Sure, we probably wouldn't have shown up were it not for the Controversy, which we won't bother rehashing here. We actually would have had a grand time had we never even bothered going inside, what with all the fantabulous people-gawking opportunities. Take the two ladies who strode around the Pond parking lot in matching T-shirts, the fronts of which bore glittery portraits of Dubya (they looked an awful lot like those cheap iron-ons you used to find in 1970s cereal boxes) and the backs of which proclaimed IN GEORGE I TRUST. We caught them later blabbing to a camera crew the tired rightie propaganda of “We support our troops who are fighting so Natalie can have the freedom to say what she did.” Translation: “Bitch needs to get her lib-rull ass in line!”Other fun people included the guy sticking up for the opposition in his FUCK BUSH shirt. But this was supposed to be about music, and we adored the subtle Bush-bashing, free-speech-supporting statements in the pre-show music, like “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” “(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” and “Born in the USA” (cheered by Neanderthals who still mistake it for a jingoistic, flag-waving rabble-rouser). When the Chicks finally popped out, we were thoroughly impressed by their kick-ass musicianship, their heart-melting harmonies, their how-y'all-doin' niceties and their genuine perkiness. And when it came time to show the video that went with “Truth No. 2,” the one with images of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Dalai Lama, the video that some simpleton critics have bizarrely said is an attempt to equate the Chicks with great leaders .. . . well, it ain't, it's an obvious rallying cry for freedom of expression. As the video depicted, the Chicks are clearly on the side of history's oppressed, whether civil rights marchers, suffragettes or queer rights advocates, and have zero patience for culture-suppressing dickwads who go around burning books and CDs, and not just Chicks CDs, either. It was their way of saying “Fuck you, Toby Keith” without actually having to speak the words or wear them on their chests. (Rich Kane)

Yerba Buena
Photo by: Jessica Calkins


NYC's Yerba Buena are a zesty amalgam of jazz, funk, hip-hop, hard rock and Afrobeat (there's a name for this genre, but they just haven't thought one up yet), fronted by three Cuban-born singers who don't look like they'd have anything in common: an elegant, gorgeous black lady with hoop earrings nearly the size of her huge 'fro; a dreadlocked rasta who seems to have wandered in from a Phish gig; and a rail-thin chica who on this night sported wild, psychedelic painted pants that could've been purloined from some South Coast Plaza boutique. Ah, but when this trio group together with Yerba Buena's six musicians, they gel into one very hot dance band. Playing the middle set of a three-band Coach House bill, though, didn't seem to inspire them or the crowd much—at first. The band began almost haltingly, trying to figure out what the fuck people were doing sitting down for music that was obviously designed for ass-wagging (this was the anti-dance Coach House, after all). Yerba Buena quickly lifted off, though, then claimed they couldn't continue as long as butts remained planted. With that threat made and with pretty much the whole room afraid to find out how serious they were, bodies began rising and writhing to the band's freeing, celebratory sounds and rhythms, an apropos soundtrack during times of tyrannical oppression, whether in the homeland of their vocalists or their Patriot Act-ruled adopted one. Yerba Buena were so infectiously fantastic that we completely forgot who the headlining band was, went fuzzy on who the opening band was (oh, wait, that would be Groove Ensemble, a pretty good jam band in their own right, who fired off hot Meters and Galactic covers), and left right after they finished their set, figuring no one would be able to top what we'd just experienced anyway. As sex metaphors go, we declare Yerba Buena to be a handjob for the soul. (RK)

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