Props to Seattle's hip-hop community for the harmonious messages dispensed at last Saturday's downtown rally (for more info, check the Weekly's news section). Hizzoner Schell's shoot-from-the-lip comments in the wake of the September 23 shootings in Pioneer Square catalyzed the gathering, and maybe now he'll learn to keep his mouth shut. Seattle's hip-hop community boasts the likes of Source of Labor and Black Anger; regular DJ nights at places like the Art Bar, Back Door Lounge, and the Baltic; shows at Sit & Spin and the Showbox; and radio support from KUBE and KCMU. It's a scene that's diverse and just as peaceful on average as Seattle's heralded, and much more white, rock scene. Schell and other city officials should learn to respect the music and the people behind it.
A host of local artists have thrown their support behind another cause, the case of the West Memphis Three, young men convicted of murder based partially on evidence that they were heavy metal fans, wore a lotta black, and read Stephen King books. HBO has aired two documentaries—1996's Paradise Lost: Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and this year's Paradise Lost II: Revelations—about the men, who've now served seven years for the murder of three eight-year-old children abducted from an Arkansas playground. To help raise funds for the appeals effort, the owners of Seattle's Aces & Eights label, Danny Bland and Scott Parker, assembled an eye-poppingly good lineup for the Free the West Memphis Three benefit disc (a co-release with Koch, due October 10). Contributors include Tom Waits, L7, Rocket From the Crypt, Steve Earle, and Seattle's Mark Lanegan, Zeke, Murder City Devils, and the Supersuckers with Eddie Vedder.
Mr. Vedder, of course, has been all over the map lately, as when he stumped—and sang—for Ralph Nader at the Key Arena a few weeks back. His band Pearl Jam meanwhile has begun to flood the market with bootlegs of its European tour— 25 CDs in all; collect the whole set!--and will reportedly repeat the process after the current North American tour (which ends in Seattle November 5). For his part, drummer Matt Cameron earned the coveted job of playing the kit on Rush frontman Geddy Lee's first solo record, My Favorite Headache, to be released on Atlantic November 14. Cool!
Y'know, the Gnome loves when a band lives up to the hype, so imagine your li'l correspondent's pleasure upon witnessing the sold-out, packed-with-hipsters Bright Eyes show at the Paradox Saturday night. With curious members of Juno, Love as Laughter, and Death Cab For Cutie in the crowd, 20-year-old Nebraskan Conor Oberst led a five-piece band through an at times devastating set of songs that centered on the Gnome's favorite topic. And what would that be? Teen angst! You betcha!
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