So if you really wanna get in on the action in Olympia this week--I'd suggest taking in the 6-10 a.m. "Longshoreman's Happy Hour" at King Solomon's Reef. Look for Randy. He's the guy with the stringy brown mullet and the shirt that says "Mustache Rides--5 Cents." If you buy him a rise-and-shine Zima, he might be enticed into providing you with instruction on the carny gestalt. By the end of the morning you'll know where to find ass, gas, and grass in every state of the lower 48. You'll have learned, by experience, the basic tenet of his philosophy which he imparts to everyone standing in line for the Zipper, while holding out a coffee can for tips: "The More You Throw, The More You Go."
Here follows a tip sheet of bands playing at Yoyo A Go Go that will make your very own Randy Experience all the more edifying.
Dead Moon (Thursday night)
Fred and Toody Cole are the essence of punk rock. Add all the Ozzie and Harriet ingredients--long marriage, kids, grandkids, and a successful business--and then throw in noise, anarchy, leather, and the scratchy blast of their garagey, freak-out music. They will turn the 800-seat Capitol Theater into a dank cavern filled with writhing rockers. Pogo till your feet bleed, but you'll still show only a fraction of the energy that fuels these punks who have already said goodbye to 50.
Ramstead (Thursday night)If Fugazi were girls and from Japan, they would sound a lot like Ramstead. But perish that particularly bizarre thought! Ramstead singer and guitarist Nao is a soul-scorching performer. An adroit guitarist with a riveting voice, she lays waste any pre-conceived notions you may have of The Girl Rocker. Prepare to be slain.
Make Up (Saturday night)It's the gospel yah-yah sound coming at you from our nation's capital. Dig their sartorial splendor. Revel in the call and response frenzy of their funky, evangelical sound. Kiss the hem of their garments and receive the Word. Count how many times singer Ian Svenonius says the word "baby." The correct answer wins a prize.
Marine Research (Friday afternoon)Traveling all the way from Merry Olde Englande, Marine Research arrives with all the shimmering pop of their former band, Heavenly, but with an added cascade of sophisticated arrangements and sexy allure. In real life the members of this band are high-ranking members of Parliament, but they've taken time off from their hectic schedules to travel the highways and byways of America, spreading the word: Cool Britannia!
Quasi (Saturday night)Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss write the songs that say all the things you wished you'd said to a departing lover except you were too busy leaving maniacal messages on their answering machine and crying in the bathtub. The upbeat swing of their organ and drum sound gives these songs their magical irony. The fact that once upon a time these two used to be wed in holy matrimony is far beside the point. It's the songs, stupid. Who'd think that maturity would sound so totally awesome?
Bratmobile (Friday night)Travel back in time to those heady days of Riot Grrl. Back then everyone was so busy writing fanzine manifestos and listening to terrible performance poetry that we let the radical pop of Bratmobile get away from us. Not this time. Get up there in the front row and frug to Erin Smith's surf-happy guitar, Molly Neuman's ka-pow drumming, and Alison Wolfe's hip-thrusting sing-song. They might not throw soiled tampons into the crowd anymore but there will no doubt be some other magical, transgressive moments.
Yoyo A Go Go is held July 13-18 in the Capitol Theater, 206 E. 5th Ave, in downtown Olympia. A full schedule of bands is posted at: http://www.olywa.net/yoyo/schedule.html. Full passes (50 bands = 50 bucks!) are available on-line at www.insound.com or at the door. Separate admissions available. King Solomon's Reef is at 212 E. 4th Ave, and Lakefair is down by the lake, dude.