Leigh Bezezekoff is one of the coolest women in Ballard. She’s like this magical unicorn lady who, if seen at a show, you know you’ve made the right choice to be there and the band you’re about to see is going to be awesome. She’s also funny, smart, and as wise as the day is long. She’s been kicking ass as the Marketing & Social Media Coordinator at The Tractor Tavern and the Marketing & Communications Coordinator for Macefield Music Festival. She took a little time out of her ass-kicking schedule to hang out with me at Hattie’s, eat breakfast, and tell me about some of her favorite times at The Tractor.
Q: How long have you been coming to The Tractor? How long have you been working there?
A: I don’t remember how long I’ve been coming here, probably in the 10-year mark or so. I’ve worked here 1 year this month! I joked with the owner when I first started that I was already here so much that he might as well pay me to do something.
Q: What was your favorite show that you’ve ever been to at The Tractor?
A: There’s no way to pick a favorite. The first time I saw The Maldives here I cried. There was so much magic here that night. That was years before I started working with them and hadn’t met them yet. More recently the Eddie Spaghetti benefit was another example. There were so many emotions charging that night from the folks on stage and in the crowd. There was a moment where I turned and saw I was standing next to Eddie Vedder and we both had tears in our eyes. He put his hand on my shoulder and we just shared that moment. My 17-year-old self would have exploded at the thought of that ever happening. I loved seeing a mini mosh pit break out at Bass Drum of Death (everyone at the show including the band weren’t even old enough to have moshed in the 90’s). Matt Haimovitz (classical) was pretty incredible and such a 180 from most nights here. I love dancing to the Country bands that play here too. But I really love it when a band has their first show here or their album release and they are so happy. Those are always my favorites.
Q: What is the weirdest experience you’ve ever had at The Tractor?
A: Most of those happen when I’m alone here and you get that weird feeling that you’re not quite alone. The first time I was alone here it was one of those stormy days and I kept hearing weird noises. A cop came in to buy tickets and I made him walk around with me to make sure there wasn’t anyone hiding. I locked up immediately after that. Another time during one of Dan’s (frequent) construction (destruction?) projects I snapped a photo and it looks like a ghostly face in the bar which weirded me out.
Q: Why is The Tractor such a special place? What kind of rock n’ roll/country mojo has been injected into it to make it feel the way it does?
A: For me, it’s the perfect venue. Big enough to see great bands on their way up, but small enough that the crowd factor doesn’t bother me. But I’d really have to say it’s the folks who work here that make it what it is. I felt like family before I ever started working here. Everyone cares for each other and this space. The artists who come in here and the folks who come to see shows here can feel it and that creates more good energy. I know it sounds hippy dippy and that hasn’t always been the case here (there is definitely been some demons released here) but all that stuff goes into making the mojo that lives in these walls.
Q: One of my favorite things about The Tractor is that I’ve seen basically every type of music played here. I think it’s especially awesome when there’s a hip-hop show here because those happen fairly rarely in Ballard. What kind of considerations go into what eventually makes it up on stage?
A: We are lucky enough to have an awesome talent booker, Greg Garcia, who knows how and when to take chances on the artists that play here and which ones just fit here. Some bands just walk in and recognize what a cool space this is and that energy goes into their show. Recently The Cave Singers started booking shows here. They had never played here and their first night here was one of my favorite times I had ever seen them (including the last show I ever saw at the old Croc).
Q: Who is your dream act that you’d kill to see at The Tractor?
A: The Sonics, Built To Spill, Helio Sequence, or Sturgill Simpson (his last show here was incredible!)….
Q: Which bands have been the coolest/ most fun to hang out with? Which ones were THE WORST?!?!?
A: We get to meet a ton of bands on the road. I don’t make it a point to hang with anyone, but sometimes you just click with a band or individuals. BRONCHO were pretty rad. I LOVE Banditos and can’t wait for them to come back. Pond (from Australia) were fun to hang with and thought it was the greatest place on earth because they had weed delivered to them. The Deslondes had a rolling New Orleans family that extended from the crowd to the back deck. They were pretty fun until someone lit off some fireworks in the parking lot. Nikki Lane kicks ass. But I really have to say that I love it when the local bands play here. Hanging with my friends on the back deck in between sets and before the show make up some of my favorite times here.
Q: Do you think The Tractor could exist in any neighborhood other than Ballard?
A: We’re a lot like Ballard itself. A little salty. A little older. We like to do things a little differently and be independent but still in the mix.I hope the growth in this area slows down a bit and gives the community a chance to adjust to all the changes. I love walking down Ballard Ave and knowing most of the folks who power all the bars, shops, and restaurants as well as those who patronize them. The Tractor has no plans on going anywhere. Our owner even made some “Stop Visualizing Ballard” bumper stickers if that gives you any indication on his thoughts. We’ll be around for quite some time.
Q: What are you most excited to see at Macefield Fest? How did you get involved with the festival?
A: I think I got to see 5 artists last year which was a tragedy. This year I want to see EVERYONE!!!! I had just gotten laid off from my LAST corporate job ever and had been talking with Michael Stephens and Kwab Copeland about helping out when all the sudden I had all this time on my hands. They were super glad to fill it. Plus, I like eating tacos and making fart noises -so I was a natural.