Musical Talent Abounds. National acts and little known locals provide first-class entertainment.
BY RYAN CROWTHER
Let’s be honest. 2022 was not an easy year for the local nightlife and music communities. As we wallowed through a third year of fewer national artists touring, and fewer people buying tickets to shows, dining and bar-hopping, our small businesses and artists did everything they could to survive. With all the challenges came some big wins.
As many festivals and annual events returned for their first year since 2019, live music fans across the region felt their first dose of normalcy.
Clubs across the Puget Sound region had their first “sold out” shows in a couple years, bringing much needed revenue and confidence.
Local artists released records and were even able to bring their songs on the road for regional and national tours. And, 2022 will always be the year of Steel Beans.
It’s a tale as old as YouTube. Someone has their phone out at the perfect moment and captures something that elicits a hair trigger reaction of laughter, sadness, longing and even rage. It’s posted on the internet, and before scrollers can even think, the person likes, comments and/or shares the video and the algorithm has now boosted this video into the eyes and feeds of everyday people, and sometimes the biggest rock stars in the world. These viral moments can change the life of an artist in a moment.
This phenomenon changed the life of Everett artist and one-man band Steel Beans this last September.
Since last fall, Steel Beans has garnered over 220,000 Instagram followers, has met several of his rock icons and has most recently been invited to open 12 dates in the US and Europe by Tenacious D, a rock band lead by comedian and actor Jack Black. This all happened after he posted a live video of him playing his song “Molotov Cocktail Lounge,” which propelled views to nearly 100 million across the globe.
“It’s been a wild ride,” said Jeremy DeBardi, AKA Steel Beans. “It’s almost a sort of an overnight sensation 15 years in the making. One so sudden and massive, nothing could have prepared me for it,” said DeBardi.
Many who have watched Steel Beans over the past 15 years likely had a feeling this day would come. And for all the locals in Snohomish County who have been fortunate enough to see Steel Beans perform at Fisherman’s Village Music Festival, Mirkwood in Arlington, Tony V’s Garage in Everett or other places he’s performed over the past decade, this is an exciting time for them and Debardi.
“Literally six months ago I was playing in broom closets to scrape my rent together and now I’m playing the Starlight Theater in Kansas City and the 02 Arena in London. But the real success is hearing from all the people that have been inspired by my music, and that it puts a smile on people’s faces across the world. That’s priceless, and that’s all bigger than me,” DeBardi said.
Steel Beans is amongst an impressive array of artists who have called Snohomish County home at one point. The first names that come to mind are Carol Kaye, and of course Kenny Loggins. There are also plenty of independent artists with roots here like The Moondoggies, who have kicked their arena sets off sharing proudly they’re from Everett, Washington.
Algorithms aside, there is nothing that can replace the thrill of the moment when the music and audience become one. It’s a life force all its own, a special bond that only happens during a live performance. It’s what sends bands back out on the road and leaves audiences screaming for more.
There are many venues in Snohomish County where this nirvana is happening, and how perfect to think you’re supporting the budding and thriving career of an artist while also enjoying a night out with your friends, basking in the live music experience?
Over the spring and summer, there will be plenty of options to support your local artists, venues and community events.
Over the last couple of years, both the Bothell Block Party and Brewfest and Snohomish Block Party have become summer staples, putting out incredible lineups of regional talent. This year, Taste Edmonds will be delivering its annual party at a new location with some new names. There are also venues in just about every Snohomish County city offering occasional live music.
No city in the County has as much momentum as Everett. With the recent addition of APEX Art and Culture Center, there are five thriving live music venues in Downtown Everett right now with venue capacity in Downtown Everett alone at nearly 2,500 people.
“We’ve noticed a huge wave of excitement on Hewitt,” said Isabella Valencia, Owner of Black Lab.
Bella just celebrated one year in her new larger location at 1805 Hewitt Ave, and has seen an uptick in attendance at shows, and in artists wanting to play. “Just since February 1st, we’ve seen a lot more people coming out, and it’s welcomed. People seem like they are much more comfortable being out and about, and there’s never been a more important time to support. People need to hold onto the things they value and show up for them, because they’re precious and may not be around if they don’t,” said Valencia.
This May, Everett’s largest showcase of local, regional and national talent will happen for its tenth year. Over 50 acts will fill five stages across Downtown Everett for Fisherman’s Village Music Festival and Night Market on May 18, 19 and 20. Thousands of locals and visitors will hit the streets over the three days catching new and old names, filling restaurants and bars across the downtown core.
If you’re unsure of the best places to go, perhaps Fisherman’s Village weekend is the best place to start