& arthur watership
November is the month of change. The sun leans away from its summer kiss, the days cede to the night, furrowed brows drape over eyes sizing up the long road ahead, and even the bears give a wave and say wake me up when it’s over. Though we may be largely insulated from the wintery trials of the natural world, we are, as a country and as a species, plodding through the November of our existence. So much is in question, so much in peril as the pendulum sits poised to swing drastically in either direction. It’s a time of daunting darkness, and as a result, of resolute hope. Never has it been more important to stand up for what is right, to defend the light against the darkness, to join together and use our distinctive voices to declare who we are and who we’re going to be. Art, and music specifically, is not separate from this struggle- there’s a reason the band keeps playing while the ship’s going down. In a shadowy world, it’s the brave who continue to play, to create, to sing and dance and nurture a spark of hope into a raging ball of heat for everyone to feed off of. Mojo Green and Arthur Watership, by crafting music that is indelibly theirs, are fulfilling the tradition of music as the stimulus for necessary change. Their performances are as much felt as heard, the music as vital to their existence as it is to ours, and when we march through the darkness together it emboldens us all to push on through.
Mojo Green explodes from the ground up. Long before the horns start blasting, the vocals driving and the backline thumping, the floor begins to look like it’s made of rubber. Feet cannot possibly remain stationary. When the band steps onto the stage the earth roils and rumbles, and as they pile up their energy and funk and soul, the smiles that began in the toes rise up and spill over through hands raised high overhead. This band prescribes fun for whatever cold, cough, or flu the season might bring on, and they administer the remedy to their audience in an onslaught befitting a mile-long marching band. They shake their fists, horns, drums, whatever thang you can imagine at those who linger in pessimism, and they’re forever ready to stare down the long night. They don’t stop, they don’t concede, and they sweep you up with a twinkle that says of course we’re having a blast; this is love, love wins.
Arthur Watership takes the world that is and turns it inside out. They expose all that’s overlooked, covered up, hidden and neglected, and show just how beautiful it can be. Each pluck of the string and flick of the cymbal is carefully considered as they guide the audience on a journey of the world we thought we knew. There’s magic at every turn, trickling off the rocks and buried deep beneath the moss, and just when you thought you were seeing each angle, the rabbit turns round and pulls something out of its hat. This is not to say that the band is surreal. When they conclude a song, they peer out from behind their collective countenance and tell you that it’s all real; you’re real, they’re real, the whole thing’s real, it’s just that everyone and everything has a lot more to it than is initially perceived. The magic is ingrained in this world, in us, we just need a little help digging it out from time to time.
Frederick Douglass said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” While November is the gateway to that which is difficult, it is also rife with opportunity to reshape, re-envision, and transform. Nothing incredible ever came to be without many hands straining to make it so, and as discouraging as the horizon may look, we have everything we need. We have Mojo Green. We have Arthur Watership. We have Bang the Drum, and on November 2, we have a For the Folks show to bring it all home. See ya at home, everybody.