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A Night Of Rain, Music And

No Loop 202 Fundraising

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Brian Zach of Synrgy goes acoustic after going The Hourglass Cats on stage at an activist fundraiser Saturday. Photo by Jeff Moses.
Some Of The Best Bands In The Valley Put An Emphatic Stamp On A Lawn Gnome Publishing Hosted Evening Which Benefited No Loop 202 And Keystone Pipeline

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By Jeff Moses
Modern Times Magazine

Dec. 19, 2012 — The Phoenix Commune and The Valley Anarchist Circle gathered together with other activists and music lovers for the Solidarity with the Environment No Tar Sands No Loop 202 benefit concert on Dec. 15.

The money raised went to benefit the XL Keystone Pipeline blockade in East Texas and the No South Mountain Freeway here in Phoenix.

Though the show was scheduled to be in the backyard of the Lawn Gnome Publishing bookstore, inclement weather drove the determined organizers from 905 N. 5th St. next door to the dry confines of the 909 collective’s front yard patio.

It rained all day in the Valley and besides just moving the bands onto the covered porch, the organizers also set up canopies on the mud covered lawn.

But by the time the first band, Neurotic Pleasures took the stage the last drops of rain hit the ground.

Neurotic Pleasures was playing their first show in more than three months and besides just opening the show with some hard rock melodies, front man Dagger Pan also ran sound for the event.

Neurotic Pleasures gave the gathering crowd half an hour of hard rock and yelled the first of many ‘Fuck the 202’s” as the organizers made hot tea for the chilly concert-goers.

After Neurotic Pleasures, Gila River community activist Paloma Allen took the stage and gave the crowd a bit of her perspective on why the South Mountain Freeway is a danger to both the reservation and the community at large.

Following Allen, skacore band Requiem took the stage and gave the crowd 30 minutes of rage.

Besides just playing the most hardcore music of the night, Requiem are also anti-202 activists themselves, having played many benefits before rocking out on the porch in downtown Phoenix.

The end of Requiem’s last song summed up their message quite well, with all three members shouting “resist,” at the top of their lungs before exiting the stage.

Following Requiem, local activist Justine Hecht made her way to the microphone and shared some of her personal experience with the tar sands up in Canada.

Hecht, an experienced activist, spoke for a few minutes before local O’odham/Chicano “rap activists,” Shining Soul “found their niche,” on the patio/stage.

Shining Soul played an electric set featuring songs off their first album like “Niche,” remixes like their Rage Against the Machine mix of their song “Papers,” and even new material off of their soon-to-be released sophomore album.

Closing out the multi-genre benefit was Tempe’s desert reggae outfit The Hourglass Cats joined by special guest Brian Zach of Ashland, Oregon-based reggae band Synrgy.

Though THC had been scheduled to headline for weeks, Zach jumped on the benefit just one day prior due to his own affinity with the environment.

Zach and THC were both fresh from Joe’s Grotto opening for Authority Zero front man Jason Devore, and that had them all warmed up for their cold weather outdoor set.

They played the longest set of the night, featuring tracks of their soon-to-be released EP like “Sense,” covers like Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me,” and once in a lifetime jams with Zach, like the funky cover of Bob Marley’s “Stir It Up.”

Zach even hung out on the porch of Lawn Gnome after the show and played his own mini solo acoustic set.

Jeff Moses is a freelance writer and photographer from Teaneck, N.J. and is currently living in Mesa, Ariz. He has been published in The Mesa Legend, OccupyUprising.org and The Highway Herald. Contact him by calling 727-385-0624.
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