Punk Rock Visitors to San Francisco
Saturday night I caught the 3rd Annual Tribute to The Clash and Joe Strummer
at Bottom of the Hill
. One band that particularly caught my ear was visting from Costa Mesa, called Radio One
, and I got their eponymous album. They're clearly dead serious about paying homage to The Clash all year round, and the lyrics are poundingly political. A lot of the songs seem a little too endlessly thump-thump-thump to me--the melodic core of musicianship which lurks in the heart of my favorite Clash songs is harder to feel on Radio One's debut album. But live, Radio One has a delicously roaring look and feel (their song The Outlaw
was what snatched my fancy), and a few of the other songs on the album are very satisfying: No Heroes
and particlurly Headlines
: Attention-Attention Read the
Headlines keep a watchful eye no
Matter what they say
Human Interest vs. Big Business
Where black and white reads
Shades of grey
Naturally, of course, I can find plenty to quibble with in their revolution-promoting lyrics. I suppose longing for nuanced policy statements in punk rock is too much to ask for, but I can always hope. The intensity of not-apathy is to be appreciated for now.
Lead singer Ruben Rivera was nice enough to autograph the liner notes, and guitarist Clint Gonzalez had a freakin' awesome white and stenciled text jacket that I, unfortunately, couldn't snap a good picture of. They said they'll be back in April, and I look forward to keeping an ear out for them.
Amusingly, this followed an evening at the 23rd Annual San Francisco International Asian American Film Festiva
l, where I caught I was Born, But, a very moody film-essay by Roddy Bogawa:
a kind of meditation on his life in punk rock precipitated by the death of Joey Ramone and capped off by the death of Joe Strummer. The film ends with footage of Strummer and the Mescaleros singing Hey Ho, Let's Go
and and when he's done he shouts out to the audience, "Support your local bands. Support independant films." Amen to that.