Evolution of Music in SeattleSeattle is known for its music and has witnessed a rollercoaster musical decade. The musical history of Seattle was started in the mid 19th century with the invasion of Europeans and the release of Seattle’s official track, “Seattle, the Peerless City”. The initial music in Seattle was more of an American folk origin which popularised some eminent musicians like Woody Guthrie and Ivar Haglund. However, in 1932, some musicians came up with the essence of jazz music in Seattle.
The turnaround of Seattle music happened in 1975 to 1985 when music composer Steven Blush gave the status of “vibe and ethic” to Seattle’s music giving birth to grunge music. In the 1980s, the sound of grunge became the sound of Seattle with Nirvana’s Nevermind's release followed by the compiled albums of Pearl Jam and Deep Six.
The mid-90s came as a downfall for the grunge music era and made sub pop indie culture popular in Seattle. The regional bands like Modest Mouse, Band of Horses, Fleet foxes, The Head and the Heart among others came into existence and continued to become an independent alternative to grunge albums. Since then, Seattle music has evolved in various genres like punk, rock, R&B and jazz, which is still prevalent in music and shining more with each passing day.
Prevalent Musical Genres in Seattle
Grunge: - Grunge, a musical genre of Seattle was born in the city and is also referred to as Seattle sound. It emerged in the 1980s and became famous as a fusion of punk and metal. The popular album of the 1990s like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains Dirt etc. made grunge famous as a form of rock music. Fused with elements of punk rock, heavy metal, electronic music and indie rock, Grunge is an aesthetically amazing genre in Seattle.Pop music: - Pop, generally a term used for “popular music” has emerged as a novel music genre which symbolises dance and rhythm in its songs. Incepted in the early 2000s, it is extracted from genres like Rap and R&B, however, considered as an independent genre. Pop music in Seattle is so popular that even a museum named, Museum of Pop Culture is dedicated to this contemporary genre.Opera music: - Opera, a part of country classical music, is made with a fusion of theatre and musical synchronisation. The vocals used in Seattle’s Opera are mostly based on agility, power, bass and timbre. Although this neoclassic genre was originated in Italy, however, it is still heard in the popular music venues of Seattle weekly.Jazz: - Jazz is a piece of fusion music made with African, Classical, European and Western flavours ensemble in a single genre. The jazz era in Seattle began in the Jackson street nightclubs like the Blue Rose, the Black and Tan etc. and since then it has made a special place in Seattle’s musical culture.Rock: - Rock music in Seattle is a rough and edgy genre which is formed with the elements of Blues and Country music along with the Jazz. Often confused with pop music, Rock music is popularly played by many famous bands and musicians of Seattle like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Ryan Lewis, Brandi Carlile etc. and can be witnessed in most of the musical spots of the city.
12 Live Music Venues in Seattle
1. Paramount Theatre
Paramount Theatre is one of the historical venues that have witnessed some fantastic performances and big rock concerts by music maestros like Jack White, The Pixies, Kraftwerk and Arctic Monkeys. Vintage interiors with comfortable seating make it even more glamorous and comfy. Enjoy a drink in the rotating light bar and attend the prestigious performances in this lavish theatre.
Location: - 911 Pine St, Seattle, WA 98101, United States
2. Key ArenaBuilt-in 1962 as Washington State Pavilion, Key Arena is a massive auditorium with gazillion rows and swanky seats for an enchanting musical experience. The arena is popular for tour shows of big names like Neil Diamond and Lady Gaga and occupies a standing room for a front stage musical experience. The fast-food corner and VIP lounge in the concert rock arena serves plenty of yummy cuisines, beer and wine leaving you spellbound.
Location: - 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA 98109, United States
3. Moore Theatre
Moore Theatre is the oldest theatre in Seattle with an antique feel and rich history. It has been a spot for musical tours of superstars like Ani DiFranco, BB King, and Seattle Rock Orchestra. Moore Theatre houses a spa, swimming pool and a grand bar for leisure time attending a musical event.
Location: - 1932 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98101, United States
4. The Royal Room
Want to enjoy live music seven days a week? Then, the Royal Room is a perfect spot with an old school jazz feel, comfortable wooden interiors and banquettes. Be it jazz, funk, R&B, Avant jazz or soul; The Royal Room organises all the live music events in its big stage space. The bar serving crafted cocktails, and delicious snack food proves to be a cherry on the cake with some musical delight.
