Please show Silkworm the love

This time the Gnome's really pissed! No, not drunk, you limey wanna-bes. We're talking fumes billowing through the nose follicles, steam spewing from this gangly fellow's few functioning pores. Why the anguish? Because still, after all this time, people aren't flocking to Silkworm shows. Saturday at the Croc, they played to a slightly more than half-filled room. A Saturday night! C'mon, folks, those office parties couldn't have been that interesting.

The Gnome first noted the lack of support for this Seattle institution back in '96, while summering in the South of the Pacific Northwest (Portland). The highly talented trio of no-nonsense rockers came to that city just after releasing their first record for Matador, Firewater, the one that would turn Silkworm into gun-toting, fur-wearing celebrities. Music fans would surely rush the club to become part of this uprising. But no! On a Friday night, about a dozen surly, hands-in-pocket Portlanders shuffled into Satyricon. The predicted high point looked more like the nadir. Years later, Silkworm are still going and have yet to be recognized for their simple genius.

Saturday, Andy Cohen and Tim Midgett acknowledged that their band had become secondary in their lives, but they played with the punctiliousness they've been exhibiting for nearly a decade. Midgett's jaunty bass lines toyed with Cohen's surging guitar riffs, while Michael Dahlquist merely pounded out catchy beat after catchy beat. Listening to Silkworm is like stepping into a room where time's been suspended, where rock music's stripped down to a plaintive voice, a rhythm, a melody, and a touch of je ne sais quoi. They deserve love.

The openers Saturday, Kinski, have been around for a lot less time, appearing in 1998 as the klauskinskis, then shortening their name but never quite finding their groove. Well, they've found it, as the Gnome witnessed at the Croc. The band's drawn-out guitar epics are now constructed with painterly detail, guitars blazing through sound as the rhythms build. The reaction at their show Saturday was nearly overwhelming, with the audience cheering after each crushing crescendo. Hopefully, Kinski's full-length debut, due out early next year on Pacifico, will elicit a similarly rousing response.

It wouldn't be the end of the year without an update on 764-HERO. (Hey, it's the Gnome's column, and he can non sequitur when he damn well pleases!) After a fruitful 400 or so days serving as bassist, James Bertram has apparently left the band, amicably. Seems he didn't want to go on tour. Meanwhile, singer/guitarist John Atkins is a busy bee: He's exhibiting his paintings at Lipstick Traces on Capitol Hill, and he's started a side project. He and Black Heart Procession's Joe Plummer are the Magic Magicians, and they'll release a debut, Girls, in February. It'll be the first-ever full-length on the great Suicide Squeeze label, which has released 7-inches by notables Elliott Smith, Pedro the Lion, and Modest Mouse before they got famous. Happy holidays!

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