Pop-punk band The Cascadian Divide plays at Black Lab Gallery and Bar in Everett on Oct. 30. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Pop-punk band The Cascadian Divide plays at Black Lab Gallery and Bar in Everett on Oct. 30. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

‘Do it on Hewitt!’ Live music is back! back! back! in downtown Everett

Three venues within walking distance are revitalizing a music scene coming out of hibernation.

EVERETT — Local couple Amber and Alex Vincini grew up watching their dads rock out in punk shows on Hewitt Avenue.

Back in the day Bumpin’ Uglies and Bigtop were part of a thriving music scene north of Seattle. Decades later, sitting in their new venue, Lucky Dime at 1618 Hewitt Avenue, the artist duo said they have embarked on the same mission as their fathers: Make Everett loud.

After 1½ years of hibernation, Hewitt is getting noisy again. Downtown Everett’s music scene now offers a trifecta of venues hosting shows within a two-block stretch. Each offers a distinct vibe.

And if you’re so inclined, you can hop between the three of them on any given weekend, as two Daily Herald reporters did on a recent Saturday night. You can catch a jam band at Lucky Dime; mosh at a punk show at the newly revitalized Black Lab Gallery and Bar; then swerve into some psychobilly at the long-running Tony V’s Garage.

When Black Lab outgrew its space and moved down the street, the Vincinis were terrified a less culturally rich business, “like a bail bonds place or something,” might take over.

“I cried on my roof thinking about what could happen to the place,” Amber Vincini said.

They rolled the dice on it. Lucky Dime’s checkered floor glowed cherry red as bands funneled in on Halloweekend.

Hard Money Saints plays at Tony V’s Garage in Everett Oct. 30. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Hard Money Saints plays at Tony V’s Garage in Everett Oct. 30. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Just down the street, Black Lab owner Isabella Valencia stood in her new cocktail bar, wearing a steampunk mask.

“Do it on Hewitt!” she proclaimed.

Upstairs, a rainbow of flashing lights bathed the stage in front of floor-to-ceiling windows, as locals gathered around, wearing feather boas, fangs and spooky makeup.

“Who’s ready for some death punk?” musician Julio Palomino shouted into a microphone. A crowd of over 50 people cheered as he jumped off the stage in a skeleton suit. A clash of hi-hats reverberated off the walls.

On the bill at Black Lab was Seattle pop-punk group The Cascadian Divide.

Jared Clay, the band’s drummer, has been holding down pop-punk beats for over 20 years. A Seattle resident, Clay said this was his first time playing a show in Everett. He thinks the city’s arts scene has so much potential.

“This place is badass,” Clay said after the show. “I love it.”

Valencia envisions Hewitt Avenue turning into a creative district.

“Art is the soul of any city,” Valencia said. “Without it we’re empty.”

She wants to “raise the bar” for downtown Everett and foster a community of musical, literary and visual artists.

Punk duo Mr. Dinkles plays at Lucky Dime in Everett on Oct. 30. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Punk duo Mr. Dinkles plays at Lucky Dime in Everett on Oct. 30. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

“We have a lot of cool sports bars in Everett,” she said. “We don’t need any more. We need something different.”

Black Lab opened its doors earlier this year in its new location at 1805 Hewitt Ave. Valencia wants it to be an intimate space where locals can see up-and-comers, like when she heard Alice in Chains in Seattle, before their big break.

“I mean, I could touch them,” she said.

Downstairs at Black Lab, patrons enjoyed drinks in the bar with teal booths, moody lighting and tables painted by local artist Missy Dahl.

Valencia had been eyeing the new space for three years. She said it was home to the second-oldest tavern in the city. When it became available this year, she jumped on it.

In the ’90s, Black Lab was in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.

When asked what it was like back then, Valencia gestured around her and said, “a wanna-be this.”

Concert-goers grab some fresh air outside Lucky Dime in Everett on Oct. 30. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Concert-goers grab some fresh air outside Lucky Dime in Everett on Oct. 30. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Decades ago, Valencia always wanted a bar in her venue. But all she could afford was a coffee cart. Now, Sol Food has plans to open a kitchen serving tapas and desserts. The restaurant will share the building but operate separately.

Valencia said Tony Verhey, of Tony V’s Garage, has been a major supporter.

That night, Verhey was setting up a show at his joint across the street, at 1716 Hewitt Ave.

Tony V’s — featuring chain link fences near the stage and a twisted painting of Dr. Seuss’ “Sneetches” above the pool tables — came to life to the twang of psychobilly: a mess of muttonchops and ’80s-styled sunglasses and flailing standup basses.

On stage, The Brainiax bellowed maniacal laughter over double-time grooves, enticing a crowd into the mosh pit.

A tattooed Santa Claus downing a burger waved at Verhey from across the bar to get his attention.

“Hey, Tony!” the man shouted with a grin.

Verhey said he’s been bouncing, booking and busing tables in the building since he was 19, long before it was Tony V’s.

“I’ve done it all in here,” he said.

Pop-punk band The Cascadian Divide plays at Black Lab Gallery and Bar in Everett on Oct. 30. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Pop-punk band The Cascadian Divide plays at Black Lab Gallery and Bar in Everett on Oct. 30. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Verhey remembers when the Vincinis’ dads played here, too.

The hard part about making music happen in this city, he said, is getting the bands to come out. Everett is “the B market” to Seattle — always has been.

But that can change, he argued.

“People need to get out of the house,” Verhey said. “That’s just it.”

Kirsten Norheim was one person who got out. In Lucky Dime, she giddily approached a punky Beetlejuice after the show to tell her how much she shredded.

Beetlejuice, aka Mac Rettig, lead singer of punk duo Mr. Dinkles, was supposed to play in Seattle that night. When that gig fell through, they ended up at Lucky Dime for the first time ever: yelling, banging toms, and yes, shredding.

“It’s so cute,” Rettig said. “It’s such a nice little inclusive place.”

The other half of the 2020 Sound Off! semi-finalists, drummer Gretchen Elliot, lived here years ago. Back then, they said, “You could play in an alleyway if you’re a small band, and that’s it.”

These days, small bands mingle in Lucky Dime as the Vincinis dole out canned beer. Bathrooms — one featuring a taxidermied cat head — are covered in graffiti, courtesy of an Oliver Elf Army bandmember’s 13-year-old kid. Now and again the Vincinis leave out a spare Sharpie near the sink, knowing bar bathrooms often inspire artistic genius. (As the late influential songwriter and poet David Berman once crooned: “I know that a lot of what I say has been lifted off of men’s room walls.”)

Outside, fans hung out with members of The Moon Is Flat, smoking and getting fresh air between sets. The Everett group may not have gotten their big break in the United States yet, but you could say they’re big in France. They recently made it into a 750-page encyclopedia titled “The Stoner Freaks Anthology.” They have a hard-copy, in French.

“We’re the black sheep of this town,” lead singer Kirk Rutherford said.

Not quite punk, not quite full-blown psychedelic, not quite a jam band.

Bassist Matt Wysocki describes their sound as “stoney-psych-rock.” He leaves out “stoney” if family is around.

The Moon Is Flat has played at all three of Hewitt’s venues. Maybe they don’t fit neatly into a genre, but they fit here.

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; edennis@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterellen

Claudia Yaw: 425-339-3449; claudia.yaw@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @yawclaudia

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