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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kathy Griffin announces three-night performance in Seattle, January 2010


Gay-adored comedienne Kathy Griffin has announced a three night run at the Paramount Theatre in early 2010, Seattle Gay News can confirm.

The Emmy-winning star is set to perform in Seattle on the nights of January 28, 29, and 30. This is Griffin's first appearance in the Emerald City since late 2008, when she sold out three similar concerts at the same venue.

Ticket information is forthcoming. Think: holiday gifts.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mason Jennings in Seattle Gay News this week


Mason Jennings is a Minneapolis-based artist who just scored a 4-star rating from Rolling Stone for his just-released album, Blood of Man.

The Minneapolis-based father of two is this week's special guest in the weekly column "The Music Lounge". In the exclusive interview, Jennings tells Seattle Gay News that his young sons don't know who Ronald McDonald is and that the first concert he ever attended was Bon Jovi.

Click here to read the interview online: http://sgn.org/sgnnews37_38/page38.cfm

You can also pick up a print copy of Seattle Gay News at your fave coffee shop or bar in the Emerald City through Friday afternoon, when it'll be replaced with our newest issue.

Mason Jennings performs at The Showbox Market on Friday, September 25. For ticket information, click here: http://showboxonline.com/

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bumbershoot 2009: Franz Ferdinand, Modest Mouse, The Cave Singers, and Jason Mraz after-party wrap


I'm moving rather slow this morning, due to Jason Mraz's after-party at The Crocodile last night following his funky, fresh performance on the main stage of the Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival. Read more about Mraz's surprise appearance at the Belltown club at the end of this blog.

The house doors open at noon today for The Black Eyed Peas, who perform at 3pm, following opening act The Knux. If memory serves me correct, this will be Fergie's third appearance at Memorial Stadium.

Are you a LOST fanatic, as in the TV show? Me too. And thousands of Bumbershoot attendees will be cramming into the Leo K. Theatre for a presentation by the writers of this Emmy-winning series. I have absolutely no idea what will be said, but I hope details about the upcoming season are to be slightly revealed. The line will be long for this one, so arrive super early!

From Jimi Hendrix to Death Cab for Cutie, Seattle has produced an impressive list of artists in modern music. Get ready for The Cave Singers, on the verge of joining that list with their sensational blend of folk-tribal sounds like on the single "Dancing on Our Graves". Supposedly, they packed a full house for an in-store appearance last month at Easy Street Records in Queen Anne. The Cave Singers play at 6:45pm on the Fisher Green Stage.

Let's talk about Franz Ferdinand, shall we? Such a terrific band, lots and lots of energy, perky guitars, electro-infused rock, songs about boys crusing other boys on the dance floor, and snappy onstage outfits. The multi-Grammy nominees have interviewed with Seattle Gay News twice, most recently in December 2008 for our year-end music issue - both Alex Kapranos and Paul Thomson sat down with me in the restaurant portion of the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, immediately after sound check for a two-on-one interview (you can find the interview at www.sgn.org, in the archive files for December 19).

Franz Ferdinand can really fire up a crowd, and I expect the pit section at Memorial Stadium to bounce heavily throughout the group's set, which will likely include "Ulysses", "Take Me Out", "This Fire", "Michael", "The Dark of the Matinee", "No You Girls", and "Outsiders". It'll be wild, fun, and sweaty - don't enter the pit unless you can deal with the constant pushing and nudging of unruly concertgoers (by the way, Bumbershoot security is the worst).

Modest Mouse closes out this year's Bumbershoot festivities, taking the stage at Memorial Stadium just 30 minutes after Franz Ferdinand. I've seen the Seattle area-based group several times in concert, and they're capable of putting on a great show - though once, at a "Deck the Hall Ball" gala, they sounded a bit flat and exhausted. Hopefully, they'll be revved up for tonight's performance and will probably introduce music from their new album No One's First, and You're Next. I'm crossing my fingers they do "The World at Large".

House doors open at 6:15pm, and please don't trip me as I dash for a front row spot.

