And the Firehouse isn't the only venue in town that opens its doors to younger, inexperienced bands: Hidden down in an awkwardly narrow space at 2015 Second Avenue is 2nd Avenue Pizza. This trendy-looking pizza joint (bright paint à la IKEA) may not look like much of a punk rock venue up front, but down the narrow corridor and past the "kitchen" is a small livingroom-like space, perfect for catching the latest hardcore, punk rock, and everything-else bands.
"That's what I like about 2nd Avenue," says Raine Woodrow (pictured above), employee and co-booker. "Anyone can call up and be like, 'Hey, we're experimental noise,' and we'd be like, 'Yes.' We don't have any preference--2nd Avenue is for everybody."
This is what Seattle needs in its current drought of permanent all-ages venues--a space run by people with open minds and enthusiastic attitudes.
Having been around for about four years now, 2AP used to play movies in their back room. Turnout was low, so the owners switched formats and gave live music a go. Within the past six months, co-owner Smitty is happy to say that both the attendance and the number of shows have steadily picked up. And it doesn't hurt that the friendly staff never charges a cover--so unless a touring band asks for a kind donation, all shows are free.
"The only thing we ask," says Raine, "is for people to kind of help clean up [after the shows], because usually there's only two people working here." That seems fair enough to me. MEGAN SELING