Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hey Seattle, great punk show this Saturday!

The Alterboys:

Often under the radar of music fans, the Monkey Pub in Seattle's U-District continuously hosts punk, rock and alternative shows Saturday nights. The Monkey and The Galloway Arms are the rock'n'roll refuges in a sea of frat bars. It's the kinda place where shows are never more than $5 and you can still by $2 beers, and patrons hop across the street to Dantes between bands for jello shots and air hockey. This Saturday, 8/23/08, the Monkey has a great straight-up punk show going on with:

Seattle's All Bets On Death
Portland band The Altarboys

Doors 9pm, $5, 21+

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Storeroom

I've mentioned before going to shows at the old Storeroom Tavern on Eastlake, an old school tiny dive bar that hosted punk shows in the early '90s. The place was the subject of Zeke's first single, "Fight at the Storeroom" and I have many fond memories for me from shows and drinking there. Yesterday I stumbled upon an old issue of Hype with a great article/interview on the spot and scanned it for nostalgia's sake (click for full size):

Yo Yo A Go Go

This is my pass from the first Yo Yo A Go Go in Olympia, Washington. The festival took place July 12-16, 1994. It was organized by a non-hierarchical collective of people which included Kento Oiwa, Pat Castaldo, Michelle Noelle and Pat Maley of Yo Yo Recordings (a small Olympia indie record label at the time when compared to Kill Rock Stars and K Records that focused on live recordings). Not surprisingly, the performances were recorded and a number of live albums resulted, including a 2-CD/3-LP compilation that's still available quite cheaply at (a great website). The hype was good early on for Yo Yo A Go Go, so much so that some pretty big indie bands wanted to play and people from around the States were buying festival passes months in advance (like me).

I went for I think two nights/three days of the festival, driving down in my $400 '73 Hornet and sleeping in it by the train tracks at night. I met up with friends from Seattle, Reno, Olympia and all over each day to grab food, beers and watch bands each day. I met tons and tons of people, the social aspect of a smaller multi-day festival was almost as important as the music at times.
This is by no means a full list of bands that played, but the best I can piece together from the live album, my memory and web resources:

Karp, Rancid, Hush Harbor, Cub, the Bloodthirsty Butchers, Copass Grinderz, Blaire Mailer, Excuse 17, Built to Spill, Versus, Beck, Girl Trouble, Unwound, Special Sunrise, Lois, Nuzzle, The Crabs, Some Velvet Sidewalk, Verusu, Halo Benders, Bash, Crayon, Mary Lou Lord, Team Dresch, Georgia and Ira, The Stinky Puffs, New Bad Things, Mecca Normal, Fitz of Depression, Heavens to Betsey, The Softies, The Spinanes, Kris Novoselic and Dave Grohl, Jad Fair, Codeine, The Rickets, Excuse 17, Godheadsilo, Mukilteo Fairies, Neutral Milk Hotel, Dig Yr Grave, Yo La Tengo, Satellite, Long Hind Legs, and Some Velvet Sidewalk.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Empty Records article from Glass Onion

The early '90s were a great time for Seattle's music scene. Not only because of the grunge explosion, but because there was a total DIY/indie explosion going on. All-ages shows started happening regularly around town, tons of new zines and alternative publications started or were going strong, indie labels were thriving, there were a bunch of cool bars, clubs, record stores, you name it. Everyone was getting involved or starting a band or zine or something, there was an exciting feeling in the air. And while it may be hard to imagine today, the University of Washington actually had a decent role in it, from it's 4 Bands for 4 Bucks shows, to bands playing in frats and dorms (Girl Trouble at Terry-Lander = awesome!), to the UW Daily actually having it's finger somewhat on the pulse of what was going on in the local music scene. For those not in the know, The Daily is the UW's student newspaper, it's pretty suckworthy now, but back in the day it was actually pretty good. From 1991-1993 the Daily's weekly arts and music supplement was called The Glass Onion. Here's an article from January 3, 1993 they did on Empty Records (click the photos for the full-sized readable files):

Seattle's Anti-Public Sitting Law

In '80s and '90s Seattle had the "Teen Dance Ordinance," a law that tried to prevent teenagers from attending live music shows and events. It was a major hinderence to the music community because it made it very difficult for smaller clubs and promoters to put on all-ages rock shows. The Teen Dance Ordinance was just one of many nanny state laws enacted in Seattle. Nanny state laws in Seattle and Washington State tend to be protectionist in nature, they've been an attempt by government to control social behavior or limit personal choice - from anti-smoking laws and helmet laws to the TDO and anti-public sitting laws.

