Steve Ignorant stirred great controversy among the punk community last year when he announced that he would be performing the songs of his seminal English anarcho-punk band Crass, whose sound, ethics, and radical politics have long shaped punk itself. Even the band's breakup was noble: Upon forming in 1977, they vowed to disband completely in 1984, as a nod to the Orwellian totalitarianism that their lyrics likened to Thatcherism. Many punks felt that Ignorant's performance of Crass songs betrayed the group's credibility, and in San Francisco they mounted an inventive protest outside Ignorant's show. It began with the distribution of a pamphlet depicting Crass' symbol atop cash and ticket stubs. Below, in Crass' signature typeface: “SAY NO TO CRASS COMMERCIALISM.” The graphics and sloganeering brilliantly subverted Crass' imagery and lyrics, and the protesters encouraged attendees via megaphone to attend an alternate, unlicensed gig nearby in a converted bus. There's something inspiring about seeing the indignant, idealistic spirit of Crass manifest in a younger punk generation holding its heroes accountable with ardent creativity.
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