Everyone knows that it's important to vote in an election year, but each year it seems like young people are the hardest ones to motivate. Formed nearly 20 years ago, Rock the Vote was started as a way to inform young people about politics through pop culture. The brand sponsors events around the country in an effort to get more people registered to vote.
On Sept. 12, at Tremont Music Hall, a Rock the Vote event organized by Lisa Barr and Kyle Lisenby will be held featuring Alternative Champs, Bruce Hazel and Some Volunteers, Eyes of the Elders, The Lights Fluorescent and 2013 Wolves.
"When all the campaigns began for the 2004 presidential elections, my friend Kyle Lisenby, and I decided that we wanted to try gearing more people in our age group away from being apathetic," says Barr, who has been voting since the 2000 election. "We just wanted to try finding a way to get people excited about having a voice. So, we held a Rock the Vote 2004 concert at Tremont Music Hall in September of that year. The bill consisted of four bands, only one of which is still a band: Math, Job's Method, Baleen, and Calabi Yau."
An event like this is the first for many of the acts on the bill, except for Hazel, who helped organize and performed at a similar concert in 2004. All of the acts were eager to get involved because of the importance of such an event.
"We've been a part of political events before, having played an anti-war rally downtown right after the U.S. went into Iraq," Eyes of the Elders' Uncle Fox says. "It's always great to see Charlotte do anything to make people conscious of the world around them and how their individual choices and voices can affect their community, nation and general well-being."
Barr, who works as the assistant club manager at Tremont, says the bands were selected for their diversity. Most of the acts have not played together on the same bill before, and some have never played Tremont before.
Eyes of the Elders will lean more toward playing politically or socially conscious songs for the event, while The Lights Fluorescent plans on playing a shorter set in support of the cause instead of a showcase for their music.
As for Alternative Champs ... well, you never know what to expect when one of that band's shows comes rolling in. "We are hoping that David Lee Roth might show up because that would be awesome, and also we plan on riding live elephants and donkeys from Lake Wylie all the way up Tryon Street right into the club and up on stage," The Champs' Mike Mitschele says. "Some of this could potentially change though. As far as a theme for the show -- every Champs show has a different theme. We never come up with that until the day of the show."
People will be able to register to vote at the event, as well as have their address changed and receive nonpartisan information about the candidates.
"I think it's a great thing to be able to integrate the music scene with the consciousness scene," says Barr. "How great to have a night of five rockin,' diverse bands and also be able to register to vote and learn about the candidates at the same time? This is a grassroots effort to make eventual big changes by making small steps right now."
Top picks for fall music
Aug. 20: Crowntown Showdown – The Evening Muse – This monthly open-mic competition has been revamped and is sure to bring in the talent. It's based on the Eddie's Attic model and if all goes well, you'll be saying, "I saw them when ..."
Sept. 12: Musiq Soulchild – Amos' Southend – The Philadelphia-based soul crooner swings by the Queen City to sing old cuts and some brand new tunes, too.
Sept. 17: 3 Doors Down, Finger Eleven, Hinder – Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre – Get out and enjoy one of the summer's last outdoor concerts (until next year). Plenty of rock to satisfy the radio-friendly masses.
Sept. 18: Drive-By Truckers – Amos' Southend – I've never been a huge fan of their sleepy brand of rock, but plenty of others are. The band will cruise into a smaller venue this time around – last year, they were opening for the Allmans.
Oct. 11: Jucifer – The Milestone – Want to see how loud a big wall of speakers can get? Check out this show from the heavy-rocking duo, and be sure to bring your earplugs.
Oct. 23: Galactic – Visulite Theatre – The group made waves last year as they found the perfect combination of jazz and hip-hop. With any luck, they'll showcase both at this show.
Nov. 6, 7: The Black Crowes – Neighborhood Theatre – If you're planning on seeing the Robinson brothers this time around, you better already have tickets. They sold out in no time.