The latest, uh, development in the #SaveTheShowbox saga was a free concert in front of City Hall Wednesday evening with some of Seattle's best up-and-coming bands. Actually, it wasn't even a development, it was just a public hearing mandated by city law.
There were no new proposals discussed or city action taken, but Councilmember Kshama Sawant, being the socialist organizer she is, turned it into a rally. Dude York, SassyBlack, Spirit Award, and more played in City Hall Plaza while people gave public comment, almost all in favor of saving the historic venue, in City Council chambers.
Spirit Award kicked off the show with their reverberating garage rock.
I asked Spirit Award's lead singer Daniel Lyon what made him want to play the Wednesday show.
"We have to be more outspoken about it or stuff just gets taken away from you in the middle of the night. Once you start taking away all the venues all that's left is going to be a sterile Seattle," Lyon said.
SassyBlack followed Spirit Award with her jazzy electronic work. She was dipping out right after her set but I caught SassyBack, a.k.a. Catherine “Cat” Harris-White, before she hopped in a rideshare and asked her why she thought the Showbox should be preserved.
"Seattle has a lot of cultural institutions that should stick around as long as possible. I think it's better to invest in them," Harris-White said.
Dude York played a helluva fun set right before the official festivities started inside the council chambers. While everyone else headed up to council chambers following the set, Peter Richards, Dude York's lead singer, was actually on his way to the Showbox, where he works as a security guard. As he was packing up his gear I asked him what made the Showbox so special.
"It's the best sounding room in the city, and the professionalism of the Showbox and its national identity provides the avenue for local artists to become national artists. And beyond," Richards said.
I asked Richard what he thought about the claim being made by some of Seattle's housing advocates that tearing the venue down was worth it because it would net $5 million in housing credits and add over 400 luxury housing units to the city.
"That sounds a lot like good press for the people that would be tearing the Showbox down rather than a plan that would impact the people that are impacted by housing and lack of services," Richards said.
He added that it was possible to build more affordable housing in the city while also preserving the venue.
"I think we have to do both. And I think dealing with neighborhood density can help," Richards said.
Only three council members showed up for the public hearing—Sawant, Lisa Herbold, and Mike O'Brien—but the room was full of people who gave their public comments about saving the Showbox.