Who He?

For those who have been waiting to learn who will take over booking Graceland now that Jason Lajuenesse has defected to Neumo's--it's Dana Sims. Perhaps you recall his having worked at Sub Pop? Speaking of Lajuenesse, Graceland had planned to send him off in style last Saturday with a show featuring Cobra High and several other bands, including Big Business (another ex-member-of-the-Murder City Devils band), but that party had to be scrapped because "club renovations are taking a little longer than expected." (Among other improvements, the bar/lounge is FINALLY being expanded.) Several planned shows were moved to other clubs, including the Pale's CD release celebration and a Catheters date. As of press time there is no concrete news as to when Graceland will be ready to reopen, and when I inquired as to whether the JasonFest would happen at a later date, all I got was a big "I dunno." (If you're planning on seeing any Graceland shows this week be sure to call ahead to make sure the show is still happening there.)

Here's another I dunno, except I do know: I won't mention any names, but a certain historically touchy bandleader gave some partygoers a severe beating last weekend after they opined that his band sucked. Two women who tried to break up the fight accidentally got punched in the crossfire, and at least one was bleeding profusely after the fray. Word to the hecklers: Have I not taught you anything?

I was so happy Willy from Richmond Fontaine advised an early arrival to his band's CD release show last Saturday at the Tractor, saying that his favorite group, Grand Champeen, was not to be missed. The Austin, Texas four-piece was the best band I've seen perform live in quite a while, and it's been far too long since I've been driven to exclaim: WHO HE?! In my opinion, the singer (the lead among three) is hands-down the hottest frontman in all of the Lone Star State. "Broken Records" reminded me of the heart shown by early Replacements songs and was a great tale about how being in a band can make you so frustrated with rock and roll that you just might find yourself in the yard surrounded by busted-up copies of Let It Bleed, Heaven Tonight, and The Kids Are Alright. And "Born to Run" has never sounded better than when Grand Champeen sang every single word of it, with obvious tribute, at the end of their kick-ass set. It was the first time the band had been to Seattle, and I left with a copy of their 2001 CD Battle Cry for Help (Glurp Records), as well as a "Richmond Fontaine Motel" T-shirt and a matching foam beer "cuzzi."

And while I'm all in love, I should mention that Valentine's Day is coming up and The Stranger will once again be offering up dear space so you can pledge your heart in print. E-mail 30 words or less to us at love@thestranger.com and we'll make sure your mash notes appear in front of God and everyone.

kathleen@thestranger.com

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