A safe place for teens
BY ANDY NYSTROM AND CELINA KAREIVA
Punk-rock statesman Ian MacKaye once said in an interview about young musicians, “I feel like right now while we’re talking, there’s some kids, if they’re not already playing it, they’re cookin’ it up — it’s comin’, can’t be stopped.”
Old Fire House Teen Center Program Coordinator Rana Shmait wholeheartedly agrees with the former Fugazi and Minor Threat leader’s comment when discussing the Redmond venue that has been home to all-ages concerts since 1992.
Shmait attended her first gig at the Fire House in 1997 when The Blood Brothers, Red Rocket and others took the stage in the 250-person capacity main room. She was 15 then and wide-eyed when she entered the music hot spot.
“I couldn’t believe that it was here. That’s the same thing teens still share with me,” says the class of 2000 Redmond High graduate who’s now 31. “It was so close to home. And what remains the same is that the staff made me feel welcome, it was very inclusive.”
Mudhoney, Modest Mouse, Gossip and Minus the Bear are some of the bigger bands that have rocked the Fire House over the years; Fugazi was scheduled to play there in 1993, but venue founder Kate Becker moved the gig to the Bellevue YMCA and it drew 1,100 fans.
The Fire House, which hosts two to three concerts a month, also features a 16-track recording studio and a Pro Tools system.
Shmait says the musicians performing at the Fire House these days are just as charged about putting on a solid show as bands in the past.
“I want this to be a space for young people to share their talent and be appreciated and be empowered,” she says of the bands of all genres, vocalists, dancers and poets who perform at the Fire House.
“I refer to it as vibrant and driving,” she adds.
Events for May include the Laugh On! teen comedy night (7 p.m. on May 10), bands Harlow, Scinite and guests (7 p.m. on May 17) and the Whose Crime is it Anyways? murder mystery dinner (6 p.m. on May 31). The Fire House, located at 16510 N.E. 79th St., also holds a variety of classes from academic enrichment to fashion design.
Check out our list of safe places for teens and clubs for underage music fans on the Eastside:
Club K Town
52 Lake Shore Plaza, Kirkland
Remember in high school when you had to stand so many inches away from your dance partner or be publically shamed with timeout in the corner? Club K Town offers a teen friendly dance club, while promising adult supervision. Theme nights include “Thrift Party” and Freestyle Friday, and the space rivals some 21+ clubs with four pool tables, a stage, waterfront deck and a 20,000 watt sound system.
15228 Lake Hills Blvd., Bellevue
Featuring touring bands nearly every Friday, the Ground Zero Concert Series offers both concerts and a practice space for budding musicians. Service director Lance Latimer recalls that when Ground Zero launched 20 years ago, the then music venue noticed that kids stuck around even after the show ended.
“All of a sudden kids started hanging out outside of the venue, and during the week. [We realized] we needed to do programming after school, drop-in services plus the venue.”
Thanks to that collaborative spirit, teens learn the ropes of the musical world with a chance to book shows, practice promotion and take their first wobbly steps into the Eastside music scene. Latimer adds the all-ages nature of the space has created incredible mentorship opportunities.
“Kids can interact with adult bands, use that as a stepping stone and gain knowledge,” says Latimer.
Shows start at 7 p.m. and cost just $6 with a can of food.
348 N. Kirkland Ave., Kirkland
Kirkland Teen Union Building, better known as KTUB to Eastside youth, offers concerts, open mic nights and cafe shows for aspiring, young entertainers to cut their teeth. A practical set of workshops rounds out the event calendar with classes ranging from career coaching to long board construction.
Youth Eastside Services
999 164th Ave NE, Bellevue
Youth Eastside Services might be better known for its altruistic mission, offering an extended hand to kids struggling with emotional distress, substance abuse and violence in their lives, but the center also offers a host of classes and support groups forthe younger age bracket. Join others who share in the experience, whether it be navigating recovery or exiting an abusive relationship. Youth Eastside Services has services at 40 different sites throughout the community.
Sliders Cafe, Snoqualmie
4721 Tolt Ave, Carnation
A family-friendly venue with good food and better company, Sliders offers live music in the evenings for those just west of the pass—bluegrass bands, singer-songwriters and roots music in a charming old gas station café.