Yeah, I did say anti-public sitting laws. It's illegal to sit on a public sidewalk in Seattle, that's a shining example of how much city government interferes with the lives of Seattle citizens. Really though, the law was to enacted to govern the behavior of the homeless. When the police couldn't bust them for drinking in public or a criminal offense, they figured they needed another tool to push them out of a neighborhood. Why not make sitting down illegal? Great idea!

Seattle's anti-sitting law was part of a package of "Civility Laws" pushed through by then city attorney Mark Sidran in the early '90s. Some the other laws made more a little more sense. There was an anti-public urination ordinance and an anti-aggressive panhandling law, both of which behaviors invaded other people's personal space. But the anti-sitting law went too far, even for the yuppies and liberals of Seattle that don't mind big government telling them what to do. So when it was enacted, there were quite a few protests around town, including on Broadway and in the U-District, where these photos are from (The Ave, circa 1992). The city was eventually sued over the ordinance by political groups, but the city ordinance stood. For Mark Sidran, the reaction to his nanny state laws ended up costing him in his political career when he later ran for Mayor of Seattle. He has pissed off too many people as city attourney, including the music community with his defense of the Teen Dance Ordinance. And people remembered and mobilized against him with their money and votes.

Did the so-called civility laws eradicate Seattle of it's homeless population? Not at all. Although it did move them around a little, they built camps in "The Jungle" in the areas around and under Interstate 5 so they wouldn't be harassed so much hanging out downtown. But in recent years the city has kicked them out of The Jungle and they've moved back into city neighborhoods. A decade and a half later Seattle has just as much of a problem with homelessness, maybe because rather than trying to work towards a solution to the problem, city government's approach has been mainly to punish the results.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Seattle this weekend: Tattoos, beer and rawk!

This year's Seattle Tattoo Expo will be prove to be the biggest and best yet. Mass stuff is going on, get ink, get drunk and rock out:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Diner reviews: KJ's Bear Creek Cafe

The last town at the end of Washington Highway 141, nestled at the base of the Mt. Addams and the edge of the Gifford Pinchot forest, is Trout Lake. Since the mountain shortcut road is currently washed out (Forest Road 23), one gets to the town by way of Highway 14 along the Washington side of the Columbia, then heads up into the mountains for 45 minutes on Highway 141.

Trout Lake is a small Washington town with a population right around 1,100. It's commercial core consists of a gas station, cafe, log cabin country store, espresso stand, craft store and climbing company. Around the edges once can find a bar, a couple bread a breakfast places, a spa, an RV park, and a small, but nice motel. Locals tend to be farmers, ranchers, contractors, loggers, forest service employees and construction workers. During the Fall and Winter the area draws snowmobile enthusiasts, hunters, snowshoers, mushroom pickers and cross country skiers, during the Spring and Summer it draws hikers, cavers, campers, huckleberry pickers, fishermen and mountain bikers. It's and outdoorsy kind of place and surprisingly liberal for a small town, possibly because my wife's family makes up about a third of it.

Normally you probably wouldn't have heard of Trout Lake, but it was in the news a bunch in July because of the 8,000 acre Cold Springs fire, which was really not that far out of town. I visited last weekend for the annual Trout Lake Fair and the highschool still had a bunch of trailers and firefighter tents set up, as it served as the staging ground for where firefighting crews planned, operated and lived. Thankfully the fire was contained and this year's fair went off without a hitch.

KJ's Bear Creek Cafe is Trout Lake's only restaurant, although I think you can get food Serenity's spa and the Trout Lake Tavern. KJs has a log cabin front and is rather small inside, with maybe 3 booths and a couple tables and counter seats, so there are picnic tables outside for overflow. The grill is right there in the open, which I like, so the cook can yell at you "How did you want that burger?" while they are cooking. The sometimes surly, sometimes downright hilarious staff manage to keep the orders coming pretty fast these days, which is good, because with one restaurant in town, it can get packed during the breakfast and lunch rush. Pretty much everything I've had at KJ's has been good to excellent. It's no frills, but the ingredients are fresh, the recipes down home, and they have years of experience and know how to do things right. When it's huckleberry season, don't hesitate to get some pancakes packed with the fat juicy berries, otherwise, I tend to go for the omelettes or bacon and eggs. Breakfast is what they excel at, there are a decent amount of choices, they are all good, and the prices are on the low end. For lunch and dinner it's mostly burgers, sandwiches and fries, nothing that will blow you away, but a welcome meal after a day of playing hard in the local wilderness or after a long drive up the Gorge.

KJ's Bear Creek Cafe is located 2376 State Highway 141, right next to the Chevron Station in Trout Lake, WA.