Certain venues have legendary after-parties or bad karma littering their legacy. Chop Suey has radio towers. Documented by Kathleen Wilson long before I noticed it, there are moments in bands' performances there when either the wiring in the walls or the will of the paranormal world transmits signals from the Madison radio towers through a band's equipment. Such was the case for New Fangs last week, when a short tuning break broadcast a blast of spoken static through bassist Karlis' amp. But it wasn't just radio gaga beaming down through the band. The latest project of guitarist/singer Dave Bessenhoffer brought elements of his other bands, the Blow Up and Tractor Sex Fatality, to a climax of overdriven, anxious garage punk. Together with drummer Ken Viste, Austin transplant/guitarist Ron Miller, and Karlis, Bessenhoffer steers New Fangs like a muscle car loaded with an airplane engine, driving his crew across sharply angled ground tread by local acts like the Popular Shapes (who sadly played their farewell show at a house party last weekend, see page 87) minus the poppier choruses, or like Drive Like Jehu cut with the dry delivery of the Fall.

Out of the closet, into the spotlight: Seattle's preeminent gay country act, Purty Mouth, are heading to D.C. soon to play a benefit show that, its organizers hope, will put money in the coffers of pro-gay-marriage organizations. Under the umbrella of the WEDrock festival, the Purty boys (who include our own Border Radio columnist Kurt B. Reighley) will take the stage with Henry "no more Black Flag questions, got it?" Rollins, Sandra Bernhard, Bob Mould, Avenue D, and Hedwig's John Cameron Mitchell Tuesday, October 5.

Elliott Smith fans have both a stunning upcoming CD release to look forward to and now a new DVD from the late Northwest songwriter, as well. Elliott Smith--Olympia, Washington offers a time capsule of the much-loved indie artist from 1999, when Smith closed out the five-day Yo-Yo a Go-Go festival with camera crews in tow. It's due to come out November 30.

And the winner was.... In the latest battle of Iron Composer, the Merlot-drinking Reggie Watts was out-composed by whiskey-shooting Anna Oxygen. But not before both took up the challenge of writing an original song in a little over an hour (featuring lyrics taken from a live interview with a college-admissions administrator) while being bombarded by paper airplanes from the crowd, distracted by organizers doing large quantities of "coke," and being forced to dig for brown M&Ms. After the Crocodile was fully littered with paper, wet biscuits, and piñatas full of condoms (from a "Cunt Fiesta"), it was Oxygen's "Psychedelic High-School Girls" that stole the show over Watt's "I Hope to Get to College Soon" ("So I can quit heating spoons in the alleyway").

Eddie Vedder made an appearance for an intimate Vera Project show last week. The Pearl Jam frontman performed before a small crowd to help celebrate the work of a high-school choir from Port Elizabeth, South Africa. According to one eyewitness, the set, which included Beatles and Dylan covers as well as Pearl Jam material from both Vedder and the choir, was a stunner. It was also reportedly very special for the choir, who were in Seattle thanks to a UW program called Molo Care that helps enrich the educational and cultural lives of young Port Elizabeth students. According to the Seattle Times, the African teenagers had never been on an airplane or spoken with a white person before this performance. Vedder will be making another appearance soon when Pearl Jam participates in the No Vote Left Behind benefit festival September 24 at the Showbox.

Used Car Salesman of the Week: Steve-O. Not that genius was expected from a traveling spectacle starring a DIY stuntman, but considering how much laughter Jackass has evoked over the years, something a little less abysmal would've been nice. After a hype-man pumped up the Premier crowd with football chants for the headliner, Jackass' Steve-O went through the motions of pranks most frat boys already try at home. After watching him spray the small crowd with beer to a Slayer song, puke on command to Andrew WK, stage-dive from the rafters, and play "kick the volunteer from the audience in the nuts," my friend aptly grumbled, "Let's see something clever." Besides the fact that the "Jackass crew" promised was only Steve-O and Ryan Dunn, the show felt more like "stupid drunk tricks" than anything on which people should waste money. O should've kept the mousetrap he snapped on his tongue in place and left the sloppy Vegas sideshow shit at home.

Teary Farewell of the Month: 2nd Avenue Pizza called it quits last week as Seattle's coolest DIY dive/all-ages venue shut down over money issues. Between the killer hardcore/punk shows the narrow hall hosted, to their incredibly independent-music friendly staff, SAP will be very badly missed by much of the local music community. Thanks for all the cheap beer and fond memories.


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