Plea for Peace Tour

Fri May 21

Crystal Ballroom

1332 W Burnside

Really, getting registered to vote isn't a difficult process. In addition to those lovable local libraries, there are also websites such as Iwanttovote.com that do everything but place your ballot in the box. But easy isn't the same as fun, and accessibility doesn't always spur motivation. Put some voter registration tables at an intriguingly eclectic multi-artist extravaganza, though, and volunteers will be handing out forms as steadily as the folks hawking fliers outside the doors after arena shows.

Founded by former Skankin' Pickle and Chinkees vocalist Mike Park, the Plea for Peace tour is now in its fifth year of uniting independent artists and activists. While Warped Tour, a few politically minded acts and info tables notwithstanding, resembles a commerce-driven, sun-smothered strip mall, Plea for Peace usually takes place indoors and plays like a political convention with a riveting soundtrack.

By emphasizing that visitors can register with any party, Park has taken pains to make Plea for Peace less strident than, say, the NOFX-helmed Rock Against Bush campaign. For groups such as Cursive, whose dense, moody material deals with emotional upheaval rather than election issues, participation alone makes a significant statement. Then there's spoken-word spitfire Saul Williams, who is unlikely to stick to non-partisan "may the better man win" pleasantries.

Plea for Peace proves that charitable acts can provide substance without sacrifice. Sure, a little discomfort during good-deed-doing can build character, but there's also something satisfying about contributing to causes (a dollar from each ticket is donated to a humanitarian organization of the artists' choice) by doing something as instinctive as attending a quality concert.