Venue notes: Gorilla Gardens, Seattle

Like its predecessor, the Gorilla Room (with which it should not be confused), Gorilla Gardens is now just a memory. Originally an old Chinese theater, it was located at 410 5th Avenue S, in Seattle's International District. There were two performance spaces, the "rock theater" and the smaller Omni Room.

Jonathan Poneman wrote in Spin (Sep 92) that in 1985, "Most of the early bands who would later be associated with the embryonic 'Seattle sound' were still playing at Gorilla Gardens, an unsavory all-ages club." Soundgarden's second-ever show was at the Gorilla Gardens, opening for the Melvins and Hüsker Dü.

Writing in Jan 2004, Douglas Mays, whose early Seattle punk band X-15 had been fixtures at the old Gorilla Room, recalls how he got the job as Gorilla Gardens' first booker: "The owner [of the original Gorilla Room, Tony Chu] got more cash together and [leased] this warehouse/Chinese movie theater at 5th and Jackson, which is basically the DMZ between Chinatown and Pioneer Square. When I caught wind of the owner's plans I proposed that I run the show. He gave me the job, thanx to the fact that the band I managed and shows I promoted at the original Gorilla Room kept him alive."


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