With so many all-ages shows and events happening on Capitol Hill, it's not always easy to find an excuse to make it out to the sleepy little town of Ballard. But when you evaluate your life and realize you haven't left "the Hill" in over two weeks, maybe it's time to expand your horizons.
On a gloomy Wednesday night last week, I made the long trek out to Ballard to check out a show at the Josephine, a new all-ages DIY venue. My crappy car broke down and I had to ditch it in a convenience-store parking lot and make the remaining 25-block journey on foot—forget what I said about Ballard being little.
I finally got to the Josephine, a brick-fronted building that's half warehouse, half actual house, inconspicuously tucked into a shallow alley between two bars (for hosting loud shows, you couldn't ask for better neighbors).
The place immediately conjures up the old S.S. Marie Antoinette, the amazing Seattle show space in a 50-year-old yacht factory shut down last year after a touring band lit off fireworks in the steak-house parking lot next door. Like the SSMA, the place is dark, with weird hallways, and scattered stair- cases; it's even got the extinct venue's boathouse banner hanging above where bands play. Also bringing back fond memories is the smiling face of Malaki Stahl, former leaseholder and captain of the SSMA. For Stahl, the Josephine is a second chance at continuing what he and his ambitious family of artists and friends set out to do at their old home. But the SSMA didn't come close to the Josephine's spaciousness. The main show room, which features a strong sound system, streamers, a disco ball, and assorted kitsch, looks like it could comfortably fit at least 100 people.
Wednesday night's show—featuring Vancouver shoegaze duo Terror Bird's lulling, layered vocals and energetic new-wave synths, and fuzz punks Nü Sensae's furious set of about 15 songs in as many minutes—was small and mellow, typical of a weeknight, but definitely a glimpse of the place's potential. If you're underage, the Josephine is easily the coolest thing Ballard has going for it. I just hope you have an easier time getting there than I did.