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Saturday, Apr 20, 2019
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the Music Lounge by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A & E Writer
Farewell Crocodile Café, Switches in Seattle, Dion concert DVD
FINANCIAL PROBLEMS, SHRINKING CROWDS TAKE DOWN THE CROCODILE CAFÉ
The Crocodile Café has closed. Forever. Sad, but true. The famed nightclub, which helped launch the careers of Nirvana and Death Cab for Cutie, took its final bow on December 15. Plagued by months of financial problems, stemming from poor attendance at many of their shows, the Belltown concert venue shocked the music community with its abrupt adieu. There was no last dance, really. A trio of low-profile artists performed Saturday night, and that was it. Without warning, everybody went home that night and the next day it closed. No proper farewell. No bang. As dismal as the news was, I'm not surprised by The Crocodile Café's exit. I barely recognized any of the artists performing at the club for quite some time - the quality of talent had been on a downspiral since last year. Only a handful of shows met my interest in 2007.

I'll definitely miss the place. I met Rufus Wainwright at The Crocodile Café, during his Poses tour. I had beers and cigarettes with We Are Scientists at The Croc back in October of 2005. I rocked out to The Strokes there in 2006, when the group chose to play one of five intimate shows in the entire country there to promote First Impressions of Earth. I shared beer and wine with Brett Dennen a summer ago before he went onstage with Joshua Radin. And I met the Arctic Monkeys there - when they were just boys. Yet my fondest memory of The Crocodile Café was witnessing Jason Mraz's first-ever Seattle gig there in January of 2003, way before he sold out the 5th Avenue Theatre. And just for the record - I never puked, peed my pants, did anything illegal in the bathroom stalls, or stole any bar items at The Crocodile Café. Okay, one of those isn't true. Alas, here's to a great music venue that will live long in our memories.

UK BAND SWITCHES POISED FOR BIGNESS IN '08, COMING TO SEATTLE IN JANUARY
If you quarantined Franz Ferdinand and The Killers in a basement, here's what you'd get. Switches. The UK quartet is set to become the next big thing with the release of their debut Lay Down the Law on March 18. The first single from the album will either be the title track or "Drama Queen." Both songs are cool, though I prefer "Lovin' It." Switches are also headed to Seattle, set to open for The Bravery, on January 25. Tickets are available now at www.neumos.com. Check these guys out at www.myspace.com/weareswitches and you can thank me later when the band shows up at the Brit Awards in 2008. Switches played an intimate promotional gig at Chop Suey this summer and I fell in love with their sound, their playful attitude, their onstage cockiness, and the band members themselves. We had beers (and nasty shots) at the Cha Cha Lounge afterwards and they were remarkably polite and funny. I remember some interesting conversations between us, and I recall lead singer Matt Bishop's huge feet - which he said comes with big, ahem&hands. You can view the video for "Drama Queen" on YouTube. Truth be told, I'm running out of room in my heart for punk-pop bands. There are just too many. But I have reserved a space for Switches. I hope you'll fall in love with them too.

DION RELEASES DOUBLE-DISC VEGAS CONCERT DVD, INCLUDES FAN TRIBUTE
Celine Dion made our worst list this year for her quite forgettable disc, Taking Chances. She's got a dynamite voice and can afford the top musical collaborators in the business, yet the album is an artistic flop. The good news, however, is that the Canadian diva just released a two-disc concert DVD entitled A New Day. Recorded inside The Colosseum at Caesar's Palace, during Dion's just-ended five-year run, it features 18 live versions of the pop singer's work including "My Heart Will Go On," "Because You Loved Me," "Love Can Move Mountains," "The Power of Love," and "It's All Coming Back to Me Now." Bonus features include a tribute to the power vocalist's legion of fans appropriately titled "Because You Loved Me" and an all-access pass that allows you to peek backstage at rehearsals, dressing room chatter, and stage crew. There's at least one person on your holiday list that adores Celine Dion, and they'll love you all the way to next year if you wrap this in a box with shiny, colorful ribbon and hand it to them next week.
 

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