Jenny Jiménez

You don't need us to tell you that Seattle is small. Small like the bar where you go out for a drink with your new coworker and run into your friends, your ex-boyfriend, his ex-girlfriend, and a couple of hussies who stuck their tongues down that weasel's throat at the after-hours. Small like you already know there's a great pop/electro/hiphop DJ night at the Baltic Room Wednesdays (the rotating WIRE/Members Only) or that Chop Suey has more club nights than you can shake a stack of drink tickets at. You know about all the big venues and all the big bands they book and the smaller spaces and the big indie record store in-stores and yada yada yada. And even with that vast Rolodex/Sidekick/MySpace wealth of knowledge, you still end up going to the same places, seeing the same people, and covering the same sidewalk space week in and week out.

That can change.

The opportunity to expand your horizons is out there, should you be hungry for more. To that end, the intrepid Stranger nightlife crew scoured Seattle for new, upcoming, under-traveled, and just plain out-there stuff for you to feast your eyes and ears upon. We've trimmed the list down to 23, and from there you can decide what to hit posthaste and what to stay seated on your barstool about. But if you do stay in your comfy bumpkin confines, you won't have us to blame.

P.S.: If you think we've missed anything, post your comments at We're always looking for more leads.

—Jennifer Maerz

Viceroy, 2332 Second Ave, 956-VICE

"I hate when people say, 'I love this '80s music you're playing,'" laments DJ Curtis, who has been spinning at Low Life, Tuesday nights at Viceroy, since last February. "That word carries such a stigma. I'm not playing 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun' and 'Hungry Like the Wolf,' I'm DJ-ing music you would have heard in clubs back in that era." Via persistence and inventive programming, Curtis Hall, 32, has taught a new generation of party animals to get down and dirty to lesser-known fare from, um, that decade, like Quando Quango's "Love Tempo" and Kirsty MacColl's "Walking Down Madison." But Low Life is just one jewel in the crown of the night's promoters, Death of the Party (Quentin Ertel and Clayton Thomas Vomero), who also hosted a blowout bash with Diplo in May that brought out the cops. This summer, DOTP will start releasing a series of limited-edition CD singles featuring collaborations and remixes with local bands like the Divorce, and compile the best tracks on a commercially available disc by the year's end. KURT B. REIGHLEY

1412 18th Ave, 322-1533

Every city needs a space like Gallery 1412. Such venues serve as the epicurean segment of the music scene's brain, showcasing musicians who pursue uneasy-to-digest approaches to sound-generating. The defiantly adventurous and the head-scratchingly weird comprise Gallery 1412's bread and butter. After former inhabitants Polestar Gallery ceased operations of the shoebox-like space last October, Gallery 1412's directors, Nathan Levine, Tom Swafford, and Gust Burns, among a collective of a dozen others, expanded the venue's booking to include weirder representatives of the rock gene pool (Schlaze Cubed, The Dead Science, Na, OCS, Dirty Projectors) while continuing to showcase improvisers, drone-meisters, and avant-gardists of many peculiar stripes. The reasonable cover charge ranges from $5–$15, depending on what you can afford, which is one of the best gig-going deals in Seattle. Gallery 1412's capacity may not reach even three figures, but its ambitions are stadium-sized. DAVE SEGAL

429B Eastlake Ave E,

Hopscotch inaugurated its first night at the Lo_Fi—a space lit by the luminous glow of the Space Needle—on June 19th. Masterminded by recent UK transplant Kristen Lound, the event combines live music with DJ sets featuring selections from noise pop, '60s girl groups, and twee bands both domestic and imported. Future (date as of yet undetermined) nights will select talent from the Olympia-Portland pop axis as well as burgeoning touring acts perfect to help cultivate the dance party for those tired of prefab "dance music." SCOTT GOODWIN

513 N 36th St, 632-0212

With all the neighborhood segregation in effect in the Seattle music community, creating a rock club in Fremont feels like a big feat. And yet it's really not, for those open to traveling outside the standard Belltown/Ballard/ Capitol Hill confines. The pastel-painted High Dive is a big supporter of local music—everything from alt-country to punk to pop and all the tribute bands in between—and it's an intimate enough space that you can check out great talent within spitting distance of the stage. Diversify your local music scene knowledge here. JENNIFER MAERZ

