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Friday, September 27, 2002 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Night Watch / Tom Scanlon

Unemployed? There's plenty of no-cover fun in this town

We're No. 1!

While it would be nice if Washington was battling Oregon for first place in the football polls, the sad truth is the Northwestern states have been going neck-and-neck for the unlucky title "home of the highest unemployment rate," with Washington pulling into the lead lately.

For those who may have fallen victim to the Job Reaper, here are a few places for free entertainment:

Julie Cascioppo, the quirky cabaret singer, has moved from the Pink Door to Julia's on Broadway (300 Broadway E.). She's there on Friday nights starting at 7:30, no cover.

Capitol Hill's Bad Juju Lounge (1518 11th Ave.) has punk, indie, metal and industrial DJs — loud, loud, loud — every night.

Aurafice, an all-ages cafe next to Rudy's Barbershop on Pine Street, has wide-ranging entertainment, from indie-rock bands to DJs.

First Hill's Adobo Taco Lounge has hip-hop, downtempo, soul and other DJs most nights, with no cover.

Fado Irish Pub has Irish bands on the weekend, with no cover charge.

The Lock & Keel in Ballard (5144 Ballard Ave. N.W.) often has bands with no cover charge, as does Experience Music Project's Liquid Lounge, where bands and DJs perform most nights, gratis.

The Hopvine, a little slice of singer-songwriter heaven on Capitol Hill (507 15th Ave. E.) has no cover charge on Mondays and Wednesdays (open mike, good talent), and charges only $2 on weekends.

At Nation, the little club above I-Spy, Wednesday nights are free — a live funk band featuring the beatboxer Otha Major.

And it's always free to listen to the top-shelf piano-man Howard Bulson and a variety of singers at Sorry Charlie's in Lower Queen Anne. The hardest-working entertainer in Seattle clocks in every night but Monday (529 Queen Anne Ave. N.).

Next week: drink specials.

Around town

• "In Between" is the perfect title for the new Jazzanova album, as the collective lies somewhere between jazz, electronic and hip-hop.

The best cut on this intoxicating terrific album is "The One-Tet," with Capital A doing deft rapping over a broken jazz-beat groove.

Jazzanova, a Berlin-based collective of DJ producers, comes to the Baltic Room on Saturday (9 p.m., $12).

Ming & FS, the duo from Hell's Kitchen in mid-Manhattan, bounces into I-Spy tonight (10 p.m., $14). This is another wide-ranging electronic act, blending house, drum-and-bass, hip-hop and other styles.

The duo will be working four turntables — as well as live guitar and bass — for cuts from the new "Subway Series" album (Ming & FS' third full-length) and, likely, new remixes.

The New Yorkers have been known to remix everything from Michael Jackson to Snoop Dogg to Black Sabbath at concerts.

• "We may be open in May," Rick Wyatt was saying about his Fenix nightclub six months ago. Now it looks like the Pioneer Square club, which closed after the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, won't reopen at its new location (two blocks from its former one) until New Year's Eve, at the earliest.

The new Fenix is being constructed on the ground floor and basement of the Buttnick Building, where two construction workers were injured last week.

• The Redmond Old Fire House continues its celebration of 10 years of all-ages music with some great shows this weekend. The Blood Brothers scream chaotic hardcore tunes tonight (8 p.m., $6), and Mudhoney plays from its acclaimed new Sub Pop album on Saturday (8 p.m., $8). The Old Fire House is at 16510 N.E. 79th St. 425-556-2370 or www.theoldfirehouse.org.

• The Vera Project plans to launch its new location on Oct. 11, with a show by Seattle punkers the Catheters.

• Another all-ages venue makes its debut tonight, when the Milk Bar, 113 12th Ave., on First Hill, hosts the Bend and other bands (6-11 p.m., $7).

Bob Geldof — remember him, from the Boomtown Rats and all those all-star benefit shows? He has released his first album in years, and it's a good one, full of lively ideas executed well. Geldof is in town for a concert at the Showbox on Monday (9 p.m., $20).

• The Doves, another one of the rising tide of new U.K. bands (Coldplay, Gomez, etc.), perform at the Showbox on Thursday. The band recently released "The Last Broadcast," the second Doves' album.

• Congratulations to Kinski. The excellent, mostly instrumental rock band struggled to find an audience for a year or two, but Chris Martin's extraordinary guitar playing slowly built an audience. And now Sub Pop has signed Kinski, and will release the band's EP soon. Now who was that complaining Sub Pop doesn't pay enough attention to local bands? (Oh, that's right, it was me.)

Tom Scanlon: 206-464-3891 or tscanlon@seattletimes.com.

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