underground since'89

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Best of 2011 by Stephie

two things i'm not gonna forget from 2011:

1. nuts! #8 party
-as a teenager i would read book after book about the punk scenes of the 70s and 80s and it didn't take long to come to terms with the devastating idea that i would never experience an underground music made by members of my own generation that would move me at least as profoundly as our predecessors' music had. how very wrong i was...after freaking out over some of the best bands in the world (all of whom were from olympia), with a couple hundred friends and strangers in the pouring rain, i left feeling like i'd just been baptized or something...by the time sonskull played, it was dark, and the crowd was a mass of steaming bodies, losing our shit in this gutted warehouse. i remember milk music's two-song set really got to me. i'd seen almost all these bands before, but never in one place, and it was a magical combination of elements. someday rolling stone or an equally irrelevant publication will try to reflect on this period in music history and they will most likely completely overlook this biggest, best and most sacred secret. realest of the real. thank you ben trogdon.

2. outlook at aggression fest (eagle's hall basement, olympia)
-"aggression fest" was an all-day showcase of hardcore bands from around the northwest. i thought some of the show was a basketball-shorts-wearing snoozefest but it was for a great cause (proceeds went to G.I. coffeehouse COFFEE STRONG, owned by antiwar vets at fort lewis, to provide soldiers with information about their rights and resources) and it did have its highlights: Seattle band GRIMACE, for example, who channels bands like NEGATIVE APPROACH but with a kind of freshness, fury and authenticity that can't be faked. my band hysterics also played and had a great time, but what really made this show best-of-2011 material was the performance given by olympia hardcore band OUTLOOK. smart and sincere personal-is-political lyrics with scathing and relentless delivery, brain-rippingly tight riffs and crazy extraterrestrial-grade changes that move at such a breakneck pace, it doesn't give you a second to contemplate what the fuck it is they just did. in 2008, seeing the way adriana fronted this group was what inspired me to scrape up the guts to attempt the same thing the following year, and every outlook show thereafter has been equally inspiring...as soon as they hit the first chord at this show and the floor opened up, i flipped my wig and ended up sore for like four days. what a great group!

other stuff:
crude thought (!!!), dancing onstage with the sonics (not to mention james maeda with his mom and dad) at the capitol theater in the first moments of 2011, getting intercepted by jewish family i didn't even know i had at the opening of kitzel's deli (true story), the KISS cover band (five words: aaron larsen as gene simmons), going on the first hysterics tour, the new john maus LP, the broken water 12", brilliant colors/la la vasquez at grandma's house, and occupy wall street.

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