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Thursday, March 28, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Ace Of Clubs

After Yoko, One Fewer Wall At The Croc

Special To The Seattle Times

Ah, spring, a time for rebirth and renewal. Spring was certainly evident in clubland last week.

The Crocodile Cafe literally took out a wall between its music room and cafe area. This was initially to accommodate Yoko Ono, who played last Thursday. Ono requested that the stage be enlarged, so the Crocodile complied, extending the stage 4 feet. This necessitated a larger room, hence the wall, a folding partition, came out. "We had planned to do something like this for a long time," said Croc owner Stephanie Dorgan. "Having Yoko come in just hurried up the process." House sound guru Jim Anderson, who has long wanted to open up the music room, neatly compensated for the acoustic changes and Ono's show sounded great.

But then Ono was great. Tightly backed by her son Sean Lennon's band, IMA, Ono gave a captivating performance - raw, unnerving and uplifting. Between her excruciatingly emotional songs, Ono was a soft-spoken charmer. At the end of the set she declared the experience "magical" and played another 20 minutes. Soundgarden's Kim Thayil joined in for one number, adding some substantive texture to the Ono/IMA groove, and during the encore, REM's Mike Mills and Scott McCaughey filled in on keyboards.

Sean Lennon made some celeb appearances of his own the next night, bouncing between Moe's for the Fastbacks and the Muffs and the Croc for Echobelly and For Squirrels. -- Another room reborn is the Showbox, formerly the Improv. A cartel headed up by the owners of the Casa-U-Betcha and Twenty-Two Eighteen clubs is doing a real makeover on the spacious spot and bringing in acts of true interest. Last Wednesday's show with Love and Rockets sold out. The sound has been greatly improved and remodeling is in process. L&R did a surprisingly light, bright energetic show, probably the best rock experience the Showbox has seen since the Police in 1980. Hit Explosion rocks the 'box Saturday. -- The recently opened Bandoleone is fast becoming one of the hippest little be-at bistros on the Miracle Mile that is Eastlake Avenue. The cuisine is South American and Caribbean, the bar full-service. Cigar smoking is allowed in the restaurant Monday nights (in the bar every night) and the music menu is exotically eclectic. Tuesday night it's "lounge," Thursday flamenco, and Friday and Saturday samba/ bossa nova. This weekend it's Julian Catford and friends. Bandoleone is at 2241 Eastlake Ave. E. No cover.

-- The Broadway New American Grill has introduced live music of the jazz/blues variety Monday nights. This week Bebop & Destruction wails. There's no cover.

-- DJ Terence Gunn, best known for his "Shaken Not Stirred" at Moe's Thursdays, is introducing "On the Rocks" at Zasu in Pioneer Square beginning Wednesday. The Cocktail Culture soiree runs 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. People in formal attire get in for free; others pay a $3 cover.

-- Special mentions: Son Volt, ace tunesmith Jay Farrar's hot Uncle Tupelo offshoot, plays DV8 Tuesday. Ruby, which features one-time Seattle resident Leslie Rankine, does the Moe Sunday. The Young Fresh Fellows, the Picketts and Flipp, a Minneapolis band that's recording in town, are at the Crocodile tomorrow. Flood and Jackie On Acid - CD release for JOA - do the Croc Saturday. David Brewer has the CD release blues at the Central tomorrow. The Squirrels are at the Tractor Saturday. And 1,000 Mona Lisas play the Pioneer Square Theater Saturday night. It's an all-ages show.

Send club information to Clubs, c/o Tempo, Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle WA 98111; or fax to 464-2239.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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