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Thursday, July 15th, 2004

"Grunge is dead, man"

At the risk of becoming a broken record every time I visit a new city, I will start things off by saying, “I like Seattle”. The ferry trip in from Victoria on Tuesday was uneventful except for the realization that I’m not quite as immune to motion sickness as I’d previously thought. There were no embaressing incidents, just some queasiness over a few patches of rough sea, but a nice way to travel especially with the view of the city coming into port.

After ditching my stuff at the hostel (which I was very impressed with, overall) I went for a quick wander around the downtown. My plans to this point had consisted of “Arrive in Seattle, ditch stuff at hostel”, so I was feeling pretty aimless. I ended up spending most of the afternoon in the Pike Place Market, which was every bit as chaotic and interesting as I’d been told. Despite being a huge tourist draw, it didn’t feel overly touristy, which was nice. One thing I will say about Seattle is the free buses in downtown from 8AM to 7PM are brilliant. For a city without a rail-based mass transit system (the monorail doesn’t count), they move people around quite efficiently.

Once back at the hostel I played some softball with the other guests and just hung out for most of the evening. Later that night a few of us tried to go out for a drink but that was a little tricky as the 19-year old German guy with us didn’t have any fake ID. It took a few tries before we found a place that couldn’t make sense of his passport and just let him in. To celebrate, we got fairly hosed. They make their mixed drinks STRONG, God bless em.

Yesterday my dorm mate and I went up to the Capitol Hill district of town (the college-esque area) for some record shopping, the fruits of which you can see over in the sidebar. I was expecting some top-notch record stores in a town like Seattle and was not disappointed. The prices weren’t necessarily better than I’d pay back home, but the selection was amazing. Their used inventories were better than the new inventories at many stores I’ve been to. I had also meant to try and hunt down Sub Pop’s offices, but forgot to write down the address. After loading up on music, it was a leisurely walk back into town. I hadn’t expected Seattle to be so damned hilly – people in that town must have buttocks of steel from walking some of those inclines. I’m talking blocks at a 40-degree angle or more. Cutting through the residential neighbourhoods to get back downtown revealed some quite nice houses and apartment buildings – older-looking but quite well-preserved by the mild weather, I guess. I could see myself living there.

We then took advantage of a hostel deal and went to the Experience Music Project dealie for 1/4 of the usual admission price. We couldn’t take the monorail to the Seattle Center, however, as it had apparently caught on fire and wasn’t running. Okay. They did give us free shuttle buses though, so at least I saved a buck or two. The EMP is a pretty neat exhibition of music history and memorabilia, though smaller than I’d expected. I guess it and the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame are constantly in competition for exhibit pieces. The costumes display was neat, though it was disappointing to see the costumes from the original Batman television show up close – those things really look like ass. I also liked seeing current indie artists getting almost equal display space as the classic rockers. Oh, and I saw Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth in the songwriting exhibit, just hanging out. Yay celebrity sightings.

The EMP was pretty much my last activity in Seattle as I had a bus (not train, as I’d originally thought – I should really pay more attention) to catch that early evening. After retrieving my pack from the hostel I wandered around a bit more, took some pictures and just generally soaked up the city. As I said, I liked the place a lot. Even though it hasn’t been particularly gentrified – I don’t think anyone quite lives in the downtown proper – there was still a lot of energy and people about. I think it helps that there are residential parts of town just outside the downtown (walkable) as opposed to being way out in the suburbs. I would certainly like to go back and see some more of the city and Washington State in general. Truly some beautiful terrain out there. Oh, and they have an absolutely kick-ass radio station in town – KEXP. It’s the sort of thing that could actually persuade me to buy a radio (they had it playing in the hostel 24-7).

And that, in greatly abbreviated form, was me in Seattle. Barely there a day but I got a lot done.

Now that I’m back in Vancouver and have had a little time to cruise the internet (though I should be getting ready to head out again), I’ve found a few noteworthy pieces that I’m going to post now before I forget.

Mark Eitzel talks to Billboard about the new American Music Club record Love Songs For Patriots (yes, they changed the title again), out October 12.

The final Elliott Smith album From A Basement On The Hill will be out October 19. Details here.

Doldrum asks nine questions of Anna-Lynne Williams from Trespassers William. Anna-Lynne just sold me a copy of their debut Anchor, so she is my friend.

I think I may go to the AC Newman show on August 8 at Lee’s. I’m hearing very good things about openers Rogue Wave. Anyone wanna testify?

Major crapola that the Toronto Star Bluesfest was cancelled. Some real quality acts were booked, and while I thought they spread themselves way too thin with by having shows stretched out across more than a week, it’s a shame people couldn’t be persuaded to go.

So are we trading Vince or are we not? I certainly hope not – sure, he’s disgruntled now, but he should at least let Babcock put a new team together and play some of the season out before deciding it’s not working. And I cringe at the idea of a franchise barely a decade old bidding adieu to a fourth young franchise-quality player (I’m talking Stoudamire, Camby and McGrady). Ain’t no good times for Toronto sports fans.

I find it astonishing that during the week that I’m barely around and certainly not posting anything newsworthy, I’m getting the most hits I’ve gotten in months. Am I to take it you guys prefer it when I’m in absentia?

By : Frank Yang at 12:45 pm
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Justin says:

    I was just in Seattle a few weeks ago and it’s a really nice town. I didn’t get up to the Capitol Hill area, though. Did you miss the Elliott Bay Book Company? Great store.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m guessing your hits are from people clicking on your site 12X a day hoping you’ll update.

    What’s funny is that, in person, you have nothing interesting to say… oh… ever. heh.

  3. Ryan says:

    just so you know…..you can listen to kexp online everyday.. http://www.kexp.org awesome stuff

  4. Reagan says:

    What Ryan said. I discovered KEXP last fall and have been splitting time between that and BBC6 at work everyday since. My workday isn’t the same without it.

  5. wyatt says:

    i will testify…rogue wave are good! i’m going to hit that show now too.

  6. Frank says:

    Why you gotta be so mean, Five Seventeen? What did I ever do to you?

  7. Ryan Waddell says:

    Screw Vince Carter. We all go crazy for keeping him in town, but you just KNOW he’s going to blow his knee out again and that’ll be it.

  8. Another Frank says:

    saw rogue wave (which I’d never heard of) open for the shins about 6 weeks ago, and was pretty thoroughly blown away. excellent band, great set.

  9. tim says:

    did you hit sonic boom? best record store in seattle. the subpop offices are down on second, north of pike place market. not much interesting to see there, ever since the sub pop megamart closed down.