Thank you to everyone who played my birthday bash last week and also to those who attended. The night was a grand success because it was an opportunity for a whole bunch of lesser-known bands to play their hearts out on Jesus and Mary Chain covers and gain attention from a roomful of people they may never have exposed themselves to otherwise. I'm talking about such awesome groups as Further (now called something else), Shoes for December, Spook the Horse, Via, From the Icy Coast, and the Femurs--who turned "The Hardest Walk" from Psychocandy into a surprisingly inventive mix of the classic track with "Can't Help Falling in Love." (A wry rendering considering both songs are included on the Some Kind of Wonderful soundtrack, with Lick the Tins singing the Elvis Presley classic.) Then there were show openers Kiss the Camera and their Pat Benatar doppelg...nger frontwoman. Everyone gave good performances, including the Turn-Ons, SPIDeRBITeS, and Black Nite Crash, but the band that gave the most stunning show was Verona, whose singer Kyle Logghe proved himself as this city's most talented vocalist and guitarist with an astounding rendition of "Between Planets." Seriously, it was unparalleled. One more performance that deserves a mention was Kim Warnick playing her first public duet, as Ryan Davidson was the Jim Reid to her Hope Sandoval on "Sometimes Always." What a pro.

Then there were the naughty boys of the evening: the always-unpredictable Lashes, whose frontman Ben Clark scrambled up a ladder onto a precarious cable, which, if I'm not misinformed, got him a stern lecture from the club. (In addition, unless my eyes deceived me, he also got a whack on the knee when his descent included a high-velocity collision with a lower rung of said ladder.)

More on the Lashes: The rough version of their four-song EP debut, due out on Lookout! Records in August, is pretty damn good--whether any haters want to admit it or not. It's a great slam of power-pop songs about girls and broken hearts, so sing-along that when it hits radio stations it might just make Seattleites sick with envy. The Catch's forthcoming debut, recorded by Erik Blood, is also sure to catch plenty of airplay and grab them a lot of new fans.

And speaking of local talent, how about Modest Mouse's new album, Good News for People Who Love Bad News, earning a gold record after less than two months on the charts?! Given their speedy upward trajectory, platinum status can't be far behind.

After finishing up their first tour of Europe, the UK must be in absolute love with Richmond Fontaine, especially if recent accolades from the British press are any indication. Uncut calls the Portland band's most recent album, Post to Wire, a mesmerizing masterpiece, while Logo opines that singer Willy Vlautin's lazy drawl is "redolent of long afternoons spent dangling fishing lines off toes." Mojo says the band is "stranded in Portland, Oregon, but seemingly bound for somewhere better, Richmond Fontaine's second [sic] album is already one of this season's must have Americana purchases." Time Out's assessment is the funniest, recommending, "Those of you alienated by the roisterous flash of Ryan Adams should hitch your horses to Richmond Fontaine's post right now." Now, may I again say "I told you so," and that I have been right about this band for 10 years?

So I hear through the grapevine that before leaving to record in Los Angeles last week, Vendetta Red paid off in full a friend's medical bills totaling thousands of dollars for an accident that occurred when she was hurt during a hotly debated brawl that took place a few months back at a house party. I've also heard that a certain Capitol Hill club with a reputation for a precarious floor plan has caused another patron to suffer a serious injury. You'd think the owner would have done something to get rid of the ridiculous obstacles by now. What an idiot.

And some sad business news: Former longtime Chicagoan and Touch and Go publicist Scott Giampino, who moved to Seattle a while back and took a job as publicist for the Showbox, has been let go, and his last day at work is June 18. In a humble statement sent out last week, Giampino explained that the reasoning behind his release is purely monetary, and that his position is being absorbed by current staff on hand.