Jack Black basically summed up the night’s sentiment Saturday when he and his partner Kyle Gass of Tenacious D started into the duo’s lengthy song, “City Hall,” singing, “All you people up there in City Hall, you’re fuckin’ it up for the people that’s in the streets.”
Before a packed audience that edged towards 1,000 in mid-Los Angeles warehouse–dressed in T-shirts, jeans and sweat pants–the self-proclaimed world’s greatest band proved its virtues in rock and roll and as a band for the common man, performing as part of All in for the 99%, an art and music activism event to raise awareness of the issues that definer the 99% movement and demand to end the super PAC-permitting Citizens United legislation.
“This is a song for the people in the streets, not the people City Hall,” Black continued. “All you motherfuckers in the streets it’s time to rise up, come along children and fuckin’ rise!”
To the audience’s cheers, Black sang suggestions of riot and modified the classic 2001 Tenacious D tune to include universal healthcare as a “no brainer” new decree for the song’s proposed newly revolutionized country. Two other decrees were to get rid of automobiles and Gass’ suggested “Doritos Decree,” which would mandate snack foods quit listing calorie amounts by serving sizes several times smaller than the total product or bag of chips. Shortly after, in the same song, Black also poked fun at Rush Limbaugh, telling Gass onstage the conservative radio host had turned into a 700-foot monster in Idaho who must be stopped.
The remainder of the set was filled with the band’s most political numbers like “City Hall” and also 2006’s “The Government Totally Sucks,” as well as new songs off the band’s forthcoming “Rize of the Fenix” that were unanimously met with charmed grins and cheers. After opening with the new song “Roadie,” Black applauded the audience by saying how proud he was that everyone braved the night’s rain to come out for a good cause. “Even you one-percenters who support the ninety-nine percent are welcome here,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of you here. I’m one of them. There’s no shame, if you support the 99 percent.”
Though Tenacious D felt most like the night’s main event, it was hard to tell for sure amidst the events happenings that closed with an electronic and house-heavy DJ set by Moby and an unannounced performance by Fitz and The Tantrums. Surrounding the music and open bar was an art-show featuring works by 80 artists — including Robbie Conal, Chris Johanson, Sage Vaughn, Glen E. Friedman, Megan Whitmarsh, Deedee Cheriel, Kelsey Brookes, Shepard Fairey, Neckface and Skullphone — mostly relating to the Occupy movement.
“To me [getting involved] was a no brainer,” said Michael Fitzpatrick, lead singer of Fitz and The Tantrums, who last fall joined Occupy Wallstreet at Zuccotti Park with an acoustic set. “I just wanted to continue my support for this thing I really believe in… I’m also a huge art collector and believer, I love the merge of art and music.”
Fitzpatrick’s soul-pop band had earlier rolled through its hits to the dancing delight of more modest crowd than Tenacious D and Moby received, which included a “love letter to our dear President”, “Dear Mr. President”, a cover of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” that had the entire room singing along at the chorus, and closed appropriately with the single “MoneyGrabber.” “I’m from Los Angeles so I can tell you all, Wake the fuck up!” Fitzpatrick told his audience at one point, before rolling into an impassioned “L.O.V.,” “We can all be cool later but lets get our dancing shoes on now!” Later, singer Noelle Scaggs spoke out on the importance of women standing together and men standing by their women. “They’re having their rights taken away one by one,” she told the crowd.
How does this compare to Zuccotti Park? Looking around at the masses of Los Angelenos dressed up for a Saturday night, while Moby played rave music from the stage, Fitzpatrick replied, “I’d say it’s a little more civilized here.”
Tenacious D Set List:
“The Government Totally Sucks”
Fitz and the Tantrums Set List:
“Don’t Gotta Work It Out”
“Breakin’ The Chains of Love”
“Dear Mr. President”
Updated: A previous version of this story misquoted Black as saying, “There’s no shame if you support the one percent.” The actor’s comment actually referenced the 99%.