Best Migratory Booker


Brian Foss: Good shows for good people.

Brian Foss: Good shows for good people.

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.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

More in News & Comment

Photo of promotional recruitment banner used by Auburn Police Department at Petpalooza. The banner features Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson, who is awaiting trial for the 2019 murder and assault of Jesse Sarey. Photo courtesy of Jeff Trimble
Auburn police use photo of embattled officer on recruitment banner

Families of people killed by Jeffrey Nelson, who’s awaiting trial for murder, speak out over use of his photo at Petpalooza.

Use your King County library card to explore the outdoors

KCLS cardholders can check out a Discover Pass for two weeks to explore public lands.

Monkeypox virus. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control.
King County identifies first presumptive monkeypox case

The illness is not as easily transmitted compared to COVID-19, according to health officer.

This screenshot from Auburn Police Department bodycam footage shows an officer about to fire his weapon and kill dog on May 13, 2022.
Auburn police shoot dog, and owner claims it wasn’t justified

See videos of attack as well as bodycam footage of officer firing at dog.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Diane Renee Erdmann and Bernard Ross Hansen. Photos courtesy of FBI
FBI arrests Auburn couple after 11-day manhunt

The couple was previously convicted for fraud and skipped sentencing on April 29.

Screenshot from Barnes and Noble website
Cover art of books that KSD Librarian Gavin Downing says have been under fire: “Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts),” by Lev A.C. Rosen, “If I Was Your Girl,” by Meredith Russo, and “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” by George Matthew Johnson.
Kent middle school librarian wins intellectual freedom award

Gavin Downing refused to keep ‘silence in the library’ amid attempted book banning and censorship.

Kent elementary school teacher accused of using racist language toward student

River Ridge Elementary instructor placed on administrative leave by Kent School District.

FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Dozens of King County Sheriff’s Office employees left jobs instead of getting vaccinated

This added on to the existing number of vacancies in the department.