Venues to visit
From wide open spaces to small, contained clubs
By Jakob Ross
Seattle has historically housed some of the country’s greatest music scenes, due in part to the city’s wide supply of excellent venues.
Located right off the Ave on Northeast 45th Street, the Neptune is the smallest and most recent addition to the Seattle Theatre Group’s trifecta of awesome venues. It used to be a cinema, but was converted to a miniature concert hall a few years ago. Since then, it has hosted a diverse group of musicians and performers that bring all sorts of crowds to the U-District. Whether you love indie, hip-hop, electronic, or punk, you’ll definitely find a show worth getting excited about at the Neptune.
If metal is more your thing, El Corazon is Seattle’s preeminent heavy metal club that also happens to include other genres. On any given night you could easily catch a comedian, an old punk band, or even a harsh noise artist. With that said, a good 75 percent of the venue’s bookings are metal bands of various styles and sounds. Whether you prefer technical death metal, black metal, or djent, El Corazon’s concert calendar should be something you check daily.
The Showbox is one of the longest-running spaces in the city, but that’s not the only reason it’s a must-visit. The concerts feel intimate and intense; the venue feels smaller than it actually is. It’s a beautiful place, one where the sound also happens to be in top form. Like all great venues, its bookings are versatile and exciting. Don’t mistake the Pike Place location for the SoDo location, though, because the latter is bigger and the sound is far worse.
If you prefer big names and big venues, it’s possible to see a great band and entirely avoid Key Arena. Conveniently located adjacent to the entrance of the Convention Place tunnel station, the Paramount is one of Seattle’s most attractive spaces. It justifies its size with a wonderful sound system that benefits artists both loud and quiet. Or, if you prefer, you can catch a variety of popular musicals throughout the year. It’s owned by the Seattle Theatre Group (along with the Moore Theatre and the aforementioned Neptune Theatre) and can house thousands. The only drawback is that ticket prices tend to be particularly expensive. For special occasions, however, the Paramount is worth the price of admission, and more.
Neumos deserves a spot on this list not only for the delicious fish fry located next door, but also for the plethora of indie talent you can catch at the venue. Every show at Neumos is a rowdy blast of energy. Neumos hosts hundreds of excellent concerts a year, and a good majority of them are affordable for any college student. Be careful before you buy your tickets, because roughly half the shows here are 21+ only.
THE VERA PROJECT
Seeing a show at The Vera Project feels like paying a visit to a secret club no one else knows about. The headliners are generally obscure enough as is, but the venue allows local artists to open up for national touring bands, while also ensuring every show is low-cost and all ages. While most people won’t know of any of the bands booked here, fans of emo, punk, and hardcore music will find that tons of the scenes’ respective bests visit The Vera Project. It’ll be tough to find it since it’s tucked away to the side of Key Arena, but once you pay your first visit, you’ll never forget how to find The Vera Project.