By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
By Benjamin Leatherman
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Troy Farah
By Roger Calamaio
By Mark Deming
The summer rock-festival season is almost over, Yahweh be praised. We made it through again. So you might be reasonably forgiven for getting that glazed look in your eyes when we tell you about another wagon rolling through town, but hold that thought. It's hard to get too cynical about the Plea for Peace/Take Action Tour.
PFP-TAT, as it's been helpfully acronymed, is a multi-pronged project benefiting the Kristen Brooks Hope Center and its National Hopeline Network. The Virginia-based Center provides community-based suicide prevention services in needy areas, while the Network consists of a group of linked, certified crisis centers throughout the U.S., able to receive calls 24 hours a day at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433).
While the press packet abounds with words and phrases that sound fairly rote when you say them aloud (empower, proactive, crisis issues -- this is exactly the kind of institutional rhetoric that hisses like white noise in the jaded ear), that's mostly for the PR benefit. PFP-TAT walks the walk as well, laying out the precise percentages and dollar amounts earmarked for the recipient institutions: 10 percent of the total artists' revenue for the multi-act tour goes to the Hopeline Network, while 5 percent goes to community-based crisis centers.
This, after all, is how charity is supposed to work in a democratic society, or at least that's what the conservative anti-government-assistance lobby keeps telling us. And so it's particularly heartening to see that the related compilation CD, also called Plea for Peace/Take Action(Sub City), is absolutely loaded up with commie pinkos.
Kidding. But it does feature bands whose leftist politics are largely well-known and endemic to their music, like acoustic folkie Mike Park, El Paso revolutionaries At the Drive-In and Swedish Marx-rockers The (International) Noise Conspiracy. At a meaty 77 minutes, and featuring 28 bands delivering a song apiece (most previously unreleased), the disc is more than worth its special low price ($6, suggested). Again, 5 percent of the sticker price goes to the Network, as does 5 percent of sales of all Sub City Records releases.
The Plea for Peace/Take Action Tour and its associated comp disc distinguish themselves in the bottom-line delivery of charity funds to an eminently worthy cause. Here's a bill that doesn't simply roll, like a contented armchair activist, in the piety of its own "awareness raising."
Plus which, the music is righteous. After the shameless procession of target-marketing festival juggernauts we've just endured, it's almost enough to make you start feeling good about rock again.