Northwest Hardcore

Pic of the Week: COUNTERVAIL and the AUBURN ANNEX

Countervail was one of the more important bands for late 90’s Seattle hardcore. This group from Thousand Oaks California, was one of the few bands who consistently came back to the Northwest time and again.

The twelve hour drive from the bay area to populated areas of the Northwest is one that is still rough for touring bands, especially in the winter. Even so, Countervail never waited too long between trips up here, and as such, gained a lot of love and respect with the NWHC.

Their shows were always great, and the band members were always fun to hang out with, and were so gracious about the intensity of the crowd at their shows. This picture was taken at a show they played at the Auburn Annex.

The Annex was a venue that pretty much kept Seattle hardcore alive for a year or so. The only other venues for shows at this time were; the Velvet Elvis in Seattle; Ground Zero in Bellevue; The Firehouse in Redmond; Club Impact in Tacoma; and Big John’s house in Fall City.

I know this sounds like a healthy amount of venues, but each of these clubs had their own problems:

The Velvet Elvis was awesome, but it was hard to book shows there without months of notice because of show volume and conflicting dates with the theater group that used the club.

Ground Zero and the Firehouse were both really cool, but also had to be booked months in advance. Also, both clubs went through weird phases of frowning on stagedives and aggressive dancing, because they were teen centers.

Club Impact was a Christian club, and had a bunch of weird rules, like: no swearing, and had a weird overall vibe. They also loved to throw on weird ska, or indy bands who really didn’t fit with the lineups.

Big John’s house (actually his parents’ house) was an awesome spot for shows, but it was in the middle of the woods, way out in Fall City, and he couldn’t do too many shows either because, well… it was his parents’ house.

The Annex in Auburn was pretty much the only club where you could throw together a hardcore show with only two months notice, and ensure that you could have the lineup you wanted, and that stagediving and other hxc wildness wouldn’t be frowned upon. Plus, at this time a pretty significant portion of the hardcore scene lived in Auburn. It was also a halfway point for commuters from Seattle and Tacoma.

The Annex eventually shut down, and the owner Grady, turned the club into a Jazz Record shop. But shortly after, Seattle got what I believe to be the single best venue in Seattle HC history; the Paradox on University Ave.

5 responses

  1. Levi

    I heard about some of the legendary shows that went down at the Annex, but I never had a chance to go to a show there because it opened a couple months after I moved to CA from Auburn. Thanks for the post.

    January 12, 2011 at 12:44 am

  2. punkrockjohn

    let us not forget the gigantic orgies grady was hosting at the annex after he stopped having shows.

    January 12, 2011 at 1:57 am

  3. metalmike

    who can forget the orgies? Chris what about the LCCC?? I remember seeing a bunch of really good shows there. Including a Countervail/Stay Gold/Grieving the Days to come show.

    January 12, 2011 at 3:54 am

  4. too man memories of both Countervail and the Annex. Easily one of my favorite bands to see in the 90s, favorite band to hang with, and one of my favorite places to see shows.

    And they invented the name: “Gravelmouth” poor lady. Especially that specific night. “Lady, please Dont Look at Me” HAHA.

    January 12, 2011 at 8:33 am

  5. Countervail shows and the Annex are two of my favorite things about late 90s NWHC.

    January 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm

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