Scoring a fake ID 'round these parts is nearly impossible (believe me, we tried), so you're just going to have to count the days until you're legal. But don't get discouraged—Seattle is an okay place to be if you're a young music fan.

First, a little history (you're here to learn, right?). Seattle wasn't always the all-ages-music-scene love fest it is today. In the 1980s the city passed the Teen Dance Ordinance (TDO), an all-ages-music-squashing statute that made it nearly impossible for venues to host all-ages shows. But after years of campaigning by the music community (and The Stranger), the TDO was replaced with the friendlier All-Ages Dance Ordinance in the fall of 2002. Since then, the city's all-ages scene has exploded. There are dozens of shows out there each week; you just need to know where to look.

The biggest name in Seattle's all-ages community is the Vera Project, the premier city-funded all-ages arts and music organization. Not only does Vera host shows almost every weekend (spanning all genres), but they also have workshops on topics ranging from screen-printing to how to run sound at shows.

They're currently between venues (with their new home at the Seattle Center being remodeled as you read), so in the meantime they're utilizing temporary spaces like the Downtown YMCA and Capitol Hill Arts Center. Vera's calendar is online at

The Paradox is another all-ages-all-the-time venue. The nonprofit space in Ballard has a lounge/gallery for smaller shows, and the main showroom is larger and perfect for all their indie, rock, and pop concerts. Maritime, Kimya Dawson, the Divorce, and the Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower are all playing there in the next month. And like Vera, the Paradox runs on volunteers—go to to get involved. (Don't be scared away by the fact that the venue shares a building with the faux-hip/ultraconservative Mars Hill Church. The Paradox is not affiliated with the church. There's no preaching, no recruiting, and no judgment at shows. Unless you're wearing a white belt—that's so 2004.)

If you're able to get out of the city, Redmond, Kirkland, and Bellevue on the Eastside have all-ages venues—the Old Fire House, the Kirkland Teen Center, and Ground Zero. Mostly smaller and up-and-coming local bands play out there, but the shows are usually cheap and fun. And occasionally, long-time supporters like the Blood Brothers—who got their start at the OFH—grace the stage despite their rock-star status. (Blood Brothers will be performing at the Old Fire House on October 13.)

Bars in Seattle also open their doors for underage music fans. At least half the shows at El Corazón, Neumo's, Studio Seven, and the Showbox are all ages, and the Sunset and the Crocodile host a minor-friendly event from time to time, too.

There's the usual coffee-shop circuit—Mr. Spots Chai House and the Q Cafe in Ballard, and the Sureshot and Trabant Chai Lounge in the U-District. And if you prefer to rock in a basement, well, Seattle's DIY scene is alive and well, too. Some of the best shows happen at community halls and garages— and have good calendars for those events.

Of course, the very best place to find out about Seattle's underage action is right here in The Stranger by reading my weekly column called Underage. It'll keep you smart and cool. Promise.