May Day Protests Make Mark With Music

By Kamren Curiel

Although the May Day march in L.A. yesterday couldn't compete with the historical mass turnout for immigration reform on March 25, 2006, at least 1,000 demonstrators, many from the Occupy movement, convened in downtown to fight for immigration reform and workers' rights. Protesters rose up across the country, including Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, Cleveland and New York, where the Occupy movement started last September.  Rage Against the Machine guitarist and Occupy supporter, Tom Morello, drew thousands to New York's Union Square, where he dropped knowledge on worker exploitation and led demonstrators in song alongside Immortal Technique and Brooklyn-based hip-hop group Das Racist.

May Day, also known as International Workers' Day, is historically a day for the working class to rise up in demonstration and march for higher wages, equal access to jobs, and the right to unionize. 

In the spirit of May Day, I caught Outernational on the Tijuana/San Diego/L.A. leg of their two-month Todos Somos Ilegales: We Are All Illegals tour (read Tour Diary # 1 + Tour Diary # 2.) It's one thing to stream their album online, but a whole other experience to see the self-described #futurerock band live. Led by high-energy vocalist Miles Solay, who bursts with rage-filled theatrics on stage, and accompanied by the powerful riffs of guitarist Leo Mintek, multitalented keyboardist/trumpeter/accordionist Dr. Blum, and bassist Jesse Williams, the revolutionary punk-meets-funk-meets-hip-hop act is a sight to be seen. Lyrics tell stories of the disappeared women of Juarez, victims of deportation, and the overall need to destroy borders. Tijuana-born, L.A.-based singer Ceci Bastida, who's featured on Outernational's Uproot Andy-remixed track "Canta El Río," made a special guest appearance. 

Boyle Heights represented with creative crew, Subsuelo, who opened for Outernational and busted out a sick flamenco-slash-hip-hop performance featuring La Tigresa, Antonio de Jerez, Gerardo Morales and DJs Canyon Cody, Ethos and Gozar.  

Special shout-out to Raka Nati (second from left below; w/ Real Bitman, Jacken, Zuzuka Poderosa and Eric Bobo in Austin, Texas) of CONRAZÓN, who reps hard for "True Music" like Outernational, Los Rakas, and Zuzuka Poderosa, and managed to draw a diverse crowd of positive vibes to The Echo last night. xoxoxo