I recently ran into an old lefty friend from college--the kind of guy who's always griping about the Man (was then and still is). When our conversation turned to music, he said he only listened to '80s hardcore because those were the last bands that railed against the system with any kind of bile in their blood. Since then, I've been thinking about how--in rosy retrospect--musical movements in past years seemed a lot more energetic about reacting in an exciting, galvanizing way to the rot infecting our government.

Not that there isn't plenty to get sickened about with our current president--the wars, the cover-ups, the inability to speak correct English. Bush's decisions even affect the little guys in the music community: I was hoping to check out Germany's the Shock--a band the Briefs have been talking about--last weekend, but it turns out the trio flew all the way here only to get detained in customs when an agent didn't like the band's look/attitude. Briefs bassist Lance Mercer did everything in his power to prove that his buddies were harmless punks, but the Shock were held overnight and sent back on a plane to Germany the next day, out all the money they'd spent to get over here for no other reason than the customs guy didn't like the looks of them. Nice abuse of "homeland security" power.

It's little shit like this that adds weight to the upcoming international Bands Against Bush events. Spawned in Olympia and set on and around October 11 (in remembrance of Rock Against Reagan 20 years ago), they represent an open umbrella of left-wing political agendas aimed at boosting political involvement within the music community. There are shows planned in over two dozen cities worldwide, and Seattle is hosting five events run by two different forces. One BAB committee is running three shows on October 11--Fudge Local Synthesizer Aviator at Coffee Messiah; the Red Light Sting, Anna Oxygen, and the Prophetics at the Vera Project; the Gloryholes, the Eastside Suicides, the Little Killers, and the Mexican Blackbirds at the Sunset--and a show on October 12 with Young People, Shoplifting, the Dead Science, and Joshua Plague at Luscious Studios. The group organizing these shows runs as a collective, and is hoping to create awareness about everything from rape organizations to queer support groups to alternative media outlets, with continued events occurring in the future while Bush is in office.

Ollie Byrd, the one-man force behind the BAB show at Graceland, has a very vote-centric plan to drop-kick Bush out of office. All the proceeds from his lineup on Friday, October 10 (which includes the Divorce, the Fitness, Kind of Like Spitting, Anna Oxygen, Plan B, Yeek Yak Air Force, Dressy Bessy, Touchdown Eagle, Selector Dub Narcotic, To See You Broken, and Dead in Hollywood), will go to America Coming Together, an organization specifically creating anti-Bush ad campaigns in 17 key states. Byrd also plans on using his show to demonstrate the connection between the Clear Channel monopoly and the Bush administration. The local BAB organizers are all working hard to connect Seattle to an international protest movement, making it easy for anyone interested to join the cause--whether that means getting in on the action by watching some great bands or turning into activists. More info at www.bandsagainstbush.org.

Yet another new club is on the horizon, this one in Belltown, taking up "the good half" of the old Sit & Spin. With a great name--the Hideaway--the 200-capacity space will host shows, sell zines and comics, and serve food and booze. Knowing the people who own and book it (music veterans with plenty of punk and indie experience under their belts), this place is gonna rock when it finally opens mid-November (or thereabouts).

Speaking of rocking, poor Riverboat Gamblers. The Texas garage rockers had to cancel their Seattle dates last weekend when singer Mike Wiebe accidentally swung his mic into bassist Patrick Lillard's face at a San Francisco show--an action that, rumor has it, forced some of Lillard's teeth to become embedded in his lips and gums, a mishap that needed nearly seven hours in surgery to correct. Here's hoping Lillard's back on solid foods--and in a tour van--again soon.


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