Last year, Lookout Records -- that little East Bay label with the big green (day) thumb -- celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a giddy, weekend-long, multivenue party featuring bands from its definitively plucky roster. A good many Lookout bands play frequently in the Bay Area, but the shows sold out anyway and folks still wanted more -- one enthusiastic club-hopper said the groups were like Pringles: You couldn't have just one. This might be because the congenial "punk" baked up over at Lookout comes in a variety of flavors -- seaside-surf, '60s garage grit, teen-beat sweat, Ramones-y rush -- while the core ingredients are irresistible: effervescent hooks and eye-catching showmanship.
What's behind the mask? The Phantom Surfers play the Lookout Freakout.
Whether their shticks involve sharp suits, synchronized guitar kicks, wrestling masks, toy grab bags, pastel spandex, or Sugar Smacks launchers, Lookout bands usually get your toes tapping and your face grinning. Last year's weekend culminated in a powdered-sugar bath (compliments of the Go-Nuts) that left Slim's with sticky sound boards and highly flammable air. This year, the Labor Day Lookout Freakout -- four consecutive shows held for no reason other than great fun -- will culminate in a daytime blowout in the middle of a miniature golf course: Plaid pants and fishing hats will be putting through the Pirate Cove and the Orient Express while the Phantom Surfers, the Hi-Fives, the Mr. T Experience, the Smugglers, the Mopes, the Plus Ones, the Groovie Ghoulies, Pansy Division, and Towards an End perform on a stage in the middle of it all. For those with dreams of starring in a home-golf video, camera crews will be on hand and, for those with an aversion to sun, all games in the video arcade will be free. The Labor Day show will be held at Golden Tee in Castro Valley on Monday at 2 p.m. Admission is $12. For a complete list of Lookout Freakout shows, see Music Listings or call (510) 849-8300, or visit www.lookoutrecords.com.