Julian Temple's Joe Strummer doc, The Future is Unwritten, which I wrote about here last year, is coming out on DVD today. Buy it, Netflix it, see it if you have a soft spot for when punk meant not just rebellion, but part of the fight for social justice.
On that note, saw Rachid Taha in Central Park on Saturday. It was the first time I'd seen him live, and it was a great show, rain and all. He is an old-school rock star for sure, raggedy and joyous. And his band is tight as the man's pants.
My favorite moment came when someone inevitably handed him an Algerian flag. He held it at arm's length, with obvious distaste, before making this conciliatory yet challenging remark: "I do not like flags, but today I make an exception." He held it for a bit distratedly, then casually tossed it by the drum kit.
Café Tacuba's singer said something similar last year (I can't find reference right now). I dig these rooted cosmopolitans challenging not just borders, but nationalism itself as a big chunk of the problem.
Oddly enough, when it came to the obvious crowd-pleaser, the cover of "Rock the Casbah," Taha's band seemed a tad less enthused than with the rest of the rollicking set, almost like they were embarrassed to pander. It's not the best of Clash songs. As a matter of fact, it's one of the lamer songs they ever did. But Taha's cover redeemed it for me. Check this performance of it with Mick Jones, whose song this clearly was (when did Mick Jones turn into a Sheffield accountant?)
[Rachid Taha pix @ SummerStage by Houari B via Flickr]