Walmart Protest - Chinatown - 6/29/12
Paul T Bradley
No Age and Tearist
Walmart protest at Human Resources Gallery in Chinatown
Activists and rockers descended upon a gallery in Chinatown last night (which doubled as a human hot box) to kick off a weekend protesting a planned Walmart in the neighborhood. The company irked community activists by sneaking in permit applications for their store just hours before an L.A. City Council ordinance banning them from the neighborhood.
Behind a headlining concert by local post-post-punkers No Age was a veritable rainbow coalition of performance and speech -- including noise duo Tearist, vocal ensemble LA Fog and some Walmart employees flown in from Minnesota to rail against their bosses.
Amid all of the petitions and slogans, there was music, well, at the very least the "goth noise" stylings of Tearist.
"Guys...get really comfortable...get right in front...let's just calm down and relax..." the duo's vocalist Yasmine Kittles urged, before she proceeded to destroy eardrums with a blood-quickening caterwaul. Concurrently, William Strangeland-Menchaca, her other half, fired-off beats that can best be described as a Einstürzende Neubauten death rattle, but well-amplified. At one point, a bunch of folks went outside to watch post-game Dodgers fireworks visible from the street.
Between the music and speeches and leading up to No Age, K-Chung radio's DJ Egreog spun appropriate tunes like Generation X's "Your Generation" and The Make Up's "Here Comes the Judge."
With the crowd already sweaty and ear-worn, No Age began its unrelenting onslaught just after 11pm. The all-ages crowd took to the high-energy songs with appropriate jostling, slamming and crowd-surfing. Shirtless dudes tossed around other shirtless dudes as aging organizers and pro-labor folks kept their distance.
Raging under No Age's two man assault team of guitarist Randy Randall and drummer/vocalist Dean Allen Spunt, folks knocked around stage pieces, shoved DJ booths aside, and generally got riled up. It seemed like it was all over too quickly, when Spunt and Randall made one final plea to fight Walmart tooth and nail, before firing off their last song.
No Age, whose albums are actually on sale at Walmart through Sub Pop, were mostly OK with that apparent contradiction.
"Y'know? I see it as kind of a good thing," Spunt told us after the show. "That means some kid might be buying albums at Walmart, pick up our record and will learn about our cause."
Here's hoping everyone saved some energy for today's giant rally, which has already started and will feature a performance by Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello, and Ben Harper.
Personal Bias:Walmart really does kinda suck, and No Age are friends of friends' neighbors. So there's that.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Anti Capitalista! Anti Capitalista!" being sung by some anarchist folks with dudes wearing tiny shoes carrying hip tote-bags.
Random Notebook Dump: "Live life to the fullest!" screamed a passing carload of bro's. "That was the nicest thing that's ever been screamed from a car," remarked a mustachioed guy leaving the show.
No Age's Set list below
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