By Steven Graham
Why isn’t there more good, live music in Everett? When I say “good,” I don’t mean country music superstars or whatever resurrected ’80s pop or rock band happens to be playing Comcast Arena. Don’t get me wrong, that stuff has its place and it is great for the community when those bands come to town. But I am talking about something different.
There are more talented, hungry, underground bands on the west coast than I think anybody really understands, and when they all pack into a van and hit the road for a monthlong tour to try and get some traction, they don’t think “Let’s play in Everett.” Instead they make their way up or down the I-5 corridor and stop in Portland, Seattle, Bellingham or Vancouver. Sometimes all of these places. But almost never Everett.
Why is that?
We have the venues, both big and small. The Historic Everett Theater on Colby is an amazing place to see live music. I even saw Seattle hip-hop group Blue Scholars perform there about four years ago, and they rocked the house! But for some reason there aren’t more shows like that there. Some of the most fun I have ever had at a smaller venue has been at the Anchor Pub or Tony V’s Garage because those places get rowdy.
Do we lack an energized, enthusiastic crowd that would create a buzz big enough to give these traveling bands the confidence that if they play a show in Everett people will actually show up? It can’t be that. There is a reason the Anchor is packed every Thursday night for open mic, and I mean packed. It’s because there is a growing population in this city that is starving for the arts and any sense of culture they can get their hands on.
There are lots of reasons I want more live music in Everett, and it’s not just because I’m too lazy and cheap to drive 30 minutes to Seattle, pay $10 for parking (if I’m lucky), typically $10+ for entry to the show and then have to drive 30 minutes back to Everett at midnight or later while tired after three hours of dancing
I can’t stress enough how much I appreciate the Seattle music scene and the amazing energy at a show in the city that is known the world over for its amazing music. I write about it all the time and I will see shows there till I die.
But I love my city. It’s a beautiful place with beautiful people and even though the holy land is just to the south, we shouldn’t have to drive that far for good art when we have everything we need to facilitate it right here at home.
We have our Music in the Parks series during the summer with shows at the marina, and those are a huge success. The city does a great job getting quality bands down there and the people pack in. The problem is that there are nine more months in the year. Nine cold, rainy months when I think quality live music would really be appreciated.
So what is it then? Is it possible that we are cursed by our proximity to a college town like Bellingham and the music mecca that is Seattle? Is that really it? I don’t think so, but I am having a hard time putting my finger on it.
What do you think it is? What do we need to do in order to change this and attract more bands to play in Everett instead of just passing through on their way to here or there? If you agree at all, then we should talk because the only way a change will occur is if passionate people start connecting to discuss a solution.