Monday, June 7, 2010

Mindset, Praise, and Rations - Gabriel Kuhn Book Release Show

On Saturday, I got into Pat's orange van and headed to the Gabriel Kuhn Book Release show at Charm City Art Space in Baltimore. On the way there, Pat, Parsons, Brian, and I stopped at Everlasting Life, an all-vegan restaurant in DC. I got the fried mock chicken with rice and beans. The chicken is crisp and absolutely delicious. I'm getting hungry thinking about it.

Gabriel Kuhn lives in Austria and wrote a book on straight-edge. He originally planned to do a book tour, but he was unable to come into our country. So, the talk on his book evolved into a straight-edge show.

Rations played first and sounded great. I love Parson's voice. In one of their songs, he mimics a Youth of Today yell, but that's alright. I enjoy their straight-ahead, youth-crew style. Beyond their original songs, they played three Minor Threat covers, which naturally pleased the straight-edge crowd.

Praise was also intense. The singer, Andy, moved back and forth across the stage, pumping his arms and putting himself fully into his singing. I'm speculating, but I'd guess that the band is named after the 7 Seconds ep Praise.

Then, Mark Anderson, who organized the show, spoke. Anderson is the author of Dance of Days and one of the founders of Positive Force, a DC organization that encourages political awareness, sets up benefit shows, and performs charitable work. Charm City lacked air conditioning so the room was hot and muggy. Mark Anderson started off complaining about how Gabriel Kuhn was banned from DC as well as the rest of the country. Then, he launched into an hour-long speech about how he doesn't care how people label themselves; he cares what people do. My friend Sarah escaped to the outdoors after a while because she was tired of standing and the heat was interfering with her ability to focus on his words.

Already having spoken longer than any band had played, Anderson opened himself up to questions. Tony Pence asked Anderson about how Anderson shifted from denouncing to becoming a member of organized religion. Earlier in his life, Anderson described the people in the Midwestern town where he grew up as being defined by church or bars, which alienated him because he felt like he didn't belong in either place. Now, he apparently has joined the Catholic Church. Anyway, Anderson gave a long, contradictory answer, indicating that he still recognizes the flaws in organized religion, but that he respects the convictions of many churchgoers. He appreciates the sense of community within the church. Anderson's speech centered on individual accountability and concern for others, yet he finished his speech applauding the church in collective terms; focusing on group support rather than on group pressure within it.

Worn out, Mindset played a short set. Only about 20 people stood scattered around the room, a sharp contrast to the large crowd last month for their record release. Still, they played with enthusiasm and skill.

PS (6-10-10) My birthday. Andy confirmed that his band, Praise, is named after the 7 Seconds ep. He said that his favorite Seven Seconds album is New Wind. I don't see how anyone could put New Wind before The Crew. Andy said that he loves the lyrics on New Wind.

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