Lollapalooza in a Living Room

Nightwatchman and Friends

Hotel Cafe, Dec. 6

Photos and Text by Scott Amateur

Tom Morello, A.K.A. The Nightwatchman hosted the second of three consecutive Thursday Night benefit shows at the Hotel Café. The proceeds of the performances benefit his non-profit organization Axis of Justice. For what Morello calls “the people's price of only ten dollars,” the audience got to witness a concert so amazing they will bore their grandchildren talking about it in 50 years.

Morello began the show with a set of combative folk music as The Nightwatchman that hearkens back to Woody Guthrie's defiant lyrics admonishing the hypocrisy of the Bush/Cheney regime. He encouraged the audience to stop by the Axis of Justice table in the lobby to pick up pamphlets for some of their upcoming events and to make donations to the organization. Axis of Justice was also raffling posters signed by all of the evening’s performers.

After The Nightwatchman’s set, the acoustic portion of the evening continued with some great power pop from Jonny Polonsky and a killer three song set from former MC5 guitarist and activist Wayne Kramer.

The electric half elevated the show from merely awesome to “Holy Shit!” level. The “Flea Family Orchestra,” performed first, featuring Flea, Morello, Perry Farrell, Carl Restivo and Breckin Meyer. They also had a horn player, piano, Ginger Reyes of Smashing Pumpkins and Etty Farrell of Satellite Party on backup vocals.

The musicians jammed without ego trading solos and digging on each other’s performances. Morello, Farrell and Flea make an awesome band, even if it was only for this one night to benefit Axis of Justice. Almost everyone on stage took vocals at one point or another through a set that included covers of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground,” Young MC's “Bust a Move” and Tom Petty’s “Breakdown.” After a half hour, Flea left the stage and the band became “The Perry Farrell Family Orchestra, which then gave way to a great set by Farrell’s other band Satellite Party who broke out a new song for the second straight week.

Wayne Kramer jumped back on stage with the battle cry “Kick out the jams!” Sen Dog from Cypress Hill appearaed on stage, lit a funny smelling cigarette and launched into a medley of Cypress Hill favorites.

The Nightwatchman will be performing at the Hotel Café with his friends again next Thursday, and you’d be crazy to miss it. It’s only ten dollars, to see Lollapolooza in a living room, and all the money that’s raised benefits Axis of Justice.

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