The following night, the crowd was much better clothed, as Sammy Jo made his second DJ appearance at a fabulous Diesel party. In order to celebrate the opening of a new Seattle outlet on Fifth Avenue, the high-end denim dealers rented the old Planet Hollywood space, offering gratis Absolut cocktails, eye candy, and film loops that were montages of musicals (going along with the theme of Diesel's latest line). Local talent included Comeback DJ Colby and b-boys Circle of Fire (who I heard were in the house, but couldn't see across the crowded dance floor).
And while it's no Planet Hollywood, the Fun House is preparing to open its doors again on Thursday, February 3, after a short closure (to repair the walk-in cooler). The dive bar's biggest news, however, is that one-time booker Brian Foss has become co-owner of the place, along with Robert Kuckelburg. Foss--who also DJs for KEXP's Sonic Reducer punk program--is credited with helping shape that bar into a real Seattle destination for interesting local and touring punk/garage/ noise/electrotrash acts, giving floor space to burgeoning bands of various stripes (which he also did during his days at Gibson's). Foss left the Fun House last year, but recently has returned to booking there. "I love booking shows and I can't think of anything else to do with my life, so it was the next logical step," says Foss of buying into the club. "Or you can say I was tired of working for shitty club owners and decided to become a shitty club owner myself!" The Fun House will now be dedicated to live music five to seven nights a week (with DJs on Monday nights), and Foss plans to include some hiphop into the lineup, starting with "the original dirty rapper," Blowfly, on April 6. There's an open house for local music community suggestions on Sunday, February 6, at 8:00 p.m.
In other club news, look for the War Room to open in the old Blu space on Pike Street mid-March. Run by Graylife's Brian Rauschenbach and Yo, Son!'s Marcus Lalario, the 350-capacity space will host a wide array of live rock and hiphop. Two War Room staples already in the works: Thursday night weeklies with DJ Cherry Canoe (Kerri Harrop) and Mondays with b-boys Circle of Fire.
Catbees--an offshoot of the Dalmatians who sound not-so-oddly similar to the spastic junk-punk act that spawned them--will mix, art, rock, and electrotrash, when they perform at a Gallery 1412 art opening this week. The very rock 'n' roll-looking work of local DJ Superjew (AKA Marianne Goldin) examines "hipsters, hangers-on," and social anxiety--one and the same for many in the music scene. Check out the multimedia event on Thursday, February 3, from 7:00-10:00 p.m. at 1412 18th Avenue (at Union).
Local CD release of the week: The Valley recently made their recorded debut with an eponymous record out on Swingline Records. Their fuzz-heavy sound hits a couple early-'90s cornerstones--from the atmospheric dips and swells of bands like Swervedriver and My Bloody Valentine to the lighter sludge of the early Sub Pop catalog, the band places pop overtones in otherwise heavily textured rock.
Local responsibility of the week: vote. The Stranger is hosting our annual local band booster, this year under the name Big Shot. The idea is that there are a ton of Seattle acts headed toward greatness, and we'd like to give them a little extra fuel for the ride--meaning $2,000 cash, slots at EndFest and the Capitol Hill Block Party, studio time, CD art and duplication, retail display, and more. It was hard work to narrow all the great bands in this city down to 13, but now it's up to you to vote for the one band who most deserves this prize. See the ballot on page 50 for details and make your pick by Sunday February 6.