Enjoying Seattle's Wholesome, All-Ages Nightlife
by MEGAN SELING, ALTAR GIRL
How did Solomon celebrate the dedication of the Temple? How did David express his deep devotion to the Lord? How did wicked King Herod while away his lusty, cruel hours? With music, the most complicated of God's great gifts—one that can give wondrous flight to the simplest "hallelujah" or ensnare and corrupt weak souls. Enjoy harps and timbrels when they glorify the spirit but tread carefully—according to Ezekiel 28:13, Lucifer himself was Heaven's choirmaster before his fall from grace. Do not think he's sold out and gotten a day job—music remains Satan's most powerful weapon.
The Paradox (1401 NW Leary Way, www.theparadox.org) is a new 5,000 square-foot all-ages concert hall in the neighborhood known as Ballard. Do not linger to look at the walls in the lobby, which local "artists" have slathered in graven images, but proceed directly to the large showroom and its impressive sound system. The Paradox is roomy but feels intimate, the perfect setting for the many new bands that play there. The venue hosts three to four shows each month, everything from hardcore to pop to rock by both local and national names. Happily, the Paradox shares its building with a church—if dancing with your fellows inspires tempting thoughts, step into the house of God for a quick moment of prayer.
The downtown Vera Project (1916 Fourth Ave, www.theveraproject.org) is one of Seattle's only city-sponsored all-ages music venues (the Brick:House in Ballard is another, see www.artwithoutlimits.org). Vera is run mostly by volunteers and is crawling with enthusiastic young souls. Avoid the acoustic performances—they usually happen in the art gallery—and workshops on dubious subjects like screen-printing and yoga. Concerts are always affordable (under 10 bucks) and lines of high-school and college-aged kids often wrap around the block come show time. Steer clear of the dark booths in the back of the showroom—these might be a tempting backdrop for a game of tonsil-hockey with one of the club's many young visitors, but do not cave to such temptation. The Vera Project also hosts a dance night every third Saturday of the month called Fever, with local DJs and breakdancers who celebrate our Lord with head spins and knee drops.
Fever isn't the only teen dance night in town. If you would like to leap before the Lord like King David, Capitol Hill's notoriously homosexual nightclub, Neighbours, recently opened up a 18+ teen club called Neighbours Underground (1509 Broadway, www.neighboursonline.com). Every Friday and Saturday night, you can "praise Him with dance" from 10:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. for $10. Avoid this institution if you are even slightly sissy—the many shirtless young men gyrating to house music all around you are stumbling blocks for all but the most robust heterosexuals.
The L.A.B. in North Seattle (12510 15th Ave NE) is a small, comfortable venue run by great people. It's also a great place for aspiring musicians to play in front of their first live audience. And while El Corazón, the Showbox, and Neumo's aren't exclusively all-ages, they all support the all-ages scene and occasionally host mixed-use shows (where the bar is open for legal drinkers). Despite its recent remodel, El Corazón still feels like a little Nineveh hole in the wall (especially the manger-like bathrooms), but it's not a bad place to hear heavier music—like "metal" and "punk"—that comes through town. The Showbox is a much larger, prettier concert hall featuring all kinds of music, from "rapping" to "independent rock and roll."
As a final note, clubs here can be overwhelmingly smoky, but as Ecclesiastes says, there is nothing new under the sun. According to 2 Chronicles 5, when harpists and trumpeters accompanied the Ark of the Covenant into the Temple, "the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God." Our Heavenly Father seems to think smoke and music are two great tastes that taste great together—He works in mysterious ways.