Who doesn't love Sunday night karaoke? Even Tori Spelling knows how to fend off the end of the weekend, as the former 90210 gal proved while temporarily shifting zip codes to act in local sci-fi film Cthulhu ["Oh, the Horror," Sept 15]. She spent last Sunday belting songs (and, apparently, pounding cocktails; see Drunk of the Week) to the rafters of the cozy little Pine Street hangout Bus Stop. "Oh my god, Donna was so there," my pal Brian explained of the celebrity encounter. "She has a big tranny face and a little pilates body and she acted like a crazy party girl. She rolled up her shirt so people could see her abs, and went to the bathroom like 10 or 12 times in an hour. Her stripper moves were the best, though—she leapt into the air and landed in full-on splits. It was like Girls Gone Wild; I was waiting for her to flash her tits." This was after rumors of Franz Ferdinand and TV on the Radio topping two unstoppable shows at the Paramount with swinging by a couple Capitol Hill drinking mainstays/house parties, but one assumes any acrobatics involved there were reserved for the stage show.
And then there was Dennis Rodman's drive by Consolidated Works for the launch of Tattoo, the new Captain Morgan spiced rum. The place was full of Harleys and spray-on tattoos, with everyone waiting for that magic moment when Rodman rode in on a motorcycle for his big photo op for the "daring, black spiced rum." So what does this Rodman-endorsed beverage taste like? It's some godawful swill. Imagine rum-flavored Jägermeister, or taking a swig of backwashed chew in a rum glass, and you get the picture. The highlight of the night obviously wasn't the free booze—it was the chance to coincidently preview ConWorks' latest exhibit from highly respected German-born, Seattle-based sound artist Trimpin, Sheng High. The piece, which takes up an entire room at ConWorks, consists of three dozen bamboo hunks connected to wire pulleys and set inside bamboo tripods. They move vertically in slow, seemingly random order—an order actually created by patterns of CDs on a nearby wall—creating an eerie, nearly horror-show sound that is cleverly unnerving. Revisiting the exhibit over the weekend, I learned that this motorized display is meant to recreate the sound of the sheng, a musical instrument from China that sounds like both a reed and an organ. Sheng High is up at ConWorks now, where you can also check out work by Paul Rucker, whose Wall of Pieces represents over two decades of his work as a composer, visual artist, and musician. Visitors tap a keyboard to release snippets of songs ranging from two seconds to six minutes in length.
I also hit W.I.R.E. at the Baltic Room last week to catch most of a set from local trio the Pharmacy. These guys electrocuted the floorboards until they had the crowd pogoing in place to their spastic, art-damaged pop punk. Their synth-jolted sound is raw with adolescent energy, like the Exploding Hearts doing a deconstructed Devo. (Speaking of locals to watch, have you seen the Emergency yet? Do you not like wild 'n' woolly garage rock 'n' roll? The man himself, Jim Diamond, e-mailed me recently for their contact info. You're in for a good time if you check them out Friday, October 7, at the Crocodile, with up-and-coming math-rockers Bullet Club.)
In other move-your-ass news, Capitol Hill's Bermuda Triangle of bad behavior, the Crescent (which few of my friends can escape without getting blind drunk) has the perfect solution to clearing up that Sunday morning hangover. Start working on Monday's dry heaves with the Church of Latter Day Bass, the lovely dive bar's new Sunday weekly. It runs from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. with resident DJs Single Malt Scott, Shawn Henderson, and Anieska. What better way to spend the dark season than inside this colorful hole in the wall? (Tori Spelling would probably approve.)
Those who went to the Mastodon show at El Corazón earlier this year know what I'm talking about when I say openers Early Man ruled—two devil horns up for these dudes. The New York two-piece (guitarist Mike Conte and barefoot drummer Adam Bennati) play the kind of metal Ozzy made before he became one with the lobotomized prescription zombies. They signed with Matador, of all labels, and their debut full-length, Closing In, is out October 11. There's no fat on this mother lode of heavy metal—no noodling, no fancy distortion, no studio trickery. Just sleek, triumphant calls to rock with galloping guitars, thrash-worthy beats, and a Cro-Magnon attitude not to be fucked with ("When I release my venom/You better not be around"). "Like a Goddamn Rat" comes close to Death from Above's frothing-on-the-dance-floor fury, but slips back into more straightforward seething and triumphant guitar riffs between choruses. Rocktober, indeed.