Saturday night at Bayside Grange – Blackfire
From the Journal...
RAN INTO A MUSIC FAN AT LAST SATURDAY'S Farmers' Market. He asked what the "big show" coming up this weekend was. In truth, there are a number of cool shows, particularly on Saturday night, but the one that came to mind was the benefit at the Bayside Grange featuring Blackfire. "What kind of music do they play?" he asked. And I had to stop and think how to describe this band, which I saw on their first local visit, about a year ago. I think at the time I called their style "indigenous punk," although that doesn't quite do it justice. They play with punk passion and drive, and they even cover a Ramones song, but their sound is far from two- and three-chord progressions and shouted lyrics. (And they also cover Woody Guthrie songs.)
They define their style as comprising "traditional Native American, punk-rock and `alter-Native'" with "strong sociopolitical messages."
The three-piece family band includes Janela Benally and her brothers Clayson and Klee, the latter of whom serves as the principal songwriter penning strong songs about "government oppression, relocation of indigenous people, eco-cide, genocide, domestic violence and human rights."
"We utilize our music to carry a message, a message reflected in everything we do," said Klee, when I called the Benallys at their home in the Southwest. "We are calling for people to stand with us, to try to make positive change in their communities, to think about what's going on, to take action when you see injustice happening."
Janela has a slightly different view, pointing out the healing nature of music. "Music is emotion. When I hear a song that moves me, I feel an emotional connection to it, or an emotional release. Music is part of that release, part of the healing."
As they point out on their website (www.blackfire.net
) the band only plays all-ages venues, which makes the Grange a perfect place to see them. Humboldt's own Seventh Generation Rise opens the show at 7 p.m., with Julian Lang and Marlon Sherman offering contributions. Proceeds benefit the Sustainable Nations Development Fund.