Talk about your lucky breaks: A room full of 300 Jello Biafra acolytes, and Bandwidth's sitting -- accidentally but sorta fortuitously -- behind the lone heckler in the place during Biafra's April 9 visit to Respectable Street in West Palm Beach. Right off the bat, while Jello was still clad in his judicial robe and mirrored shades, this bespectacled insurance agent shouts out, "Why aren't you touring with your band?" His partner, a Brendan Fraser ringer with a debilitating case of concert narcolepsy, sawed cypress the entire night as his would-rather-be-golfing buddy steamed visibly, unable to reconcile the left-wing faggot on-stage with songs it seems almost incomprehensible he'd ever listened to.
"Tell us about DK," he yelled again when Jello didn't acknowledge him. Applause met Biafra's comeback: "Oh, there's got to be more to life than that." But that failed to impress this wire-rimmed fooligan.
Removing the robe and revealing a state trooper's uniform to the hoots of the crowd, Biafra laughed back, "How do you think I made it this far into Florida?" The man's current enemies list now includes ClearChannel, John "Ash-crack," King George II, Osama Bin Werewolf, Time Magazine, and too many more to list here. But when Biafra related a tale of a mosque attack in Tallahassee and a "white-trash drive-by" in which an Arab man was shot and killed, the fortysomething doofus in front of me actually whooped in approval -- an act that nearly got him pummeled by those standing next to him.
Eventually, the douchebag had had enough, scooped up the still-snoozing Fraser, and left in a haughty huff. What'd he expect? Prolly unlikely he traveled to Tampa last weekend to party with Biafra, Ralph Nader, and Patti Smith; had he, however, he could've caught a shorter-winded version of Jello's screed. But at Respectables, when (well after midnight) Biafra decided to break for an intermission three hours after he began talking -- and almost an hour after he started blathering about trade tariffs and the WTO -- Bandwidth's PC processors, eager at first but overloaded at last, were stressed beyond capacity. Word has it the preaching went on until after 2 a.m.
These quibbles aside, Biafra's homily was far closer to the spirit of his old band than their misguided reunion tour was, from the sound of it: The J-man ragged on his ex-boys for performing at Orlando's Hard Rock Café Disneyland -- and charging $33. Biafra and other loudmouthed champions of liberty have good reason to squirm right about now, thanks to the green light for radio monopolies to terrorize the airwaves and keep Internet radio on the ropes. After September 11 and the Enron scandal, people are starting to make the connection that limited news outlets make it hard to find competing information. Last October, the FCC decided to "review" its media cross-ownership regulations with an eye toward dismantling them; last week, a New York State appeals court (the one on which Colin Powell's son sits) overturned one of the final regulatory roadblocks to media monopolism. Shudder.
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In the meantime, the government has permitted citizens limited access to entertainment and diversion, as long as these mass gatherings are peaceful and the pamphlets promoting them do not criticize our leaders. But since the upcoming weekend is packed with plenty of activities, there should be no reason to act out of line or fail to maintain order.
On Thursday, April 18, all ages can lawfully assemble to bear witness to Switchfoot with Fear of Understanding (formerly Whiteout), 7 pm. at the River in Boca Raton. On Friday, April 19, Legends of Rodeo unveils A Thousand Friday Nights, its Bieler Bros./RCA debut, at Respectable Street, while Billy Music and Sunday Driver ride in to Churchill's Hideaway and a recently unearthed Concrete Blonde attempts to recast itself at Billboard Live. Saturday, April 20, the bloody Gore Fest finishes up its two-day run at the Ramada Inn on Miami Beach, while Gilded Lily puts in a shift at the Factory. Meanwhile, Dismemberment Plan, Paris Texas, and Maypop lively up Respectables as the Baboons are uncaged at Tobacco Road, Future Ex plays in the garden at Piccadilly's Pop Life, and the Stop Motion, Revolver, No Stars Here, Unfisted, Words Now Heard, and Pygmy congregate back in the Alley. Lake Worth Books will have to deal with the aftereffects of an afternoon with Studly Husband Rubbings, while Cassandra Wilson romances the Carefree Theater.
Universe, a poetry-slam showdown between teams of wordslingers from the area (including the Non-Native Transplants), quote it up all night at West Palm's Cuillo Center for the Arts. Sunday, April 21, isn't shaping up to be a day of rest, what with Radiobaghdad and the Mary Tyler Whores at Tavern 213. On Tuesday, April 23, twirl with the String Cheese Incident at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater or scowl over All That Remains, the Crown, and Darkest Hour at the Culture Room. Then you can sleep until Wednesday, April 24, when Cru Jones, All That's Left, Ebaneezer, and Gimp romp and stomp around Ray's Downtown Blues. Finally, on Thursday, April 25, Chris Smither strolls into the Bamboo Room.
That oughta keep you off the streets for a while. Remember, your safety cannot be guaranteed if you take it upon yourself to act. Follow directions. For your own good, do as you are told.