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Third Eye Blind Pokes Republicans at Cleveland Concert

Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind
Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind

The band denounced the Republican party's antigay ways and more at a Cleveland show -- which left GOP conventioneers seeing red.

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With numerous Republican convention attendees in the audience for a concert Tuesday night, the members of Third Eye Blind made clear they don't share the party's vision for America.

The band, performing a benefit show at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, denounced the Republican agenda, including its anti-LGBT aspects, Billboard reports. Lead singer Stephan Jenkins said he "repudiates" Republican ideology, and the band played no well-known songs except "Jumper," about a gay man who commits suicide by leaping off a bridge.

"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 told the audience. He also said he wished the Republican Party would welcome people "like my cousins who are gay into the American fabric." At the end of the song, he said, "Raise your hand if you believe in science." Some audience members booed, according to cellphone video captured at the event.

The late-night concert benefiting Musicians on Call, a charity that brings live and recorded music to people in hospitals, drew some attendees who were in town for the Republican National Convention, being held blocks away at the Quicken Loans Arena. And several of them were not pleased, Billboard notes.

One of them, Elizabeth White, tweeted, "I have never been more disappointed," to which the band replied, "Good." Another Twitter user slammed Third Eye Blind for using "a 'charity event' to help sick kids to have this little tantrum."

But the band also received praise. "The idea of @ThirdEyeBlind playing 'Non-Dairy Creamer' in front of hundreds of Republicans is just astoundingly hilarious," said a Twitter user called @2VOICE_. The humor, Billboard pointed out, stems from the fact that "the song includes a repeated chant of 'young gay Republicans.'"

And a Twitter user with the handle @AndyCobb added, "DON'T MAKE ME LIKE THIRD EYE BLIND. This is Trump's most horrific legacy."

Four years ago, the band had refused to play at a private party held in conjunction with the Republican convention in Tampa, Fla. That year Jenkins wrote a column in The Huffington Post explaining the band's position, saying the Republican Party had become "dedicated to exclusion," failing to welcome people like his "gay Republican cousin who wants to get married."

Watch a clip of Jenkins addressing the crowd, and scroll down for a video report on the concert.

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