by Amber Goodwyn
Neil Young’s Jan. 17 concert supporting the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation’s legal fight against the tar sands has come and gone, and in its wake is a city divided. Okay, so maybe that’s an overstatement, but clearly there were three basic camps: those who love Neil and his politics, those who love Neil and shrugged off his message, and those who fucked off to enjoy Queer City Cinema’s Performatorium instead — like me. I like Neil and all, but I live on the fringe and love queer performance art best.
Still, hats off to Neil. For as long as there has been struggle, there have been political musicians. I mean, check out all the political albums that have been pressed over the years — here’s a short list of some classics: Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back (pushing back against racism and classism), U2’s War (anti-war), Bikini Kill’s entire discography (sex and gender politics), much of Bob Marley’s discography (racism, anti-violence) and PJ Harvey’s recent Let England Shake (war and colonialism are both really bad), to name a few. Then there are whole genres of music that put up a fuss, like folk, punk, rap, afro-futurist funk and the long tradition of protest songs and gospel liberation music.
Clearly, Neil is not the first nor will he be the last to use his position of power (the cold, gold seat of Fame) to raise a little consciousness.
To misquote Emma Goldman: it ain’t my revolution if I can’t dance, you know? My emotional investment in a band I already like increases tenfold when I know they’ve got more going on than love songs and party tunes. So I’m going to shrug off the climate-change deniers and shallow concert-goers.
I assume Mr. Young doesn’t care about them either and is happy to take their money and run (off to fight the good fight).
REAL LIVE MUSIC
On Friday, Jan. 31, head to the Exchange to gaze upon The Spoils, the Florals, Bermuda Love and White Women. I encourage you to make a one-sentence story using their band names. On Tuesday, Feb. 4, colonize a bar stool at O’Hanlon’s and plunder the musical riches offered by Andy Beisel and Orin Paquette (of Slim City Pickers). Finally, if you’re looking for something free and classy, head to the Regina Public Library’s Central Branch to take in a performance by members of the Regina Symphony Orchestra on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7.
IN MY EARS: Carla Bozulich’s Deeper Than The Well single from Boy (March 2014) TWITTER: @ambergoodwyn CHECK IN: firstname.lastname@example.org