Dustin Mele Memorial Concert @ Revolution Hall on Saturday

Dustin Mele
Dustin Mele

By Don Wilcock

Benefit concerts rarely have legs. They’re usually slapped together to help raise money for someone, a family or an organization that has been through a terrible tragedy. Enough money is raised to help lessen the pain, and it makes the people putting it on feel better about a bad situation. Then, it’s over.

But on Saturday (March 4), the Dustin Mele Memorial Concert will take place at Brown’s Revolution Hall in Troy for the fourth year in a row.

I asked Joe Mele, the man spearheading the benefit, why this event has been so successful for four consecutive years. He says simply that it’s because people expect it. “I stopped to get gas, and this guy pulled up in a pick-up truck and he goes, ‘Yeah, yeah, Joe Mele. When’s the concert? When’s the concert gonna be?’ It’s turned into a thing where people expect it, and then on top of that, it just keeps me going.”

Joe lost his son Dustin to suicide four years ago. As might be expected, it almost took him down. But Joe has had a lot of experience with benefits. In my 40-some years of writing about the Greater Nippertown music scene, I’ve done countless stories on benefits that Joe has helped organize for other people. As the Godfather of Troy’s music scene, a truly world class electric guitarist, a promoter and a producer of countless shows, he is uniquely positioned to present a benefit to keep the memory of his son alive. That’s one of the reasons this benefit has legs.

Another reason is the word of mouth about this annual event. I don’t know anyone who’s been to one of them who hasn’t given it a rave review. There’s a funny thing about how musicians get inspired. There are those club gigs where they phone it in, and then there’s the community gathering for a purpose to honor one of their own that spikes the punch and gets bands to up their game. This annual benefit is one of those events.

All proceeds from Saturday’s benefit concert will go directly to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Lansingburgh Boys and Girls Club and CAPP Animal Rescue.

Putting it bluntly, this show promises five hours of Local 518 rock and roll that kicks ass!

Here’s the line-up of bands in order of appearance for Saturday’s concert:

Off the Record featuring Bill Harrison

The Ernie Williams Tribute Band with Jeremy Walz, Mark Emanatian, Mike Kelley and Steve Aldi

Emerald City, Troy’s premier classic rock band

Tony Perrino’s Killer B featuring Joe Mele, Pete Sweeney and Lucas Ruedy with special guests Trish Anderson, Chris Busone, Todd Hanhurst, Matt Hatfield and Tommy Murphy

The Kyle Bourgault Band, Local 518’s fastest rising country band, including Joe Mele on guitar

WHAT: The Fourth Annual Dustin Mele Memorial Concert
WHERE: Brown’s Revolution Hall, 425 River Street, Troy
WHEN: Saturday (March 4), 6pm
HOW MUCH: $10 donation requested at the door

ALSO: At 6pm today (Friday, March 3), Joe Mele, Emerald City bassist Ed Powers and Don Wilcock will be Vito Ciccarelli’s guests on WVCR-FM with a special preview of the benefit.

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