Fifteen months after abruptly closing its doors, the Crocodile has reopened. To kick things off the venue hosted a pair of free shows. On Thursday night Hypatia Lake, the Kindness Kind and the Quiet Ones welcomed the Crocodile back to the Seattle music scene. Last night Akimbo, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, and Patrol thoroughly blew out any dust that might have remained from the remodling.
First, the Belltown neighborhood hasn’t changed much. There is still no place to park and it’s full of weekend warriors from the burbs (as I walked to the venue I heard a woman yell, “Oh my god, my boobs are popping out.” as she tried to run across a cross walk before the light changed). The Crocodile on the other hand is almost unrecognizable. The entrance is now on Blanchard street (the doors at the bottom of the ramp near where the restrooms were that were never used. The old entrance on 2nd Ave now leads to a smokers pen.) When I walked in Patrol was already playing. One thing that hasn’t changed is the sound. The place still sounds fantastic. It’s great to see Jim Anderson at the sound board doing what he does best. The new stage runs along the south wall of the show room and seems much bigger. The new lighting is going to make every band look like huge stars. When you stand looking at the stage it’s easy to think you are in a much larger venue.
Brothers of the Sonic Cloth, AKA Tad Doyle’s new band, proved the sound system can easily handle the loudest, heaviest bands. And the sight lines are great. The huge column is now gone and there is a mezzanine (I think this mezzanine is what caused all the Neumos comparisons I overheard last night. Rumor has it that the bar in the mezzanine serves stiffer drinks). But the room does not have a good flow. The main bar is now opposite from the stage along what used to be the window in what was the cafe area. All night long people who were going to get drinks were running into people returning with drinks as they all tried to weave through the people watching the bands.
And what’s with the bathrooms? They seem way too swanky. Especially since at the end of the night they are still going to end up looking like the bathrooms at El Corazon.
I’ve only recently gotten into Akimbo. I’ve always thought they were great musicians, but never fell in love with their music. But damn are the fun to watch. The crowd was really into their set. Full-on moshing was going on and it made the place feel alive. Akimbo promised a Nirvana cover if anyone took a stage dive. And when the singer from Patrol did just that, the band kept their word played a version of “Breed” that whipped the crowd into a frenzy. I thought it was a fitting tribute to the house that grunge built.
This is not the old Crocodile. Some of the coziness has been lost, but overall I think the new version will be seen as superior to the original. I look forward to seeing many shows here.