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Lady GaGa, Chris Cornell, Depeche Mode
by Albert Rodiriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Her concert at The Showbox Market sold out in 10 minutes, her debut album The Fame is currently on Billboard's top ten albums chart, she nabbed a Grammy nomination on her first go-round, and there's not a single Gay boy on the planet that hasn't twirled to "Just Dance" at 1 a.m. - enter the world of music's newest diva, Lady GaGa. Know what else? She's my special guest in The Music Lounge next week, and only in Seattle Gay News will you find out what's stirring inside the mind of this huge overnight success just days before she performs in the Emerald City. Last year, GaGa (as she's called in her circle of friends) was dismissed by some music insiders as a one hit wonder, and while it took months for her initial track to catch wind beyond club floors it eventually proved to be one of 2008's biggest airplay requests and digital downloads. A follow-up single, "Poker Face," has already positioned itself as a strong entry on both the dance and pop charts - in the US, Europe, and Canada. At the moment, there isn't a hotter artist out there - and next week she's in here, The Music Lounge. So grab a copy of the newspaper on March 13 for an exclusive chitchat with Lady GaGa.

On the subject of hotness, another scorching artist is stepping into The Music Lounge very soon - Soundgarden lead singer and Seattleite Chris Cornell will be dropping by for a visit in April. The rock icon, who also serves as Audioslave's frontman, just released his third solo album called Scream on March 10, produced by hip-hop giant Timbaland. Four songs from the CD have already become Internet hits, including "Part of Me," "Long Gone," "Watch Out," and the title track. Cornell interviewed with me two years ago, and I was surprised at how open-hearted and sweet he was - a super friendly guy. The hunky father of two recently announced a series of concerts with a Seattle stop on April 27 at the The Showbox SoDo, with tickets priced at $35 on sale now - it's expected to sell out, so high-tail it to the box office and purchase yours pronto. I plan to be there, with a drool hanky in one hand and a mojito in the other. Cornell supposedly remembers his prior interview with me, in which he emotionally still acknowledged Seattle as his home, even though he splits residencies these days between Los Angeles and Paris. He apparently thinks I'm cool (okay, I can live with that), but mum's the word on whether he's looked at my application to housesit for him in France - I have references too. Prepare yourself for Chris Cornell next month and be sure to check his out his CD Scream at your fave record store.

Dig out your clove cigarettes; Depeche Mode is coming to town. The British goth-new wave group has included Seattle on the North American leg of its "Tour of the Universe" road trip, the only Northwest date available for fans to catch them this year (sorry, Portland and Vancouver BC, but have a nice trip to the Jet City). Led by the sexually ambiguous Dave Gahan, the men of Mode were a staple during the '80s with hits like "People Are People," "Strangelove," "Never Let Me Down Again," "Everything Counts," and "Get the Balance Right." In the early '90s, the band continued its stride with a barrage of popular singles that includes "Personal Jesus," "Enjoy the Silence," "Policy of Truth," and "World in My Eyes." A new full-length effort, Sounds of the Universe, arrives on shelves April 21 - I haven't received an advance copy of it yet, so no word on whether it's good or not. Tickets for the Key Arena concert on August 10 are scheduled to go on sale soon, but at press time details were not available. Every old-time batcaver along the I-5 corridor from Oregon to Canada will be coming to this show, sure to be one of summer's most anticipated music events.

Neko Case has also announced an upcoming concert date in Seattle, a performance at the Paramount Theatre on June 4. The former Tacoma resident just released Middle Cyclone, her first solo recording since the illuminating Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, selected as SGN's very Best Album/CD of 2006 - she's also a part-time player in the indie ensemble New Pornographers. I've been privileged to see Case on stage three times, twice outdoors, and I've never left one of her shows without goosebumps; that voice is stunning, and her songs are little intriguing stories about people, places and things that are at times inspirational, other times suspenseful and creepy like the murder-themed "Dirty Knife." Case opened for Lucinda Williams at last fall's Bumbershoot Festival and broke in a couple of songs from the new album, but she'll likely unveil more of it at the Paramount Theatre. Tickets priced at $22 and $27, a bargain to see this woman live if you ask me, go on sale March 7 (10 a.m.) at all Ticketmaster locations. To me, Neko Case is the Loretta Lynn of our generation - don't miss her in concert, I beg you.

Finally, if you're a metalhead - and oddly, I lived with a Gay headbanger once - THE hard rock event of the year has just been announced in Seattle. On April 22, Grammy-nominated quartet Mastodon will do a big show in an intimate venue, a one-night-only performance at Neumos. I wouldn't be surprised if the sidewalk crumbles just outside the club because it'll be loud and furious - make that incredibly loud and furious. Visit www.neumos.com for more information.

Don't forget next week, it's Lady GaGa in The Music Lounge! And congrats to French digital wizards Daft Punk who won the rights to score the upcoming TR2N motion picture - a remake of the '80s science fiction film Tron. I smell an Oscar for this electronic force already!
pictures top: Chris Cornell
bottom: Lady GaGa
 

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