During the era of voodoo economics and supply-side subterfuge, the Reagan administration was a catalyst for some of the most galvanized punk and hardcore America has ever produced.
"Eighties hardcore was basically all political," says Disengage frontman Jason Byers. "That's what I grew up to. That's what got me motivated; listening to those bands got me into wanting to sing."
Weaned on the socially aware sounds of B'last and Agnostic Front, Byers came of age during the golden era of protest punk. Now that another arch-conservative is in office, Byers is looking to bring back the spirit of an earlier combat rock. In association with the Cleveland chapter of Rock the Vote (an organization that registers voters, among other things), Byers is throwing one of the year's best regional rock shows, in an attempt to spur political dialogue. The show will take place at both Peabody's and Pirate's Cove this Saturday, and will feature more than a dozen of the area's most heated live acts, including Kent's mesmeric Party of Helicopters, the abrasive Youngstown screechers Rebreather, and Cleveland metal meat-eaters Boulder. There won't be a lot of sermonizing at the show, but there will be plenty of impassioned rock and roll.
"I got bands that actually care," Byers says of the socially conscious acts he assembled for the show. "Boulder might not care," he adds with a chuckle, "but the rest do."