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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I’ve Missed the Crocodile; We’ve Been Okay Without the Crocodile

posted by on September 9 at 16:45 PM

When the Crocodile Café abruptly closed down in December, the news left a lot of local musicians and fans wondering what would happen to the music community. Some expected it to be a devastating blow, others speculated nothing would change. The debate resulted in hundreds of comments on Line Out (which can be read here and here).

As announced earlier today, the club will re-open by the end of the year. Great news, but the music community has been just fine without the Crocodile Café.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved that club, and I miss that club. Over the years, I probably saw more shows there than any other venue. But while its presence was missed, I don’t think its absence was damaging.

The Crocodile was a great, local-musician-friendly venue. Smaller or less-experienced bands often had a shot at getting a weeknight show at the Crocodile, which is more difficult at a venue like Neumos or the Showbox where bigger rooms demand bands with bigger draws. It was an important part of the music scene (more proof here). But it really was the booking and the people that made the Crocodile great, and those folks are sill a part of the scene.

Former Crocodile booker Pete Greenburg now works at Chop Suey along with the Croc’s former assistant booker Eli Anderson. And they’re still focusing on working with local bands (this month alone there are shows with Strong Killings, Razrez, Husbands Love Your Wives, Champagne Champagne, Mad Rad, Grand Hallway, Elder Mason, and on and on). Just as it did when the Paradox, Atlas, RKCNDY, I-Spy, and countless others closed their doors, the Seattle music community recovered from the loss of the Crocodile. Local bands still booked shows, music fans still went to those shows—business went on as usual.

So while I’m glad the space will re-open (and am very excited to see what they do with it), I’m not convinced it’ll change much.

Even with the new Croc, I’ll still miss the old Croc.

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Funny, I was in the company of some music scene regulars (both professional folks and music consumers) the other night and we were talking about the re-opening, and everyone agreed how much we really did miss that club. It has left a void much more than any club closing since I'd say RCKCNDY, or maybe before that the Off Ramp.
It will be a great thing to walk back into that place and I wish the new owners the best of luck.

Posted by scharrera | September 9, 2008 5:19 PM

While we're being open and honest, let's admit that Chop Suey is hardly anything to write home about.

Posted by Explorer | September 9, 2008 5:27 PM

what are you talking about #2?

King Hipster Grandy has his nose so far up Chop Suey (and Nuemos) ass he's blowing corn-covered shit boogers!

Posted by bobcat | September 9, 2008 7:00 PM

Eric Grandy is not a hipster. His legs aren't skinny enough.

Posted by Explorer | September 10, 2008 10:08 AM

I'm glad it's back, I'm glad Jim's doing the sound again. I don't romanticize the Croc's "good old days". I can't see Unwound there again, big whoop...I will enjoy a slice of pizza at the new joint. I will enjoy the annoying wall being knocked out, and most of all I will enjoy hearing Jim tune the new room. See you at the Croc, whipper-snappers...

Posted by Jason Harris-Talley | September 10, 2008 11:01 AM

Re: #2 I preferred The Breakroom and the nice booking agent there...

Posted by Jason Harris-Talley | September 10, 2008 11:03 AM

I've seen lots of great shows at Chop Suey, often by groups on their way up. Like Editors before they played the Showbox. With Ra Ra Riot opening for them, and surprisingly good.

And, smaller venues are always better.

Posted by rk | September 11, 2008 8:12 PM

Of course, I think that it's great that the Croc will be reopening. Even without the Croc's historic significance, Seattle can always use another music venue.

Posted by rk | September 11, 2008 8:14 PM

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