"She said that musicians sound silly when they talk about politics. I'm certain that Woody Guthrie wasn't a silly man." - David Rawlings
In a past life, I spent quite a bit of time writing about music and politics on a couple of websites that I'm sure most have forgotten. Since the demise of the last site, somedaynever, I've maybe attended one live show a year and haven't spent near as much time spouting off political opinions. It would appear that politics have become even more polarizing over the last decade, but I'm sure the more things seem like they change, the more they stay the same.
Tonight was the Concert For Equality in the downtown Benson, one of the many neighborhoods that have been absorbed into Omaha over the last century. The show was a bit of a throwback to seven or eight years ago, back when Saddle Creek was just beginning to reach a wider audience and the label's roster played shows together on a regular basis. All proceeds from the concert went to the ACLU to aid in their lawsuit to prevent the city of Fremont from enforcing controversial immigration laws similar to what the state of Arizona is attempting to do. Counter-protesters promised to gather just outside the concert gates, but none were to be found when I arrived around 7 pm.
I was most impressed by the performance of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, pictured above with Conor Oberst and members of Bright Eyes on stage for their finale. Rawlings played a song of his own which wandered into a fiery rendition of some of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land," and was easily the highlight of the show. Bright Eyes sounded great, as did Cursive, and seeing Desaparecidos on stage for the first time in eight years felt good, if a bit like traveling back in time.
I'd like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of everyone at Nebraska Appleseed. They tirelessly work to make Nebraska a better place for all of us who don't have the patience to deal with the frustration of making change happen in a stubborn world. I am incredibly grateful that such dedicated people exist.