It turns out Councilmember Kshama Sawant isn't just a socialist organizer, she's also a pretty good music promoter. Seattle's most famous socialist has brought together some of the city's best music talent for a free show in City Hall Plaza tomorrow to rally around saving the Showbox.
The show starts at 4 p.m. and includes Dude York, SassyBlack, Spirit Award, Sol, Smokey Brights, and Ruler. The City Council is holding a meeting at 6 p.m. in council chambers as part of the public notice process for their recent expansion of the Pike Place Historical District, which granted a 10-month protection for the historic venue.
If you've never heard of any of these bands then you need to get your head out of the sand and start listening to good local music. Former Stranger music writer Amber Cortes described Dude York as a "power-pop trio" with a "bold, polished sound." I saw them at Sasquatch a couple years ago and guess what? They're fun!
SassyBlack is the solo project of Catherine "Cat" Harris-White, who was formerly in the R&B duo THEESatisfaction which released two albums on SubPop and got nationwide attention from outlets like Pitchfork. SassyBlack sounds like a classically trained jazz singer went to outer space with a beat machine and a synth and sang about the real shit people are going through in 2018. Read our review of her 2016 album No More Weak Dates by Ciara Dolan.
Stranger music critic Dave Segal said Spirit Award's 2017 album Neverending was "one of the most accomplished debuts in recent local rock history." More from Dave:
Seattle trio Spirit Award display the sort of outsized ambition of rock bands like Echo & the Bunnymen and the Church, as they combine elegant, expansive song structures with propulsive, heroic melodies, and full-bodied rhythms that sometimes veer into motorik/krautrock territory.
The other bands are also good but I'm running out of time for this post and honestly a free show from SassyBlack/Dude York/Spirit Award is enough to convince you, so just show up and find out what these other acts are like yourself.
When I asked Sawant what her next step was in saving The Showbox she pointed directly to this event on Wednesday.
"As we said when we won that ordinance, our fight is far from over, our goal is to preserve the Showbox as this beloved and iconic music venue and cultural landmark and we have an actual legally viable approach to do this through the Pike Place Market expansion," Sawant said. "The most concrete next step we are working on is to make sure that we have a really good turnout on the public hearing on the 19th."
The council voted on Aug. 13 to expand the Pike Place Market Historical District to include the Showbox. That means any changes to the building would need to be approved by a commission that oversees the district. That temporarily stopped the destruction of the venue, but the expansion lasts only ten months while the council debates what to do next. The venue's property owner sued the city earlier this month for $40 million, arguing the council broke the law when they protected the venue.