252 NE 45th St, 545-2800

I love a record store that refuses to categorize their music. "All the music here is alphabetized by name," says Electric Heavyland co-owner Leslie Nichols-Rage, "because we want people to explore and take a chance on something new." Encompassing noise, Krautrock, grindcore, power electronics, punk, field recordings, and experimental electro-acoustic music, the byword for this Wallingford store is indeed heavy. The vinyl and CD racks—along with the shelves of DIY and limited edition cassettes, VHS tapes, and DVDs—reveal a rich, carefully considered selection: MSBR, Melt Banana, Kiyoshi Mizutani, Sun City Girls, Daniel Menche, Wolf Eyes, Jandek, KK Null, Cock E.S.P., Catheter, and many others. The subversive toys, such as "Babo the Ugly Doll" and the dementedly tatterdemalion stuffed rabbits, mirror the music. Hard-to-find discs, monthly art shows, and a nascent series of day long in-store gigs elevate Electric Heavyland into the company of Capitol Hill's Wall of Sound as an essential Seattle record store. CHRISTOPHER DELAURENTI

Scan TV channel 77/29,

We're lucky to be living in a city with a video magazine like Live Eye TV. The monthly (every second Wednesday at 7 pm; the next one airs July 13) cable-access show is also available online, presenting an audio-visual collage of music-related goodies. Its material spans from local band videos to live footage (ranging from Erase Errata and the Blood Brothers to Guitar Wolf) and interviews (coming up next, the Futureheads). But Live Eye's scope expands even beyond that, as it's planning a series of outdoor events with 911 Media Arts throughout the summer and fall, to include live bands and the trippy visuals interspersed throughout their televised show. JENNIFER MAERZ

Re-bar 1114 Howell St, 233-9873

"It's the antithesis of your normal karaoke night," says Karafuckinoke's cofounder Chris Caballero. "It's not a chance for a gaggle of sorority girls to sing 'Baby Got Back,' no... absolutely not. You can sing hard rockin' songs, 'Eye of the Tiger,' maybe even some Motörhead." Karafuckinoke, coined as "a night of karaoke debauchery," is the brainchild of Caballero and friend Neil "of Steel" Devlin, two karaoke lovers tired of putting up with lame crowds and lame songs. Every second Wednesday join Caballero and Devlin as they explore their badass catalog of "no bullshit" songs at the Re-bar. It's the most punk-rock karaoke night in town. MEGAN SELING

5140 Ballard Ave NW, 784-3640

When Kathleen Kinder became proprietor of Ballard's Conor Byrne pub back in 2001, the music programming was "50-percent—or more—Irish music." As Riverdance-fever cooled off, she wisely diversified, adding more bluegrass and folk to the bills, while still retaining key Celtic draws. Kinder heartily encourages acts with a steady following—like Bellingham singer-songwriter Robert Blake—to return on a monthly basis. With her no-bullshit attitude ("We treat bands well, and expect to be treated well in return") and a little assistance from Ballard Avenue peers like the Tractor, she's helped Conor Byrne start landing bigger national and international acts, including former K's Choice vocalist Sarah Bettens and upstart folkie Casey Neill. KURT B. REIGHLEY


You don't need a fake ID to have fun. Just ask, a new all-ages resource that features live-show reviews, calendar listings, interviews, and community forums. "People start to attach themselves to the scene long before they're 21. The underage crowd has the connection, desire, and spirit for music just as anyone else," explain Justine Sherry and Alec Bertholet, cofounders of the website. Mercurial emerged from the struggles the owners had finding all-ages show information, and their wish to help others in the same predicament. The website launched in March 2005, and has steadily grown from a core group of friends to over 1,500 monthly visitors. So what's the website's five-year plan? "Whoa! Five years? Some of us will be 21 by then," laughs Sherry. "We don't even know where we'll be in our lives, much less with the website!" Meanwhile, they plan to add features on underage bands, venues, and MP3 files to the site. "And to make our own sweet buttons to wear," adds Bertholet. DANA BOS

2332 Second Ave, 956-VICE

Rock alone does not a good DJ set list make. With the influx of international/inter-genre talent pumping through our collective musical veins (see M.I.A., Dizzee Rascal, etc.), a night like Wrecked Again is not only refreshing, it's necessary. DJs Nasir, Sean, and crew throw down select cuts of ska, dub, rocksteady, rare grove, and soul jazz with panache, transporting you beyond Belltown to a truly global sonic agenda two Thursdays a month (next Wrecked is July 7). Let's hope the Wrecked DJ's scope will inspire other nights just like it. JENNIFER MAERZ

