By Jen Anthony
The idea of Rock against Racism was a worthwhile one, but the execution was lacking.
The March 23 show started with The Gentlemen, a group fashioned after Boyz II Men, who did mostly a capella with the occasional pop hit. Their voices were good, but alas, the cheesiness of their performance was just a little too much overkill. The second, third and fourth bands came and went leaving an immemorable trail of songs lacking good lyrics, music or vocals.
To make matters worse, the sound guy seemed to be asleep for most of the concert, actually missing cues to turn on the mics so the performers could be heard.
The highlight of the events came when the band Mico performed, who had spark, talent and working mics. They managed to reference the whole purpose of the concert and brought people’s attention to the need to combat the socially intolerable concept of racism. Some commented that it was preachy, but all Mico really did was show their awareness and support for the cause, which other guest artists failed to do (except for Knucklehead and the One World Drum company).
The MC for the performance forgot the purpose of the show, only making a brief comment that Racism Day is actually on March 21, not the 23rd. Hastily he brought up the subject of Sharpville, South Africa which is the event that triggered the creation of Racism Day. For readers unaware of the significance of the day, let me briefly explain: it is the day the South African police in Sharpville opened fire on a peaceful demonstration by black Africans, killing 69 and wounding 180; most of whom were shot in the back as they fled. The fact these details were neglected in the MC’s comments shows where the focus was for the night. To wind the evening down, One World Drum company performed a short, monotonous set comprised of four songs.
The act that drew the crowd was Knucklehead. They managed to salvage the show and left the crowd satisfied. They came onto the stage energized. Their catchy guitar rifts and rhythmic drumming soon had the crowd moshing and jumping.
On the whole, the idea of a community-supported activity against racism is a good one, but a suggestion for next year: let’s try not to forget the point of the gathering–to combat racism.