When your son is in a band, you tend to spend a lot of time watching him perform.
Unfortunately, that also means you miss a lot of other bands. The worst part of that is you don’t spend enough time checking out new ones. Well, on Friday, that wasn’t much of a problem when 18 bands descended on Valentines for the Local 518 Rock n Relief for Victims of Hurricane Irene. It was the perfect opportunity to blend my responsibility as a parent and enjoy listening to some great bands.
The benefit was the result of a Facebook post from Denise Borden asking WEXT about doing a benefit. Next thing, Eric Halder of Charmboy, took up the challenge and in less than a week, threw it all together.
As much as I tried, I could not get to see everyone, but what I did see was wonderful. Cooperation was the order of the evening as each band moved on and off the stage quickly in order to stick to the rigid schedule, at least downstairs, where I spent most of my time. The camaraderie of the musicians was also outstanding, as most of the bands stuck around after their half hour set to listen to the others.
Several of the bands, including the Charlie Watts Riots and John Scarpulla (with full band), had just finished with the Local Legends Live at the Empire State Plaza earlier in the day – I believe John had also done a benefit at Red Square as well. While it is easy for a singer-song writer to speak for themselves and volunteer for a benefit gig, entire bands made up most of the roster.
Some had even put together a special band just for the evening. Generally, Holly and Evan (my son) perform as a duo, but he wanted to put on one-of-a-kind performance and invited guitarslinger Graham Tichy and frequent guest Ted Hennessy (harmonica player extraordinaire) to sit in. Evan invited the drummer from Charmboy, Scott Smith, to also join in the fun, literally at the last second as they were heading up to the stage. It was impossible to tell that this group had never practiced together. Although this was the highlight of the evening for me, Graham was not done – he also sat in with the Knyghts of Fuzz.
When shows are put together, great care is taken to match the opening artists with the headliner. When a benefit is put together this quickly and with this many acts, the diversity is outstanding. The evening went from the solo acoustic performer Bear Grass to the high energy of the Blisterz. The only disappointment I had is that so many acts were on the stage at the same time. I only caught the last minute of the last song of Ben KN, and I had to leave before the end. And I although I saw Eric announcing the bands and Scott Smith play, I didn’t see Charmboy.
Luckily, I left when I did. I arrived home to find the power was out at home due to a transmission tower falling into the Mohawk – another reminder of what the benefit was for. If I missed your band, I truly apologize, but there was so much going on. For a full line-up, please see the Nippertown post.
The night was very successful as it raised $1,846 dollars for the Schoharie County Community Action Program Inc. and the Fulmont Community Action Agency. Chris Wienk from WEXT was also in attendance, thanking the crowd for their support of local music and these two charities.
Review and photographs by Ed Conway