Love it or hate it, The Sound Strike's commercial boycott of Arizona is not going anywhere. The organization is hosting a benefit show in Los Angeles on July 29, featuring L.A.-based groups Aztlan Underground, Fitter, and New York rockers Outernational.
The downtown L.A. show doesn't feature quite as big a lineup as their last benefit, but like that event, proceeds will benefit Arizona-based grass roots legal defense organizations. Proceeds from this show will go to Coalicion de Derachos Humanos and PUENTE.
While the relationship between The Sound Strike and many Arizona music fans can best be described as tempestuous and divisive, at best there have been some gestures by The Sound Strike to actually host an event in Arizona.
According to organizer Javier Gonzales, the lineup of the July 29 show was offered to promoters in Arizona.
"We offered this exact same line plus another band...to several promoters in Tucson," Gonzales says. "One did not respond. Another was interested for a week, and then silence."
"Our interest with this show is to do several of these across the country," Gonzales says.
Gonzales was adamant about clarifying that The Sound Strikes efforts are of a commercial nature, and while nothing is set in stone, the organization could see hosting an event on Arizona soil "under the right circumstances," which could include events taking place on Native American land, or free concerts with no revenue being generated for the State of Arizona.
The July 29 concert will be streamed online, with a goal of creating "a movement," spurring smaller to mid-sized bands to become involved, and to host events nationwide (might I suggest targeting, say, I don't know, Atlanta?).
When I spoke with Gonzales in May, we discussed the impact the boycott was having on the Arizona music community. He described the boycott as a blunt instrument, acknowledging that it had caused some anti-SB 1070 music fans to question the tactics of a statewide boycott.
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"I worked for the Janitors Union for years, and one of [our tactics was that] we would march in the street and stop traffic. And the line of reasoning [people opposed to the marches] used was we shouldn't march in the streets becaused it causes traffic [laughs]...In wealthy nations, and status-quo community, is access to first class culture, and entertainment, and art, and interrupting that a bit is an effective tool for people to say, 'You didn't give a shit before.' [During traffic stops] I would say, it's unfortunate that it takes this for you to think about poverty and workers."
Sound Strike seems open to the possibility of a show hosted here, though Gonzales states that the deciding factor in whether or not a show occurs in Arizona rests in the hands of bands themselves.
Federal courts have repeatedly blocked the most controversial aspects of the law from taking effect, but The Sound Strike's end goal remains the same: "Sound Strike wants to not only play a role in repealing SB 1070, but also in galvanizing a new generation of ideas that reject the old ways of thinking while affirming that we are all equal."