small Land, is, beat-for-beat, the exact antithesis to Busta Rhymes' new album on Elektra, Anarchy. Coincidence? I think not.

Tim Buckley fans will be pleased to discover that Manifesto Records is releasing a two-CD tribute to the fallen British folkie. Local music fans who also happen to like Tim Buckley will be thrilled to discover that the compilation features contributions by Seattle's Mark Lanegan ("Caf颩, Mike Johnson ("I Woke Up"), and Heather Duby ("I Must Have Been Blind").

Lost in all the EMP hoopla was the opening of Ballard's coolest new hangout, the Sunset Tavern. A visit to the pre-opening night soft launch—hey, whattaya want? This is a tech town!--featured some spiffy live blues and a set from Larry Barrett and Emily Marsh. But more notable still was the d飯r, a parlorlike compendium with a pool table, vintage photos, red velvet, and basic black accents. Look for live music at the Sunset, with bookings ranging from rockabilly to alt-country to garage-rock to punk. And talk about good timing! Ballard's rockabilly mafia will be pleased—or infuriated, I'm not sure which—to hear that the word from this year's big-time fashion shows in Milan is that the trendiest of the trendy designers are parading their bulimic models down the runway in pomade, leather, and denim. That's right: rockabilly chic! Get rid of those baggy Fubu sweats in your closet and say whazzup to twangwear. You betcha!

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