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Tattoo Expo, NKOTB, Weezer, Lady Ga Ga, Kings of Leon
by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Seattle Center will be crawling with tattoo enthusiasts and body ink-curious this weekend, plus a gathering of heavy metal bands, all taking part in the seventh annual Seattle Tattoo Expo. It took me years to appreciate tattoos as art, though I've personally never been tempted or drunk enough to go under the needle. Tattoos have become more noticeable amongst Gay men, especially in Seattle, where a good portion of non-heteros tend to be on the alternative or edgy side. If you've been thinking about having body art done yet haven't come to a complete decision, perhaps due to first-time jitters, I encourage you to attend the expo Friday through Sunday. Cost is $20 per person. Aside from tattoo artists representing the nation's top creative studios and thousands of expected onlookers, a lineup of great bands will be on-hand to keep the event rocking and rolling. Tiger Army, Nashville Pussy, Nevermore, Loaded (featuring Duff McKagan of Guns n' Roses), Murdock, and Kane Hodder are among the acts scheduled to perform at this year's fest. Sexy men with tats and hard rock music - if this is your recipe for a good time, head to Seattle Center this weekend. For more information and performance schedule, visit www.seattletattooexpo.com.

I'm a rocker at heart, but I do love a great pop song now and then. "Summertime" by New Kids on the Block is my latest guilty summer pleasure, and the music video with Joey McIntyre looking hot in a wifebeater and a healthy rack of pearly whites is giving me something to think about late at night. The reunited quintet, a mega-successful boy group in the '80s, will release Greatest Hits on August 12, their first newly remastered collection of hit singles in 10 years. The track list includes "Step By Step," "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)," "Hangin' Tough," "Tonight," and four bonus cuts including a 2008 New Kids on the Block Mega Mix and duet by Jordan Knight with Cuban-American sensation Ana (Rodriguez). You'll have to wait until September 8 for New Kids on the Block's latest album, The Block, to arrive in stores. The "Summertime" single might be available for download on iTunes already, and that reminds me to download it as soon as I finish writing this column. The band is tapped to star on VH1's "Behind the Scenes" on September 28. A full-scale fall tour delivers the now thirtysomething Kids to the Tacoma Dome on November 22, and you can purchase tickets now at any Ticketmaster location.

Weezer begins a 21-city tour on September 23 at Boston's Tsongas Arena. The quirky rock group scored a number one modern rock hit earlier this summer with "Pork and Beans." I have absolutely no idea what this song is about, but I dig it - and I'm hoping they'll write more tunes about other under-appreciated food products, like Spam, Jell-O, and turkey jerky. Unlike fellow alternative rock groups, Weezer tends to go for a different sound on each album; I have yet to find duplicates of "Buddy Holly" or "Island in the Sun" on any of the band's most recent projects. To show their appreciation to fans, Weezer embarked on a brief promotional "Hootenanny" road outing two months ago, allowing their core base to participate in intimate recording sessions with them at select cities. I attended the Seattle event at the Vera Project and had a blast, lending my vocals to "Beverly Hills," "El Scorcho," and a cover of Radiohead's "Creep." The California-based foursome promised to come back to Seattle, and they're keeping their promise with a scheduled performance at Key Arena on October 11. Tickets go on sale August 23, priced between $25 and $45, at all Ticketmaster locations. Between now and then, I'll see if I can lasso one of the band members into The Music Lounge. Related to the forthcoming tour, Angels & Airwaves and Tokyo Police Club are booked as the supporting acts for all dates. More Weezer buzz on the way.

She shimmied on the Miss Universe pageant and the TV reality series So You Think You Can Dance, and now she's going to shimmy for us right here in Seattle. Lady Ga Ga is set to perform at Neighbours on August 17, promoting her debut recording Fame and the global smash "Just Dance." I honestly have no details regarding her appearance, in regards to admission or what she'll actually do besides play a brief set of music. What I do know is that my phone line and her phone line will crisscross in the following days, so look for an interview with Lady Ga Ga in The Music Lounge next week prior to her glammy, whammy performance at Neighbours. The New York-bred entertainer learned piano by ear and wrote her first ballad at 14, which eventually led to her penning songs for other artists including pop vixens the Pussycat Dolls. Circle August 17 on your calendar, and join me at Neighbours to welcome Lady Ga Ga to Seattle.

Kings of Leon are returning to the Emerald City after a jolting performance at last year's Bumbershoot. The Tennessee rockers will put out Only By the Night on September 23, a heavily anticipated followup to the marvelous Because of the Times (SGN's Top Ten Albums/CDs, 2007). The new album's release is quickly followed by a nationwide tour, which includes a Seattle stop on October 20 at the Paramount Theatre. I am not missing this concert because these guys can roar, one of the best live acts out there. Only By the Night was recorded in Nashville and features the initial single "Sex on Fire" - you can ear-sample it by visiting www.kingsofleon.com or the quartet's official MySpace page. At press time, no immediate details on tickets were available. If you're a KOL virgin, watch the video for "Charmer" on YouTube.

Finally, I've got three more upcoming shows to announce to you. Fujiya & Miyagi are gonna work it out at Chop Suey on October 27, Ray LaMontagne performs at McCaw Hall on November 9 (same night at Jason Mraz at the Paramount Theatre, darn!), and Ben Kweller plays at Chop Suey on October 7.
photos: New Kids On The block
 

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