At any given time, in any city worth its salt, there is at least one punk-rock club where local and touring bands actually make a little cash off the door, and where shows are booked with utter disregard for the stuff that litters the plates of the mass consumers. There's not a lot of money or stability in it, and these clubs are always pretty transitory. But over the years, booker BRIAN FOSS has drifted with the best of ours, booking the kind of shows that he would want to go to. Lately he's been filling nights at places like the Comet, Second Avenue Pizza, the Sunset, and a house/venue in West Seattle called the Switch House. Foss' shows aren't necessarily in the same club two weekends in a row, but they are always of the same integrity and spirit. This isn't Foss' job, and it isn't exactly just a hobby, either. Foss, who also co-hosts the new Saturday night punk-rock radio show Sonic Reducer on KEXP with Nick Turner and West Keller, daylights as a residential counselor at a group home for schizophrenic and developmentally disabled adults. The bottom line is this: Bands that aim at playing good shows for good people instead of ingratiating themselves to the latest trends still have to pay rent on their practice spaces and fill up their tour vans with gas priced as if it's gold. Foss facilitates this, and he's a damn good guy.
Brian Foss' Picks
BEST BAR: "For some low-key fun drinking, I really love the bars in Greenwood— the Baranof and the lounge at the China Jade."
BEST LOCAL RECORD STORE: Singles Going Steady.
BEST BAR JUKEBOX: "I haven't found the perfect jukebox, but the one at Duck Island Saloon (by Beth's Cafe on Aurora) has some stuff on it you won't find anywhere else, including a CD by Skate Death, an '80s punk band from Anchorage, Alaska, that's a forgotten classic."
BEST CANDIDATE FOR BAR RESURRECTION: "I really, really miss Gibson's. The room was great, the drinks were stiff and cheap, the owner was actually sane and fair, and hell, they gave me my first break when no one else was interested. Shows were so fun there."
BEST NONVENUE VENUE: "A few years back, the Bainbridge Island band Maurice's Little Bastards on occasion would drive up to Capitol Hill, find an electrical outlet in an alley, and set up and play until their lookout would tell them the cops were coming. I thought that was brilliant."
BEST SEATTLE BAND: "I can't really answer this one, but if I'm pushed I would say the Sonics were fucking amazing."
BEST LIVE SHOW MEMORY: "Easy: Daisy Chainsaw at the Backstage in Ballard in the early '90s. I had never seen anything like that before, or since, and the fact that I never read anything about their live show in the press meant I was totally unprepared for such an intense show. I really can't explain it, but if you see a copy of their Eleventeen album, you should check it out."
BEST THING TO DO WHEN YOU DON'T WANT TO BE AROUND MUSIC OR THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE IT: "Go out kayaking. Agua Verde Paddle Club near the U District is the cheapest and nicest place I've found."
SEATTLE WEEKLY'S BEST OF SEATTLE 2004 INDEX