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NEW YORK – On April 28, 2004, the Crobar nightclub in New York City was packed. From the big name stars to the audience members, everyone was there to do one thing: rock out for marriage.
Two years later the live concert is being released on CD and the proceeds from the project will go to support Freedom to Marry, a national organization working toward equal marriage rights for all. (For more information, visit http://www.FreedomtoMarry.org.)
“WEDrock” is a star-studded affair. The disc opens with the song “Married,” a charming piano ditty performed by actor Alan Cumming. This is followed by none other than Lou Reed doing an a cappella version of “Walk on the Wild Side.” In truth, he sounds more like Garrison Keiller reading a bad poem than the guy who originally made “Wild Side” famous (a.k.a. himself). But it’s still cool that he was there.
Lady Bunny acts as the mistress of ceremonies and stands on her “Soap Box” before Le Tigre rock out on the aptly chosen “Hot Topic” and “Deceptacon.”
Gay rocker Bob Mould plays “If I Can’t Change Your Mind,” a hit he had with his now defunct band Sugar in the 90s.
“The fact that the right is making a gigantic moral issue of gay marriage should outrage most Americans,” says Mould. “If you take the religious argument out of the picture, you eliminate a lot of the rhetoric that the Right base their arguments on.”
Margaret Cho pokes fun at the so-called “gay agenda” and the defenders of marriage. “What is the gay agenda, exactly?” she asks. “Is it assless wedding gowns?”
Sandra Bernhard, another comedian beloved by the gay community also shares the bill and, in fact, has the most tracks (three) of any performer on this album. Her performances have a “you had to be there” feel and will probably appeal most to already devout Bernhard worshippers. Though she offers some universal words of wisdom. “Don’t give in. Don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Go out and kick some ass,” she says. “We’re going to change the whole face of the universe.”
Several artists play politically charged cover songs. Moby and Laura Dawn do Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth.” Cutie rocker Ben Jelen does a cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Talkin’ About A Revolution.” He doesn’t top the original, but then he doesn’t pretend he can. About the topic of the evening he says, “It’s not a straight issue, it’s not a gay issue, it’s a human rights issue.”
Sleater-Kinney is the highlight of the album. Their live version of “Step Aside” is great, but they outdo themselves with a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” dedicated to George W. Bush.
The WEDrock concert was produced by Josh Wood and John Cameron Mitchell (of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” fame).
“I think it’s important for artists to speak out against discrimination and add our voices in favor of equality for all,” says John Cameron Mitchell.