The Metro Gnome

A few years ago, New Yorkers desired all that Seattle had: a vibrant music scene, readily available lattes, thrift stores with affordable yet fashionable threads. Then, something freaky happened. Somewhere in the transfer of Starbucks locations, Microsoft money (to Wall Street), and alternative rock, the Big Apple actually usurped the soul of the Emerald City. New York is now more Seattle than Seattle, and we're left adrift.

For evidence, let's look back at last week's turn of events, when hundreds of Seattleites descended on Manhattan (and Brooklyn) for the annual musical gathering, CMJ. All sorts of our bands played, from Death Cab for Cutie and Pedro the Lion to the Murder City Devils and Black Anger. Many band managers, club bookers, and rock critics attended as well. In restaurants and bars, the PA blared songs by Modest Mouse and Nirvana.

At music clubs that didn't procure the proper licenses, signs indicated dancing was not allowed—a Giuliani touch, but one that our own Mark Sidran might've dreamed up in the Seattle of old, before a vigilant community began fighting back and even preempting his conservative dictates. And the doorpeople at the clubs, in a way that seemed eerily reminiscent of that early '90s Seattle attitude, were rude and standoffish.

This last issue might've been separate from the socio-geographical transfer theory Professor Gnome is putting forth. No, this rudeness resulted from the CMJ Music Marathon's resembling a scam! Yes, attendees who paid $495 for a conference/festival badge ($295 for the college folk who were once the intended audience), ostensibly meant to gain entry to shows, found that they couldn't get in. The doorperson would be glad to take the $12 being charged to non-badge holders.

This situation, combined with a paucity of notable shows, led to this being one of the lamest music fests ever, with long lines for the two "surprise" appearances of one of the only bona fide stars, PJ Harvey, and set delays that rendered the crowded schedule—nearly 1,000 bands over four nights—unusable.

Thankfully, the once-stingy NYC bartenders have become Seattleized and learned how to pour strong drinks. Otherwise, your increasingly irate correspondent might've gone kamikaze on all those Yankees-hat wearing, smug, and unhealthy New Yawkas, on behalf of the Mariners, Seattle music fans, Patrick Ewing, and those who appreciated strong coffee when Manhattanite wimps were still ordering theirs "light and sweet."

It's good to be home. You betcha!

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