Vote a straight ticket: Pick rock & roll

By By Chase Straight, Red Pulse Writer and By Chase Straight, Red Pulse Writer

By Chase Straight, Red Pulse Writer

It has been an especially musical election year with bands such as the Grateful Dead and Rage Against the Machine reuniting to give support to Sen. Barack Obama. Many other bands have pledged their support, and just as many others have sued the McCain campaign for using their songs.

The Associated Students of the University of Utah Presenter’s Office has taken note and is hosting the UVote concert Monday, featuring Phantom Planet, The Maine and The Brobecks. Rocking out in the Union Ballroom, the concert will allow student voters to exorcize their adolescent demons before making an adult decision the next day. Best of all, the show is free for students!

The concert will open with The Brobecks, local legends who have received heavy airplay on X96 and won City Weekly’s Indie Pop Band of the Year award two years running in 2007 and 2008. Fronted by Dallon Weekes, a Salt Lake City native and returned missionary, The Brobecks play a distinct style of indie rock, never playing too far into the stereotypes of pop, rock or punk. Instead, they craft accessible songs built with powerful orchestration and driving rhythms. They might be the opening band, but don’t be surprised if they end up stealing the show.

Although they are dubbed an indie-pop band, The Maine walks the emo line and will offer a sugary refreshment to the more substantive approach of the other two bands on the bill.

The Maine is an update on the pop-emo phenomenon of the past few years, pairing light, optimistic vocals with friendly, chiming guitars. They are rising stars in the scene, and their song “Everything I Ask For” is featured in the trailer for Lindsay Lohan’s new film “Labor Pains.” Their songs have also found their way onto a Warped Tour compilation and the TV show “The Hills.” The Maine is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Headlining the show and probably best known for “California,” their catchy ode to summer dreams and making it big, is Phantom Planet. Their 2008 release Raise the Dead proves they are more than just the band who sings the theme song to “The O.C.” It’s hard to categorize their sound8212;they play a mix of alternative and indie rock with a little prog thrown in, but they rock no matter what. Their hit single “Do The Panic” finds the band in new territory, with fist-pumping, foot-stomping rhythms escalating into a dramatic chorus, only to return to fun, spoken-word verses.

Phantom Planet is among the rare group of artists who are actually more fun to see live than hear on an album. They are known for lengthy, transition jams that keep the crowd energized throughout the entire show. They might not be touring with their former drummer, indie-film darling Jason Schwartzman, but they are set to go with a fresh sound that captures the pulse of the progressive indie-rock scene.

With voter registration closed, and the election the very next day, the goal of the concert is to energize students into actually voting if they have registered.

Nathan Yu, a junior in chemical engineering, said he thinks the concert is a good approach to voter awareness.

“This election will probably have the highest turnout in terms of youth voting,” he said. “Sadly, some people don’t even know when Election Day is, so having a concert before would be beneficial.”

There will also be activities available throughout the concert, including an obstacle course and a photoshoot area where students can dress the candidates in props. On the serious side of the political section, there will be computer stations with information on the candidates and the voting process as well as a brick wall detailed with issues students have found most important this election season.

The UVote lineup promises to deliver a great time regardless of your political participation, or lack thereof. Come for the music, and you might just learn a little something along the way.

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