Death droppings

New highs for Harlow’s: Jim Cornett takes over one of Sacto’s most popular live-music venues, Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub, this week. Why, after 30 years of ownership by the same family, is this exciting news? Because Cornett—who worked for Bill Graham Presents and managed San Francisco’s The Fillmore—aims to give the venerable live-music spot a little TLC.

He told SN&R recently that over the coming year, concertgoers will be seeing a lot of changes at Harlow’s. He’s investing in a new sound system, for one, which will surely please most local acts and audio engineers. And he’ll be bringing much of the club up-to-date, including upstairs at The Momo Lounge, in hopes of making it a place that can entice more of the bands whose tours sometimes skip Sacramento.

“The bands will play that room if we do the right things,” said Cornett, who’s excited about showing bands a good experience “the old Bill Graham way,” as he put it.

But will Sacramento’s local acts still be part of this new mix?

“Oh, absolutely, of course they are,” Cornett assured. “I think we need to promote the local scene.”

New highs for Harlow’s. Sounds good to me.

Happy anniversary, Zuhg Life Store: Let’s rewind to 2010. We’re at the mall, eating Sbarro or whatever, and you tell me that a small store owned by Sacramento’s premier reggae jam band will, in two years, be the coolest, arguably most successful retail spot inside Downtown Plaza.

I would have bet you a Sbarro, raised you a Hot Dog on a Stick (and a lemonade) and then laughed in your face.

Well, fast-forward to this weekend, Saturday, November 10, and boom: Local music, clothing and what-have-you destination Zuhg Life Store—in the Plaza on the second floor near the food court—is celebrating two years in the mall. Who knew?!

The anniversary shindig begins at noon, and there will be bands (in order): Adrian Bellue, the Nickel Slots, Michael Tobias, J.R. Halliday, Awkward Lemon and Dylan Crawford.

But two years is a big deal, so there’s also an after-party at Pour House (1910 Q Street) beginning at 9 p.m., with performances by Jesi Naomi, Brian Rogers, the Old Screen Door, Mac Russ and others ($7 at the door, 21 and over).

Downtown Plaza was recently sold to new ownership, so the fate of the mall is, of course, in limbo. That said: Congrats, Zuhg, and here’s to two more.

Death Grips dumped, still doesn’t give a damn: I owe Death Grips an apology?

Maybe so. While I never wrote as much, I didn’t believe the band’s big October beef with its label, Epic Records. Seemed too cloyingly—and annoyingly—rebellious to be a legit spat over an album’s drop date.

For those not in the know, the narrative was: Epic told the guys it wouldn’t put out their second major-label release this year. Band subsequently was pissed off because they wanted it to be in fans’ hands this fall. So Death Grips gave away the record, No Love Deep Web, for free online. A music-blog shitstorm ensued.

And finally, this past Thursday, November 1, Epic announced that it was dumping Death Grips.

The label’s breakup letter read: “Epic Records is a music first company that breaks new artists”—you know, like Avril Lavigne. It continued: “Unfortunately, when marketing and publicity stunts trump the actual music, we must remind ourselves of our core values. To that end, effective immediately, we are working to dissolve our relationship with Death Grips.”

Anyway, back to that apology: It appears that Epic Records is indeed—shocker—a bad parent label. Death Grips had a record. It’s not the most exciting album ever, but it plays. And the band is hot. So Epic should have hit the gas and put No Love out. But it didn’t. So the guys did the right thing by giving it away for free. It wasn’t just some big public-relations hoax. Sorry for doubting.

The trio is currently on tour—and just got New Yorker praise this week, but the nearest Sacto gig, however, is on Monday, December 3, at Slim’s in San Francisco. No love, Sacto web, I guess—so let’s just hope the guys don’t follow talents such as Mom, Skinner and Sister Crayon and move to Oakland.