Location: - 5000 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118, United States
5. Benaroya Hall
Benaroya Hall is a modernistic yet finest music hall with a warm feel and phenomenal acoustics accompanied by a beautiful stage and grand organ pipe. Also known as Seattle Symphony’s home, it hosted musical performances of some great musical stars like Indigo Girls, symphonic pop, Branford Marsalis etc. It has some comfortable seating and very well maintained sightlines. Not only for good music, Benaroya Hall is equally famous for its food court, cocktail bar, Wolfgang puck and Starbucks counter in the seating café making it a must-visit.
Location: - 200 University St, Seattle, WA 98101, United States
6. ShowboxShowbox is a lively and beautiful place to enjoy a musical gala with some out of box acoustic musical instruments. In its 75 years of existence, Showbox has hosted some grand live music concerts of big names like Heart, Blue Scholars and Modest Mouse. The brownie point for Showbox is its food bar and Kerns music shop where a leisure time can be spent having some delicious food and shopping around.
Location: - 1700 1st Ave S Seattle, Washington 98134
7. Neptune Theatre
Opened as a silent movie theatre in 1921, Neptune Theatre was famous for having the largest pipe organ of the west coast for which it was converted to a musical venue in 2011. Neptune Theatre is a massive hall offering direct and pretty sightlines for every audience, be it standers, or sitters. It is quite famous in the area as it has some alluring seafaring interiors and a well-maintained balcony area. If your luck persists, you may find some sensational bands such as Wolfmother or Devo performing in the theatre.
Location: - 1303 NE 45th St, Seattle, WA 98105, United States
8. EMP Sky Church
EMP Sky Church is a hippy musical venue equipped with huge LEDs and a 70-foot ceiling designed by a famous architect, Frank Gehry. Gravitating towards rock and hip hop music, it is renowned for organising private gigs of famous stars. Bless your ears with some jazz in the aureate lights and modern acoustic settings of EMP Sky Church. Do attend the battle of bands every year showcasing the young talents and emerging Northwest American musicians for a once in a lifetime musical moment.
Location: - 325 5th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109, United States
9. The Crocodile
The Crocodile is a place to enjoy rock, punk, electronic and hip hop shows around a raised stage in a standing room. With a caved structure and party vibes, it is one of the perfect places for a weekend spree in the Seattle town dancing on the best live songs, and having delicious wood-fired pizza.
Location: - 2200 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121, United States
10. Nectar Lounge
Nectar Lounge is the largest indoor and outdoor music venue in Seattle town housing three bars, a mezzanine, outdoor patio and a groovy dance floor. The lounge is popular for hosting musical shows of funk, hip hop, rock and electronic genre and witnesses a mature audience into world music. Grab some famous tacos, mini pizzas and sliders while listening to some amazing music on the wooden chairs or cushioned lounge.
Location: - 412 N 36th St, Seattle, WA 98103, United States
11. Sunset Tavern
A place to enjoy best of the rock, punk and indie music in a rich and ethereal vibe is Sunset Tavern in the heart of Seattle town. It is a famous spot for a musical gala and hosts an enthusiastic crowd with their extraordinary service and delicious food. Witness the rock of bands like fleet foxes, John Doe and Mudhoney and cheer for the best indie bands in Sunset Tavern.
Location: - 5433 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, United States
12. Tractor TavernTractor Tavern is a one-stop musical destination for folk and indie band lovers as it showcases some great talent in the hippest bluegrass and alt-country music. In the vintage brick wall décor of the arena, the show becomes a lot more interesting and fun. Do serve yourself a glass of wine and relish snacks appreciating a mind-blowing performance by some live musicians.
Location: - 5213 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107, United States
Eminent Musicians in Seattle
1. Chong The Nomad
Chong The Nomad is called the queen of musical experiments in Seattle town for her novel approach to using ukuleles and harmonicas in her shows. An innovative musician and an astonishing performer, it is hard to stop your feet from dancing in her concerts. The energy and antics she brings to the stage have made her a music festival icon, so you had a great chance to experience her jazz in most of the concerts in Seattle.
Are you a rap fan? If yes, then DoNormaal’ s concert is something you can’t miss being in Seattle. Her unique style of vocal delivery in her gigs or her passion for raps and music is what attracts a music lover towards her concerts. She has worked with best music producers in Seattle and is flowing adventurously with her killer beats in Seattle’s musical world.
