The Metro Gnome

Gosh and golly, does our mayor suck or what? The guy looks like Droopity Dawg, he dresses off the rack from Men's Warehouse, and now he's got the gall to dismantle 18 months of work on the All-Ages Dance Ordinance. Paul Schell should resign. The Gnome's not a political creature, but watching this buffoon turn our internationally respected city into a joke during WTO was bad enough; now, with a chance to set a precedent that could influence music scenes all over the country, and at least encourage politicians and music scenesters to sit down at the same table, he's destroyed it with one stroke of the pen. Hopefully, the City Council and AADO task force members and JAMPAC will hunker down and bash out an acceptable alternative, and Schell and his police cronies will accept it. Otherwise, the atmosphere of fear and confusion surrounding all-ages shows will continue indefinitely. But no matter what happens, it's clear that Schell's a stodgy and uncharismatic stooge beholden to the police (one of the sticking points is Hizzoner's insistence that off-duty police officers be used as security) and to city attorney Mark Sidran, a lizardlike jerk who at least has the courtesy to have a personality.

On to musical notes. Maybe the Gnome's just jaded, but much of the best rock-type music these days comes via Europe. The song of the week is Elastica's new (well, new here; it came out in England long ago) "How He Wrote Elastica Man," featuring the Fall's Mark E. Smith in what sounds like a cheerleading squad being attacked by a drunken, scowling man with the Go-Go's providing the soundtrack while Belinda's all hopped up on speed. Yowza!

OK, the Gnome'll cut to the chase and let ya all in on the Halo Benders minireunion. Sir Calvin Johnson joined Built to Spill for a rousing, if short and surreal, set at the Croc during Saturday afternoon's ALL-AGES bill. After witnessing a disjointed, overly jammy Dub Narcotic opening set, which segued, or rather, non sequitured, into an audience participation freeform rap, the Gnome wasn't sure what to expect. But the big head, and even bigger pair of head muff-phones (or whatever they are), were hard to miss, snaking their way through the packed room toward the stage as Doug Martsch played the first few chords of "Virginia Reel Around the Fountain"—at the end of BTS' set. The Gnome was thrilled about the makeshift Halo Benders show, but the audience was split; elated indie rockers bopped their heads to "Don't Touch My Bikini," but several loud-voiced hecklers were there for BTS and BTS only, and were not amused by Calvin's interpretive dancing, nor by his rambling, anti-Schell rant. Sounds like a constituency for our loser mayor: drunken frat boys at the Croc. You betcha!

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