The Croc was home and refuge and hangout and stomping ground. You could be there every night and sometimes it felt like I was. The bar, the booths, the dining room, the show room, the plate glass windows onto Blanchard, the long walkway from the front to the bar. When I broke up with a boyfriend, I didn’t care so much about custody of the friends, I cared about custody of the Croc, dammit. I went there alone and I went with large groups, I went on good dates and on bad dates. I had nice guys ask for my phone number and idiots try. I stood there stone cold sober and stumbled out drunk and happy and screaming.
I’m not trying to make it into more than it was, which was a great club in the right place at the right time with the right booker and the righteous soundperson. Eventually the magic fades. Eventually the rundown, forgotten neighborhood is reclaimed, the reclamation of said neighborhood being a movement the club was probably a big part of.
Kevn McKinney’s Thanksgiving shows; Bumrush (Mike McCready in drag); the first Wellwater Conspiracy show; Mudhoney; the Young Fresh Fellows, Scott McCaughey standing at the corner of 3rd and Blanchard; Sunday brunch; watching the band vans park in The Croc Parking Lot (3rd between Blanchard and Bell) when I lived at 4th and Blanchard: moving to 4th and Blanchard and being able to run out of the house sans coat, catch the headliner, and run home; three nights of Cheap Trick at the Croc; front row the night Pearl Jam opened for Cheap Trick at the Croc; eating dinner at the club night of show to “beat the line” and watching the eBay vultures stalk the likes of Mudhoney; Robyn Hitchcock debuting “Viva Seatac” at the Croc (“Viva viva viva/Viva Seatac/you’ve got the best coffee, computers and smack”); watching the Knitters while Steve Nieve walks by with Peter Buck, and six of us yelling, “Hey, Pete, going to throw some crockery?”; the Electric Six; watching Handsome Dick Manitoba mock the Mariners the first time the Dictators ever came to Seattle; ‘KURT BLOCH IS NOT A NICE MAN’ graffiti in the ladies’ room; the neon sheep in the bar; Tuatara; Supersuckers; Gas Huffer; Young Fresh Fellows; John Doe playing a half empty club the night after X at the Sky Church; seeing Mike Watt right after 9/11, seeing Mike Watt right after Elliott Smith died, seeing Mike Watt just about any time; R.E.M. at the Croc, “secret” anti-Bumbershoot shows (aka, “we can’t play anywhere in Seattle two weeks before or after Bumbershoot so we’ll play under another name”). The Fastbacks. The D4. Dead Moon. Bands long since forgotten that at the time seemed like the most important thing in the entire world.
And, of course, THE POLE. I usually stood down front so it didn’t bug me, but trying to find a spot BEHIND it that was acceptable is of course another thing entirely. If you have never been there, you likely do not know what I am talking about, but if you have ever frequented a rock club, I guarantee there is some similar fixture that causes you the same kind of agita.
God, what am I forgetting? I know I am forgetting so very much.
Funnily enough my last show at the Croc was Marah, long after I left town, which is more than fitting. At least I got to sit at that bar one more time and order drinks for my friends and tell them how much I loved the place.
Thank you and good night.
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