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Occupy L.A.: Street Musicians Reign at City Hall

Street musician Wild Bill
Street musician Wild Bill
Patrick Range McDonald

So we were wondering what kind of music was popular at Occupy L.A., the anti-Wall Street demonstration the surrounds Los Angeles City Hall night and day, and took a drive to downtown to find out.

But rather than people listening to their favorite bands on iPods or whatever, we soon came to realize that street musicians reigned at the political occupation, with some inspiration from established recording artists.

"Bob Dylan works quite well here," Wild Bill, an unemployed steelworker and street musician, told us, "Songs from the sixties work quite well."

Bob Dylan songs are almost always featured at such anti-establishment events, and so are those eternal themes of peace and love.

"Twenty songs about peace," a young demonstrator named Jose said about the music heard at Occupy L.A., "twenty songs about love, and twenty songs about peace and love."

His comrade, Oscar, added dryly, "I've been impressed so many people have written songs about peace and love. It makes me wonder how they've been living."

Demonstrator Mark Celentrano, however, said he had been listening to the radio for his tunes: indie favorite 88.9 KXLU, which is headquartered at Loyola Marymount University.

"Man, it's good," Celentrano told us. "It's so good it's ridiculous!"

Street musician Moon Burns
Street musician Moon Burns
Patrick Range McDonald

Moon Burns, a street musician who plays 12 instruments, had been singing originals to the Occupy L.A. crowd.

"I think Lady Gaga would like it," Burns said about his stuff. "You can move to it."

 

His buddy, Ricky Steece, a street musician from Tampa, Florida, called his music "angsty folk," explaining that Bright Eyes and Neutral Milk Hotel were major influences.

As we said goodbye to Burns and Steece, they started up a song on their acoustic guitars. We couldn't make out the lyrics too well, but it did indeed move. Lady Gaga would have been impressed.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.


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