Manu Chao por gratis > that's right, Manu Chao will be playing in Phoenix later today and the show is free! He's performing here to support the efforts of Alto Arizona, an organization formed to protest the controversial Arizona Senate Bill 1070, also known as SB 1070.
I like to keep my political beliefs to myself and keep my posts fun for all of you but as a person with so much passion for music and as a voice for you beloved fellow music enthusiasts I feel I should at least address an aspect of SB 1070 and its impact on us, as fans of live music.
There's a coalition of artists known as The Sound Strike who have formed to boycott performances, shows, appearances, etc. in the state of Arizona. They are bypassing us on tour, canceling previously agreed-to shows and rejecting performances here to protest SB 1070. While I generally support people standing up for their beliefs, I think the efforts of The Sound Strike are extremely misguided. They are hurting the wrong people.
Whether or not you agree with SB 1070 you and I had nothing to do with its inception. It was brought about entirely through state legislature. It seems The Sound Strike assumes that we, the fans, voted for SB 1070 and they are sticking it to us when it's possible that many of these artists' fans could even be on their side in this matter. Who knows? They certainly have no idea.
I think this is the naive or worse, lazy, way of protesting. What are they really doing anyway? How much can concert revenue really swing the state's economy? Are they even positive that people know what they're doing this for? Were you aware such a coalition existed? Did you know this was the reason why Maroon 5 never passed through the desert on their latest tour or why My Chemical Romance canceled their show here? Most people I've talked to had no idea; I didn't before I did my own digging around earlier this year when I noticed an unusual amount of quirky tour schedules. So perhaps The Sound Strike's efforts are in vain and possibly losing fans for all the wrong reasons.
I like that Manu Chao is driving his sword straight into the heart of the beast, per se. He'll be using this opportunity to speak directly to the people who can do something about SB 1070 if they want to. The only other artist I know of who has strategized accordingly is Lady Gaga. I wasn't at her show here last summer at US Airways Center but my mom and sister were there and they told me about her using the stage as a platform to educate and enlighten the sold-out arena rather than just skip Phoenix on tour.
Again, I'm not saying I'm for or against SB 1070 but I am saying the biggest artist revolt in response to it is going about it the wrong way. Fans and people who had nothing to do with SB 1070 in the first place should not have to miss out on their favorite artists' performances. That said, I'm excited to finally see Manu Chao live and direct in Phoenix after being a fan for nearly a decade. From what I hear it's a great show. Hopefully this ignites a different approach to the protesting. The show starts at 6pm in the lot across from El Portal Restaurant [W. Grant and S. 2nd Ave].
Here's a video of Manu Chao performing one of my favorite songs of his: