Friday, 29 October 2010

US - Olympia, Washington

I live in Olympia, WA on the West Coast of the United States. The area is marked by frequent rain and quite a rich array of music...

From the late 70s and early 80s:

The Lewd


The Rejectors


From the last few decades:






Some recently defunct but more contemporary acts from the area are:


Go It Alone

Blue Monday

Hardcore punk in Olympia WA is as close to its roots as it can get I feel. The music is made by a bunch of friends who feel alienated, socially rejected, and feel our world is turned upside down. Frequent benefit shows and guerilla shows are hosted. Recently Hysterics, Scary Man, In Debt, and Dehumanized set up gear on the Evergreen State College campus and played music to raise money for homes raided by the FBI. After being shut down on one location by the police everyone worked together to carry the gear to another end of the school and continue playing to finish the show. Shows like this have occurred incredibly frequently from random areas outside to laundry rooms in the school. The shows are all about making a point, raising money and awareness for a cause, and communicating our ideas/expressing how we feel.

Also just recently there was a benefit show for La Source in Haiti that Hysterics, Weird TV, Outlook, and Sixes played. Travis, who plays guitar in my band Sixes, organized getting Greg Bennick to speak on behalf of La Source and to play a Trial song. The show ended up raising $580 which funded nine children to go to school in Haiti this year.

Benefit shows of this sort have always done very well in the area. Stop at Nothing's last show raised over $700 for flooded local organic farms and a benefit show for Ian Jeffrie's family raised over $1000 to help pay for the financial troubles the family encountered after the unexpected death of their father.

Hardcore music in the Olympia area is not about starting a band to achieve an image and make a name for yourself. Hardcore punk in Olympia is about the honest feeling that we could not function otherwise if we weren't doing what we are doing; playing shows and exchanging ideas. It's about taking the opportunity and the privilege we have to play in our bands and use it for something constructive and positive. It's not about power dynamics or getting off on yourself as it seems a lot of music is in general. It's much more than music.

Recently a website was started for our music community called OURSOUND. It has most of the band's music and lyrics available as well as upcoming shows.

All the bands in the Olympia scene are quite different from each other. Each is unique in its own way both in terms of sound and lyrics. All the bands are somewhat connected in one way or another because a solid base of friends makes up most of them. The bands that best represent the scene in Olympia are...









Local community, gentrification in our town, oppressive behavior, scene politics and calls to action are all exemplified in the lyrics of each band but all of them go about addressing the issues in their own ways. I personally play in Sixes, In Debt, Scary Man, White Wards, Red & Black, and Trainyard which is now on hiatus.

There are frequent zines made, the most recent being an anti-racism zine called "Break the Silence" which addresses genetic, economic, and societal implications of race. It was created to combat a white power uprising in Hoquiam. James of Dehumanized and Outlook organized a show, we all got together and put together the zine, and we went and played.

In the works is a large, comprehensive magazine that covers the Olympia scene with interviews accompanied by a full length record compilation of the bands. showcases most of the relevant bands with the exception of those that didn't want to be represented on the internet and has a few other releases from the area and just friend's bands in general.

There are plenty of cool venues in Olympia (to name a few):

The Midnight Sun

The Eagle's Hall

The Northern

The Black Lake Grange

The great part about Olympia is that there are tons of houses for shows, our's included, so house shows are incredibly common. Everyone works together to book and promote shows. The great part about the Olympia scene is that it all functions as a unit. Everyone works together in bands to pursue their own interests and the interests of others.

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