J’von, a person who brought the idea of amalgamating cartoon caricatures and music together for his album covers has reflected a new yet pastel reflection to Seattle’s music. He is a musician and a very talented animator, rapper, and graphic designer whose music has proved to be sunshine in the grey musical culture.
Renowned Bands in Seattle which are Worth Listening
1. The Black Tones
The Black Tones, the god of rock and roll music are still famous for playing the original version of jazz and rock music in remakes. Originally giving the flavour of blues and blackness, they made their debut with aesthetic track, Cobain and Cornbread and then played a reprised version of “Rivers of Jordan”, an anthem anti-black protest. With some mind-blowing musical creations, The Black tones and their tracks become a must-listen.
2. Dark Smith
From Danny Denial creating a magical environment with his vocals to Nozomi Momo stealing the show with her rhythmic drum beats, Dark Smith is a master of intensified music. Known for reciting a musical story of people suffering from fear or paranoia in America, they are the dream band for many people in Seattle. Dark Smith has made a strong place in Seattle's musical culture and is continuing with it in punk style.
3. Knife Knights
Knife Knights is an emerging band in Seattle who are working towards the experimental music and genre-busting tracks. They add a slow and neon jam in their tracks and try to synchronise with African rhythms making their tracks worth listening. From giving some record-breaking hits like Light Up Ahead or Low Key to redefining Seattle's music with tracks like Drag Race Legend of My Dreams don’t sleep, Knife Knights are a beaming ray in Seattle music.
4. Tres Leches
Seattle’s punk trio ‘Tres Leches’ is known for their trending debut album, Amorfo. The concerts of Tres Leches are fun and unique as the members entertain their audience by switching the musical instruments and trying their hands on some of the difficult jazz beats. One of the few bands in Seattle who talks about the social issues, Tres Leches not only adds the spice of bilingual diatribes but showcases the communal power with their songs.
A band incepted in 2013 when few college students fuzzed out for creating a rock band in Seattle and created a special place in the City of music. After releasing their famous debut album Nirvana, Versing has been releasing multiple music albums to paint the colours of Seattle on the musical caricature.
Music Festivals in Seattle Worth Attending
1. Seattle Hempfest Protestival
Organized every year since 1991 in the Seattle town, Seattle Hempfest Protestival is the world's largest musical event held for decriminalizing Marijuana. It is a three-day peaceful event where you can join some rallies, enjoy an art fair and embrace the traditional craft other than a live musical celebration.
When: - August, 14 – August, 16
2. Bumbershoot Festival
Bumbershoot Festival is one of the biggest celebrations of music, art and creativity in the Seattle town. It happens on the occasion of Labour Day annually for which thousands of people from the entire world gather in the Seattle Center. With some popular names performing every evening to the cultural fest, it celebrates Northwest America's culture in the most contemporary and innovative manner for which it becomes worth attending.
When: - Labour Day Weekend
3. Capitol Hill Block Party
Six indoor and outdoor stages, beer gardens, comfortable lounges and a lot of music fiesta. Yes, it is all about the Capitol Hill Block Party. It is a three-day festival held annually in Capitol Hill every July with some grand performances by big musical artists in various genres. Capitol Hill Block Party witnesses around 20,000+ audiences every year for its diversified musical acts and grandeur celebrations.
When: - First week of July
4. Honk! Fest West
Honk! Fest West is a three-day musical gala celebrating the diversification, music, culture by three different neighbourhood cities of Seattle coming together. It is free of cost concert where you can groove on street bands' beats relishing the art and culture of street music. Every year, 25+ bands perform in Honk Fest West eroding musical barriers and honouring the community street band culture in an energetically organised manner. Don’t miss to be a part of this fun musical event if you are in Seattle.
When: - June, 5 – June, 7
5. Upstream Music Festival
The upstream music festival is a celebration to discover rising music stars of Northwest America held annually in Seattle's Pioneer Square. It is a three-day historical music fest where some national artists make the surroundings astonishing with their tuneful songs. Dance on the best artists' serendipitous songs in the open theatre, experiencing a full packed entertainment and musical art. Don’t miss the delicious snacks and some fizzing cocktails and create a perfect musical weekend in the upstream music festival.
When: - In the month of JuneEnjoy the musical gala of Seattle and know about the grunge music!!