Five Sound Strike Bands We'd Like to See Perform in Arizona

Last week, punk band Rise Against ended their boycott of Arizona by announcing two high-profile shows. That isn't to say that The Sound Strike , the boycott organized by rockers like Zack de la Rocha to impact the state in the wake of SB 1070 is over, but it's shifting it's focus away from boycotting, zooming in on supporting human rights groups and ethnic studies in Tucson instead.

Sound Strike organizer Javier Gonzalez told New Times' Jason P. Woodbury, "We're not going to badger anyone to not play there commercially, and two, we're going to actually try to get people down there in a more concerted effort." That being said, we've missed out on two years of tours from Sound Strike bands. And while Rage Against the Machine and Nine Inch Nails probably won't be hitting the road any time soon, here are five bands we would love to see schedule a date in Arizona -- as long as they promise to show up and make a stink about SB 1070 while they are at it.

Kanye West (with Jay-Z)

Love him or hate him (and we know plenty of folks who do both), Kanye West is a complicated guy. Think he's little more than the guy who interrupted Taylor Swift at the VMAs and accused George W. Bush of not caring about people? Listen to 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, on which he fashioned his torrid personal life into a stunning monument to his ego and talent. Since he joined The Sound Strike, we missed out on the Fantasy tour, as well as the recent Watch the Throne tour with Jay-Z.

I doubt that the duo is still willing to perform "Niggas in Paris" upwards of 10 times at one show, but just look at that setlist.


I was really excited to see Yeasayer in 2010, but the Rhythm Room show sold out, so I bought a ticket to see them play at Club Congress in Tucson instead. It was mindblowing. SB 1070 was drafted a few days after Yeasayer's two Arizona shows, and the band's conscience dictated them joining Sound Strike; I'm glad I made the show before.

Yeasayer no longer shows up on The Sound Strike site, so maybe we can hear "Henrietta" live soon.

LA Weekly music blog West Coast Sound concisely sums it up with "if you don't believe in magic, this is not the band for you."

Billy Bragg

I wasn't surprised to see Bragg's name on The Sound Strike list -- he's essentially the British version of Woodie Guthrie. That being said, he's a fantastic musician, and I'm sure he would put on a great live show. Frank Turner joined Bragg for a few UK dates -- can we please get the same in the states? Better yet, he can hit the road with Wilco to perform some Mermaid Avenue tracks.

Billy Bragg's show in Seattle a couple of years ago provided political commentary, songs about hope, and plenty of jokes about Starbucks.

Gogol Bordello

Gogol is a little on the weird side, but their brand of gypsy punk is a blast to see live. Check out Jonathan MacNamara's review of the band's 2009 performance, where he says, "Complete strangers linked arms like brothers and can-canned in a circle pit while avoiding incoming moshers."

Who knows, maybe you'll end up finding your can-canning soulmate at a Gogol Bordello show.

Kimya Dawson

After recording the Juno soundtrack, Dawson would fit right in at a mid-size venue, though her musical style would be perfectly fits an intimate evening at The Trunk Space.

Our sister paper in Denver, Westword, described Dawson's performance of "Walk Like Thunder" with Aesop Rock thusly: "It tapped into universal truths of modern human experience and articulated it so well that you really felt like she was singing about you, your life, the lives of people you love and who have touched your life and been an important part of it -- substituting a few details. It was one of the high points of the show and one of the highest points of any show in recent years, regardless of musical style or genre. In fact, seeing this song live felt like it was the kind of song you've been waiting your whole life to hear but didn't know it."

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Melissa Fossum
Contact: Melissa Fossum