Musical bashing: Bands rock to sock Bush

Bands Against Bush
Old Michie Building
October 11, 2003

Though intersections of politics and music have always left a bad taste in my mouth, a free, multi-band show is an opportunity I can't pass up, and so last Saturday afternoon found me making my way to the Old Michie Building courtyard for the "International Day of Action" entitled Bands Against Bush.

Though the crowd was fairly sparse when I arrived, the Lilas, Lauren Hoffman's latest band, were performing most vehemently, and the audience that was there seemed deeply into them (vehemently into them, even). The group, a trio made up of Hoffman on guitar and vocals, a bassist and a drummer, plays a punk-influenced kind of indie-rock (emphasis on the rock).

The first tune I heard in its entirety had the sonically pleasing hook of switching between 4/4 picked guitar verses to disco-triplet choruses and back again, and when the drummer finally let loose at the song's completion, and Hoffman's vocals equally cast off their shackles, everything seemed to come together. Imagine one of those moments in most big-budget movies where the hero finally wins the heart of his love interest, the music swells, and the camera pans out as they kiss, and you're half-way there.

"This is our set on crack, by the way," was Hoffman's way of introducing the next number, dedicated to Jay Purdy from Ted Stryker's Drinking Problem. The song had a kind of Go-Go's with attitude feel to it, part pop, part hook, part rock, just good.

The posted schedule announced that the next half-hour would be an open mic, and as three of the group's four members were already present, the well-titled ASAPossible took the stage– after borrowing instruments from the next group. ASAPossible, which includes two members of Ted Stryker's, is composed of guitar, bass, drums, and I believe keys, and play a sort of riff-heavy guitar-pop. Though the group played only a short impromptu set, the fact that every member of the group sang on their songs' choruses, in a sort of scream harmony (I call it "screamony")– as well as their pop-indie rock aesthetic– endeared them to me.

The last act I witnessed was Folkskonde-­ a six man outfit of bass, keys, drums, and three guitarists. Each of the four songs was sung by a different member of the band, and at least the first three were kind of Zeppelin crossed with indie-rock-­ great guitar riffs and some modern melodies.

The last, sung by the group's drummer, was an ode to Jack Black, singer/songwriter of blues/rock duo White Stripes. Written to the instrumentation of that group's song "Ball and Biscuit," the tune found the drummer rapping lines such as "I wanna be Jack White, and I don't feel bad about it," as the audience looked on in amusement.

I'm not sure exactly if any political change will come about because of Saturday's concert, but hey, anything's possible– I just know I saw some good bands, for no bucks.