New York City
Thissold-out event (a benefit to combat the anti-gay-marriage amendment tothe Constitution) was billed as a rock show, anchored by such legendsas Lou Reed and Bob Mould. But as the $9 drinks began to flow, therewas an increasing focus on acts either outrageous (potty-mouthed dragqueen Lady Bunny) or outrageously hilarious (Margaret Cho). SandraBernhard freestyled personal stories and belted out a few songs, Mouldstrummed an acoustic guitar to little fanfare, and a solemn,glasses-wearing Reed incanted the lyrics to some of his old songs. Inshort, the evening didn't feel much like revolution, at least untilelectro-punk trio Le Tigre took the stage. From their semicoordinatedoutfits to their low-impact choreography, the band jolted the crowdwith songs that were doggedly opinionated and righteously bouncy.Spinning girl-group conventions into a true political party, theypeaked with the rama-lama-ding-dong dance jam "Deceptacon."
Nearlyall the performers on the bill peppered their sets with anti-Bush barbsand calls for freedom that ranged from the serious (John CameronMitchell's demand for equal rights) to the extreme (Moby's invitationto the president to "suck my dick"), but Sleater-Kinney seemed the mostready to take matters into their own hands. Their Zen-likeprofessionalism demonstrated why they're this decade's most viablepurveyors of incendiary rock. On "Step Aside" (from 2002's One Beat)Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein's guitars mingled in a stickyfrenzy, as Tucker drove home the notion that everyone else had onlydanced around: "It's not the time to just keep quiet / Speak up onetime to the beat."