Live Review: Cinemocracy Rocks! at Red Rocks

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Cinemocracy Rocks! Monday, August 25, 2008 Red Rocks Amphiteatre

Better than: Rocking in the free world.

Near the end of Alan Dominguez’s film, Cinema+(Dem)ocracy, a guy said, “Voting is like peeing the ocean. It doesn’t make much difference, but you really feel good having done it.” Of all the people interviewed in the top ten Cinemocracy films shown Monday night, that guy’s quote was the most memorable. And while one vote may not seem like it makes a difference, as someone else said in another film, if we couldn’t vote we wouldn’t have a democracy.

The ten short films, most of which were made by Colorado filmmakers, examined democracy from all sides, whether it be having people talk about their voting history, getting children’s takes on what democracy or what democracy meant to local bluesman Otis Taylor, who said, “Freedom is the most expensive word in the vocabulary.”

Jill Sobule, who played after Peter Buffett and the Native American Sacred Wind Dancers earlier that night, also had a few things to say about our government when she opened her set with her funny anti-Bush tune “Put Him in the Hall of Fame.” Sobule, who was born in Denver and grew up near Cramner Park, talked about seeing shows at Red Rocks, and at one particular show she was getting quite a few stares. That is, until she realized that her tube top had fallen down.

During “Cinnamon Park,” she paused for moment, stomped on her distortion pedal and out some mean riffage on her acoustic guitar. “I always wanted to do that at Red Rocks,” she said and then finished the song.

While Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” is tearing up the charts now, Sobule had a hit with her tune of the same name nearly a decade a go. When Sobule’s song first came out, she said she had been asked who the song was about, but she vowed to keep it a secret, “especially since it was a famous person in Washington,” she said. As she introduced a new song, she said she’d finally come clean with who the affair was about and started singing about Condoleeza Rice playing piano while wearing stilettos. Near the end of the set, Sobule’s mother joined her for a hilarious version of Nelly’s “Hot in Here.”

After a local DJ set, Murs came out saying he was going to do a clean set without any curse words. Only accompanied by his Mac laptop, Murs kicked off his set with “Better Than the Best” and rapped over a chopped up samples of the Temptations’ “Sugar Pie Honeybunch.” Murs also dipped into a cut about a girl who had just broken up with him and another one that was about a job he had before he was a rapper. After closing with “H-U-S-T-L-E,” Murs said, “If you leave this world in a better place than when you came in, then we all win.”

Denver-based the Apples in Stereo delivered a highly charged, energetic set of ‘60s-infused power pop. The guys ran through a bunch of cuts from their latest album, New Magnetic Wonder, which was the first release on Elijah Wood’s label, Simian Records. A few songs after the wonderful “7 Stars,” frontman Robert Schneider dedicated the Beatle-esque tune “Sun is Out” to Barack Obama. Before kicking off “Skyway,” frontman Robert Schneider said he heard the song in a dream, woke up and wrote it really fast. Schneider seemed excited to be playing Red Rocks, saying he’d seen Pavement and Sonic Youth at the venue.

--Jon Solomon

Personal Bias: While I was there more for the rock, I was impressed with the scope and the diversity of the short films. Random Detail: Jill Sobule said her fans raised $75,000 (last check on www.jillsnextrecord.com was $86.200) to make her next record. For $1,000, she’ll write a theme song for you. By the Way: You can watch the top ten Cinemocracy films and others here: www.cinemocracy.org.

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