When Wilco performed at the Gypsy Tea Room on September 21, Jeff Tweedy stopped between songs to thank everyone for coming out and making music with him and his band. "Especially now," Tweedy added, and everyone in the audience knew exactly what he meant. Two weeks earlier, his comment could have been taken another way, but Tweedy wasn't referring to his band's current troubles or anything so irrelevant as the music business. All of that nonsense has, for now, been put in its proper place. No, what Tweedy meant was simply this: Music heals, now more than ever.
A simple idea, but an important one. In the past few weeks, you could feel it everywhere. Music means more in the wake of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, whether it's a lyric that helps you remember or a melody that lets you forget. Never before, barring a Total Request Live marathon, has MTV had the power to bring tears to your eyes. Even hearing Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls collaborate with Limp Bizkit on a Pink Floyd cover can be moving, and God bless, when would anyone think that was possible? Right now, music can take you away or bring you right back, and there isn't much that's so capable of doing both.
Music heals: You could hear it in the songs Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Alicia Keys and many others sang on America: A Tribute to Heroes, the September 21 telethon that raised more than $150 million for the families of victims of the September 11 tragedy. It was there in Paul Simon's performance of "The Boxer" that kicked off the season debut of Saturday Night Live a week later. And it is most certainly there in Deep Relief, the benefit scheduled for October 12 in Deep Ellum. In fact, "music heals" is the theme of the entire event, and never has a phrase been more appropriately turned.
A variation on the existing Deep Friday monthly events, Deep Relief's setup is fairly simple: One admission price ($10) buys you a wristband that allows you into all participating clubs (Club Clearview, Club Dada, Curtain Club, Galaxy Club, Gypsy Tea Room, Liquid Lounge, Trees and more). The price is a few bucks higher than normal, but every cent goes to charity. Specifically, it will wind up in the hands of the Dallas chapter of the American Red Cross, as well as the national American Red Cross; police, firefighters and emergency workers in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania; national and local chapters of the Salvation Army; and the U.S. military and National Guard personnel.
Details are still somewhat tentative, but we do know Deep Relief will kick off at 7 p.m. in the Club Clearview parking lot with a family-oriented concert featuring Eddie Coker and Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks. Also during this time, a silent auction will be conducted on Crowdus Street between Main and Elm, right outside the Clearview parking lot. At 8:48 p.m.--symbolic, because the first plane struck the World Trade Center at 8:48 a.m.--a moment of silence will be observed, followed by a song by the truly wonderful N'Dambi and, possibly, other performers. And then the clubs will open.
Lineups are still trickling in, as the clubs are trying to wrangle enough talent to even up the bang-to-buck ratio, but here's some of what we do know. Galaxy Club has the Primal Groove-Stepnik-Vibrosound bill, possibly headlined by Shackleford Brown. Curtain Club will have seven or so bands, all playing short sets, including Slow Roosevelt and Jibe. Trees has lined up The Adventures of Jet, with Spill and Winslow opening, and the Gypsy Tea Room will host Jay Quinn Band, Universal recording artist Ike Reilly and Astrogin. We'll have a better idea of exactly who's playing exactly where next week; club owners are working frantically to pull all this together, so things could change.
But it shouldn't even matter who is playing. Come out, drop 10 bucks and you've done your part. It's simple, it's easy, and it'll make you feel good. Most important, it'll help make someone else feel good, too. And that's all that really matters right now...
Speaking of benefits, Zubar (on Lower Greenville) has put together a benefit of its own on October 11. There will be no cover charge, and the club will be serving complimentary cocktails between 9 and 11 p.m., so everyone who comes out will be able to donate all the money they would have spent anyway to the New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund. Providing a soundtrack to put you in a giving frame of mind will be DJs Jim Pasant (who organized this shindig), Alfred Castillo, Daddy J, Richard Shanks, Oddbod, Skinny Fresh (of Hydroponic Sound System) and probably a few others. You know how these things go.
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