Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Last night I went to the Bring Em Home Now at the Hammerstein Ballroom to commemorate the 3rd anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and to benefit various veterans groups (viz., Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace). It was a fun time, with all kinds of guests and acts. I'll run through some of them now:
- Steve Earle was first up, and many of you know I'm a huge fan of his. He played with only an accoustic guitar and no backing band (I've seen him several times, but always with The Dukes). It was great, although he only played two songs: "F the CC" and "Rich Man's War." "F the CC" is no great musical feat, but it has a point that, while obvious, needs to be said. "Rich Man's War" was dedicated to Cindy Sheehan and was very, very good as an accoustic number
- Margaret Cho came on next, while they were changing the stage, and did a little polemical standup routine. It started out slow, but got going and actually was very funny.
- FischerSpooner (I think) was next, and, well, I'd never heard of them, and, uh, they were somewhat interesting. The All Music Guide says they are "electro-pop/new wave", which I guess is right. They certainly had a certain Devo-like look going in a way. But, I'd say it was more like rock meets house music (kind of like The Killers but, well, more gay). Anyway, there were a lot of FS fans in the crowd, of which I was not one. And, they had all kinds of dancers and theatrical elements, which didn't quite work. If you're going to have bad dancers move to bad choreography, you need to have a strong sense of humor about it, and do it tongue-in-cheek (for a good example of this, see The Flaming Lips). In general, this was an act that just isn't aimed at me, for various reasons.
- I think that Susan Sarandon and Cindy Sheehan came out next. Both were good, and Cindy Sheehan--it's just amazing how she's really given her life to anti-war activism. I didn't agree with 100% of what she said, but still, she's worthy of our admiration.
- Peaches and Devendra Barnhart came out during the next bits. All Music Guide calls Peaches a "vile Canadian temptress" and that about sums it up. Devendra Barnhart was the least impressive act of the show.
- Rufus Wainright was next, and he was as awesome as I'd expect. Just incredible.
- Bright Eyes, another band I'd never heard of was next. I liked them--they didn't blow me away with any real virtuosity, but they're songs were quite pleasing.
- Then came Michael Stipe, who played with a backing band I can't remember the name of. He was, well, Michael Stipe--his voice was incredible and it didn't even look like he was trying. He impressed me very much.
Well, that about it. Overall, very fun with some quality music. Although, the combination of FischerSpooner, Margaret Cho, Peaches, Rufus Wainright and Michael Stipe, it was probably the gayest thing I've been to.* Nevertheless, fun and a good cause.
UPDATE: Robert Farley of Lawyers, Guns and Money (one of my new favorites, and not just because it's named after a Zevon song) posts about anti-war protests in general. I'm virtually certain Guthrie would agree with his post, and I agree with most of it. Check it out.
*other than summer camp, of course. But that doesn't count, right?