1207 Pine St, 625-4444

Emphasizing the "sick" in music, No Tomorrow summons the spirit of Aleister Crowley through the sonic extremities of (tip-of-the-iceberg roll call) Nurse with Wound, Coil, Autechre, Godflesh, Merzbow, and electronic music's more apocalyptic wing. Majordomo A. J. Lindner curates the Sunday-night weekly with a keen ear for the unusual and the esoteric. "We're looking for artists who are pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable as music," Lindner noted. You won't hear safe selections from No Tomorrow's convention-busting DJs (Tawney, I. Neuroshard, Oblique) nor middle-of-the-road fare from the live acts (Son of Rose, Eric Lanzillotta, Euphondisson, etc.). No Tomorrow's adventurousness extends to its visual palette. Exceptional video collective LowRez projects a senses-deranging kaleidoscope of images that makes drugs redundant. For sonically adventurous heathens, No Tomorrow is a fantastic place to worship. DAVE SEGAL

429B Eastlake Ave E,

Stop Biting is the Fourthcity crew's live Tuesday night hiphop weekly. Going strong for almost a year now, the joint features a fairly fixed cast of skilled scratchers (oft seen: Hideki, Introcut, Kamui, Bumblebee, Absolute Madman) plus rotating MCs and host Sage Nomad, who's proud that the party "provides a very undiluted form of hiphop." The night is also a hangout for Circle of Fire and other top-flight b-boys and girls, and the dancers get down and arachnoid on the vintage floorboards to the delight of a positive crowd. Look for "the Duke" (smartly attired, usually with a chapeau and a chiffon scarf in his belt loops) who breaks robot-style and somehow fits right in. AMY KATE HORN

Hattie's Hat, 5231 Ballard Ave NW, 784-0175

Not content to merely serve the best chicken-fried chicken and Bloody Marys in town, on Saturday nights Hattie's Hat turns into a music venue for Hattie's Hoot. Over the years, the back room of the restaurant has hosted such big names as Alejandro Escovedo and Robyn Hitchcock; the Corn Sisters (Neko Case and Carolyn Mark) even recorded their debut album, The Other Women, at the Ballard eatery. Recent weeks have seen the Hoot welcome artists including locals Robb Benson and Ian Moore, the "Glam Parsons" sounds of Oregon four-piece Cabinessence, and rising L.A. singer-songwriter Tom Brousseau. The entertainment kicks off around 11:30 p.m. and runs until close. And while there is no cover, you'd best budget a few extra dollars to pitch in for the performers when they pass the hat around. KURT B. REIGHLEY

1235 Westlake Ave N,

In the spirit of basement shows with lofty aims, SS Marie Antoinette gives great avant, noise, pop, and electronic bands a concrete stage of their own. Past shows include performances by Xiu Xiu, Indian Jewelry, Get Hustle, and Al Larsen in its oddly shaped warehouse space (the actual "stage" area is the size of a small carport, so larger draws impose a bit of, well, intimacy with your fellow music-goer). What really gives the visual art, music, performance art, et al. space an extra boost is the rotating cast's endless well of musical knowledge, keeping its shows on the cutting edge from one performance to the next. JENNIFER MAERZ

111 Yesler Way, 447-4140

An ornately adorned labyrinth within a distinctively decorated maze, Trinity bestows three rooms (all with their own bars and unique auras) to patrons thirsty for alcohol and music that deviates from the overplayed Pioneer Square norm. Trinity is big and diverse enough to appeal to a wide range of clubbers who have the luxury of immersing themselves in exotic atmospheres foreign to most venues in the city. Recent bookings of Dubtribe Sound System, Matt Corwine, John Tejada, and Gene Farris point to Trinity's efforts to stretch expectations of entertainment in Pioneer Square establishments. "We want acts people can party to, but they can also respect," says booker Guy Godefroy. "We want to prove we have depth and are aware of all the different styles of music. We're gonna run through every genre of electronica you can imagine." DAVE SEGAL

5919 Airport Way S, 957-7766

"Someone described this place as a rockabilly hunting lodge," chuckles Mike Duran, who books talent (and does all the graphic design) for Georgetown watering hole Jules Maes. Taking his cues from the saloon's Old West décor, Duran sticks to country, rockabilly, and blues acts like the Swains, Dusty 45s, and Redneck Girlfriend; no wonder the KEXP roots-music show "Swingin' Doors" picked this spot for their first-ever live remote broadcast last April. Originally featuring bands on Saturday nights only, Jules Maes has started expanding its programming into Fridays and Sundays, too, and features Seattle's premiere rockabilly jock, DJ Hubba Hubba, on Thursdays. KURT B. REIGHLEY

