Cake / Lessick / American Music Club / Jonathan Richman
Chuck Prophet & Stephanie Finch / Noe Venable
Jesse de Natale / The Po' Poets Collective / Sonny Smith
Great American Music Hall
November 30, 2003
Review by Squid
Well thank god for arguing family members on thanksgiving day. Why the hell else would Squid be reading her email on such a special holiday occasion? Waiting in her inbox was a little love note from Musican/Organizer/Man-In-A-Suit Marc Capelle, inviting us all to come out to the GAMH to support The Man Who Will Change San Francisco: MATT GONZALEZ!
So Squiddie bought her ticket asap, and it was a damn good thing, as we are overjoyed to report that it was a totally sold out event. Rad! And how couldn't it be, with a spectacular line-up. A brief breakdown then of all acts present:
Sonny Smith, accompanied by the sexily hirsute Ruszx on drums. Ruszx deserves special props for being a right-handed drummer on a left-handed kit. Such manual dexterity can only be attributed to one thing: whisky.
Jesse de Natale, singing raspily and pointedly about Mayor Willie and Gavin Newsom's game of "hand jive".
The Po' Poets Collective, a side project of POOR Magazine, got the crowd good and riled up with rhymes about life on the streets of our fair city. One poet in particular, Leroy Brown, elicited cheers and laughter with an excerpt from his brilliant, "Like Father, Like Son":
Brown gave birth to a wealthy White man,
Gavin Newsom like father like son holding homeless people as political ransom
...Make room for a 3rd party
busting up the old dusty monopoly
Matt G speak to me"
Braving deathlike flu, Noe Venable won the trooper of the week award. She literally crawled out of bed to perform a few songs in support of MG...but you never would've known it. Rapunzel locks swinging, she demanded of the crowd: "Is the spirit here? YES!"
Chuck Prophet not only stands up for MG, he even explained why he's voting for him on his website: "Imagine a local government the way it's meant to be for the common good of everyone. Come out and be part of a historic movement to take back San Francisco. A vote for Matt Gonzales is a vote against the machine". Aside from donating the most useful service to the night's raffle (a ride to SFO), he delighted the audience with acoustic lurve - who else would confess, "I fall in love with every woman I see? Huge props to his stagepartner (and bandmate) Stephanie Finch, who dedicated a crystal clear cover of "Do Right Man" to, who else? MG.
Jonathan Richman, his usual charismatic, subtly hip-thrusting hilarious self. It just couldn't be an accident that the emcee announced, "there is to be no parking on the dance floor". He acoustically dazzled us with songs and heartfelt tributes to his fellow green party member. You know, I hear that Matt Gonazalez doesn't have a car. Now THAT'S the candidate for me, " he declared with a smile before eliciting screams with that oooold favorite Pablo Picasso.
As if the "Artists who put SF on the map" list wasn't complete enough. Next up: American Music Club. Contribution to the Raffle: Love advice from Eitzel (!) and a piano lesson from guest pianist, aforementioned Organizer Marc Capelle. Gorgeous mini set kicked off with a dedication to Gavin Newsom, "There's No Easy Way Down"
From there, the ROCK did commence thanks to sets from Lessick (featuring Matt's bro Chuck on lead vocal/guitar) and of course, Cake, coz if you're trying to raise some cash, it sure does help to have the support of a band that normally sells out the Fillmore, right?
Cake were preceded by a kick ass speech by the Gonz himself. It would've been a perfect time to drop sound bytes and kiss babies, but that ain't MG's style. Instead, he expressed a sincere desire to take back SF and eliminate the two party system, whether he won or not. He was also quick to point out, in extremely frank language, why his opponent should not win. As Co-Organizer Windy Chien summed it up "I don't know what to say about the show other than it was heartwarming and surreal and [it was] amazing that our candidate, who is actually in the lead, got up on stage and said 'Newsom's campaign is full of shit, They're fucking liars.' Matt is the real deal; he says it like it is."
Playing In Fog was created as an altar of worship to the music of San Francisco. We love this city, and we hate what's being done to it. Why can't clubs stay open? Why don't the arts matter anymore? What's up with using the homeless as a means of rising to power (Hello Mr. Care Not Cash, we're talking to YOU.)
Matt G. gave us the first glimmer of a solution to all of the above. Fer chrissakes, he's a 38 year-old lawyer with a roommate - if he doesn't speak to the disgruntled SF 30 something, who the hell does? It's no surprise that a movement of musicians quickly galvanized behind him, and equally unsurprising that he has been demonized by his opponent as a (gasp!) bass player who isn't capable of running a city.
Matt Gonzalez has scared the pants off the City Hall Suits with his intelligence, his humility, and his work ethic.
Well, even if Newsom wins, they had better be ready. Because as Matt himself said, "Even if we don't win this time, we'll be back next time, AND THE TIMEAFTER THAT."
MATT GONZALEZ FOR MAYOR.
Apologies to performers whose names were unavailable to us at the time this went to print.