Okay, so about that Jason Mraz after-party. He announced twice during his set last night that his band would be playing a midnight show at The Crocodile, and he wasn't joking. Shortly after midnight, he jumped onstage with group members and friends, like Bushwalla, singing and dancing non-stop until 1:40am. Mraz even came out to the crowd several times to dance with fans, pose for pics, and say hello. He noticed me and said hi - after all these years and the millions of people he's met, he still remembers me by name and face. Mraz also went up to The Crocodile balcony to say hello to fans up there - anyone who thought he would just do one song at the show, then split were wrong...he jammed for another hour and a half, following his set at Bumbershoot. It was soooooo much fun! I'll have more to say about this wild little after-party in my September 11 column in the Seattle Gay News.

No Bumber-Tips today, except to arrive early for Franz Ferdinand and Modest Mouse!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bumbershoot 2009: Jason Mraz, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MSTRKFT, Starbucks VIP, and rain


Day 2 of the Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival promises to be...wet.

It's pouring outside and could potentially pour throughout the middle day of Seattle's premiere music event. But, if you think that's going to stop fans of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs from flooding Memorial Stadium, think again. Believe it or not, there are already concertgoers inside the stadium as opening act Cold War Kids (who I met in December backstage at 107.7's "Deck the Hall Ball") go onstage in less than 90 minutes.

The Honey Brothers, featuring Adrian Grenier (of TV's "Entourage") are set to perform at 3:15pm at Mural Amphitheatre. Best place to catch a glimpse of "Vince Chase" is under the trees and on the bark-laid Starbucks VIP area to the left of the stage - it's free, if you purchase a Starbucks card, and you can enjoy complimentary beverages at your leisure!

MSTRKFT is a digital genius, and will begin their workout at Exhibition Hall at 8:30pm, but it means you'll have to skip the performance by singer-songwriter Brett Dennen who plays at 8:45pm at Mural Amphitheatre, or Grammy-nominated R&B artist Raphael Saadiq on the Fisher Green Stage at 9:30pm.

Another performer worth checking out is funnyman Nick Swardson at 2pm inside the Intiman Theatre.

But the biggie on today's lineup is Jason Mraz, who delivers a headlining set at Memorial Stadium starting at 9:15pm. Fresh from a cool-as-beans appearance at the Outlands Music Festival last weekend in San Francisco, Mr. A to Z re-descends to Seattle since performing here last October at the Paramount Theatre.

Mraz likes to mix things up, so don't expect a repeat set list from any of his most recent performances, although look for his Grammy-nominated smash "I'm Yours" to be played towards the conclusion, and a groovier rendition of "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)".

I met briefly with Mraz backstage at the Paramount last fall, and he's in the best shape ever - sticking to a raw food diet and regular sessions of yoga (he even grew a couple of inches!). We love him at Seattle Gay News; he's interviewed with us three times and we always look forward to welcoming this dear friend back to Seattle - so, welcome back Jason!

Not sure if I'l get a chance to say hello to Jason today/tonight because he's on a tight schedule, but we'll see - his peeps know how to get a hold of me, but most importantly they know I'll be there along with thousands of his closest, most faithful gay fans at Memorial Stadium who'll brave out this shitty weather to come see him.

Bumber-Tips:

1 Monorail is the easiest method of getting downtown to/from Seattle Center. Also, look for a Toyota Prius Hybrid tent in front of Westlake Center - they'll shuttle you free of charge just for filling out a quick form. A complimentary ride to Bumbershoot in a new Prius? Loves it!

2 The Starbucks VIP area, which I already mentioned, to the left of the Mural Amphitheatre is an excellent spot to watch a show and sip on fresh-brewed coffee. It's free, just purchase a Starbucks card at your nearest Starbucks location (there's one inside the Seattle Center food pavilion), and you're allowed entry to the VIP area with complimenary beverages and electronic gadget outlets (Blackberry, iMAC, etc.).

