Monday nights—not exactly the jewel in the crown of our swinging (and how!) social life, but that may be changing. The Showbox's just-birthed little-engine-that-could, the Green Room, now plays host to a marvelous once-a-month evening of mayhem and musical madness: All Things to All People is sort of like The Gong Show, except with talent, and its Chuck Barris is Harvey Danger frontman and Stranger scribe Sean Nelson, who on this particular go-round as ringmaster reigned over acts as diverse as the theatrically denim-enhanced Red Eye to Tokyo (featuring former members of Muy Triste as well as Harvey Danger bassist Aaron Huffman), Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, and some guy named James who performed a rousing version of "The Rainbow Connection." Musical acts were interspersed with storytelling sessions, random MC ramblings, and general tomfoolery that, surprisingly, made the night all the more endearing. Maybe it was the enthusiastic crowd, the convivial atmosphere, or the sheer, casual Monday-osity of it all, but the night came off a startling success, full of the simple pleasures that so many recent hyped-to-the-nth- degree happenings have lacked. We just hope we're not ruining it by writing about it. Who are we kidding? Nobody ever listens to us anyway. . . . Maybe it was Steely Dan taking home that 2001 Album of the Year Grammy that broke the camel's back; whatever it was, something lit a fire under the butts of MCA guy Tom Sarig and band manager Greg Spotts, who have started a whole new award that operates under an interesting sort of reverse snobbery: the Shortlist Prize for Artistic Achievement, which will be judged by the likes of Dave Grohl, Beck, Macy Gray, Dan the Automator, Trent Reznor, Lucinda Williams, and Aimee Mann. To be eligible for the prize, an artist must
have sold no more than 500,000 copies as of nomination time. The preliminary nominees include Sigur Ros, Basement Jaxx, Dandy Warhols (all those Toyota commercials didn't kick them over the gold-record mark?), Godspeed You Black Emperor, Gorillaz, Air, Daft Punk, and White Stripes, among others. The list will be narrowed down to 10 finalists this weekend in New York, and the winner will be announced at a big shindig in L.A. sometime around Halloween. . . . Obituary of the Week: Grand Royal Records has succumbed to tough financial times. The Beastie Boys-founded imprint played host to acts as diverse as Luscious Jackson, Ben Lee, At the Drive-In, and Atari Teenage Riot. "Our intentions were always simply to create a home for exciting music and the people who were passionate about it," says co-founder Mike Diamond (a.k.a. Mike D). "It really sucks that we can't continue to do that." . . . While Seattle considers NXNW moving here, in Portland Musicfest Northwest has charged in to fill the void with a gathering of "130 rock, soul, blues, jazz, punk, electronic, experimental, hip-hop, and folk bands" taking over 13 Portland nightclubs Sept. 20-22. The "big" names so far include the Pinehurst Kids, Dahlia, Bell Rays, Richmond Fontaine, and Sunset Valley. And, according to organizers, 60 percent of their profits go straight to charitable causes. The price tag is decidedly un-CMJ-like: a mere $20 gets you a wristband. . . . Anyone catch the premiere of the gorgeous new Shins video on 120 Minutes this weekend? The video—for "New Slang," natch—is a take on the art of seminal album covers and features everyone's favorite Albuquerqueans posing in the water ࠬa Slint, on the rooftop ࠬa the Replacements, and checking the rearview mirror like the Minutemen—and a nearly naked
Marty the Keyboard Player lying seductively on the floor. Yikes! Those paying careful attention (we know there are freaky Shins fanatics among you) may have noticed that bassman Neil Langford was conspicuously absent, and in his place was a very un-Neil-ish chick. Our friends at Sub Pop say she's a friend of the band and was just filling in during the shoot while Neil was in Russia flying a balloon. (No, we didn't ask if they were kidding.) Hard to say whether or not MTV will dislodge its head from inside its TRL ass for long enough to slip the vid into heavy rotation, but the slight possibility does give DOON reason enough to pause for a moment on the channel whilst we do our surfing. . . . Gibson's fast break two weeks back left several bands and bills homeless, but a little resourcefulness was all it took for Weird Science, RC5, the Epoxies, and the Briefs to get their show rescheduled at the Bad JuJu Lounge. Turns out that the uncle of one of the band members frequents the place, and said uncle just so happens to be in Soundgarden—a little factoid that still pulls strings in this town. So all's well that ends well; and that Friday night's show certainly did. Will the JuJu be the new Gibson's? Probably not. The bathrooms are too clean and the conspicuous lack of methadone freaks leaves the place without that certain flavor that young punks favor. At this point, it's still anybody's game. . . . Dept. of Corrections: Whoops! Recidivist is not, in fact, a Scottish hardcore band, as we said last week. Well, actually, it is, but the one we should have been talking about is the local instrumental outfit that played Graceland Sept. 2. Our apologies to the band and their fans, for being way too internationally minded for our own good.
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