Wednesday, July 16, 2008
St. Paul, MN - Soon home of RNC, protest concerts
Have you heard it's an election year? The campaigning has been pretty low key. Minnesota is especially swamped in political muck this go-round. For you non-locals out there who may not know, the Republican National Convention is being held at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul, 'coincidentally' the same venue at which Obama proclaimed his historical Democratic nomination victory. We also have a governor who is rumored (at least by our local press) to be a serious option for McCain's VP. And let's not forget the Senate race in which surly Norm Coleman faces off with former celebrity Al Franken. I'm just relieved in the midst of all this, that Jesse Ventura decided to not be involved, while still somehow being involved.
At any rate, the RNC is set for Sept 1-4. I had previously believed the only tangential benefit to the inglorious event to be bars open extra late and maybe some cool arrest stories from friends. Now I hear the big guns are coming out: rock stars. We all know how effective musicians can be at instigating political thought and change in this day 'n age. I'm weighing in heavy on the sarcasm scale today.
First off, we have the radical liberals coming together in the form of acclaimed songwriter (and actor on final season of The Wire) Steve Earle pairing up with Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. Apparently, some other "friends" are set to appear as well, though who and what that means is not yet known. They play at Harriet Island on Sept 1 (Labor Day).
With a more local flare, The Turf Club is hosting an Aug 27th Obama benefit called "Eight Is Enough: The Concert to End Our Long, National Nightmare." Despite the fiery name, the performers here have decidedly less radical bent. They include Low, members of Tapes 'n Tapes, Dosh, not to mention STNNNG, P.O.S. and surely some surprise special guests and friends. Then at Midway Stadium (home of the Saints), the Honeydogs and Semisonic will lead yet another protest-themed event on Sept 2.
And finally, in all fairness, some pro-RNC musicians are performing as well. So if you're game for some Sammy Hagar (wow!) or maybe you're more of a LeAnn Rimes kinda guy, some conveniently private events are scheduled locally to coincide with the convention.
Let the hoopla begin.