Rocket Queen: This Photo Should Be Your Life

The HalligansÂ’ punk lenses and the DronesÂ’ drive to be heard.

In the mid-'90s, while much of the media focus was on our so-called "grunge scene" and high-profile acts like Soundgarden, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam, there was also an incredibly diverse and vibrant community of punk bands that flew happily below the radar. If you knew where to look, these bands could be found playing house parties or smaller, lovably scruffy clubs like Uncle Rocky's on Capitol Hill or downtown dives like Zak's, Second Avenue Pizza, and Gibson's. Bands like the Spits and Bristle kept it short, fast, and loud, while others like Unwound and Karp took the angular, abrasive, elongated approach. Cover charges were as dirt-cheap as the drinks, and the sense of subterranean camaraderie was a comfort while the mass-media glare on Seattle was uncomfortably blinding.At that time, local writer Dan Halligan was penning a zine called 10 Things Jesus Wants You to Know (it lives on at He eventually started Tablet, the now-defunct alt-weekly that aggressively and admirably strove to compete with both The Stranger and Seattle Weekly, catering in large part to the crowd that frequented those punk shows. Halligan and his wife Amy could often be seen right up front, fists in the air and cameras in hand. Several of those photos showed up in 10 Things, Tablet, Vice, and Maximum Rock'n'Roll; some just went into the Halligans' personal archives, many of which can now be viewed on the 10 Things blog. On Wednesday, Sept. 16, the Halligans will show off some of their more-current work with "In the Pit!", a new exhibit hanging at Tigertail in Ballard (704 N.W. 65th St.). The show encompasses both local and national acts shot over the past few years, including the Spits, the Fluid, the Bronx, the Briefs, and the Whore Moans."While I love the immediacy of running a photo the day after a show on a blog or a week later in print, the limitations of those mediums mean you miss a lot of the details in the photos," says Dan of the desire for a more static forum. "We've been talking about doing a photo show together for quite a while, where we could show off some of our favorite photos from the last few years; it just finally all came together." The reception starts at 6 p.m., with a logical soundtrack DJ'd by Dan and a drink special befitting a budget-conscious punk: a beer and a shot of whiskey for $5.A stop by that exhibit would be the perfect precursor to what is arguably this week's most exciting bill (also Wed., Sept. 16): the Drones at the Tractor Tavern (no faint praise, considering Red Fang, Monotonix, and Team Dresch make stops in Seattle this week). This Australian quartet is making some of the most viscerally thrilling, artfully executed guitar-driven rock to come from Down Under since the Church in the late '80s or the Go-Betweens in the '90s. There's no good reason their shows in Seattle shoud be so criminally underattended. At their most recent show at the Sunset, there couldn't have been more than two dozen people there, but virtually every person in the room (including members of Akimbo, Light in the Attic Records owner Matt Sullivan, and former Pavement guitarist Spiral Stairs) had to pick their jaws up off the ground. As SW reader Bill Campbell Jr. recently pointed out to me, "It's fucking embarrassing that they come here all the way from Australia, fer cryin' out loud, to [only make] 40 bucks and then go to Los Angeles and sell out [a venue as large as] Spaceland."I can't put it better than that, but if you need added incentive, this show features two stellar opening acts: Virgin Islands, the newly minted post-punk band fronted by former Cops leader Mike Jaworski; and Eugene Wendell and the Demon Rind, the latest project from Kwab Copeland, featuring a slew of stellar local players, including veteran guitarists Ian Moore and Kurt Bloch and former Cops drummer Dave Weeks.Should you choose to save your show-going dollars for something in a slightly twangier Americana vein, the lineup at the Sunset the following night includes the majority of the players from the fantastic No Depression All-Star Revue that played the ND festival earlier this summer. The cover is only $12, and it's for an important cause: Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands, Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs, Tony Fulgham, and Anna Coogan are all performing to raise funds for the King County Coalition Against Domestic

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