- DAVID HAWKES
Before Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood became crowded with fedora jerks and and fusion noodle condo hybrids, there was a magical venue called Moe's Mo'Roc'N Cafe, out in the middle of nowhere. The year was 1994—a good time for music, and an especially good time for music in Seattle. Indie bands were playing, and people actually wanted to hear them; national and global acts were touring and actually wanted to stop in Seattle.
There was a high demand for music, and Moe's had perfect timing, opening a venue in a non-downtown neighborhood that hosted the thriving local acts, but also prided themselves in pulling off inconceivably big shows with megastars. Yes, Neil Young played there with Pearl Jam. Portishead, the Flaming Lips, Radiohead, the list goes on and on. There was nothing like it—a medium-sized venue determined to offer the sound, lights, and hospitality of a stadium several times its size, in a neighborhood where nothing was happening yet. The staff loved to be there, the bands loved to be there, so you loved to be there, too.
Moe's reign lasted only four short years (27 in human rock-star years), but its legacy lives on not only in its later reincarnation of Neumos, but in that tight-knit music community that has helped shape this city's music scene for the last two decades.
In anticipation of the Moe's 20/Neumos 10 Anniversary, I talked to a few folks who owned, worked at, played, hung out at, lived in, and/or appreciated Moe's during its heyday. Read it and weep, current hill dweller.