Rocket Queen: Castle’s Crown

The Squid and Ink punks have moved their party to the Highline.

When temporarily reunited doom-rock legends Sleep played a one-off date during MusicfestNW in Portland earlier this month, the Roseland Theater turned into a heavy-metal high-school reunion. It was much like the jovial atmosphere at the Soundgarden show at the Showbox last spring; everyone was in extraordinarily high spirits, and the room was packed with notable figures, including filmmaker Whitey McConnaughy (the man responsible for Red Fang’s hilarious, D&D-inspired video for “Prehistoric Dog”), former KEXP DJ Lisa Wood, Relapse Records proprietor Matthew Jacobson (beaming with pride after signing Red Fang to his label that night), Loaded guitarist Mike Squires, and members of a slew of Seattle metal acts, including Lesbian, who just finished recording their sophomore full-length with noted producer Randall Dunn. It’s set for release this October on Important Records (home to the likes of Grails, Nadja, and Master Musicians of Bukkake).

Lesbian was back in Seattle last Friday night, sharing a stellar bill at Highline with Eugene-based doomsayers YOB, who absolutely killed it, stunning the crowd into a collective state of head-banging awe. The Capitol Hill club is a relatively new endeavor by the folks who previously ran the vegan- and rocker-friendly Squid and Ink space in Georgetown, which closed in February.

“We wanted to keep the same sort of feel, but make it more of a bar,” explains 28-year-old co-proprietor Dylan Desmond, sitting in his tiny office space in the back of Highline’s kitchen just before YOB takes the stage. “So much of our clientele was coming down from Capitol Hill, it just made sense.”

Desmond and partners Howie Clark and Jarrod Ducat plan to be selective in booking shows. “We don’t want to make it a venue; we’ve decided to be sparse on shows…maybe just two big, very well-promoted shows a month.”

Highline is located on top of a Castle Megastore, in the space formerly occupied by Club Lagoon, the goofy dance club identified primarily by the Lamborghini perched atop its roof. It’s a bit of an awkward location, with little parking, but the sightlines and sound are excellent. VERA Project sound engineer Jeff McNulty has done an impressive job with the PA and soundproofing, and the thunderous onslaught of YOB sounded full, warm, and well-balanced, something not easy to achieve with heavy music in such a cavernous space. Highline’s next show is this Sunday, Sept. 26, with Seattle metal-scene kings Black Breath and rising Olympia upstarts Christian Mistress and Devotion.