Hotel-room ice fights with one band, a feud in the making with another (Elefant) that labeled them "douche bags" after stumbling


High as a Kite at SXSW

Local band The Lashes hits it big at Austin music fest. Plus: News from Northwest Chamber Orchestra and PONCHO.


Hotel-room ice fights with one band, a feud in the making with another (Elefant) that labeled them "douche bags" after stumbling onto their kite-flying outside a recording studio—last week's South by Southwest music festival and conference was all rock 'n' roll debauchery for Seattle power-poppers the Lashes (one of about 30 Seattle bands appearing at the event). The late-winter release of their Columbia debut, Get It, preceded the Lashes' third visit to SXSW. Frontman Ben Clark marveled at the leap in attention greeting the sextet: "People wanted to talk to us! It's crazy!" The band shared their Friday-night bill with former Belle & Sebastian cellist Isobel Campbell. "It was cool to see her," offers Clark. "It was really quiet and calm, [but then we played and] had a big ol' dance party." After wrapping its festival stint, the group drove 30 hours to Los Angeles to continue its residency at the famed club Spaceland. Ah, the glamour. RICKEY WRIGHT


After the departure of Executive Director David Pocock and Music Director Ralf Gothoni, and no visible way out of its budget crises, the demise of the Northwest Chamber Orchestra seemed inevitable, but it was still dismaying to hear that the orchestra's board had pulled the plug Thursday, March 16. That Seattle's classical scene couldn't make room for someone of Gothoni's talent and vision, as a conductor, composer, or pianist, is depressing—he'd vitalized the NWCO's programming, for one thing, with works by Schnittke, Glass, Penderecki, and his Finnish compatriots. (Adam Stern, the orchestra's previous music director, had also clashed with the NWCO board over programming.) There's a tempest on the other side of Benaroya Hall, too, as the Seattle Symphony has been hit by a personal injury lawsuit from first violinist Peter Kaman, alleging "persistent and severe discrimination" due to an anxiety disorder, with Music Director Gerard Schwarz accused of engendering a "hostile environment and harassment." SSO administrators are, of course, unable to comment in any detail. GAVIN BORCHERT


The take at PONCHO's recent art auction was 75 percent higher than last year's—an increase that Executive Director Gordon Hamilton attributes to better attendance, high quality art, and the participation of artist Steve Jensen as co-chair. The single biggest-ticket item was Will Robinson's outdoor stone sculpture Torch Bearer, which was sold for $6,750 to an absentee bidder who joined the auction by phone. The $351,000 raised will help bankroll PONCHO's ongoing support of local arts organizations and programs. LYNN JACOBSON

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