Olympia, Washington

Olympia is a crazy little town in Washington that feels different from any place I’ve ever been. We arrived as everything was starting to get dark and rainy. The downtown area is pretty large all things considered, with street after street of delicious hole in the wall asian restaurants, bars, offbeat coffee shops, and smoke shops. There were tons of people busking, skateboarding, and hanging out even after dark, and being outside with so many strangers set the tone for a very interesting evening.

We played at this little restaurant called Le Voyeur with a cool lushly decorated music space in the back. Everything was saturated with smells of roasted garlic, falafel and herbs. The space was covered in band stickers, old bizarre photos, and art work. The back room where we played was more of the same, but it had large red leather benches lining the sides of the room, as well as (if my memory serves me correctly) a strange red velvet curtain on the back of the stage. The red velvet in the same room as all the grungy band stickers and wall art gave me the vibe that this space was somewhat artistically sacred, and had been filled with so much experimental art, music and poetry over the past decade. 

We played with two very different but equally entertaining bands. The first was called Oh Blue Minium and kind of sounded like a slightly happier version of Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s. The second, Derek M. Johnson, was an experimental solo cello loop artist who used his instrument unlike anyone I have ever seen. He had a very extensive pedal board setup, and his music put everyone in a trancelike state. There was one piece of his in particular that had a sound backdrop that sounded almost like a heart beat. It was the kind of music that you wish you could sit in a pitch black room and zone out to, maybe with someone leading yoga or guided meditation. 

We played third. During the beginning of our set, a woman named Candice ran up on stage and told us to stop playing. It was a bit weird at first, but then she told us that the vocals were too quiet and that they needed to be heard. Honestly it was so cool that someone thought the levels of our tunes were so important that they needed to stop the show. We ended up hanging out with Candice towards the end of the night, and she has a super refreshing outlook on life. In her words (because at one point she was saying so much interesting stuff I had to record it), “Reality is whatever you believe it to be. If you believe in hell that’s your reality. If you believe in heaven, that’s your reality”. It’s not very often that you meet such captivating strangers who speak about how they see the world with such conviction. Maybe it’s a “you had to be there” situation, but in any case, I feel lucky to have met Candice, as well as a lot of other individuals that night. 

We slept at a rest stop that was super packed, and got woken up at 8 in the morning to move the van. I’m writing this at a coffee shop in Seattle-the birthplace of Starbucks and Microsoft. With all of its’ tall buildings, fresh produce markets, and finely dressed business folk-Seattle could not feel any more different than Olympia. The best thing about touring so far is plunging into different worlds every night and leaving them for other unknown ones in the morning. Here’s to hoping Seattle’s show is as eventful as yesterdays!