1634 11th Ave,

Of course the whole idea behind DIY is to do it yourself, but sometimes a little help can't hurt. The cool kids at the Hugo House are hosting a summer academy of low-cost, low-commitment classes on everything from fancy sewing skills and silk screening to band promotion and touring 411. The list of what's available is extensive and impressive, taught by members of the local arts community, and available for $5 to $20. It's both a chance to garner new skills and see for yourself how extensive Seattle's DIY community can be. JENNIFER MAERZ

722 E Pike St, 328-7666

The War Room is a club favorite for a variety of reasons (the practical and inviting layout, the irresistibility of its rooftop deck), but the primary thing that keeps me coming back is Circle of Fire. The first time I hit the weekly breakdancing party, I felt like I was on acid—not because the atmosphere or aesthetics had any psychedelic properties, but because I was completely out of my element and I couldn't stop smiling. For someone perpetually immersed in the indie rock world, nothing is more refreshing than being in a diverse crowd, listening to old school hiphop (and occasionally, a live band) and watching the astonishingly nimble and creative moves by the young men and women who make up Circle of Fire. A recent Soul City event showcased a guy spinning on his elbow while his feet were pointed straight at the ceiling—it's mind-blowing shit. HANNAH LEVIN

412 N 36th St, 632-2020

Man, usually, I hate Fremont. The so-called "center of the universe" creates a powerful gravitational pull that attracts some corny-ass mufuckas. And yet I've found myself having a damn good time at Nectar—thanks to the nicely spacious interior (get off me!), the very relaxed vibe, and the great music. On a recent visit Vitamin D was spinning crowd-pleasin' cuts and the 206 Ribshack played some sweaty funk. The club's calendar is chock full of dub, funk, and beat-heavy events—and I ain't mad at that, no sir. LARRY MIZELL JR.

1413 E Olive Way, 720-8023

Like a costume-jewelry grab bag you pick up for a quarter, you never know what kind of gems will be hidden at the Crescent. This Capitol Hill queer dive bar hosts everything from karaoke to DJ nights to Jackie Hell and Ursula Android (Pho Bang) performances to live music, all on a stage the size of a tablecloth. Although well-traveled by the gays and their bent-minded pals, the everything-goes bar still offers enough surprises to keep everyone guessing what they'll try next—and 9 times out of 10 it's something weird, wild, and lots of fun. JENNIFER MAERZ

315 E Pine St; 441-9880

If all the older brothers and babysitters put their mix tape heads together, they'd come up with something like Wall of Sound. The record shop, fresh from its 15th birthday, shares space with indie-ink heaven Confounded Books‚ and offers a handpicked array of quality new and used CDs and vinyl. Its small, light space is stocked with everything from Dame Darcy to John Cage to Cornish comps (a limited run, wrapped in pages from Nietzsche readers). Owner Jeffrey Taylor has the most taste and least snark of anyone, anywhere. After my kid sister bought Beck, he taught her to flip a penny. "The older ones," he explained, "have more ping." MAIREAD CASE

1515 12th Ave, 267-5380

There are more ways to indulge in music than seeing a band live or buying their CD. Seattle's nonprofit cinematheque, NW Film Forum, has long been showing music-related features and documentaries. This summer you can check out work on Larry "Wildman" Fischer (called the "godfather of outsider music") July 21–24, as well as Jim White's Wrong-Eyed Jesus, the Southern Gothic folkster's cinematic tour through the South's rich musical culture. The latter film shows August 12–25 and includes a guest appearance by White himself. JENNIFER MAERZ


When it comes to local, student-run radio stations, the UW's web-only Rainy Dawg Radio and Green River Community College's 89.9 KGRG usually come to mind first. But the kids of Nathan Hale High School partially operate C89.5 (KNHC) FM, a Seattle Top 40 and dance music station that's actually the largest educational radio station in the country. The noncommercial entity gets a small amount of funding from the Seattle School District, but the rest comes from pledge drives. They've been around for more than 30 years, making C89.5 the longest-running dance station in the US. It's right here in Seattle, too. Who knew? MEGAN SELING ■