“Sabotage”: Piratical Wayfairy Protest Magick


Wayfairy do topsy turvy twisted carnival protest songs better than just about anybody. It is their niche and they own it with flair and aplomb. This is their I Shot The Sheriff mixed with a riotous air of defiance, rather than a wistful longing. Wayfairy are not dealing in longing, pleading and they seem to be done negotiating. Instead the band have distilled all that Standing Rock protest energy down into a vignette of violence with a cause. I have a soft spot for rebels with a reason. I was never cool with that ‘what are you rebelling against/ Whatchoo got?’ bullshit of the James Deans of this world. There are plenty of causes that need warriors, pot stirrers and soldiers, to refuse to take up arms against a sea of indignities, outrages, injustices and cruelties and instead just fight against authority for authority’s sake is churlish to say the least, and not the Wayfairy Way.

Wayfairy have got that jugband vibe, with all the charm of the acoustic and makeshift folk sounds that permeate their (Standing) punk (Rock) engine of righteous noise and fury. Sabotage is a delight: it makes no pretense at trying to peacefully protest. All peaceful methods had failed, politics is stagnation, and sometimes it is a matter of urgency that means that even the illusion of negotiation is betraying what is essentially ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. The governments of this world are fond of claiming not to negotiate with terrorists; so why should protestors not refuse to negotiate with those that are environmental and cultural terrorists, even if they do wear the official garb of the status quo? Sabotage might be Wayfairy’s most punk offering to date. They state their case, that they are ‘going to the badlands/looking for a bad time’, in a neat refrain that sets the stage for the joyous call to arms that follows. Punk was never about peace. It was never about playing the game that The Man makes the rules for and that is preset for success or failure in a no-win situation of preserving the dollars for those that are part of the way-things-are.

This song draws battle lines in the sand, and refuses to give any quarter to those bent on destruction of the land and those native people it belongs to. Wayfairy inhabits a world of ‘angels’ and ‘devils’ in Sabotage. Sometimes Angels are made out to be devils, and devils are painted with halos and fluffy wings. The moral compass is skewed by those who serve the Great Demon Economy and it’s bitch, Political Gain. My devils and Wayfairy’s devils are one and the same. I know the same angels as they know: they have wings which are kinda shattered but their hearts are in the right places.

This is a song of prices and costs in more ways than one – the narrator’s ‘friends do not come home’ and evil is to be rightly ‘feared’. There is a certain comfort in knowing that others know the same darkness, fight different battles in the same war, and are on the same side of decency and moral goodness. Difficult times require hard choices, and difficult actions and consequences. However, we all need to live with ourselves: if we don’t act according to our consciences, then we have lost the good part of what makes us human.

The prison break comes with a change in pace and a chorus of screams. A moment here to appreciate the wondrousness of the screamers in this song! They give a rebel yell, not so heartfeltly given since Iggy Pop was a mere pop-ette! Their screams would make the painter Munch blush. Forget Billy Idol, he is a mere dweeb compared to the Wayfairy existential yowls! Anthony, Jay and Layla deserve an award for services to rock and roll screams. We have a piratical riot, a refusal to play the game, a dedication to friends, a prison break and above all, steadfast loyalty to the cause of protecting Standing Rock and to the pipeline protests that brought so many good people together.

The passion, the anarcho-acoustic glorious blend of punk and folk, Quiver Watt’s perfect vocals and the superb band that pulls the whole thing together is a joy to listen to. I am excited for their new album, Sabotage, to be released:. The world needs more Wayfairy energy; it needs more rebels with a reason and the guts to fight for what they believe in. Sabotage is a call to arms and a statement of intent. It is saying we will not take it anymore, and with more grace, skill and passion in punk than I have heard in a long time. This is perfect punk protest music MINUS the dreaded staid folky lack of edge to it all that makes any listener under the age of 70 tune it out to background muzak. Sabotage makes the listener actively listen. Who knows, perhaps it will inspire others to fight for what is right, for what they believe in, and say fuck the police, and the jailers, and the system which exists only to benefit the few at the expense of the planet and the marginalized who suffer under their unfair regime.

After all, we are all just poor wayfairy strangers on the road, looking for some empathy, trying to save this lump of rock that we call home.

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