Prince closed with "Purple Rain," while the Short Bus Kids closed their Saturday afternoon set because of the regular variety. Playing an anti-FTAA rally at Volker Park, the Kids enlisted several bandanna-masked protesters to hold a tarp over their heads while they dashed through an even-faster-than-usual set. Also on hand were the MCs from Sevenfold Symphony, who, backed by DJ Rebel, treated the assembled crowd of roughly 300 to socially conscious hip-hop lyricism.
Fugazi frontman Ian McKaye, appearing Wednesday night at El Torreon, was all business, whether chiding moshers (though politely addressing the offenders as "sir") or giving the boot to a brawler. When he wasn't interrupting tunes to offer lessons in concert etiquette, McKaye led the group through a sterling set. Local quintet Big Iron won over a seemingly unfamiliar crowd with its vintage mid-'80s punk sounds, which brought to mind T.S.O.L. and, by virtue of its cover of "Gates of Steel," even Devo.
It was a big week for followers of the do-it-yourself scene -- Ani DiFranco arrived in town just two days after McKaye's departure. Perhaps the night's finest selections were two tunes that postdate even the double album she released earlier this month. Equally appealing was the fact that her fans, who once were known for interrupting DiFranco's songs with romantic propositions, played it cool.