Benefit show raises funds for Tsunami
Bret Rodgers had good reason to smile. His mission, putting together a benefit concert and raising money for tsunami relief while working with minimal expenses, was finally completed. Not only was the task finished, it was a sold-out success.
Last Friday night, the Westcott Community Center played host to the benefit concert which was able to raise close to $500 for those affected by the tsunami disaster. The entire operation was the pet project of Rodgers, a senior political science and history major, who began formulating the event only a week after the tsunami.
‘I knew I wanted to have a February show,’ Rodgers said. ‘This seemed like a good way to combine the two.’
As a student who is fully plugged into the Syracuse music scene as a member of the Concert Board, Rodgers drew upon his considerable contacts to scout for bands who would play in the benefit. Four groups rounded out the concert, each with its own unique sound and style. The February, MC Goldie Oldie, Universal Breakdown and Blame Winter each performed in turn for the sold-out building.
Blame Winter, the show’s headliner, was without a doubt the most seasoned-sounding group of the evening. Unquestionably the fan favorite of the night, the group knew how to work the crowd, which was largely its already. With great sound reminiscent of early Blink 182, the group worked through its set vocally and musically on target. In addition to the musical performance, members entertained the crowd in between songs with conversation and quips, as well as through such fan favorites as ‘Mexico.’ Despite a few technical difficulties including broken guitar strings, the group worked through the evening professionally and comedically.
‘They were absolutely amazing,’ said Stephanie Lorence, a junior English and psychology major. ‘I’m very proud of Blame Winter. I remember when they were just starting out. They’ve really become a great band.’
The February started things off with a number of catchy hooks that got the crowd riled up for the rest of evening. As the first band to perform, the group’s work was cut out for them as the growing crowd became more and more restless. Luckily, as the group progressed into its set, the audience finally took note and started to listen. The songs had just the right mix of acoustics and vocals, particularly ‘The Girl Next Door.’ With a definite punk sound, The February succeeded in getting the crowd up and moving.
The next performer, MC Goldie Wilson, however, had a very different style. What can only be described as the epileptic love child of Tom Green and Eminem, Wilson roused the crowd with a mix of comedic antics and hysterical lyrics. Despite the stark difference of musical style between Wilson and the rest of the bands, he should be commended on his ability to entertain the crowd and induce massive audience participation. While his talent in remembering lyrics may have failed, he succeeded as an entertainer. Memorable moments included Wilson’s profession of love to the popular fruit, the apple, which other than the beloved, ‘Apples and Bananas’ song, does not receive a lot of musical attention.
‘I think the bands are great,’ Lorence said. ‘They really know how to get the crowd excited. Everyone is had a great time. It’s been a great show.’
Universal Breakdown was the third group to perform. While a bit more subtle in the punk category than The February, its sound was certainly as entertaining. Supplementing the strong acoustics was a talented and rigorous drum routine, which highlighted the performance.
Rodgers’ goal to raise money for tsunami victims as well as put on a good show came together spectacularly. The $6 cover charge was well worth it; not only because it was for such a noble cause, but because the performances were genuinely entertaining. This mix of philanthropy and entertainment also helped draw the large crowd.
‘It’s nice that there was such a big turnout,’ said Jessica Thompson, a sophomore music performance major. ‘It’s nice that so many people supported the show. I had a good time.’
Even though the concert has ended and the numbers have come in, Rodgers can scarcely believe the tremendous turnout.
‘It’s amazing,’ Rodgers said, ‘It’s so much more than I could have asked for.’
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