Love Is All Around
Three days into the Up Records 10th anniversary celebration, Chop Suey's Frank Nieto called to tell me that the string of charity shows would likely raise $36,000. The five-day concert series, if you recall, was not only a celebration of one of the Northwest's most respected labels, but a benefit for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America. The sold-out Modest Mouse show, with Caustic Resin plus Brent Arnold and the Spheres at the Showbox, brought in $17,000 and Built to Spill brought in $9,000. The final night with Quasi, Duster, and Violent Green at Chop Suey was a happy blowout. Quite a tribute to the memory of Up's Chris Takino as well as an astonishing contribution to the fight against the disease that claimed his brief but purposeful life.
Some highlights: During his solo set, John Atkins called his 764-HERO cofounder Polly Johnson to the stage and the ecstatic audience was treated to a reunion of that band's original two-person, guitar and drum incarnation. Modest Mouse played a set that managed to make the most beautiful songs of their catalog even more striking with the addition of contrabass, and keyboards played by singer Isaac Brock, who was nothing if not on fire. Former Murder City Devils guitarist (and early Modest Mouse member) Dann Gallucci is vital to the band's resplendent sound, and it was good to seem him back on the Showbox's stage. As for the packed, baseball-capped crowd, a very observant, wise lady remarked to me that if Modest Mouse played Bumbershoot ever again she was going to kick their collective ass. Heh. No less than seven cameras filmed the show that night as Phil Ek sat behind a bank of equipment and recorded the sound--all of the Up shows were recorded for a forthcoming DVD of the series of performances.
Saturday night's Mamafest Snowboarding for Breast Cancer Research benefit at Chop Suey--featuring the Senate Arcade (LOUD!), the More, the Girls, and Minus the Bear--was another successful charity event. But Jesus, was it fucking cold inside the club. The air conditioning was in full effect and band members were literally chilling out hours before the 9:00 p.m. show because they were required to arrive at 4:30. I felt like a total baby for complaining once I learned of what they had been enduring for most of the evening, but still! When everyone in the lounge is chain-smoking as a means to stay somewhat warm, well that's just too damn cold.
And I can't end this column without relating another atrocity committed by assholes against the Cha Cha. Friday night, one of the restrooms was out of order (What? In the Cha Cha? Unheard of!), and was blocked off by an obvious, if makeshift, barricade. However, by night's end someone had used the tank's lid to smash the entire toilet to smithereens. You know, it used to be that much of the Pine Street bar's charm was its rude bartenders. But now the patrons treat the bartenders with too much disrespect, and the fact that such destructive vandalism has become a common occurrence is just revolting.