3 Take warm clothes, or help support numerous local/regional clothiers by purchasing items for sale at the festival. Also, the Bumbershoot "souvenir" shops have sweatshirts and hoodies in stock.

4 Feet need soothing from a long day? The massage station behind the Fisher Green Stage is a great place to splurge on a 15-minute massage ($19). Yes, it's pricy - but, you're going to spend that money on coffee anyway, which you can get free inside the Starbucks VIP area.

5 Don't miss the "Flexion by Wise Fool New Mexico" peformance at the Rockstage Energy Drink Vert Ramp, north of the International Fountain - these women will astound you, in a show describablly comparable to Cirque du Soleil.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bumbershoot 2009: Clouds, drizzle, Katy Perry, and Old 97's


In the several years that I've covered Bumbershoot, our city's premiere music event at Seattle Center, I've never awoken to as much cloud coverage as today.

Will it clear up? Will it begin to pour midday? Will the glitter I've evenly sprinkled in my hair be blown away by this late-summer wind? Who knows! But, the show(s) will go on regardless of the weather. Read my Bumber-Tips at the bottom of this blog entry.

Katy Perry goes on stage at 1:45pm this afternoon at Memorial Stadium. If you want to be towards the front, good luck and hurry - the house doors open at noon, and from experience it's a mad dash (a la The Amazing Race) to get up towards the foot of the stage.

Perry opens for The All-American Rejects, fronted by the sexy Tyson Ritter, who kindly posed with my business card backstage at Key Arena a few years ago. They're a hit with younger gay boys, so paired with Katy Perry this concert promises to draw a very mixed crowd.

Matt & Kim and De La Soul are two artists to catch in the evening portion of today's festival lineup, but don't miss the Old 97's at Memorial Stadium (7:45pm) fronted by the totally hot Rhett Miller, who interviewed with me a few years back. They'll play a great, energetic rockabilly set before headliner and multi-Grammy winner Sheryl Crow closes things out for the day.

Bumber-Tips

1 Take Metro, monorail, or a combination of light rail/Metro/monorail to Seattle Center. Parking is a nightmare, so take the #8 bus from Capitol Hill or #'s 1,2,3,4,13 from Downtown to the event area. Or, if you happen to live on Beacon Hill as I do, take light rail to Downtown and transfer to a Metro bus - ditto for those in Columbia City, Mount Baker and Pioneer Square.

2 Withdraw cash before going to Bumbershoot, saving you the hassle of long lines at the ATM machines and ridiculous fees added to your overall transaction. There's a Bank of America just a few blocks away on Mercer, fyi.

3 Take warm clothes, especially with today's gloomy weather. Even if it clears up, the evening tends to bring a light chill after sunset.

4 Eat elsewhere. Unless you want sloppy food, get a re-entry stamp at the North Entrance of the grounds (near the Intiman Theatre) and enjoy a better lunch and/or dinner nearby at the Meccca, Pagliacci, Dick's, Taco del Mar, Kid Valley, Thai Heaven, or several of the other restaurants in close proximity. Also, Metropolitan Market and Safeway are within walking distance for deli-type purchases.

5 Wear comfy sneakers. If you're planning to see mutiple acts at various venues inside Seattle Center, leave the fashionable shoes at home and bring a sensible pair instead - your feet will love you tomorrow.

Have fun at Bumbershoot!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Grammy-nominated Ledisi interviews with Seattle Gay News


A year ago, little-heard-of Ledisi received an invitation to "music's biggest night", the Grammy Awards, by way of her peers, earning a coveted Best New Artist nomination and an additional nod in the R&B field.

A week ago, she celebrated a #14 debut on Billboard's top album charts for her sophomore release, Turn Me Loose. This diva is on fire, and she's headed to Seattle tomorrow - performing at Benaroya Hall (inquire at box office for tickets), as part of a local jazz series.

Before Ledisi goes onstage, catch her in the newest issue of Seattle Gay News. An interview with the two-time Grammy nominee will appear in "The Music Lounge" column. Get familiar with this very talented, new singing sensation!