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On tacos and hardcore tunes

BY REBECCA KOONS | JANUARY 29, 2010 7:30 AM

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mp3 samples: In Defence

"Call More Dudes Part 3"

"Lessons in Headbanging"

It’s not every day that a band creates its own social movement against a popular food.

Minneapolis-based hard-core punk/thrash band In Defence has initiated what is known as the Taco Liberation Front. After police shut down a basement concert for being too loud, the band transferred the concert to a local Taco John’s. After a fan-filmed YouTube video of the event went online, the band responded with a song titled “All Hail the Taco Avenger” and invented a war against pizza and pizzerias everywhere, claiming tacos as the heroic underdog.

Whether this movement is serious is up for debate, even among the band’s members. But as vocalist Ben Crew said, it gets plenty of attention.

“We’ve tried singing out against sexism, homophobia, and racism, and nobody bats an eye,” he said. “But you sing out against pizza, and everyone is up in arms.”

In Defence will bring its fast-food crusade, along with a bevy of original punk tunes, to the Picador, 330 E. Washington, at 9 p.m. today.

The band has been performing for nearly four years, and what started as an effort to resurrect songs written by Crew in the late 1980s has gained attention on an international level. Since its inception, In Defence has toured the United States, as well as 13 countries in Europe. In Defence has also released two full-length LPs and seven different 7-inch EPs in that time.

Bands such as Black Flag and Anthrax laid the inspiration for the music of In Defence. Parody and sarcasm also play a big role in the band’s songwriting. Crew, who grew up under great economic and family stress, said he is able to take that frustration out in the music through the band’s sense of humor.

“I learned from growing up humor is a very powerful weapon when dealing with tough life situations,” he said. “Sometimes, you can make a statement using humor that rings out louder and sharper than if you use anger and strong words.”

Through this anguish comes a great energy, which is evident in the band’s live performances.

Guitarist Tom Burt said this, and the fun the band has with its music, is what sets it apart from its musical peers. Because he recalls having such a good time going to shows himself, he and the other members of In Defence are set in making the experience as enjoyable as possible for longtime fans and newcomers alike.

“A lot of hard-core bands try to be the toughest thing around … but we aren’t into that,” Burt said. “We want everyone to go up-front. Punk and hard-core should be accessible to everyone.”

Audience interaction is a key element to the In Defence concert experience. A band so dedicated to offering up an active, engaging presentation is bound to have the favor returned by those in attendance. For the In Defence members, it is the core of what they do, and making the crowd a part of what’s going on more than makes up for any lack of production.

“If you want to ‘watch’ a performance, go see Mötley Crüe,” Crew said. “If you want to get involved, come see us.”


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