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Songs of Freedom: Jesse Malin’s Gates of the West at the Roxy

Gates of the West
FEATURED IMAGE: ALBERT LICANO

The damage done by the last string of California wildfires is still being felt and so relief is still needed to rebuild all the lives that were changed forever. Music, which always seems to be the source of spiritual refuge for those in need, came to the rescue in the form of Gates of the West, an all-star celebration of the life of Joe Strummer hosted by D-Generation’s Jesse Malin.

related content: Jesse Malin And All Star Rockers Raise Money For A Friend At The Roxy
Gates of the West

Gates of the West with Dito Montiel

Gates of the West

Gates of the West with Jack Grishamn

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

The night began with a musical collaborator of Joe Strummer’s, Zander Schloss who took the stage solo with an acoustic guitar to play three songs including “Redemption Song” and “Go Straight to Hell”. Following him, Jesse Malin and his house band took the stage to play a set of originals that harkened back to rock and roll’s heyday of coolness, swagger and nonchalance. Jesse was on the guitar, in the crowd, jumping and jiving, and singing his guts out with more New York attitude than Los Angeles is used to. One special moment was when the band covered a Pogues song because Shane McGowan called the Cat and Fiddle bar in Los Angeles to inform Los Angeles that Joe Strummer died and from there, word got to New York and Jesse about the singer’s death.

Gates of the West

Zander Schloss

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Once the set was finished and the band took a break, it was now time for a second set chalk-full of Joe Strummer and Clash covers to satiate the crowd’s thirst for redemption, freedom, revolution, and soul-stirring punk rock reggae music. The Clash is such a classic band that every modern punk band is somehow rooted in their energy and this family tree was evident in seeing such a variety of performers come together, from Sheer Terror to Eagles of Death Metal.

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Leonard Phillips with Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Suzi Gardner with Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Kate Clover with Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

With unforgettable moments like The Dickies’ Leonard Phillips singing “White Riot”, Sheer Terror’s Paul Bearer blazing through “Card Cheat”, Devotchka’s Nick Urata jamming out “Hateful”, director Dito Montiel doing “Police on my Back”, TSOL’s Jack Grisham killing “I’m so Bored”, Eagles of Death Metal’s Kate Clover driving the crowd wild with “I Fought The Law”,  L7’s Suzi Gardner singing “Keys to your Heart”, Wayne Kramer and Tom Morello dueling on guitars and vocals to “Jail Guitar Doors”, or the highlight of the night to me, Jacob Dylan playing “Brand New Cadillac” and closing the night out with “London Calling”. Not to mention, the Clash set was split in two to let a rip-roaring, sonically uncompromising three-song set by Mike Watt and the Missing Men mash in between. 

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Gates of the West

Jacob Dylan with Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Wayner Kramer with Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Wayne Kramer with Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Gates of the West

Mike Watt and the Missing Men

Mike Watt and the Missing Men

Mike Watt and the Missing Men

Mike Watt and the Missing Men

Mike Watt and the Missing Men

Mike Watt and the Missing Men

It was a night worthy of Joe Strummer’s legacy that spanned every version of Joe as an artist from the conquistador to the revolutionary to the drunken smoker to the story teller to the man, myth, and the legend.

Words by: Robert Shepyer

Photos by: Albert Licano

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