The RNC Has Been a Surprisingly Musical Affair — Here Are the Highlights

Raise your hand if you believe in science and the power of classic rock!
Publish date:
July 22, 2016
music, stephen colbert, rnc, Donald Trump, Third Eye Blind

Besides the fact that there is a very real chance that we will have our first Madam President, I wouldn't say that this election cycle has been a bringer of gifts, unless you consider anxiety, annoyance, and an undercurrent of dread to be "gifts." The RNC, however, has brought a few delights, and many of them are musical.

Setting the tone for the convention, Stephen Colbert performed a star-spangled song-and-dance number that featured many epic burns.

My favorite lyric: "We'll see Newt, Ron, and Rand / Maybe members of the Klan / But no Muslims or Latinos 'cause I think they've all been banned!"


Then things got a little weird. While covering Monday's pro-Trump "America First" rally, Andy Cush of Gawker came upon a touching scene of one man agitating a guitar while asking passersby to kick his "dog" (which was actually a man in a plaid shirt and loafers) for Trump. It was a scene that can only be described as "disturbing, yet totally confusing," and you should probably watch the full performance.

Of course, the RNC wouldn't be the RNC without the GOP — does the "G" still stand for "grand"? — using music without obtaining permission from the artist. In what scientists are calling "HOW DARE YOU," Trump made a very dramatic entrance to Queen's "We Are The Champions."

I feel like I don't need to explain why Trump's usage of a queer icon's art is completely unacceptable, so I will express my emotions with my favorite GIF of all time:

Luckily, things veered back toward the delightful when bell of the ball Third Eye Blind, took to the stage at an RNC-affiliated charity event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I've always had a soft spot for Stephan Jenkins and his band, and I maintain that their self-titled album is almost flawless, but this little stunt of theirs bumped them up even further in my regard.

You know that thing where bands that are getting by mostly on nostalgia refuse to play any of their hits, infuriating 90% of their audience? Yeah, Third Eye Blind did that, save for "Jumper," a song about a gay friend of the band's who committed suicide. Jenkins used the opportunity to express support for the LGBTQ community, saying:

"To love this song is to take into your heart the message and to actually have a feeling to arrive and move forward and not live your life in fear and imposing that fear on other people."

Jenkins also asked members of the crowd to "raise your hand if you believe in science," which is just some real fun trolling to be honest.

I'm frankly a little confused as to why the RNC would want 3eb at one of their events, given the fact that Jenkins has been less than complimentary towards the party for some years. In fact, he made his feelings pretty clear in a 2012 piece he wrote for the Huffington Post.

They are in fact, a party dedicated to exclusion. No where is this more clear than their stop-people-who-don’t-vote-for-Republicans-from-voting-at-all-Voter ID law. They now seek to subvert the democratic process itself because they no longer think they can win by adhering to basic tenets of our democracy like the Voting Rights Act. I call that craven. For that reason alone, if I came to their convention, I would Occupy their convention.

It's almost like he told them how it was going to be.

Have you been following the RNC? What are some of your favorite musical moments? Have you ever thought about what your campaign song would be? This would be mine.