Three weeks later – a reflection on Easy Street’s last night on Queen Anne

Today marks 3 weeks since Easy Street Records hosted its last in-store performance and shuttered its Queen Anne location’s doors for good. To reminiscence about the loss of one of our independent, locally-owned shops, we have a special guest contributor – Tim Shields was at Easy Street on their last night, watching Yo La Tengo and all of the evening’s events, and he wrote the following article that he’s shared with Queen Anne View.

Easy Street Records, January 2013

Soon-to-be Chase Bank, February 2013

Seattle Bids Farewell to a Musical Institution
by Tim Shields

There were tears. There were goodbyes. There was a marriage proposal. And there was Yo La Tengo, a band underappreciated by the mainstream yet undeniably influential in its own musical community. It was the perfect band to bid farewell to Easy Street Records in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle on Friday, January 18th, 2013. For more than a decade Easy Street has been a staple of the Queen Anne neighborhood and a bastion of Independent music, however, due to the landowner’s request for a ten-year lease, it will soon become a Chase Manhattan Bank.

Waiting anxiously in the crowd were preteens with their parents, gender confused 18-year-olds with braces and lipstick, 20-something hipsters in hunting caps and tight jeans, and balding middle aged music-aficionados who possessed the kind of encyclopedic musical knowledge you’d expect from someone who’s been browsing the record bins for more than a decade.

By the time the crowd started pouring in, most of the record bins had been, or were in the process of, being removed. In the rear of the store behind a sliding garage door was the stage that supported and helped launch countless bands, from Pearl Jam side projects, to Modest Mouse, The Shins, Brandi Carlile, The Head and the Heart, and Macklemore (before he met Ryan).

For more than an hour the crowd waited shoulder-to-shoulder as foreheads beaded with perspiration and colored shirts ran dark around the arms. Shortly before 7pm, Matt Vaughan, who 12-years prior introduced Elvis Costello to open its doors, stood emotionally before the capacity crowd of 500.

He thanked the countless people who supported the store over the years and gushed at the incredible time he had. Behind him on stage were his past and present employees, some who flew in from as far as Los Angeles and Tennessee to attend the historic closing. Arm in arm they stood like proud cast members on closing night of a successful Broadway run; some in tears, some in embrace, some in awe as they moved between the joy of what they experienced and gained and the sadness and lament of what they were losing. (more…)