With the tragedies in New York and Washington a couple of weeks back and the holiday season fast approaching, expect to be barraged in the coming months with benefit shows and fundraiser rock concerts out the wazoo -- and expect most of them to be poorly organized and of dubious musical quality. The road to many a crappy concert is paved with good intentions, so it's always a pleasure to see something as ambitious as the Plea for Peace/Take Action
CD and tour succeed on such a grand scale. Begun a few years ago by Asian Man Records honcho Mike Park, the annual tours have grown into a powerful catalyst for grassroots political awareness, an inspiration to impressionable teens and young adults not yet too jaded to act.This year, Asian Man has teamed up with Sub City Records (the all-charity arm of punk/indie powerhouse Hopeless Records) to release a fantastically comprehensive "state of the punk nation" CD, featuring everyone from pop-punk heroes the Alkaline Trio to goofy one-man band Atom and His Package to angular indie-rockers Seam to raging MTV faves At the Drive-In, with stops at every punk subgenre in between. If that's not enough, a dozen or so of the featured bands have hit the road for a month of political organizing, speech-making, petition-signing and -- oh yeah --great music. Unfortunately for St. Louis' prog-punk fans, the mighty Cave In will have left the tour by the time it hits town, as will have the Alkaline Trio (although frontman Mike Skiba will perform a solo acoustic set). Of the eight acts that will make it to St. Louis, some of the most notable are the lounge-punk-dance band Zero Zero (featuring former members of Lifetime), the always amazing X-meets-Superchunk wave-punks Selby Tigers (pictured) and the Fugazi-ishly intense Hot Water Music. Go. Learn. Rock. Act.