Junkyard Empire embark on “Anti-RNC Tour”


Hard as it may be to believe, not everyone is delighted to see the Republican National Convention come to the Twin Cities. While the City of St. Paul and the St. Paul Police Department pulled a pretty good fast one, revoking the Welfare Rights Committee’s permit to assemble during the RNC, at least one relentless voice is determined to be heard: that of the avant-garde jazz and hip-hop band Junkyard Empire. They don’t need a permit and plan to state their case profoundly as possible with what they’re calling the Anti-RNC Tour. There’s no word on whether t-shirts, souvenir programs, and such will be available, but it’s confirmed that this is when the band will release the eagerly awaited follow-up to their debut album Reclaim Freedom. The new disc is an EP entitled Rise of the Wretched, and will drop September 2nd as the Anti-RNC Tour kicks off at the Welcome to the Neighborhood Block Party—also on-hand, among others, will be Boots Riley and the Coup, Kill the Vultures, Los Nativos, and Boiled in Lead.

“The idea of this little tour around the Twin Cities”, says Junkyard Empire trombonist and founder Christopher Robin Cox, “is to play shows in celebration of and solidarity with our brothers and sisters who [are] engaged in speaking truth to power during the convention.” Be prepared for such verse, from JE frontman Brihanu, as “I slam poetics with the dialectic of a heretic. Eclectic styles I inherited from the dociet files, and walked the highways with James Meredith. Evoke the souls of Langston and James Baldwin, because there’s a fire in my eyes when I too sing America. But the schools ain’t preparin’ ya’ for the next era, so we sit by in a state of gentle stasis, waiting for the genocide. My genealogy lies in the ocean waves created by Africans who refused to be slaves, so why we slavin’ for the status quo?”

Cox and company, since Reclaim Freedom, have created a new lineup that now includes Bryan Berry on guitar, Dan Choma on bass and Graham O’Brien on drums. The rest of the dates on the Anti-RNC Tour: September 3 at the Blue Nile for the “Real America Concert,” hosted by the Sha Cage-e.g. bailey outfit Tru Ruts; September 4 at Trocadero’s for the Goodbye RNC Party, hosted by MJG Productions with Jistoray on the bill; and September 6 at Downtime Bar for the RNC Protesters Thank You Party. What’s left to say, except, “Junkyard Empire in effect, y’all”?

Dwight Hobbes is a writer based in the Twin Cities. He contributes regularly to the Daily Planet.

Also in the Daily Planet, read Dwight Hobbes on Junkyard Empire and Tickle Fight.