Instead of unplugging mics this year, let's turn them up
Last year, ChickenHawk BirdGetters ignited a mini controversy by threatening to cover N.W.A.'s “Fuck tha Police,” a song that has continued resonance amid the ongoing national debate surrounding police violence. (ComFest organizers ultimately forced the band to refrain from performing the song, and later issued an apology for censoring the group.) With the BirdGetters returning to the ComFest stage on Friday, June 22, we thought we'd list a handful of songs that we'd like to see performers attempt this year.
The Worn Flints covering “The Happiest Place on Earth” by Desaperacidos
Conor Oberst's voice quivers as he delivers the opening lines of this 2002 track: “I want to pledge allegiance to the country where I live/I don't want to be ashamed to be American.” He then goes on to detail a detached populace going through the motions as its government commits unchecked atrocities, which feels particularly apt in this moment, and I'd love to hear the Flints' run through this ragged, raging jam.
Weezee covering “Concrete Jungle” by Bob Marley
Multifaceted singer Weezee has planned part of her Saturday set as a tribute to late friend and rapper Sheron “Nes Wordz” Colbert, but after the tears flow we'd love to hear the singer steel herself by tackling this reggae classic, which finds Bob Marley surveying the hopelessness of life in poverty. “No chains around my feet/But I'm not free,” he sings.
Brujas Del Sol covering “Bandera” by Aterciopelados
True, Brujas tends to favor the slow burn in its widescreen rock 'n' roll, but guitarist Adrian Zambrano has written proudly about his Mexican heritage on social media, and hearing the band's take on this Spanish-language immigration tale, which grapples with issues of privilege and power, would deliver chills in this climate.
Tim Easton covering “The Ghost of Tom Joad” by Bruce Springsteen
The Boss recently went off-script to play this song during “Springsteen on Broadway,” introducing it by denouncing President Donald Trump's immigration policy as “inhumane,” and few on the ComFest bill could do the tune better justice than Easton.
Sarob covering “Wonderful Everyday” by Chance the Rapper and the Social Experiment
Sarob's performances tend to be musically varied, soul-lifting affairs, so who better to tackle this uplifting, piano-driven track from the Chicago MC? “I'm gonna get by when the going get rough/I'm gonna love life 'til I'm done growing up,” Chance raps before pivoting for the fight. “And when I go down/I'mma go down swinging.”