March 31, 2006
Volume 34
Issue 13
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Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020



the Music Lounge by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A & E Writer
James Blunt concert tickets up for grabs at Manray; Death Cab for Cutie and Franz Ferdinand tour kickoff review; American Idol moves forward minus Kevin 'Chicken Little' Covais; Arctic Monkeys and Ben Harper take in We Are Scientists show
Seattle Gay News/Manray giving away James Blunt tickets Sunday night

Here's a fact. James Blunt's concert at the Paramount Theatre Monday night is sold out. It sold out in about an hour. Here's another fact. Two pairs of tickets (four tickets total) will be given away the night before, on Sunday, at Manray Video Bar (514 E. Pine) during Lily Armani's bitchy cool gig called "Salvation Armani". So if you really want to see Blunt in action, this is a last-minute option to ponder. Having seen him in concert last November, as an opening act for Jason Mraz, I can personally tell you that he's mindblowing as a live performer. He's got an incredible voice and tells the funniest stories. Witty and charming, down to earth and gifted, this guy is the real deal onstage. Besides the two pairs of tickets, other goodies like CD-samplers and artist booklets will be given away as well. The fun begins around 8:30ish. Have a drink or a bite to eat, see Blunt's music videos for "You're Beautiful" and "Goodbye My Lover", and enjoy Armani's fun little show. What else you gonna do on a Sunday night? Watch "Desperate Housewives"? Tivo it.

Death Cab for Cutie, Franz Ferdinand kick off joint tour in Portland to huge crowd

I took a cab from the Jupiter Hotel (very cool place to stay) to Memorial Coliseum last week for Death Cab for Cutie and Franz Ferdinand's tour kickoff in Portland. The venue is located in the city's Rose Quarter, which also houses the Rose Garden and Theatre of the Clouds. I gave my extra ticket to a kid who desperately wanted to see both bands. Within minutes of making my way to the main floor of the arena, Franz Ferdinand jumped onstage and ripped into "This Boy" and "Do You Want To" from the quartet's sophomore release You Could Have It So Much Better. The sound inside the coliseum was bad. The audience was wooden, at least at the start of the show. Franz Ferdinand played a lot of new cuts, like "I'm Your Villain", "The Fallen" and the best version of "Outsiders" I've heard thus far. The band looked hot, with lead singer Alex Kapranos sporting a small mound of hair on his head that resembled a Q-Tip.

I've seen Franz Ferdinand five times now and this was their least thrilling performance of those five, mainly because concertgoers didn't get into the show until the latter part of the set. And because the acoustics sucked. And because the group didn't play with the amount of enthusiasm as they're known to have. They raced through their set and were a bit flat. "Take Me Out" and "Dark of the Matinee" didn't sound as fresh as in previous concerts. Overall, it just wasn't the kind of Franz Ferdinand performance I've witnessed before. In their defense, anyone seeing them for the first time definitely got their money's worth. The spoiled fan and music reviewer in me, however, insists they continue to raise the bar.

Death Cab for Cutie, on the other hand, was amazing. They were in top form at Memorial Coliseum, playing a strong set of new songs and old favorites. Everything on this night sounded incredible. "Title and Registration", "Soul Meets Body" and "The New Year" were especially good. Interestingly, several cuts from Plans were absent, including "Your Heart is an Empty Room", " I Will Follow You Into the Dark", "Summer Skin", Marching Bands of Manhattan" and "Someday You Will Be Loved". The first thing lead vocalist-guitarist Ben Gibbard said to the audience was "Hello, we're Death Cab for Cutie and we're from Seattle". Of course you are Ben, and that's why we love you. And that's why I braved two hangovers, one train delay and a slimy taxi driver to get to your show. Next time, let's kick the fucker off here in Seattle.

American Idol arrives at the 21st century, without Kevin Covais

Due to our screwy deadlines this week, I'm on the late train in reporting that Kevin "Chicken Little" Covais was booted off American Idol. By you. Yes, you. Actually, it's we. I wanted that little shithead off the show two weeks ago when he bitchslapped Simon Cowell. So I never voted for him. He was a horrible singer. But I felt sorry for him, much like an ant on the sidewalk in the summertime. Which I eventually step on.

This week, the contestants picked their favorite songs from the 21st century. Kellie Pickler, a younger version of the talent-less and downright stupid Jessica Simpson, tried singing Sara Evans' "Suds in the Bucket". She sucked. Chris Daughtry, who I'd pay serious money to see without a shirt and socks and pants and anything else he wears, did a lame rendition of Creed's "What If". Um Chris, Creed is the lamest band in rock history. Taylor Hicks, the goofy tall guy with a soul voice, couldn't nail it this week as in previous weeks, singing a so-so redo of Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble". Mandisa Hundley went completely overboard on Mary Mary's "Shackles", a song I actually loved until Tuesday night.

Paris Bennett, the little rascal with a squeaky voice, pretended to be Beyonce and came up short. Like two feet short on height and way short on talent. Lisa Tucker performed a lackluster version of Kelly Clarkson "Because of You". Ace Young, who can butter my croissant any day of the week, put everyone to sleep with Train's "Drops of Jupiter". Bucky Covington, a rugged cowboy from Lord knows where, was just okay with his rendition of Tim McGraw's "Real Good Men". Katherine McPhee gave a sloppy performance of "The Voice Within". And my new favorite Idolette, Elliott Yamin, bested everyone with "I Don't Want to Be". Overall, it wasn't a very good week. And because of an early deadline, I couldn't squeeze in the name of whoever got booted off Wednesday night. But, America had several bad singers to choose from.

Ben Harper, Arctic Monkeys enjoy We Are Scientists show at The Crocodile Café

So, I'm catching a cab after the We Are Scientists show and guess who's walking down the street? Arctic Monkeys. That's who. Alex Turner, the band's vocalist and guitarist, made a guest appearance during the Scientists' set. And after their show I went up to say hello, and he was kind of snobby. Not the kind of reaction I expected, but okay. Have it your way. I was told earlier in the night that Ben Harper was hanging out in the 21-plus section of The Crocodile Café. I didn't see him, but I trust the source that leaked the word to me. Back to Arctic Monkeys. One of them was nice to me after the show, but it wasn't Alex. He was too busy being a cool rock star. Maybe he'll give me the time of day at the Sasquatch Music Festival. Maybe.

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