street sweeper storms the gramercy
  • THURSDAY, JUNE 18, 2009

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Forget capitalism, we want socialism! If this isn't what you are vehemently chanting after seeing Street Sweeper Social Club live at the Gramercy Theater this past Tuesday, we have extreme doubts you went to the same show.

Musical powers Boots Riley of the Coup and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine nearly annihilated the theatre into shreds with the tracks off their revolutionary, self-titled album. The rock-riot tunes and their fierce wardrobe, black and red military jackets and stylish pairs of shades, made for one battle scene we would dare you to cross. If you even consider stepping a foot into this war-zone, we highly suggest it is not when Riley is foot-stomping from one end of the stage to the other, while Morello is effortlessly pounding the strings of his guitar. Maybe it is best you wait till the following day to avoid the aftermath of echoing riffs from underneath the stage.

This uprising broke out with their opening number, "Fight, Smash, Win" and never closed after that. The minute Morello played one chord of the first track, the crowds fists remained permanently in the air with their heads nodding constantly to the beats. The crowd reached the ultimate loss of body control once Riley belted out the insurgent lyrics of the chorus, "Fight, Smash, Lets Win."

With only 11 songs off their debut album, SSSC added a well-known track to their concert, MIA's "Paper Planes." The innovative spin on the song fit flawlessly into their set and stood very far apart from the original. Although Riley's vocals transformed the song from pop to hip hop, it was Morello's intricate guitar skills that took this track from its newly established hip hop level to the pinnacle of rock anthems. It is quite hard to remember how MIA's version played, even long after hearing SSSC's take on it.

By the time lead single "100 Little Curses" saw daylight, we already believed close to anything SSSC raged about. In the track, Riley diligently rapped "May your wife's worried face show her horrific expression. May you realize she's not worried, that's just Botox injections." We chuckled immediately, but the laughter quickly turned to absurdity, which then translated to anger. After a few short seconds of deliberation, we thought, it's time to join the Social Club and protest the regulations and boundaries that life compels us to abide by.

Although SSSC completed the unforgettable concert with "Nobody Moves Till We Say Go," the socialist revolution didn't end until Morello daringly, but correctly said, "Feed the poor. Fight the power. Rock the f*ck out." The show was over and long gone were the days of free enterprise. New York City would never be the same. - Lonnie Nemiroff

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VIDEO: An Interview w/ Street Sweeper Social Club
Street Sweeper on Myspace


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