It's been a long week of such bad news, it's hard to know where to start. Hurricane Katrina wiped out the lives, relatives, and homes of too many New Orleans–area residents. At press time, rumors and reports of which members of the musician-rich region are truly missing and which simply haven't been able to make contact with loved ones continue to swirl—with the info changing so rapidly, it's not worth passing along the names of the possibly dead unless they're unfortunate enough to be confirmed.
Locally, members of the music community are already jumping into action. The War Room hosted a benefit last week with DJs Cherry Canoe and Greg Vandy that raised $1,150 for the Red Cross (there are links to the hurricane donation area of the Red Cross on The Stranger's website, too) while KEXP offers information on NW relief agency Mercy Corps on its website. With more time to turn concern into action, expect to see new benefit shows in the near future—the High Dive and Nectar are working on fundraisers in the Fremont area, and I'm sure other clubs will be following suit soon (if they haven't planned them already).
The Fun House is throwing a benefit for Mick King on Saturday, September 10. You may remember that King is the former Feederz bass player who was brutally beaten back in July, an attack that left him with high hospital bills, among other burdens. Friends and supporters can help to ease King's difficulties by attending a night in his honor that includes performances by Another Man's Poison, 10 Cent Monkey, and Autonomadic.
Comings and goings: Rob Hampton and Creighton Barrett have both left Crutches to join Band of Horses, a new, wonderfully melodic indie-rock act signed to the Sub Pop roster (and featuring ex-members of Carissa's Wierd).... Brian Standeford and Davey Brozowski are back on their feet again after the demise of the Catheters last year. Brozowski tells me the pair have been recording new material and are looking for new members to round out the band. Can't wait to hear the results.
Old-School Action: Back in ye olde early '90s, Portland bands like Hazel, Sprinkler, Crackerbash, and Pond sent the kids in a flurry down to their local 2nd Avenue Records or Locals Only for the latest indie/punk 7-inch. Sub Pop's early roster rears its long hair again this weekend, as Portland's MusicfestNW showcases a reunion of these four acts on Saturday, September 10, at the Crystal Ballroom (among other shows slated for this weekend). Here in Seattle, we have a reunion of our own, also on the 10th, when Soundgarden bassist Ben Shepherd wipes the dust off dirgy punk act Hater for another go at the Tractor.
And while Devo weren't able to come to town for Bumbershoot, front- man Mark Mothersbaugh will be having his second Seattle art show at the always colorful Roq la Rue gallery. Although M. M. won't be attending his opening in person (he's reportedly busy adopting a child in China), you can still bask in his talent starting this Friday, September 9, at the opening party from 6–9 p.m. The focus of the show, titled "Beautiful Mutants," is photography that's been retouched to create what Mothers-baugh calls "sickeningly beautiful beings"—or lovingly created creatures with genetic abnormalities.
Speaking of abnormalities, every month or so I get a package from local spazz-rock act the Pharmacy—and August was no exception (this time it came with a lovely Day-Glo screen print displaying two neon beasts in love). Their CD, B.B.B.—of which I think our office now has a dozen or so copies—is out on local label Don't Stop Believin' Records, and it's definitely grown on me. The record playfully splatters the lo-fi, anxiety-riddled sound of the Unicorns gone Black Flag over simple pop hooks—something I could see fitting quite comfortably on the Dirtnap catalog, especially with that Northwest label's penchant for releasing synth-heavy, art-damaged punk rock. And damaged they are—full of distortion when it comes to the vocals, the guitars, and the concepts of punk-drunk love and death disco. Using keyboards, drums, and guitar, the band covers some eclectic, eccentric territory. Check them out yourself on Friday, September 9, when they play the Vera Project (and tell them we'll soon need a separate wing for all the promo material they've sent our way).
And, finally, Stanwood rock venue the Stanwood Hotel—which Hannah Levin featured as a popular destination on its last legs ["Hey Ho, Don't Go," Aug 25]—is now staying open to book bands "until at least October," according to owner Bobby Trash. It sounds like buyers backed out of a sale, giving the current owners a bit more time to stay put. While it might not be the national story of CBGB fighting to keep its space, news of a longer Stanwood Hotel stay will surely make many local punk and alt-country types happy.