by Albert Rodriguez -
SGN A&E Writer
Ready to rock and chow? It's doable at the spanking new Hard Rock Café in downtown Seattle (116 Pike Street), in a space that once upon a time was a pawn shop - and an adult entertainment center, if memory serves. The tri-level diner/bar/live music lounge opened its doors to locals and visitors on February 10, months after it was initially due to unveil. I've seen my dose of cheesy Hard Rock Cafés in my day - in fact, my very first "Gay date" was at one of these tourist traps in Honolulu many moons ago. But, and I say this with all honestly, the Orlando-based restaurant chain spared us the embarrassment of another frat guy magnet by giving us instead a sleek, sophisticated and roomy setup in the heart of the city, a block from the Public Market. Seattle icons are well represented with musical instruments and personal items from Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Heart, Quincy Jones, and Jimi Hendrix, whose guitar and satchel are on display in the 477-capacity live club on the second floor. Disappointedly, nothing is on hand by local acts Death Cab for Cutie, Fleet Foxes, or Minus the Bear - oddly, there's a framed piece by the Crystal Skulls, who I don't remember being remotely famous, like, ever. Still, when you're downtown and on the hunt for a cool place to sip and mingle before or after a show, add this one to your list, especially on a sunny day on the rooftop deck that overlooks Elliott Bay. Future plans for the Hard Rock include Sunday matinee live performances and Tuesday "residency" nights for local bands - alas, no Lady GaGa special appearances.
I have good news and great news. The good news is that tickets are still available for the upcoming Muse concert on April 2, and the great news is that supporting act Silversun Pickups are swinging by The Music Lounge a week before on March 26. I had a recent phone date with lead singer Brian Aubert, in which he shared his thoughts on the Grammy Awards (the band was up for Best New Artist), the upcoming tour, and Gay marriage - on the legality of same-sex marriage in Iowa, he says it "is a great, great thing." The straight, engaged and sexy rock star also told me that he wound up talking with Daft Punk about the upcoming Tron movie at a post-Grammy bash - supposedly, the French electro-dance duo got him confused with Caleb Followill from Kings of Leon (hey, it happens to the best of us, Brian). Silversun Pickups will be on tour for the better part of 2010 with and without Muse, promoting last year's fine release Swoon. But if you're barely hearing about this group, start with 2006's Carnavas album - pay considerable attention to "Well Thought Out Twinkles," "Lazy Eye," and "Rusted Wheel." Tickets for the Key Arena show, priced between $39.64 and $60.16, are available now at all Ticketmaster outlets. And, Silversun Pickups will be available right here in The Music Lounge in just a few weeks.
The Sasquatch Music Festival has officially announced its indie-powered lineup for Memorial Day weekend, which includes Vampire Weekend, MGMT, Massive Attack, Passion Pit, Band of Horses, Simian Mobile Disco, LCD Soundsystem, Deadmau5, The xx, Ween, The National, and My Morning Jacket. Single-day tickets at a hefty $70 are on sale now at www.sasquatchfestival.com, where you can also view the entire lineup. The Gorge is two hours and 30 minutes from Seattle, and the painfully boring return drive at night is something to consider if you're slightly interested in going. My advice? Unless you wanna slum it at a Best Western in Ellensburg - or worse, stretch out on a sleeping bag in a massive campsite with odor-heavy kids - stay in Seattle for the weekend and catch most of these acts in headlining shows later this year.
Country trio Lady Antebellum is on a roll, winning their first Grammy last month and performing on Oprah a week ago. The Nashville band has also seen impressive sales of its sophomore album Need You Now, featuring the self-titled track - it spent two weeks atop Billboard's album charts. Undoubtedly, this is not only one of music's hottest acts at the moment, but one of the hottest looking, as well - my stomach growls every time I see lead vocalist Charles Kelley, I kid you not. Fellow members Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott are super cute, too. Lady Antebellum is now headed to Seattle, opening for Tim McGraw at Key Arena on May 21. Tickets, priced between $49.75 and $65.75, go on sale February 27 at all Ticketmaster outlets.
Congrats to local indie rockers Minus the Bear, who signed to Dangerbird Records, home of the aforementioned Silversun Pickups. The quintet's fourth studio album is expected this spring.
Lastly, another round of congratulations are in order, this time to Our Lady of Wacky, Lady GaGa, who scooped up three Brit Awards including Best International Female Artist, or something like that. I have a friend who was part of her overseas entourage, and I'm dying to find out if she ate fried chicken while in London. Rumor has it the pop diva is back with her ex-boyfriend, the one she rolled around in the sand with (er, dry humped) in Hawaii. Word on the street, too, is that yours truly may have caused Japanese eyes to roll during a karaoke performance of "Poker Face" in Tokyo - I was just warming up, people.
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