8:30 p.m. White Water Tavern. Free.
If, in the middle of January 2019, you’d attended the opening for “Art Not Bombs” — and if, like me, you had subsequently wandered into the afterparty to see a one-man act named Hamell on Trial, interest piqued by a circulated endorsement from his former label Righteous Babe Records — you’d have seen what I saw: evidence that punk rock’s virility and sense of justice are alive and well.
Like the comedians he garners comparisons to — Bill Hicks, Richard Pryor — Ed Hamell’s set was a sorely needed reminder that, in the right hands, the spoken word can be the most righteous sort of wrecking ball. It was a reminder of how comedy can be as much a catalyst for reform as a soothing balm. Hamell’s a spitfire satirist and a gut-punch antidote to anyone whose eyes have learned to glaze over when they see a middle-aged white dude approach a microphone with an acoustic guitar.
In lieu of fawning further over Hamell’s set that night, here’s the man himself with a trademark track, “Not Aretha’s Respect (Cops).”
Oh, yeah, and buy one of his paintings.