Maybe the years pass quicker or more things change within them lately. Either way, it seems like ages ago that the now-baseline insanity in discourse and politics first sprang forth with new affronts on human rights and dignity chittering out of our Facebook feeds. Speaking to immediate events, the current presidential administration is ushering in a new Supreme Court justice who attempts to keep his stances against women's health and reproductive rights wriggly enough as to avoid full focus—but we see what they are doing. Thankfully, people like Daniel Rossen, singer and guitarist of indie act Grizzly Bear, and his wife Amelia Bauer are doing the good work to help stem the flow of anti-woman, restrictive right-wing rhetoric via their work with the Noise for NOW (National Organization of Women) Initiative. And what's even better? You're invited to the party.
Almost exactly a year ago, Noise for NOW staged one of Santa Fe's most impressive bills in recent memory boasting acts such as Bon Iver, TV On The Radio and Tune-Yards. It was an unprecedented event in a lot of ways, even in Santa Fe's ever-growing concert market. As Rossen says, it was "a level of show that wasn't really happening here. You had giant acts coming to the opera—really established acts like Lyle Lovett and Bonnie Raitt—but there was a whole echelon of bands that just couldn't come here because they can't really afford to route it in." A year down the line, Noise for NOW's scope continues to grow.
"We've taken Noise for NOW and made it into a national effort," Bauer says. "We have more and more people joining the organization all the time, and we're organizing shows like these here in Santa Fe in various parts of the country that have been identified to us as places of high need for funding for women's health and abortion access."
It's a dual focus that benefits communities by creating new markets for excellent shows that feature high-profile acts while also benefiting women's rights in an increasingly hostile legal environment.
In a political landscape that causes what people often refer to as resistance fatigue, such concerts offer a vital beacon to keep activists invigorated and ready to fight. A large part of this vitality is becasue the events are rooted in revelry and the unifying force of music. Even as things continue to get worse, according to Bauer, she says there is a serious thrust forward in the attitude of organizers, musicians and concert attendees.
"Having a public event that you can tangibly ascertain the level of support for this cause keeps it fresh and alive," she says. "It's a dynamic way to stay involved. It's celebratory, you know?"
Helping to stoke this celebratory spark is Rossen's band Grizzly Bear, whose Noise for NOW appearance coincides with the tail end of their tour in support of the excellent 2017 album Painted Ruins. Rossen, now a Santa Fe resident after years of adoration for the city, wrote the album remotely, via the internet, with his band mates who now occupy various regions of the United States. Nevertheless, the album has a cohesion and unity of vision that harks back to the band's tight-knit early days in the Brooklyn jam space in which they began.
"We've worked to make the music more collectivized," Rossen explains. "This was probably the most collaborative version of songwriting that we've done. Even though we were working from afar, to begin with everything went through a filter whereby everybody in the band could contribute."
Live, of course, Grizzly Bear shines with the comfortable strength of four members who have played together for a little over a decade and a half.
In addition to Grizzly Bear's performance, Noise for NOW also stages upcoming solo performances by indie pop wonder St. Vincent and avant-folk statesman Andrew Bird at the Santa Fe Opera on Tuesday Sept. 18. Scheduled to appear alongside Grizzly Bear is Albuquerque-originated freak-folk band A Hawk and a Hacksaw, a recent addition to the bill featuring pop genius Heather Trost and all-around musical weirdo Jeremy Barnes.
Noise for NOW: Grizzly Bear with A Hawk and a Hacksaw
6:30 pm Friday Sept. 14. $31.
The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing Co.,
37 Fire Place,