Last night I dreamed that the Who played the Crocodile. I'm sure some of this is partially due to the slowly building shit storm of press surrounding the band's first studio album in 24 years (incidentally, what I've heard thus far is surprisingly good). But Pete Townshend and company also landed the starring role in my subconscious because of news I received while attending the Mission of Burma show on Friday, September 15, at the Croc. From a historical perspective, this Belltown club is arguably the most important Seattle music institution we have, so any significant change in leadership there is big news.


After 14 years as the Crocodile booker, Christine Wood is stepping down and ceding her position to the club's assistant booker/publicist, Pete Greenberg. Her decision is based partially on her desire to focus full-time on her side career as an aesthetician (Wood currently works part-time at Spa Noir, the urban-oriented spa adjacent to the Croc), but it is also simply time for her to move on. "I feel like it's just time," she explains. "It's not as fulfilling as it once was, and I think it's something that should be done by the people with the raw passion and drive to keep it going."

Though her initial role when owner Stephanie Dorgan hired her back in 1992 was working the door, most of Wood's tenure at the club was spent booking bands, from high-profile national acts like the White Stripes and the Strokes, to carefully guarded secret shows by R.E.M. and Pearl Jam, and countless bills featuring up-and-coming local bands like Death Cab for Cutie and the Murder City Devils, both of which paid their dues on the Croc stage before rising to higher prominence.

It is the latter facet that Wood says she will miss the most when I ask her about what she's leaving behind, though she has difficulty singling out one element. "The sense of community that everybody had. The energy of it all. Seeing the evolution of musicians. [Band of Horses frontman] Ben Bridwell comes to mind, though there are dozens of others... But seeing him working there as a kid and now growing into this amazing, talented performer is really great."

Bearing witness to that organic phenomenon and continuing the reputation that Wood built for the club is now squarely in the sights of Greenberg, who came to the Croc almost three years ago after stints at Sonic Boom (where he still fills in occasionally) and as a booker at the now-defunct OK Hotel. He will also be left to continue the music community's collective resistance to the city's current anti-nightlife stance, both challenges he feels prepared to take on. "It wouldn't be rock 'n' roll if it wasn't somewhat controversial," says Greenberg. "I think it's going to be fine. [Seattle] always has these hurdles—like the Teen Dance Ordinance—but people are dedicated and will always work to resolve those things. [Booking the club] has developed into a shared duty, and I've gotten great training from Christine. I'm absolutely planning on carrying on the tradition [she established]. I want to see if we can flesh it out and I'm excited to see where we can take it, but we definitely want to keep the rock... and the quality."

Speaking of promising young rock, if I wasn't already celebrating my birthday elsewhere this Thursday, September 21, I'd be down at Nectar checking out the Whore Moans. Their brash charisma, classic punk snarl, and uncorkable energy are earning them a growing chorus of supporters and detractors. Whether you find their passionate delivery and alarming screams (à la Blood Brothers) to be indicative of precocious talent or precious trend following may depend on your age and level of jadedness, but there's no denying that a buzz is beginning.

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Finally, those fans who want to be able to say "I saw them when" should plan on being at the Showbox Saturday, September 23, when Mastodon turn the stage into a funeral pyre with their increasingly popular (those Slayer tours have definitely paid off) take on modern metal. Fusing sludgy grindcore with merciless, fret-burning aggression is a wildly successful recipe and the reason why the odds of the band soon moving on to much larger venues is a safe bet. recommended