By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Kids these days: First they want the right to congregate, then the right to free speech. Wouldn't you know that these young upstarts want to take part in the democratic process as well? To aid in this task, this year's Plea for Peace Tour will, as always, attempt to encourage political activism while showcasing premier punk and hardcore acts. According to the tour's press release, this year's Plea for Peace "will take a non-partisan stance and focus primarily on the power and importance of the electoral process itself." Nothing says "punk rawk" like a heated debate about the usefulness of the Electoral College, right? So, in the democratic spirit, we at the Riverfront Times will let you, the reader and potential concertgoer, decide which of the show's four acts you wish to endorse.
Up first is the Nebraska quintet Cursive, a local favorite known for championing jagged riffs and navel-gazing lyrics. Family-friendly conservatives might shy away from the sexual proclivities described on last year's The Ugly Organ, but beneath it all, Cursive carries a heart filled with solid Midwestern values.
Next on the ballot is Mike Park, the man behind ska-punk label Asian Man Records (home to St. Louis-based acts MU330 and Bagheera) and, more importantly, the driving force behind the Plea for Peace tour. Many young voters will respond to Park's stripped-down acoustic tunes that blend a singer-songwriter's wisdom and a rude boy's soul.
Aggro-metal has always been a polarizing force at the polls, but Darkest Hour could give a shit about public perception. They came for your skulls, but their sternum-shattering, guttural vocals will add some grit to the campaign trail this November.
Finally, a late entry: After the withdrawal of Denali from the tour (and, it appears, from the great indie-rock rabbit chase), we instead have Decahedron, a three-piece whose affiliation with Fugazi bassist Joe Lally (who has since left the band) should win a few swing votes.