More on Loosegroove; musical chairs with Mann and Penn.

Since the Gnome broke the news last week that Stone Gossard's Loosegroove Records was shutting down, some new developments have come to light. Nash Kato's first solo record since the demise of Urge Overkill, Debutante, will definitely move from Loosegroove to Will Records; the March 7 release date couldn't be confirmed. Other acts may move to the Will roster as well. Meanwhile, Loosegroove's Communist-themed Web site (www.loosegroove.com) now features a note stating that the "Great Mall of the People will be temporarily closed at midnight January 30 until further notice."

Moving on to a different topic: What's with all these whiny artists and their ridiculous insecurities about their audiences? First, the members of Seam tell the Crocodile a few weeks back that they don't feel confident that they'll fill the club, so they insist that the Croc keep the divider up to limit the space to about half capacity. Which of course meant that many fans didn't get in, and the ones who did were prone to claustrophobia in the windowless room. Then, Saturday night's Aimee Mann/Michael Penn gig at the Showbox was, at the artists' insistence, a sit-down affair. So the Showbox folks had to shlep out a bunch of folding chairs, then try to turn the main room and the two back raised areas into a poor man's theater. The layout meant that audience members had to climb over each other for bar runs, and still not everyone could find a seat (though the Gnome did note the apropos "musical chairs" reference). Why didn't Mr. and Mrs. Penn simply tell their booking agent that they needed to play a real theater?

The Gnome comes not to bury Aimee and Michael, however, but to praise them. (Besides, had they insisted on playing a real theater, they'd probably have been at the godawful King Cat). Calling their show "vaudeville," the two LA singer-songwriters invited comedian (and frequent Seattle visitor) David Cross to open and also to provide between-song banter. Each time Mann or Penn and their backing band finished a song, Cross ambled onstage and translated what each was thinking, adding a scathing, sarcastic twist; during one skit, he mock-read Penn's mind as the musician mused about the good-looking women in the audience and the need to "Fire Aimee." Meanwhile, the two singers were sharp, playing lots of old material (though Penn has a new album to hawk, MP4, and Mann's songs dominate the Magnolia soundtrack), including Penn's 1989 hit "No Myth" and Mann's Til Tuesday smash, "Voices Carry." All in all, a unique variation on the concert format, and one that sent the crowd away with a smile. You betcha!

You can reach the Metro Gnome at metrognome@seattleweekly.com

 
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