News, Reviews, and Cruise
• Ever-prolific Seattle synthesizer maestro Panabrite (Norm Chambers) has a cassette album coming out on Pittsburgh space-disco group Zombi's VCO Recordings label in June. This is a huge deal in the world of cosmic-synth music; you just don't realize it yet.
• It is with heavy hearts and tear-soaked soul patches that we announce the Mark McGrath & Friends Cruise has been canceled. The October-scheduled Sugar Ray-cation was to include such '90s dreams as the Gin Blossoms, the Spin Doctors, and the Verve Pipe, and is rumored to have been canceled due to Carnival's recent "poop cruise" fiasco (which we're not getting into here, because Crappening has more self-respect than that, THANK YOU). At least we have the New Kids on the Block/Boyz II Men/98 Degrees tour to look forward to...
• The Tractor and Sunset Taverns in Ballard have added a new booker! Nathan Chambers recently left his post as the Rendezvous talent buyer to make sure that Sunset shows have plenty of diverse bills with awesome local support. Other hot Sunset updates will include fresh lighting, a new PA system, and the "interesting" painting on the stage wall being asked to retire.
• On Saturday night, EMP's annual battle-of-the-underage-bands concluded by crowning Renton's own Dave B as the 2013 Sound Off! champion. A wild-card pick, his hiphop stylings won the judges' affections over the three other semifinalists: electro-glam the Fame Riot (Tacoma), post-rock SHEBEAR (Puyallup), and introspective indie As It Starts (Bothell).
• Patti Smith ruled the Neptune last Wednesday. The set list was a fan's dream, including nearly every totemic Patti Smith song you could hope for (though there were no full reinterpretations, the songs ventured way beyond the recordings). Smith was every bit the hilarious mouthy crank you'd hope, rallying against tech gadgets ("We don't need that shit!") and shouting out to P-U-S-S-Y R-I-O-T ("They're important, don't forget about them") in between songs. Amen, sister!
• Vancouver's seething punks Nü Sensae tore into Chop Suey on Sunday, leaving eardrums ringing for days. Olympia's noise-pop outfit Broken Water also played (their bass player for the evening was recent Arizona transplant Stephen Steinbrink of French Quarter!), with excellent art-racket-makers Haunted Horses.
• Saturday night at the Comet, Blues Control, Dull Knife, and Brain Fruit put on one of the most profound displays of psychedelic music heard on a stage this year. Brain Fruit offered a preview of their forthcoming album, which they recorded with renowned studio savant Randall Dunn at Avast! Recording Co. Also, Brain Fruit will be repping Seattle strongly with fellow locals Master Musicians of Bukkake and Midday Veil at LA Psych Fest on April 7.