Earlier this week news broke that Easy Street Records' Queen Anne location would be closing its doors Jan. 18, and like many music heads in Seattle, we at Reverb have spent the last few days mourning the loss. Although owner Matt Vaughn has promised the Easy Street tradition of providing impeccable tuneage and intimate live performances will continue at the West Seattle location - we can't help but feel a pang at the inevitable loss of our beloved stage behind the garage door. In the spirit of celebrating what a gift the Queen Anne locale has been over the past 12 years, we've gathered some of our (and your) favorite in-store performances. Watch 'em, and (try not to) weep...
Calexico - April 13th, 2006
Back in 2006 Arizona-based act Calexico stopped by Easy Street for a memorable set that included popular tracks "Alone Again Or," "Crystal Frontier," and "Across The Line" (as seen above). As this clip suggests, Calexico's eclectic mix of Tex-Mex and indie-rock is all sorts of accessible. It's the type of stuff that's soft enough to play in the background of your favorite Mexican restaurant, yet fresh enough to hold you captive. In the intimate Easy Street setting, the band delivered one of the most rousing, feel good sets the store ever hosted. And, THEY BROUGHT HORNS.
Citizen Cope - October 21st, 2006
As fans might expect, seeing Clarence Greenwood in a stripped down setting like Easy Street's back stage is exactly how it's supposed to be. Peeling away the pomp and circumstance of a more traditional venue, this take on "Bullet And A Target" highlights the rawness of the lyrics and Greenwood's somber and soothing delivery. The eerily quiet audience just adds to the wave of feelings.
The Shins - February 20th, 2007
James Mercer and Co. were regulars on the Northwest concert circuit by the time they stopped by Easy Street for this performance in 2007. Frankly, Mercer's voice sounds best in small spaces - like the bunk in your dorm, or that awfully patterned (yet sentimental) couch in your (New Jersey) living room - and hearing him perform "New Slang" in such a mellow space just felt right.
Dr. Dog - March 17, 2007
Dr. Dog's messy, lo-fi brand of indie rock proved the perfect match for Easy Street's backstage when the West Grove, Penn.-based act stopped by the store in 2007. In the clip above, the six-piece performs an energetic version of "Worst Trip," - showing they're not above making Seattle shake.
Brandi Carlile - November 20, 2009
A favorite in Seattle for years, the above clip features Carlile performing "Dying Day" during her third Easy Street in-store. Already known for her steller live sets (she released a previous Easy Street in-store as a live CD to great success), Carlile delivered the goods once again, singing songs new an old to a completely packed house.
Robyn - November 21, 2010
You might not expect an artist like Robyn - known for her heavily-produced dance tracks - to shine in an acoustic setting, and for some of this 2010 set, it proved to be almost true. However, the pop star hit gold with the first song of her in-store performance, tackling a stripped-down version of "Hang With Me".
Allen Stone - August 22, 2012
Seattle loves Allen Stone. Which is why it's no surprise fans of the local soul singer lined up for this in-store hours before he was even expected to take the stage. Having proved himself the next big thing as a headliner at the Capitol Hill Block Party just weeks before, Stone delivered a full 80-minute set to the packed Easy Street house - which included this stupid-good cover of Bob Marley's "Is This Love." He also stayed back to sign merch and take pictures with every single person that waited, found a fan in the Reign Man, himself - and showed local love by rocking a Macklemore tee after the set.
Helio Sequence - September 11, 2012
Celebrating the release of their fifth studio album (which came out on Sub Pop the same day) Helio Sequence stopped by Easy Street this fall to showcase the more "organic, spacey" sound they promised. Yes, the cymbals during this clip of "Downward Spiral" are a little much, but readers were quick to note it was one of the most memorable in-stores they've witnessed in recent years.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - October 9, 2012
On the morning of October 9, Macklemore awoke to find his debut album with Ryan Lewis, The Heist, was number 1 on iTunes. Having already played a surprise show at Neumos two nights before, one might think his in-store at Easy Street would be more of the same. NOT. So what's Seattle's current "it boy" to do? Climb atop the building and perform a handful of tracks from the new release - including viral sensations "Same Love" and "Thrift Shop," (as seen above). This may not classify as an official "in-store" performance (as it was "on-the-roof"), but as one reader noted: it was off-the-hook.
RNDM - November 27, 2012
The fact that the opening moments of this clip feature Macklemore's "Bom Bom" makes Easy Street's dedication to the local music scene all the more apparent. And the fact that said opening notes are followed by a stellar set from another Seattle legend - Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament - makes it that much more bittersweet. From what we've heard, Ament's RNDM put on a killer performance; from what we're seeing above, we kind of agree.
Other historic in-stores include Elvis Costello's visit during the Queen Anne store's grand opening week (May 15, 2002), a rare performance from Lou Reed on Easy Street's 15th Anniversary (June 29, 2003) and a killer set from My Morning Jacket's Jim James (November 5, 2005). Unfortunately, as there is no recorded evidence, these performances will be remembered only by the lucky few who saw them. Did we miss your favorite performance? Let us know!
Easy Street Records Queen Anne will host one more in-store - with Yo La Tengo - before closing their doors for good. The free and all-ages show takes place at 7 p.m. on Friday, January 18 at the Queen Anne Store, 20 Mercer Street.