It’s been almost five decades now since Jefferson Airplane asked for volunteers to get out in the street. Where at one point American popular music could be relied on for a soundtrack that catalyzed the grassroots groundswell decrying racial segregation and our unpopular wars, overtly political rock ‘n roll seems to have become unfashionable. Zack de la Rocha and Tom Morello raged for eight years against the Clinton machine, but turned off their amps through the invasion of Iraq. In 2005, Pearl Jam hardly played a full set without impaling a rubber mask of President Bush on a mic stand, but since Trump took office it seems that Eddie Vedder’s been talking about nothing but his hometown’s World Champs, the Chicago Cubs (even if it’s sorta hard to blame him). Anecdotally, at least, it feels sometimes like the days of abundant rock and hip hop that expressed our collective frustration with our dysfunctional institutions, unaccountable abuses of power, unjust policy systemic socioeconomic disease seem to have waned. Hashtags have replaced hands in the air, and if our revolution will not be televised, well at least we can always binge-watch Season 6 of House Of Cards instead.
About that, the Downtown Boys have a few questions to ask you, loudly. The Providence punks brought their kinetic choral rock and roll to Underground Arts on Thursday night with all the energy and swagger of the Dead Kennedys, and the tasteful touch of brass that would make the late Poly Styrene proud. Continue reading →