The 2000s were a time of expansion and new beginnings for underground music in Tacoma. Hardcore and grunge would remain popular music genres, but the scene was no longer all about grunge or Hardcore. Music in the mainstream would allow metal and other sub genres to come back into the limelight. Bands like Opeth, Converge, Mastodon, Lamb of God, Unearth, Killswitch Engage, Avenged Sevenfold, System of a Down, As I Lay Dying, Slipknot, and Children of Bodom would give inspiration to many bands all around the world and for sure here in the Tacoma underground. All kinds of genres were now being played in the Tacoma scene, such as metalcore, deathcore, grunge rock, throw back rock and many other forms of metal and rock. Bands such as Botch, Aspen, Owen Hart, The Ellis Armor, Pistol For a Paycheck, Jet City Fix, The Jury, and Atomic Outlaws would all make their mark here in the Tacoma scene.
With the birth of venues in the early 2000s, such as Hell’s Kitchen on Sixth Ave., Club Impact on Pacific Ave. and later in 2007 the Viaduct on South Tacoma Way, bands and show goers had a place to play and experience music in a refined environment. These places had working crews of people that made the live music atmosphere easy to work in and more accessible for bands to play in. This opened the floodgate for the bands that would become established in the area. Since there were more bands, there were also bigger crowds and this is what caused the scene to grow. Tacoma became a popular spot for nationally recognized bands to play.
Booking agent Jeremy Bushnell said, “A lot of the bigger bands I worked with would come in on smaller tours. During the times of the Viaduct we had bands like Suicide Silence and all these other huge metal bands would come and play in Tacoma instead of Seattle. We were pretty proud that we built something that they would come and play here in Tacoma instead of going to a big city like Seattle.”
Later, past the mid-2000s, social media sites like Myspace Music and Facebook forever changed the way bands market themselves. Social media would also affect the overall quality of music being produced.
Booking agent Lonnie Reed said, “Social media completely changed the scene. It did away with show flyers. Myspace Music turned everything digital and because of these sites there were 10 times the bands. Bands just don’t promote anymore because of these sites.”
Social media has become a crutch for a lot of bands these days and this caused so many venues to shut down. Since bands are not working as hard to get people to go out to the shows, not as many people show up. This in turn hurts the venues and causes them to lose money. Venues like Hell’s Kitchen, Club Impact, and the Viaduct have all suffered from this and have had to close their doors.
Keep the scene alive, Tacoma! If you want to see the Tacoma underground metal scene for yourself, come check out The Lochs on Monday, October 29. Bands like Revocation, Alol, Kenmode, Grenades, From Heroes to Legends, and Czar will be playing. It’s for all ages, cover charge is $8 in advance and $10 at the door. The show starts at 6 p.m..