Saturday, May 12, 2007

Props All Around.



Friday night I hit Smith's Olde Bar again for the almost last night of 500 Songs for Kids extravaganza. Wow. I was really blown away. I stayed from the very first song til the very last, and I was in awe at how amazing everyone performed.

A couple of acts really stood out in the covers they played of Rolling Stone's top 500 songs of all time. I was highly impressed with Daddy a Go-Go's cover of "Blitzkreig Bop" because he had a bunch of young kids on stage (when I say young, I mean pre-teen) and they absolutely stole the show early on in the night. It takes guts, and they showed up and brought their "A" game.

The Bridges came into town to perform "California Dreamin'" by the Mama and the Papas, and it was insane how awesome it sounded with the harmonies they brought. Definitely a hit with the crowd. (Check out a full show from them at Smith's on May 18th...) Harrison Hudson got up and performed a Bruce Springsteen song solo and I really enjoyed that as well. Probably the defining moment, though, was when James Hall did Procol Harem's "Whiter Shade of Pale." Oh. My. God. Have you ever been completely mesmerized by someone that you have a paralyzing out-of-body experience for a solid three and half minutes? Uh, yeah, that's what happened to me. It prompted me to check him out even further, and of course, I'm now in love. You might remember Pleasure Club, which is where Mr. Hall came from. That song is one of my all time favorites anyway, but to see someone do it justice in a cover is the poo.

Procol Harem - "Whiter Shade of Pale"

At the end of the night, which brought 50 different music acts from all over the place, the songs left over that weren't assigned to anyone were covered by the musicians left in the room. I have to respect the hell out of all of them considering they basically got up and played these songs without any practice whatsoever. Seriously. It was completely ad-libbed. Buffalo Springfield's "For What it's Worth" had members from The Futurists (singer John Lindsey), Rantings of Eva (singer Ryan Flanagan), Second Shift (guitarist Wes Hoffman), Trances Arc (bassist Danny Silvestri), and The Whigs backing James Hall. It was pretty super sweet. Kind of reminded me of that video for "We Are the World" since it was such a collective effort specifically for a charity event.

Buffalo Springfield - "For What It's Worth"

There was a point in the night, however, where I actually felt like my ears were being violated. Most of that has to do with the fact that I keep hearing things about The Coathangers around town, and they were nice enough to cover "Bo Diddley" for this event. Honestly, it was a little embarrassing as I looked around the room while they were playing, and the crowd mostly had a look of utter disbelief on their faces. Sure, it's a band made up of four chicks. Sure, they have instruments, so that's appealing. The problem is, you should know how to play those instruments...and the vocals were a combination of talking and screeching into the microphone. It actually hurt my ears. It might sound horrible that I'm dogging despite the fact that they were doing something philanthropic, but this is more to address the hype surrounding them than anything else. I'll just know now that I'm not missing anything spectacular by skipping one of the many shows they play...

However, that's only my opinion, and we've already established that I'm so not cool or hip to anything most people find amazing, so whatev.

This entire event brought out lots of people from all kinds of places and backgrounds, and there were crazy amounts of money donated, and it's all thanks to Josh Rifkind. If you happen to see him emerge from a hibernation after this whole fiasco, you should shake his hand and tell him how awesome he is, whether you contributed to this whole 10 days of greatness or not. It takes one hell of an individual to devote this much time to something that will eventually end up helping the less fortunate. Here's what he looks like in case you bump into him:



My hat is off to you, Mr. Rifkind!
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