The tsunami reports were overwhelming--an endless wash of carnage and devastation--and in the days following the disaster, Jayme Nourallah had no idea what to do. "I just kept crying about it," says Nourallah, a freelance photographer who had visited Indonesia a month before the disaster. She couldn't stop looking at her 1-year-old son, Gavin--happily napping on the couch, absently gumming the pages of a book--and thinking about the children swept off to their graves, like some Old Testament tragedy come to life.
"The biggest feeling was helplessness," she says. "I felt like no matter how much money I gave, it couldn't be enough." She toyed with the idea of flying over there to help, but even that seemed clumsy. She would just add to the chaos, another American with good intentions and no idea where to start.
Eventually, Jayme and her husband, musician/producer Salim Nourallah, decided to put together a benefit show. The result is one of the best local lineups you could ask for under any circumstances--much less one put together in roughly a week--including Centro-matic, Sorta, The Deathray Davies, Pleasant Grove, Deadman, Sparrows, [DARYL] and The Happy Bullets. The benefit is Saturday at the Granada Theater from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m Admission is $12. You should go.
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The Nourallahs, of course, weren't the only ones to strike on the idea of a musical benefit. After a year of numbing dispatches from across the globe, it's as if the feed-the-world spirit of the mid-'80s is back again, as if musicians and audiences alike have finally said "enough." Last week, Willie Nelson packed the Austin Music Hall for a show that included Spoon, Patty Griffin and Joe Ely. On Wednesday, emo bands joined forces in New York for a benefit featuring Coheed and Cambria, Taking Back Sunday and My Chemical Romance. Green Day is donating all revenues from iTunes sales of the band's single "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" to the Red Cross. A massive concert at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on January 22 is still in the planning stages, though confirmed acts include Eric Clapton and Snow Patrol (and surely many more by the time this goes to press).
Dallas has already hosted a few musical benefits of its own, including a sold-out acoustic show by Lenny Kravitz at the Hard Rock Cafe on January 11 and a Denton show at Rubber Gloves last Thursday with Tank Tank and Record Hop's Ashlee Cromeens and Scott Porter. The marquee quality of this Saturday's concert is actually a group effort; Rhett Jones, drummer for The Happy Bullets, had been planning a benefit, too.
"This is a humanitarian disaster that affects everyone regardless of where they live," says Jones, who joined forces with the Nourallahs through Granada owner Mike Schoder, who has asked employees to work for free that day and is donating bar and food revenues. "Originally I was thinking if I could raise $2,500, it would be a success," Jones says. "But with Granada stepping in and offering what they are, with 11 bands on the bill, I'd love to do more. It would be great to get five figures."
Proceeds for the evening will go to UNICEF, chosen not only for its track record but also because it aids children. "For me, Christmas is more about kids than anything else," says Salim Nourallah, who will be co-hosting the event with Ricki Derek. "And it was especially devastating to know all these children had been killed." No benefit can mitigate that, although it can provide other things. Not just money, but a chance to appreciate what's been taken from so many--laughter, music but most of all, life.