International Women's Day Benefit Concert

The Headliner for the night and main draw for this event was The NightWatchman, a.k.a. Rage Against The Machine's former guitarist Tom Morello.

Watching Tom Morello handle a guitar in a show is something that has to be seen, the way he caresses the electric guitar to make it shriek and moan or scream at times make his live electric performances a must see for all music lover. Added to his sounds a strong political message and you have the perfect combination of melodic noise and conscious entertainment, granted you listen to the words and understand the message, which, just as his previous political band Rage Against the Machine, forces you to think and realize that is a struggle out there for you to take and act on, defending the defenseless and standing for you're their rights as well as yours.

This past Saturday night, a Benefit Concert for International Women's Day to "celebrate resistance and internationalism" took place in Downtown's The New LATC, an event to promote the IWD March this Saturday March 8. The march will start with a rally at 1:pm on Pico and Westwood Blvd, marching to Wilshire and Westwood Blvd to a 5:pm rally, which will culminate with a torchlight march through Westwood Village.

In conjunction with a call for unity with the "women of Iran and Afghanistan in their struggle against the women-hating Islamic Republic of Iran and the imperialist US empire" the Benefit Concert featured Iranian singer Gissoo Shakeri, whose music the protests to demand women's rights be heard in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq as well as the US and all over the world.

The night started with La Banda Skalavera, whose mix of ska-rock-merengue and other Latin American musical influences got the crowd warmed up for the night to come. The small but new theatre was filled at 80% capacity, but everyone was cheering and having a good time with La Banda Skalavera's musicaly diverse set. "I didn't know what to expect from La Banda Skalavera," said Dora Orozco from the Cal State Northridge who was there to see Morello play "it was a good experience didn't know of their music before. Orozco, a member of MeCHA, helped promote the event in her school.

When Iranian singer Gissoo Shakeri took the stage, a large part of the audience laughed at her jokes in Swedish and Iranian, as she left her natal Iran for Sweden after being prosecuted for her art. Her beautiful and melodic voice needed no translation, the sounds from her music expressed pain and the struggle from her life, as well as hope and determination.

This Concert was co-sponsored by the International Women's Day Coalition and Libros Revolucion, a downtown bookstore that specializes in the readings of Marx and Engels, a bookstore "to organize and promote revolution to the community by revolutionary means from the oppression capitalism brings." Said Maria Vasquez, a Pasadena City College student that attends discussion and readings at the bookstore. "Libros also publishes a newspaper called Revolucion, to raise awareness to the people."

When Tom Morello, finally came onstage after a short set by Mystic, a conscious rapper, the people couldn't contain their emotion. Morello said between songs "it sucks to be the second most radical member of the family," referring to a surprise guest "since this was a women's day celebration, I had to bring my mom with me. She has always been involved in the fight for justice."

This was also a special night since The Freedom Fighter Orchestra accompanied Morello. This meant that it wasn't going to be an acoustic set, but a full band set with 2 electric guitars, with drums, and bass. But that didn't stop Morello from playing a few acoustic songs as well. Morello's songs are more in the Pete Seeger's more conscious folk-rock style, and deal with the struggle of the common working man.

Morello is known to perform at anti-war rallys and he even got arrested in an action by UNITE HERE! To unionize the hotel workers. His support for the struggle for social justice is undeniable.

Get your marching boots ready and join the people this Saturday!

For info on the IWD March

Libros Revolucion (213) 488-1303

Tom Morello's The Nightwatchman:

Gissoo Shakeri

La Banda Skalavera