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DIY all-ages venue Yayo Taco closes its doors

Barren front of Yayo Taco (PHOTO: MAX PLENKE)
Barren front of Yayo Taco (PHOTO: MAX PLENKE)

There's nothing on the windows of Yayo Taco to indicate closing. No farewell message. No letter from the Health District indicating the University district restaurant's C health grade. The door's even unlocked.

But for regulars, one obvious thing is missing: The gnarled, more-graffiti-than-wood patio furniture. Just inside the front door, it's all stacked together, a sad pile of tags from maybe every united state. A cook mills around inside, cleaning up cans, nodding and repeating "closed" from the dim, shade-drawn counter.

We aren't trying to get you boo-hooing over a shuttering taco spot. But for years, Yayo Taco has been the castle and court for DIY all-ages shows, the stuff not getting booked elsewhere, one of the last places you could see college kid jazz, gutterpunk and shoegaze while drinking a microbrew next to a family of five eating dinner.

The venue's had its foxtrots with the Health Department before, racking up a hefty set of fees. But this time, facing a $477 fine, owner Cho Yiu says he won't stand for it, opting to close instead.

Those of drinking age will just have one less good venue to patronize. But without getting too dramatic, it's important to know the all-ages crowd is losing something much more important. "For the first time, there literally are no all-ages venues left in this town, unless you have enough of a draw to get into one of the casino venues," says longtime all-ages booker Patrick "Pulsar" Trout. "The lack of DIY/smaller all ages rooms is going to cripple the scene fast if something isn't done. You’re gonna see a lot of talented young bands give up or move away because they feel there’s nothing for them here.”

Most of Vegas’ prominent musicians were once local kids trying to find venues. But if places like this keep going under, the next age of Vegas musician isn’t going to have anything at all. “My concern is you’re going to have an entire generation of young bands getting signed who, when asked about their hometown, are all going to say the same thing: There's nothing for us there,” Pulsar says. “I’ve been booking shows in town for close to eight years now and I have never seen the DIY scene in this bad of shape. … I’m just really worried about our scene right now.”