Did you happen to catch the Murder City Devils' triumphant return to Seattle June 11 and 12 at Graceland? The band absolutely killed, celebrating the release of In Name and Blood by playing what, in my opinion, was their best show yet. Fog machines blanketed the stage, making the now trademark Drums o' Fire and Leslie Hardy's candlelit keyboard about the only things visible from the audience. The hobbled Derek Fudesco, who broke his leg at a show in Scotland last month, rejoined his band and played his sweet heart out despite his still-tender injury. Sadly, the outdoor barbecue that was to happen prior to the all-ages show on the 12th had to be canceled because of the blasted rain. In Name and Blood did great during its first week of sales--over 1,300 copies were snapped up by the curious and devoted alike. (An anonymous source tells me the band's label, Sub Pop, was expecting to sell only half that.) Good news for MCD and Sub Pop, which is slowly clicking away at the sales. Looper has done well for the label, with 5,878 copies sold since May of new disc The Geometrid, while the Makers' latest, also released in May, has sold less than 2,200. Beachwood Sparks has moved about 4,200 copies since March, thanks to an impressive if overzealous media buzz. Heather Duby's Post to Wire has sold 5,500 copies since October, but Gluecifer and the Vue, whose discs came out last February, have yet to break the 1,000 mark.
Let's compare those figures to other locally tied bands, shall we? In one month, Elliott Smith has sold 66,000 copies of his latest, Figure 8. Modest Mouse has sold 34,000 copies of their singles, B-sides, and rarities compilation, Building Nothing out of Something, released last January on Up Records. Death Cab for Cutie has sold 7,760 copies of We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes. Pearl Jam has sold 409,000 copies since Binaural's arrival May 16. Built to Spill's Live has managed to pass the 18,000 mark in just two months. Zeke's Dirty Sanchez, out on Epitaph last February, has sold nearly 4,600. And New American Shame has sold exactly 8,601 of its self-titled debut for Atlantic since its release way back in March of '99.
By the way, have I mentioned that Sub Pop's staff has been whittled down to 25, and that the new offices are about the same square footage as the postage stamp-sized Noodle Ranch?
And can I just say that it tickled me to no end to see an indie rock god get shot down in flames at the Showbox during Friday night's stellar Modest Mouse/Love As Laughter blowout? God bless dedicated backstage guardian Jonna, never one to be impressed by anyone's--and I do mean anyone's--rock star cred. During Modest Mouse's set, none other than Pavement's Stephen Malkmus ducked behind the soundboard to get a better look. (It should be pointed out now that Malkmus, in a shameless display of contrived irony, was wearing a freakin' visor, for crissakes.) Knowing full well who she was talking to, Jonna asked to see Malkmus' all-access pass. When he confessed he didn't have one, she informed him he would have to go back and view the show from the main floor, just like everybody else. The look of shock on Malkmus' face was priceless as he momentarily debated pulling out the ol' "do you know who I am?!" routine before deciding to walk peevishly back into the audience. Jonna, did you ever know that you're my hero?