Photos & Report: Bernie Sanders Rally @ the Tacoma Dome

Bernie Sanders @ the Tacoma Dome, 2/17/20
~John Rudolph

Jane & Bernie Sanders @ the Bernie Sanders Rally – photo by John Rudolph

More than 17,000 Bernie Sanders fans stormed the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington like “Deadheads” following the Grateful Dead.  Bernie’s fans were passionate, vocal, and very well educated on the issues. The issues most talked about were climate justice, income inequality, and more inclusive rights for indigenous people, women, and minorities. 

It was fun seeing the inclusion of various Native American tribes from the Pacific Northwest and First Nations peoples from Western Canada. They were so proud to share their culture and concerns with the non-native members of the crowd.   

David Z. Bean of the Puyallup Tribe gave a speech that was well-received, explaining how many tribal issues including how climate change affects fishing and other businesses for native and non-native citizens alike.  He made the climate issue personal for everyone in attendance and watching at home.

Female native speakers, younger and older, talked about the plight of native women that the “mainstream” news just doesn’t cover. 

Actor Tim Robbins, City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, climate activist Jamie Margolin and US Representative, Pramila Jayapal all gave speeches representative of the political left in America.   

Bernie and Jane Sanders took the stage together at 8 P.M. to a roaring crowd. His supporters stomped their feet loudly chanting “Green New Deal” and “Medicare For All”. Bernie and Jane looked genuinely excited and surprised by the size of the crowd. They stopped for a few moments taking it all in.  

Bernie went on the attack of President Trump’s policies and his Obama era policy reversals. The crowd booed very loudly. It was almost deafening. 

Sanders thunderously and passionately delivered his platform and then he didn’t waste too much time before attacking Michael Bloomberg. Bernie said, “We need a presidency and not an oligarchy!!” 

Chants of Bernie, Bernie, Bernie erupted from the crowd. 

He brought up Bloomberg’s “stop and frisk” policy and he accused him of racism. He followed up with Bloomberg’s opposition to raising the minimum wage. 

Bernie’s lesser known proposals include raising teacher’s salaries to $60,000 per year, ending the war on drugs and on private prisons, and legalizing pot. These were huge hits for his rabid fans.

He said the Sanders Administration would not see federal officers snatching babies from mothers and he said there would be no more cages for immigrants. He said that he wants comprehensive immigration reform, gun policy written by “the people” and not by the NRA.

He would push for Roe v. Wade to become law and he would refund Planned Parenthood.

The mood of the crowd was great. They were inclusive, criticizing President Trump but not Trump supporters. With all this talk by the media of a divided country, there was no evidence of that at this rally. Sure, they attacked President Trump’s policies and brought up charges of racism, however they didn’t attack his fans at all. 

That was very nice to see, and I, for one am still feeling the Bern.

Bernie Sanders Rally – photos by John Rudolph

Show Review: Conversation w/Nick Cave @ the Moore

Conversation with Nick Cave @ the Moore, 10/11/19
~John Rudolph

Nick Cave @ the Moore – photo by John Rudolph

I knew about Nick Cave, however I was not a member of The Red Hand Files. (that’s where Cave answers all kinds of questions). I was looking forward to a very interesting show and I got a lot more than I expected.

The stage, bathed in blue light, was very intimate with eight cocktail tables filled with some very lucky fans sitting just behind a grand piano. The crowd was murmuring with excitement and there was almost a nervous tension in the room waiting for Cave to slink onto the stage. 

Cave played a few songs and then he took some questions from fans. Cave has a beautifully soulful voice, so clean in its register, and he really had a fun and funny way with the crowd. You could tell that he was in his element. 

He playfully picked on an audience member called Jeffrey, saying, “Get your shit together.” He’s been responding to his fan mail and getting an insight into who they are. The evening’s conversations were real. Fans asked questions of their favorite entertainer.

During the back-and-forth, he talked about how there is a real danger of erasing of songs from history because of PC culture. “Stagger Lee” is one of those songs for him. I think many artists are feeling this way now about all genres of art. 

A fan asked if he could propose to his girlfriend on stage. He said that he didn’t want it to go horribly wrong. Of course, it went as expected, the proposal went clumsily, and everyone laughed. It was so funny. The would-be groom dropped the ring on the stage.

He talked about loving Jimmy Webb, an American pop country artist, after someone asked him about Webb. Cave then played a Webb song. He said that he was afraid of murdering the song “Where’s the Playground Susie”. It went flawlessly. 

When asked about what makes him worry, Cave said climate change and war, but he said that they don’t keep him up at night

Cave said his songwriting is influenced by The Bible (he was raised a Christian). I was a little surprised by that. I’m not sure why, but I was. He explained how he likes the New Testament more than the old. He called both Testaments compelling. Nick related his love of The Bible and its stories like a longing and the yearning to reach for Jesus’s garment.

One thing that he made plain was the dislike of what he called the “certainty” of religious people. He doesn’t have much respect for organized religion. The existence of God isn’t what motivates him, but the yearning is more important to him. Cave thinks there are more truths in the world than just one. His example was science: “Atheism is crap for songwriting.”

He was asked about how he could move forward after his son died. The letters from his fans kept him going, commenting that we are all part of a river of sorrow and grief. The collective community and the song “Skeleton Tree” helped. He is now in touch with his intuitions. He attributes that to loss and grief. One piece of advice that seemed especially meaningful to Nick was to take his son out of his heart and place him next to him in his life. He explained how this approach is better for him emotionally.  He talked about how you never get over grief, but you can be happier than before the trauma. He said there is a glorious life after you go through grief.

Cave said that his songwriting has changed over the years. He expressed how he hid himself in the characters of his songs. His songs became fractured and full of holes, and he filled the holes with imagination. His example was “Jubilee Street.” Cave explained that you must be empty and fill yourself with things and thoughts. “Abandon bad thoughts to keep the creativity going. Keep failing while striving for better.”

A fan asked how Nick Cave became comfortable with the sound of your own voice? He said it took a long time and he grew into it. He was told that he was a crooner when he was a punk. He said, “Bullshit, and now I’m a crooner.”

Asked about his marriage, he responded by saying that he goes on tour a lot. “Love is wonderful, and marriage is a parallel to love. . . You work towards the higher ideal. Things go wrong and you put them together again and there’s a beauty to that.”

He was asked about his feelings on fascism and President Trump. Cave responded that “We are far from fascism. Don’t forget how great we have it. So many people are really oppressed.” He said, “Don’t let politics get you down. Work hard and look forward.” He also added, “We need to move toward the light and away from bitterness and self-hatred.” He said there is too much beauty in the world to be wasted on hate.

A final fan asked about the sadness in his songs. Cave explained that when he performs, he’s not sad or in a sad state of mind. He lets the songs speak for themselves.  

I think that sentiment is something we can all learn from. Nick Cave is having a very interesting life. His journey has been filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows. It all seems to have come out on the right side of life for Cave.

Photos: Bat For Lashes @ Neptune Theatre

Under the moniker Bat For Lashes, Natasha Khan headlined at the Neptune Theatre, the first stop on her US tour.  Surrounded by vintage lanterns, Khan alternated between keyboard and guitar while being accompanied by a single keyboard player.  She played a variety of songs from her latest album, The Lost Girls, as well as favorites from the past decade.

Bat For Lashes